Those who have experience of succeeding in the following, know the tremendous effect it has: The human being has myriads of opinions. However, it is not important whether A or B holds something about this or that to be true. The wise as well as the fool believes something under certain circumstances to be right. Each holds his own opinion for infinitely important, and he wants his viewpoint to triumph above all other viewpoints. This is why you so often hear people say: I believe this, I believe that.
Try to look back and to realise, how insignificant it is when someone puts forward his own opinion at every opportunity; it may be the least important, the most incorrect opinion because what we believe usually depends on our own pleasure and displeasure. When we succeed in holding back our own view, then we practice something of great significance and at the same time gain tremendous power.
Every suppressed expression of own being, every time we remain silent, we collect new strength towards insight.
The more we are able to listen and not express our own opinion, the sooner we rise to immediate insight and direct spiritual sight. For someone who does not understand the effect on the human soul of this holding back of one’s own opinion, this is unbelievable. But in the same way that power is collected in a battery, we can collect forces in our souls, when we suppress our opinions. It will result in inner power and strength.
One who has opinions about everything will develop slowly; he who can be silent, who can let the things themselves speak to him, will soon rise to higher knowledge. There is a golden rule in connection with insight and knowledge: If we don’t utter opinions about the things we encounter, then the things will start to speak to us of themselves. A very important statement of the occult doctrine is: I have learned much from those above me; I’ve learned much from those who are equal to me; and I have learned the most from those underneath me! – It is the learning from those who stand underneath us, the learning by listening and by suppressing our own opinions, that brings us further in our development. And we learn most if we let nature speak to us and we can listen to it. Then we reach what is to be achieved, namely the power to suspend our opinions.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 266a – Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden – Berlin, 21 February 1904 (p 41-42)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Reverence – Art of Nesta Carsten-Krüger
Previously posted on 1 January 2015