About excercises

What we want to attain through esoteric exercises is to concentrate completely on one thought and afterwards to let an empty space arise in us and to wait for what flows to us as a result of our meditation. What we attain thereby depends on the intensity of the perseverance that we have applied to this. One might think that one gets ahead faster by changing exercises, but the most profound esoterics have always said that they got the furthest by doing the same exercise with patience and perseverance for years.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes: Esoteric Lessons Part II – Munich, 10th January 1912

Previously posted on March 15, 2018

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Painter unknown

Why people reject what they hear through Spiritual Science?  

In all cases where people reject what they hear through Spiritual Science, an instinct of self-preservation is at work; they know that they are incapable of doing the necessary exercises — that is, of practising asceticism in the true sense. A person prompted by the instinct for self-preservation will then say to himself: If these things were to permeate my spiritual life, they would confuse it; I could make nothing of them and therefore I reject them. So it is with a materialistic outlook which refuses to go a step beyond the doctrines of a science it believes to be firmly founded on facts.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 – Metamorphoses of the Soul, Vol 1: Lecture 6: Asceticism and Illness – Berlin, 11th November 1909

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on March 14, 2018

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Demons / Ghosts / Phantoms

You must realise that in the astral body and in the etheric body, as well as in the physical body, you feel the workings of other beings; all that you do involuntarily, everything to which you are impelled, is due to the working of other beings; it is not born from nothingness. The various members of man’s nature are all the time actually permeated and filled by other beings, and many of the exercises given by an initiated teacher are for the purpose of driving out these beings in order that a man may become more and more free.

The beings who permeate the astral body and make it unfree are known as “Demons.” Your astral body is always interpenetrated by demons and the beings you yourselves generate through your true or false thoughts are of such a nature that they gradually grow into demons. There are good demons, generated by good thoughts; but bad thoughts, above all those that are untruthful, generate demoniacal forms of the most terrible and frightful kind and these interlard the astral body — if I may so express it. The etheric body is also permeated by beings from which man must free himself; these beings are called “Spectres”, “ghosts.” And finally, permeating the physical body there are beings known as “Phantoms.”

Besides these three classes there are yet other beings, the “Spirits,” who drive the Ego hither and thither — the Ego itself also being a Spirit. In actual fact the human being generates such creatures who then determine his inner and outer destiny when he descends to incarnation. These beings work in your life in such a way that you can feel the “demons” created by your astral body, the “ghosts” or “spectres” created by your etheric body and the “phantoms” created by your physical body. All these beings are related to you and approach you when the time comes for reincarnation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian: VI: THE LAW OF DESTINY – Munich, 30th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D.S. Osmond

About false clairvoyance and the true sources of knowledge

What has been said in our last lecture is of great significance and of fundamental importance if we are dealing with clairvoyant aberrations, for in the case of clairvoyance not attained through regular training, through systematic exercises under strict and proper direction, but showing itself through old inherited characteristics, in images, or else in hearing of sounds — in the case of such false clairvoyance we shall always find that it diminishes, or even ceases altogether if the person in question finds the opportunity and has the inclination seriously to take up anthroposophical studies, or to take up a training that is rational and normal. So we can say that a person who has a wrong perception of the super-sensible always finds that the true sources of knowledge, if he is susceptible to them, will invariably prove helpful to him and lead him back to the right path.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 120 – Manifestations of Karma: LECTURE 8: KARMA OF THE HIGHER BEINGS – Hamburg, 25th May 1910

Previously posted on August 19, 2017

Americans/Spiritual vision/Self-control/Self-discipline/Self-education

We do indeed find that a good deal of what the Americans have developed represents a primitive form of the exercises by which a spiritual vision is attained. Thus, we find Americans repeatedly commending self-control, self-discipline, self-education as all-important: what matters is not having learned something, but implanting it in your will by the constant repetition of a given exercise.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 83 – The Tension Between East and West/Prospects of its Solution (Europe-America) – Vienna, 10th June 1922

Translated by B.A. Rowley

Previously posted on March 22, 2015