Consolation: Any grief is the cause of a rise of the soul-life

The soul continually puts questions about the human destiny and his dissimilarity to itself. Can a thoughtful soul endure that on one side innocent human beings live in bitterness and misery, and on the other side, people live apparently in happiness who do not deserve it? This is the big question which the human soul has to put to destiny. As long as we consider life only between birth and death, we never find an answer to this riddle.

We never find consolation for the soul. If we look, however, at the law of karma, we know that any bitterness, any misery is the result of causes which were there in former lives. Then we say on one side: what the soul experiences today as its destiny is the effect of former experiences. This cannot be anything else.

Consolation becomes this explanation immediately when we look at the future because we say: somebody who experiences something painful or bitterness and grief today can complain of his destiny not only, but he has to say to himself: bitterness, heartache have effect on the future. What is your pain today is for your future life in such a way as the pain of a child if it falls: it learns to go. Thus any grief is the cause of a rise of the soul-life, and the soul finds consolation immediately if it says to itself: nothing is without effect. The life which I experience today must bear its fruit for the future.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 52 – Spiritual Teachings of Soul/World: Course V – Lecture I: What Does the Modern Human Being Find in Theosophy? – Berlin, March 8, 1904

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Every human being has a different organ composition

Every human being has a different organ composition. Were the instruments we possess for purposes of research fine enough, we should discover that actually every human being has a different liver composition, a different spleen composition, a different brain composition. Liver is not merely liver. In every individual — naturally, in a very delicate way — it is something different. All this is connected with the same forces which cause the plants to grow. And in beholding the plant cover of the earth we must become conscious of the fact that what pours in out of the reaches of the ether, causing the plants to grow, works and acts also in us; it produces in us the original human potentiality which has a great deal to do with our destiny. For whether a person has received this or that liver, lung, or brain composition from the etheric universe is a matter profoundly connected with his destiny.

Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – The karma Question and the Hierarchies: Lecture II: Karma – Dornach, February 17, 1924

Translated by Henry B. Monges

Previously posted  March 1,  2019

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Homeless Souls

There is something which all those who end up in the anthroposophical movement have in common. And that is that they are initially driven by their inner destiny, their karma, to leave the ordinary highway of civilization on which the majority of mankind at present progresses, to search for their own path. 

But those who find it difficult to accept this end up on many possible and impossible byways. And anthroposophy is precisely one of these paths on which human beings are seeking to realize themselves; on which they want to live with such an understanding of themselves in a more conscious manner, to experience something which is under their control to a certain extent at least. Anthroposophists are for the most part people who do not walk along the highways of life. If we investigate further why that should be, we find that this is linked with the spiritual world.

Thus the souls who descend from pre-earthly to earthly existence can be divided into two groups. One group, to which the majority of people today still belong, comprises those souls who can make themselves remarkably at home on earth; who feel thoroughly comfortable in their warm nest, which so fascinated them long before they came down to earth, even if it does occasionally appear unpleasant — but that is only appearance, maya.

Other souls, who may pass patiently through childhood — appearance is not always the decisive thing — are less able to make themselves at home, are homeless souls, and grow beyond the warmth of the nest much more than they grow into it. This latter group includes those who are subsequently attracted to the anthroposophical movement. It is therefore clearly predetermined in a certain sense whether or not one is led to anthroposophy.

Anthroposophy at first grew up, one might say, together with — not in, but together with — homeless souls who had initially sought a new home in theosophy.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 258 –  The Anthroposophic Movement: LECTURE ONE: The Homeless Souls – Dornach, 10 June 1923

Translated by Christian von Arnim

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Karma

With a simple example, let me make clear what one calls karma. Imagine, you work on anything from morning to night. Then you go to bed, sleep the whole night through, and get up in the morning again. If now you say to yourself, what I have worked yesterday does not concern me, I start afresh today, and then you are brainless, are you not? Nevertheless, the only possibility is that you take up in the morning again, what you have left in the evening, saying to yourself, this is my work and where I have stopped yesterday, I must resume today. What does that mean? That only means that my destiny of today is determined by my work of yesterday. Yesterday I have created my destiny of today. With it the whole concept of karma is given. Every being makes his future destiny.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 54 – The Riddles of the World and Anthroposophy: Lecture XII: Reincarnation and Karma – Berlin, 15th February 1906

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Previously posted on March 27, 2018

Hidden spiritual causes (1 of 2)

All mere dreaming and imagining about the supersensible brings only confusion for they are incapable of satisfying the opponents. The latter are right when they say that such general references to supersensible beings are not an aid to the understanding of the facts. These opponents, it is true, may say the same thing about the definite indications of spiritual science. In this case, however, it can be shown how the effects of hidden spiritual causes appear in outer life. 

The following can be maintained: Suppose that what spiritual research has established by means of observation is true, namely, that man after death has passed through a period of purification and that he has experienced psychically during that time how a definite act, which has been performed in a previous life, is a hindrance to further evolution. While he was experiencing this, the impulse developed in him to rectify the consequences of this act. He brings this impulse with him into a new life, and it then forms the trait of character that places him in a position where this rectification is possible. Consider the totality of such impulses, and you have a reason for the destined environment in which a person is born.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: III: SLEEP AND DEATH

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

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