The expression of suffering and pain

When we realise this connection of suffering and pain with the conscious spirit that surrounds us, we shall well understand the words of a Christian initiate who knew such things fundamentally and intuitively, and saw pain at the basis of all conscious life. They are the words: In all Nature sighs every creature in pain, full of earnest expectation to attain the state of the child of God. — You find that in the eighth chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans as a wonderful expression of this foundation of consciousness in pain.

Thus one can also understand how thoughtful men have ascribed to pain such an all-important role. I should like to quote just one example. A great German philosopher says that when one looks at all Nature around one, then pain and suffering seem to be expressed everywhere on her countenance. Yes, when one observes the higher animals they show to those who look more deeply an expression full of suffering. And who would not admit that many an animal physiognomy looks like the manifestation of a deeply hidden pain?

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Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – The Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness and Death – Berlin, 8th November 1906

Translated by M. Cotterell

Previously posted on May 14, 2016

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We must not expect the spiritual world to be merely a kind of finer sense-world

Many people try hard to see spirits or the activities of spirits, but they want to see them just as they see physical things. They want to see a spirit, but this spirit is expected to have the form of a man or a woman or perhaps a poodle, as these are seen in the physical world. In the other world, however, it is not like this. The process itself lies outside the ordinary consciousness and what enters into the consciousness is at most a picture, an image which appears afterwards.

In short, we must not expect the spiritual world to be merely a kind of finer sense-world, nor that it will speak in human words, the only difference being that the words come from the spiritual world. Our friends are often only willing to listen in this way to voices which seem to speak to them; these voices are expected to be similar to those of the physical world, merely giving a different, subtler version of things of the physical world. These people would like to enter the spiritual world with the ordinary consciousness which belongs to the physical world only.

Bron: Rudolf Steiner – GA 254 – The Occult Movement in the Nineteenth Century: Lecture Ten – Dornach, 25th October 1915

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on May 1, 2016

Sleep: only a transitory state

Those who have understood a little of the evolution of the spiritual forces and capacities of mankind know that there are different states of consciousness, that what we call sleep in the average man is only a transitory state which in the future will develop into one in which the human being, independent of the body, will perceive the spiritual world. (This is today already the case with the initiates.)

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 103 – The Gospel of St. John – Lecture I – The Doctrine of the Logos – Hamburg, 18th May 1908

Translated by Maud B. Monges

Previously posted on September 6, 2014

The life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways

We are only separated from the so-called dead through the fact that we are not in a position to perceive with our ordinary consciousness how the forces of the dead, the life of the dead, the actions of the dead, play into our own life. These forces, these actions of the dead, continually permeate the life of our feeling and the life of our will. Therefore we can live with the dead. And it is indeed important to realize at the present time that the task of Anthroposophy is to develop this consciousness — that we are in touch with the souls of the dead.

The earth will not continue to evolve in the direction of the welfare of humanity unless humanity develops this living feeling of being together with the dead. For the life of the dead plays into the life of the so-called living in many ways.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 179 – Historical Necessity and Freewill: Lecture 3: Our Life with the Dead – Dornach, December 10, 1917

Morality and consciousness after death

The preservation of our consciousness (after death) depends upon certain specific things that happened before death. For instance, the consciousness of a person with an immoral soul disposition is more easily dimmed. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we cross the threshold of death with moral strength, for moral consciousness will keep our soul open to the light of the Hierarchies. Recently I have been able to examine the state after death of people with moral sentiments and also the state of those with an immoral disposition of soul, and in every case it could be established that a person with a moral disposition of soul was able to preserve clear, radiant consciousness after death, whereas those with an immoral soul constitution sink into a kind of dim twilight consciousness.

One might well ask what it matters if after death a person should fall into such a sleeping consciousness because then he would not suffer. He would even escape the consequences of his immorality. This argument will not hold because, with such a dimming of consciousness that is the result of immorality, the most terrible conditions of fear are connected. There is no greater fear after death than this darkening of consciousness.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – I – Milan, October 26, 1912

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on April 6, 2015