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

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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 October 16, 2014

Self-knowledge and self-control

Let’s take a closer look at esoteric life. We know that various changes take place in our soul life through the exercises we received. For instance, the passions that a man had before get stronger. Old inclinations, drives and passions one thought one had overcome and put aside reemerge from the dark shafts of soul life and assert themselves vehemently. Or an esoteric often thoughtlessly does something which he would have been ashamed of before the start of his esoteric training or wouldn’t have done at all. His antipathies and sympathies for people become stronger than before; his whole soul life becomes stirred up. In short, a man gets to know what he’s really like in his soul depths so that he has real self-knowledge. Therefore strict and strong self-control is indispensable for an esoteric pupil.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Esoteric Lessons Part II – Basel, 20th September 1912

Previously posted on April 13, 2014

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 December 8, 2014

Doppelganger/The second ego

An unavoidable experience one has by faithfully doing the exercises is a splitting of the personality. A man will begin to feel as if something was accompanying him, something that thinks and hears with him and even speaks with him if he’s inwardly weak. It’s a second ego that emerges, a doppelganger that one has placed outside one. The more seriously someone treads the esoteric path, the more of his old man he places outside him, that is, he sheds one skin after another like a snake. These skins become like a second body, a doppelganger who never leaves one again for the rest of one’s life. In the old Egyptian mysteries someone who had placed his double outside him was called a kha man. The double is chained to the kha man to constantly remind him what he was or still is. That’s not always a pleasant feeling. But the awareness that he always has his double with him will remind him of his defects and that he should improve himself. He should constantly feel this presence, otherwise things would get dangerous, and because of his many, high ideals and intentions, he would forget what his inner life and defects are. Under certain circumstances it could even endanger a high initiate’s life if in spite of his high striving he would forget this double for even a moment. [He could actually lose his physical body through death, somewhat like one who’s concentrating on a sublime problem, forgets to pay attention to traffic and gets run over.] The more the double appears the better it is for our development, for otherwise, we would be living under great delusions about ourself.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 –From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Esoteric Lessons Part II – Hannover, 31st December 1911

Previously posted on April 14, 2014

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