It is an absolute necessity, in making the ascent into higher worlds to get to know oneself thoroughly and exactly

When man begins from out of the world of Imagination to light up his sleep consciousness, when he begins to lighten it with knowledge and experiences, then it is important for him to make sure that he himself gets out of the way and so shuts out of his consciousness all that might cause disturbance to his physical and etheric bodies.

It is an absolute necessity, in making the ascent into higher worlds to get to know oneself thoroughly and exactly. When we really know ourselves we cease as rule to love ourselves. Self-love comes to an end when we begin to have self-knowledge; and this self-love — which is always present in a man who has not attained to self-knowledge, for it is an illusion to imagine we do not love ourselves; we love ourselves more than anything else in the world — this self-love must have been overcome if we are to be able to shut ourselves out of our consciousness.

We must, in actual fact, come to the point where we say to ourselves: As I am now, I must eliminate myself. We have already gone a long way in this direction in that we have attained to self-surrender. But we must now not love ourselves at all. We must have the possibility at every moment to feel — I must put myself right on one side; for if I do not shut out completely all those things in me that otherwise I quite like to feel in me, errors, trivialities, prejudices sympathies, antipathies — if I do not put these right away then my ascent into higher worlds cannot be made aright.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 134 – THE WORLD OF THE SENSES AND THE WORLD OF THE SPIRIT – Lecture II – Hannover, 28 December 1911

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Dangers connected with the ascent into higher worlds

So much is found in books dealing with these matters concerning the dangers connected with the ascent into higher worlds. The descriptions sometimes given of these dangers may well make timid souls shudder at the prospect of this higher life. Yet the fact is that dangers only arise when the necessary precautions are neglected. If all the measures counseled by true esoteric science are adopted, the ascent will indeed ensue through experiences surpassing in power and magnitude everything the boldest flights of sense-bound fantasy can picture; and yet there can be no question of injury to health or life. 

The student meets with horrible powers threatening life at every turn and from every side. It will even be possible for him to make use of certain forces and beings existing beyond physical perception, and the temptation is great to control these forces for the furtherance of personal and forbidden interests, or to employ them wrongly out of a deficient knowledge of the higher worlds.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – 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

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How long is the time in the devachan?

The time in devachan (spirit-land) is not of equal length for all human beings. The uneducated savage who has experienced a little of this world only who has applied his mind and sense only a little has a short stay in the devachan. The devachan is basically supposed to elaborate what the human being has learnt in the physical, to unfold it freely, to make it suitable to a new life. The human being, who is on a higher level of existence who has collected rich experiences, has to process a lot and, hence, has a long stay in the devachan. Only later, when he is able to look into these states, the stays become again shorter up to the point where the human being can immediately walk after death again to a new incarnation because he has already experienced what is to be experienced in devachan.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 53 – Origin and Goal of the Human Being: Lecture VII: The Spirit-land – Berlin, 17th November 1904

The link to this lecture is currently unavailable.

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Previously posted on May 30, 2016

What is conscience?

Conscience is the outcome of experiences spread over a number of incarnations. Fundamentally, all knowledge, from the highest to the lowest, is the outcome of what a man has experienced; it has come into being as a result of trial and error.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VIII: Good and Evil – Stuttgart, 29th August 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

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Previously posted on August 13, 2018

Memories disappear, the fruits remain as abilities

The impressions that man acquires from his experiences fade gradually from memory. Not so, however, their fruits. We do not remember all the experiences lived through during childhood while acquiring the arts of reading and writing. Yet we could not read or write had we not had such experiences, and had not their fruits been preserved in the form of abilities. Such is the transmutation that the spirit effects in the treasures of memory. The spirit consigns to its fate whatever can lead to pictures of the separate experiences, and extracts therefrom only the force necessary for enhancing its abilities. 

Thus not a single experience passes by unutilized. The soul preserves each one as memory, and from each the spirit draws forth all that can enrich its abilities and the whole content of its life. The human spirit grows through assimilated experiences, and although one cannot find past experiences in the spirit as if in a storeroom, one nevertheless finds their effects in the abilities that man has acquired.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy: Chapter II. Re-embodiment of the Spirit and Destiny

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D

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