Man’s task must be entirely sought for on this earth

Above all things, no disharmony must ensue between the higher experiences and the events and demands of every-day life. Man’s task must be entirely sought for on this earth, and anyone desiring to shirk his earthly task and to escape into another world may be certain he will never reach his goal.

Source: GA 10 –  Knowledge of the Higher Worlds – VIII – The Splitting of the Human Personality during Spiritual Training

Translated by George Metaxa / Revisions by Henry B. Monges

Previously posted on March 17, 2018

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Asceticism

If one compares the life, as it should be in the anthroposophical circle with the life of a worldly circle, which says one must not dedicate himself to asceticism, then I answer that the anthroposophist does not withdraw because he wants to escape from life, but because he wants to get to the true, real life.

Those who are interested in spiritual science experience no bigger asceticism, no bigger privation than dedicating themselves to the activities that one calls “life” in many circles. If one calls this “life:” getting up in the morning, reading his newspaper, doing this or that which has a practical use, taking part in this or that banal activity in the evening — if one calls this “life,” indeed, it is “asceticism” for the anthroposophist, an awful privation, namely if one makes him participate this life. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 56 – Knowledge of Soul and Spirit: Lecture VI: The So-Called Dangers of Initiation – Berlin, 12 December 1907

Painting by David Newbatt

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Pain and suffering/Joy and happiness/Karma (2 – End)

Simple reflection upon the influence of personal enjoyment shows that inherent in it is something that makes us stagger and blots out our true being. No sermon is here being delivered against enjoyment, nor is an invitation extended to practice self-torture, or to pinch ourselves with red hot pliers, or the like. If one recognizes a situation in the right way, it does not mean that one should escape from it. No escape, therefore, is suggested, but a silent acceptance of joy and happiness whenever they appear. We must develop the inner attitude that we experience them as grace, and the more the better. Thus do we immerse ourselves the more in the divine. Therefore, these words are said not in order to preach asceticism, but in order to awaken the right mood toward joy and happiness.

If it is thought that joy and happiness have a paralyzing and extinguishing effect, and that therefore man should flee from them, then one would promote the ideal of false asceticism and self-torture. In this event, man, in reality, would be escaping from the grace that is given to him by the gods. Self-torture practiced by ascetics, monks and nuns is nothing but a continuous rebellion against the gods. It behooves us to feel pain as something that comes to us through our karma. In joy and happiness, we can feel that the divine is descending to us.

May joy and happiness be for us a sign as to how close the gods have attracted us, and may our pain and suffering be a sign as to how far removed we are from what we are to become as good human beings. This is the fundamental attitude toward karma without which we cannot really move ahead in life. In what the world bestows upon us as goodness and beauty, we must conceive the world powers of which it is said in the Bible, “And he looked at the world and he saw that it was good.” But inasmuch as we experience pain and suffering, we must recognize what man has made of the world during its evolution, which originally was a good world, and what he must contribute toward its betterment by educating himself to bear pain with purpose and energy.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Facing Karma – Vienna, 8th February 1912

Translated by Dietrich V. Asten

Previously posted on September 23, 2015

Man’s task must be entirely sought for on this earth

Above all things, no disharmony must ensue between the higher experiences and the events and demands of every-day life. Man’s task must be entirely sought for on this earth, and anyone desiring to shirk his earthly task and to escape into another world may be certain he will never reach his goal.

Source: GA 10 –  Knowledge of the Higher Worlds – VIII – The Splitting of the Human Personality during Spiritual Training

Translated by George Metaxa / Revisions by Henry B. Monges

Previously posted on January 17, 2015

The mission of  spiritual knowledge is to permeate, not to escape from material existence

It has only been possible to give a very bare outline of this subject. Abundant literature exists today and is at the disposal of everybody. In one brief lecture I have only been able to indicate certain guiding lines, but what has been said will to some extent show you that anthroposophical knowledge of the super-sensible worlds has not the slightest tendency to be remote from the world, to be unpractical. It does not wish to lead human beings in their egotism into vapid castles in the air; on the contrary, it holds that to alienate a man from the world would be to sin against the Spiritual.

The Spirit is only truly within our grasp when the flow of its power makes us practical and capable human beings.
The Spirit is creative; the mission of the Spirit is to permeate, not to escape from material existence. Anthroposophical knowledge of the super-sensible worlds is therefore at the same time a power in practical life. Hence — as I shall show in other lectures here in Christiania — Anthroposophy strives to enrich the several sciences, the life of art, as well the domains of practical life, with all that knowledge of the reality of higher worlds can add to the things of the material world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 79 – On the Reality of Higher Worlds – Christiania (Oslo), November 25, 1921

Translation by D. S. Osmond