Attraction/Repulsion/Previous earth-lives

What attracts or repels others in a human being actually veils itself in a darkness impenetrable to the world of abstract concepts. But if, with the help of Anthroposophy, we investigate what one can really experience in five minutes but cannot describe in fifty years, we find that it is what rises up from the previous earth-life or series of earth-lives into the present life of the soul, and what is exchanged. This indefinite, indefinable element that comes upon us when we meet as adults is what shines through from earlier lives on earth into the present. Not only the pre-earthly existence but everything the human being has passed through in the way of destiny in his successive earth-lives.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 217 – The Younger Generation: Lecture XI – Stuttgart, 13th October 1922

Translated by Rene M. Querido

Previously posted on August 14, 2015

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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 January 20, 2015

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

Strong and well-developed, or crippled and weak

When we have laid down our physical body and gone through the gate of death, then there is no longer anything to prevent our soul and spirit from assuming the physiognomy we have acquired from the ethical quality of our experience. There in the spiritual world we, as soul and spirit, are strong and well-developed, or crippled and weak. Then, later on, comes the time for us to resume a physical body; and in forming it we build, from within, our own destiny. For we may, on the one hand, be able, having brought from an earlier life a harmonious soul-and-spirit nature, to form the new body in perfect order and proportion, so that we can employ it in good and useful activity; or, coming into incarnation, as it were, as a moral cripple, we may find ourselves able only to form and guide the new body in a clumsy and awkward fashion, from embryo up to adult age.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 231 – SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE: A WAY OF LIFE – The Hague, November 16, 1923

Translated by Mary Adams