Serenity and acceptance of our destiny

What characteristics must we specially cultivate if we wish to work in a beneficial way on our will life?

Most beneficial of all in our will nature is the influence of a life directed in its entire character towards a comprehension of karma. We might also say a soul life which strives to develop, as its primary characteristic, serenity and acceptance of our destiny. And what better way can one find of developing this acceptance, this calmness of soul in the presence of one’s destiny, than by making karma an actual content in one’s life?

What do we mean by this? It means that — not merely theoretically but in a living way — when our own sorrow or the sorrow of another comes upon us, when we experience joy or the heaviest blow of fate, we shall really be fully aware that, in a certain higher sense, we ourselves have given the occasion for this painful blow of fate.

Our serenity, our acceptance of our karma in all occurrences, strengthens our will. We grow stronger in facing life with serenity, never weaker. Through anger and impatience we become weak. In the face of every occurrence we are strong when we are serene. On the contrary, we become continually weaker in will through moroseness and an unnatural rebellion against destiny.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

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Previously posted  on 4 September 2018 

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A human being’s destiny is composed of many and diverse factors

If we speak in detail about karma, we naturally must distinguish, in the first place, between those karmic events of life which come to a human being from outside and those which arise, as it were, within his inner being. A human being’s destiny is composed of many and diverse factors. His destiny is dependent on his physical and etheric constitution. It is dependent on what the human being, according to his astral and ego constitution, can bring of sympathy and antipathy toward the outer world, what others, again, according to his constitution can bring to him as sympathy and antipathy. Moreover, the destiny of the human being depends on the most manifold complications and entanglements in which he finds himself involved on the path of life. All of this determines the human being’s karmic situation for any given moment of time or as a totality for his whole life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – KARMA: 5 – The Single Factor of Karma – Dornach, 1 March 1924

Translated by Henry B. Monges

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Native predisposition of each one of us has very much to do with our destiny

That which develops in us as we grow, is, after all, connected very deeply with our destiny. Only to choose grotesque and radical examples, we may have grown in such a way as to be short and thick-set, or tall and lanky, as the case may be; or so as to receive this or that shape of nose. In short, the way we grow is not without its influence on our external form. And this is certainly connected, in however loose a way, with our destiny. But our way of growth is expressed not only in these crude externals. If our instruments and methods of investigation were only delicate enough, we should discover that every man has a different composition of the liver, of the spleen, or of the brain. “Liver” is not simply “liver”; it differs — though in its finer aspects, needless to say — in every human being. And this is connected with the same forces which cause plants to grow. As we look out over the plant-bedecked earth, we should be conscious: That which pours in from the wide ether-spaces, causing the plants to grow, works in us human beings too, bringing about the original and native predisposition of each one of us, and this has very much indeed to do with our destiny. For it belongs very deeply to his fate, whether a man receives out of the ether-world this or that constitution of liver, lung or brain. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS I – Lecture II – Dornach, 17 February 1924

Translated by George Adams / Revised by M. Cotterell, C. Davy and D.S. Osmond

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A stroke of destiny

A stroke of destiny that befalls a person during life in the physical world may seem, from the point of view of that (physical) life, to contain something altogether opposed to the man’s own will. In the life between death and rebirth a force, resembling will, rules in the soul that gives to the person the tendency toward experiencing this very blow of fate. The soul sees, as it were, that an imperfection has clung to it from earlier earth-lives — an imperfection that had its origin in an ugly deed or an ugly thought. Between death and re-birth, there arises in the soul a will-like impulse to make good this imperfection. The soul, therefore, becomes imbued with the tendency to plunge into a misfortune in the coming earth-life, in order, through enduring it, to bring about equilibrium. After its birth in the physical body, the soul, when met by some hard fate, has no glimmering of the fact that in the purely spiritual life before birth, the impulse that led to this hard fate has been voluntarily accepted by it. What, therefore, seems completely unwished for from the point of view of earth-life is willed by the soul itself in the supersensible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy: Addenda (No. 12)

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D.

Previously posted on March 31, 2018

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Accidental death and karma

Before you have lived through your present life, you have experienced many others. What you have experienced in your past life will be worked out in a particular way. For example, it might be that you need to have a long life this time so that everything can work out according to what occurred in previous earth lives. However, outer events can be in contradiction to this necessity. 

I could have an accident due to external circumstances, and I could die so that, for example, based on my previous earthly life, I die proportionately too early. In connection with the previous life on earth, it is not meant that I should die so early because I still have things to do on earth. However, I could still die. Please do not believe that it is definitely sure that I will not die! I might die; the accident might happen anyway. I might die so that my whole destiny would be changed. For I would not have the experience, I would have had to go through. My whole destiny would be changed! This is where the spiritual being who leads man from earthly life to earthly life can intervene and warn him. There is always an explanation for such a warning. 

But of course, the relations are incredibly complicated, and it can also be that this being who wants to protect the human being – if we’re going to call it that – has to do with other beings who prevent this warning. In the spiritual world, such conflicts can undoubtedly take place. But if these evil beings, if I may put it this way, have no particular interest in keeping this warning back, then it comes through. […] And so extraordinary things can happen, even outwardly; this happens countless times.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 350 – Rhythmen im Kosmos und im Menschenwesen / Wie kommt man zum Schauen der geistigen Welt? – Dornach, June 13, 1923 (page 92-93)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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