To do or not to do (3 – End)

Thus, neither before nor after Initiation Science is there a contradiction between karmic necessity and freedom.

Once more, then: neither before nor after the entry of Initiation Science is there a contradiction between necessity — karmic necessity — and freedom. Before it there is none, because with everyday consciousness man remains within the realm of freedom, while karmic necessity goes on outside this realm, like any process of Nature. There is nothing in him to feel differently from what his own nature impels. Nor is there any contradiction after the entry of Initiation Science, for he is then quite in agreement with his karma, he thinks it only sensible to act according to it. Just as when you have built yourself a house and it is ready after a year, you do not say: the fact that you must now move in is an encroachment on your freedom. You will more probably say: Yes, on the whole it was quite sensible to build yourself a house in this neighbourhood and on this site. Now see to it that you are free in the house! Likewise he who looks back with Initiate-knowledge into his former lives on earth: he knows that he will become free precisely by the fulfilling of his karmic task-moving into the house which he built for himself in former lives on earth.

Thus, my dear friends, I wanted to explain to you the true compatibility of freedom and karmic necessity in human life. Tomorrow we shall continue, entering more into the details of karma.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture III – Dornach, 23rd February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on December 6, 2014

To do or not to do (2 of 3)

Before a man has acquired Initiation Science, out of a dark urge within him one thing is always important to him and another unimportant. But now he would prefer to sit down in a chair and let the world run its course, for it really does not matter whether this is done or that is left undone …

This attitude might easily occur, and there is only one corrective. (For it will not remain so; Initiation Science, needless to say, brings about other effects as well.) The only corrective which will prevent our Initiate from sitting down quiescently, letting the world run its course, and saying: “It is all indifferent to me,” is to look back into his former lives on earth. For he then reads in his karma the tasks for his present earthly life, and does what is consciously imposed upon him by his former lives. He does not leave it undone, with the idea that it encroaches on his freedom, but he does it. Quite on the contrary, he would feel himself unfree if he could not fulfil the task which is allotted to him by his former lives. For in beholding what he experienced in former lives on earth, at the same time he becomes aware of his life between death and a new birth, where he perceived that it was right and reasonable to do the corresponding, consequential actions.

To be continued


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture III – Dornach, 23rd February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on December  5, 2014

To do or not to do (1 of 3)

What I shall now say may sound paradoxical to you, yet it is true. In reality, a man who has no Initiation Science practically always knows, by a kind of inner urge or impulse, what he is to do. Yes, people always know what they must do; they are always feeling impelled to this thing or that. For one who really begins to tread the path of Initiation Science it becomes very different. With regard to the various experiences of life as they confront him, strange questions will arise in him. When he feels impelled to do this or that, immediately again he feels impelled not to do it. There is no more of that dim urge which drives most human beings to this or that line of action. Indeed, at a certain stage of Initiate-insight, if nothing else came instead, a man might easily say to himself: Now that I have reached this insight — being 40 years old, let us say, I had best spend the rest of my life quite indifferently. What do I care? I’ll sit down and do nothing, for I have no definite impulses to do anything particular.

You must not suppose, my dear friends, that Initiation is not a reality. It is remarkable how people sometimes think of these things. Of a roast chicken, every one who eats it, well believes that it is a reality. Of Initiation Science, most people believe that its effects are merely theoretical. No, its effects are realities in life, and among them is the one I have just indicated.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture III – Dornach, 23rd February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on December 4, 2014

After death/Imagination

At the moment when we die, the thought becomes what it should not become in the ordinary consciousness; the thought then becomes Imagination. This Imagination, which in occult development is striven for with all one’s effort, occurs when the human being passes through death. All his thoughts become pictures; the human being then lives entirely in pictures.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 205 – Therapeutic Insights: Lecture V – Dornach, July 3, 1921

Translated by Alice Wulsin & Gerald Karnow

Healthy and properly thinking is necessary for higher knowledge

In order to know how to relate these pictures (of the spiritual world) to the spiritual reality they represent, we have to apply to them the exact thought processes we have acquired as modern human beings. We really have to think within this world of pictures in the very way we have learnt to think in the ordinary physical world. Every thoughtless glance is damaging to modern initiation. All the healthy ways of thinking we have developed as modern human beings must be brought to bear on higher knowledge. Just as we can find our way about the ordinary physical world if we can think properly, so can we only find our way about in the world of the spirit — which we enter through modern initiation — if we are able to penetrate with the thinking we have gained here in the physical world into all the knowledge we attain through Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 210 – Old and New Methods of Initiation: Lecture 7 – Dornach, 12th February 1922

Translated by Johanna Collis

Previously posted on December 7, 2014