Spiritual science points to the fact that there are highly developed individuals called the “initiates.” In every age there have been secret schools where it was taught how, through exercises in meditation and concentration, a person could reach higher stages of development. Such exercises lead to insight that cannot be attained by means of the five senses and the intellect. Inner meditative work enables the soul to become free of the senses; something occurs in an individual that is comparable to what happens in someone born blind and whose sight is restored. An inner process takes place through which the spiritual eyes and ears are opened.
The whole of humanity will reach this stage, but only after long periods of time. It is essential that those who seek higher development in no way neglect worldly, everyday affairs; the ascetic who flees the world will not attain spiritual vision, for the new clairvoyance is the fruit of the soul’s experiences gathered in the physical world. The Greek philosophers have compared the human soul to the bee gathering honey, saying that the world of color and light offers honey to the human soul, to carry it up to higher worlds. The task of the human soul is to spiritualize sense experiences and take them up to higher worlds.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – SUPERSENSIBLE KNOWLEDGE – IV. The Origin of Evil – Berlin, 22 November 1906
Translated by Rita Stebbing
PS This seems contradictory. On the one hand, it is about becoming detached from the sensory world through meditation and concentration. On the other hand, it is about being absorbed in the sensory world precisely with interest. This is something I have often had a lot of trouble with. But I think we should not see it as the one OR the other, but it is the one AND the other. By the way, again, this is not to say that everyone should meditate. I never do either myself. The most important thing is to read and ponder the spiritual insights. Or as Steiner says:
We must have esoterics, but not everyone needs to be one. A very simple example can help us understand: It is a fact that everyone needs shoes. Shoemakers are therefore a necessity. It would however be quite wrong to draw the conclusion that everyone needs to be a shoemaker. Likewise, people need not all to become esotericist, but those who want to do so, will, during their present or future incarnations, have the task of spreading spiritual knowledge, and promoting it in the lives of others.
Dream Child – Art of Carol Herzer