Connection of freedom with pure thinking and moral impulses

I laid stress in my Philosophie der Freiheit which was written in the early nineties, on the connection of the experience of freedom with what I called “pure thinking”. […] When we permeate pure thinking with moral ideas and impulses — that is, with ideas and impulses that are not associated with desires, or with sympathies and antipathies, but solely with pure, loving devotion to the deed that is to be done — when we do this and allow the impulse to quicken in our soul to action, then the action we perform is truly free.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA number unknown – The Threshold in Nature and in Man – Basle, February 1, 1921

Translated by Mary Adams

Previously posted on December 23, 2019

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Purposeful Action

When a human being is suffering, people sometimes say: “He deserves his suffering and must bear his karma; if I help him, I am interfering with his karma.” This is nonsense; I know his poverty, his misery is caused through his earlier life, but if I help him, new entries will be made in his book of life; my help brings him forward. 

It would be foolish to say to a merchant who could be saved from disaster by 1,000 or 10,000 Marks: “No, for that would alter your balance.” 

It is precisely this possibility of altering the balance that should induce us to help a man. I help him because I know that nothing is without its karmic effect. This knowledge should spur us on to purposeful action.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – VII – The Technique of Karma – Berlin, May 31, 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on January 4, 2017

Free Actions 

I laid stress in my Philosophie der Freiheit  which was written in the early nineties, on the connection of the experience of freedom with what I called “pure thinking” — that thinking which is completely detached from the inner organic life, and which (if the expression be not misunderstood) becomes, even in ordinary life, cognition on a higher level. For when we permeate pure thinking with moral ideas and impulses — that is, with ideas and impulses that are not associated with desires, or with sympathies and antipathies, but solely with pure, loving devotion to the deed that is to be done — when we do this and allow the impulse to quicken in our soul to action, then the action we perform is truly free.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – The Threshold In Nature and In Man – Basle, Februari 1, 1921

Translated by Mary Adams

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 August 9, 2017

The six basic exercises – 2. Control of the impulses of will

The soul must become a ruler in the sphere of the will as it must be in the world of thought. In the physical-sensory world, it is life itself that appears as the ruler. It emphasizes this or that need of the human being, and the will feels itself impelled to satisfy these needs. In higher training man must become accustomed to obey his own commands strictly. He who becomes accustomed to this will be less and less inclined to desire the non-essential. Dissatisfaction and instability in the life of will rest upon the desire for things the realization of which we cannot conceive clearly. Such dissatisfaction may bring the entire mental life into disorder when a higher ego is about to emerge from the soul. It is a good practice if one gives oneself for months, at a certain time of the day, the following command: Today, at this definite time, I shall perform this or that action. One then gradually becomes able to determine the time for this action and the nature of the thing to be done so as to permit its being carried out with great exactness. Thus one lifts oneself above the damaging attitude of mind found in, “I should like this, I want that,” in which we do not at all consider the possibility of its accomplishment. A great personality — Goethe — lets a seeress say, “Him I love who desires the impossible.” [Goethe: Faust 11.] And Goethe himself says, “To live in the idea means to treat the impossible as though it were possible.” [Goethe: Verses in Prose.] Such expressions must not be used as objections to what is presented here. For the demand of Goethe and his seeress, Manto, can only be fulfilled by someone who has trained himself to desire what is possible, in order then to be able, through his strong will, to treat the “impossible” so that it is transformed through his will into the possible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – V: Cognition of the higher worlds. Initiation. (Part 2)

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges

Previously posted on November 23, 2014