Prayer in childhood and the power to bless in old age

Whatever concerns our feelings always comes back in some form or other. You will probably remember the typical instance I have often given. If we teach a child to pray — if, that is, we teach him to develop a prayerful mood and feeling, the effect of it will swing back into his life after  many years. It swings back in the interval, but then swings out again further, and only later, after a very long time, does the feeling of prayer come back and manifest in a mood of blessing.
As I have often said: No-one will be able in old age to bestow blessing upon others, merely from his presence, from the imponderable elements in his nature, if in childhood he has not learned to pray. Prayer turns into the power to bless. That is how things come back in life. And it is becoming imperative that men should understand these things.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mission of Michael. The Revelation of the Intrinsic Secret of the Human Being: Elemental Beings and Human Destinies – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Previously posted on July 9, 2018

8-verses-to-pray-children-in-ES

The power of the fairy tales

Materialists say myths and fairy tales originated in the childhood stage of the human race. But in its childhood, humanity was taught by the gods. In the process of our evolution, myths and fairy tales are gradually lost, but children should not grow up without them. It makes a tremendous difference whether or not children are allowed to grow up with fairy tales. The power of the fairy tale images, which give wings to the soul, becomes apparent only at a later age.

Growing up without fairy tales leads later to boredom, to world-weariness. Indeed, it can even cause physical symptoms — fairy tales can help to prevent illnesses. The qualities that seep into our soul from fairy tales later emerge as a zest for life, enthusiasm for being alive, and an ability to cope with life, all of which can be seen even in old age. Children have to experience the power of the content of fairy tales while they are young and can still do so. People who cannot live with ideas that have no reality on the physical plane will be dead to the spiritual world. Philosophies based only on the material world are the death of our soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Things perhaps that are completely forgotten, but influence a man’s entire state of health and of mind

We would understand many human lives if we were to know what has entered the hidden depths during the course of life. We would understand many a human being in his 30th, 40th, 50th year — we would know why he has this or that inclination, why he feels so deeply the cause of his dissatisfaction — we would understand many things if we were to trace the life of such a man back to his childhood. In his childhood, we would see how parents and surroundings influenced him; what was called forth during childhood in the form of sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure — things perhaps that are completely forgotten, but influence a man’s entire state of health and of mind. For what surges and rolls down into the hidden depths of soul-life out of our consciousness, continues to be active there below.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Reflections of Consciousness, Super-consciousness and Sub-consciousness – Munich, February 25, 1912

Previously posted on April 5, 2015

Prayer in childhood and the power to bless in old age

Whatever concerns our feelings always comes back in some form or other. You will probably remember the typical instance I have often given. If we teach a child to pray — if, that is, we teach him to develop a prayerful mood and feeling, the effect of it will swing back into his life after  many years. It swings back in the interval, but then swings out again further, and only later, after a very long time, does the feeling of prayer come back and manifest in a mood of blessing.
As I have often said: No-one will be able in old age to bestow blessing upon others, merely from his presence, from the imponderable elements in his nature, if in childhood he has not learned to pray. Prayer turns into the power to bless. That is how things come back in life. And it is becoming imperative that men should understand these things.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mission of Michael. The Revelation of the Intrinsic Secret of the Human Being: Elemental Beings and Human Destinies – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Today we refer to the physical body as our own — with no notion of how unjustified this is

While a man is going about on Earth, he regards his physical body and his etheric body — of which he knows little, but at least he feels it in his powers of growth, and so on — as his own body, but he has no right to do so. Only his Ego and his astral body are his. Everything present in his physical body and etheric body — even while he is on Earth — is the property of the divine-spiritual Beings who live and weave within them, and continue their work while the man is absent in sleep.

It would go badly with anyone if he had to care for his own etheric and physical bodies in continual wakefulness between birth and death. Time and time again he is obliged to hand over his physical and etheric bodies to the Gods — especially during childhood, for then sleep is the most important thing of all. Later in life sleep works only as a corrective; the really fructifying sleep is the sleep that comes to a child in the first years of its life. Thus the human being has continually to be yielding up both physical and etheric bodies to the care of the Gods.

In past ages of human evolution this was so clearly perceived that the body was called the temple of the Gods, for so was its wonderful structure experienced. And in all architectural work — this can best be seen in oriental buildings, but also in those of Egypt and of Greece — the laws of the physical body and the etheric body were followed. In the very way the Cherubim are set on the temples of the East, in the attitude of a sphinx, or in the placing of pillars — in all this the work of divine-spiritual Beings in the human physical and etheric bodies has been made to live again. In the course of evolution, consciousness of this has been lost; and to-day we refer to the physical body as our own — with no notion of how unjustified this is — whereas as an earthly creation it belongs in reality to the Gods.

Hence, when anyone to-day talks of “my body”, when he speaks of the healthy functioning of his body as due to himself, it is just an instance of the prodigious arrogance of modern man — a subconscious pride, certainly, expressed with no awareness of it, but none the less deplorable. It shows how in speaking of their bodies as their own, people are really laying claim to the property of the Gods, and this pride is embodied in their very speech.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 227 – The Evolution of Consciousness: Lecture X: Man’s Life after Death in the Spiritual Cosmos – Penmaenmawr, 28th August 1923

Translated by Violet E. Watkin & Charles Davy