Spiritual development and environment

Something may here be said concerning the environment in which this training should be undertaken, for this is not without some importance. And yet the case differs for almost every person. Anyone practicing in an environment filled only with self-seeking interests, as for example, the modern struggle for existence, must be conscious of the fact that these interests are not without their effect on the development of his spiritual organs. It is true that the inner laws of these organs are so powerful that this influence cannot be fatally injurious. Just as a lily can never grow into a thistle, however inappropriate its environment, so, too, the eye of the soul can never grow to anything but its destined shape even though it be subjected to the self-seeking interests of modern cities. 

But under all circumstances it is well if the student seeks, now and again, his environment in the restful peace, the inner dignity and sweetness of nature. Especially fortunate is the student who can carry out his esoteric training surrounded by the green world of plants, or among the sunny hills, where nature weaves her web of sweet simplicity. This environment develops the inner organs in a harmony which can never ensue in a modern city.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment – IV. Some Practical Aspects

Translated by George Metaxa

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Noise in the cities

These days there are books written on how to reduce the noise in the cities and even associations formed to assist with this reduction of noise. However, it is not about reducing the noise but about developing the inner strength through meditation and equanimity of soul to shut it out. It is not the excessive noise in the cities that is harmful but the demons that move through them; these demons are actually kept in check somewhat by the racket. One needs to learn to live with the noise without becoming annoyed by it.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 266a – Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden – Munich, November 8, 1908 (page 429)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger