Reincarnation/Karma/Talents (2 of 2)

If we go more deeply into this, the fact becomes apparent that the external career of a man in one incarnation, when it is not merely a career but also an inner vocation, passes over in his next incarnation into the inward shaping of his bodily organs. Thus, if a man has been an exceptionally good mathematician in one incarnation, the mastery he has obtained over numbers and figures remains with him and goes into a special development of his sense-organs, for instance, of the eyes. People with very good sight have it as a result of the fact that in their former incarnation they thought in forms; they took this thinking in forms with them and during the life between death and rebirth they worked specially on the shaping of their eyes. Here the mathematical talent has passed into the eyes and no longer exists as a gift for mathematics.

Another case known to occultists is where an individuality in one incarnation lived with intensity in architectural forms; these experiences lived as forces in his inner soul-life and worked strongly upon the instrument of hearing, so that in his next incarnation he became a great musician. He did not appear as a great architect, because the perception of form necessary for architecture was transformed into an organ-building force, so that there was nothing left but a supreme sensitiveness for music.

An external consideration of similarities is generally deceptive in reference to the characteristics of successive incarnations; and just as we must reflect upon whatever did not please us and conceive of ourselves as having had an intense desire for it, so we must also reflect upon those things for which we have the least talent, and about which we are stupid. If we discover the dullest sides of our nature, they may very probably point to those fields in which we were most brilliant in our previous incarnation. Thus we see how easy it is in these matters to begin at the wrong end. A little reflection will show us that it is the soul-kernel of our being which works over from one incarnation to another; this can be illustrated by the fact that it is no easier for a man to learn a language even if in his preceding incarnation he lived in the country associated with this particular language; otherwise our school-boys would not find it so difficult to learn Greek and Latin, for many of them in former incarnations will have lived in the regions where these were the languages of ordinary intercourse.

You see, the outer capacities we acquire are so closely connected with earthly circumstances that we cannot speak of them reappearing in the same form in the next incarnation; they are transformed into forces and in that way pass over to a subsequent incarnation. For instance, people who have a special faculty for learning languages in one incarnation will not have this in the next; instead, they will have the faculty which enables them to form more unbiassed judgments than those who had less talent for languages; these latter will tend to form one-sided judgments.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – Reincarnation and Karma – I – Berlin, 23rd January 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

Previously posted on June 28, 2016

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Tiredness need not stand in the way of concentration and meditation

A healthy condition of tiredness doesn’t have to prevent us from carrying out concentration and meditation with great willpower. On the contrary. Nature does one part of the work for us, since it dulls the outer sense organs and lessens our ability to take in sense impressions. For the goal is to see without physical eyes, to hear without physical ears and to think without a physical brain. It’s precisely when we are tired that we can illumine and warm our being with the luminous thoughts of meditation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes: Esoteric Lessons – Part II: Cologne, May 9, 1912

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What we call our world is dependent upon our capacities and organs

We are conscious of the world round about us, because we have certain capacities and organs which enable us to perceive it. If we had other organs, this world would present an entirely different aspect. For example, if a man had no eyes enabling him to see the light, but an organ enabling him instead to perceive electricity, then he would not see this room flooded with light, but he would perceive electricity in every wire, flashing, streaming through it. — The world round about us, what we call our world, is therefore dependent upon our sense-organs.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture IV: Man’s Further Destinies in the Spiritual Worlds – Kassel, 19th June 1907

Previously posted on September 22, 2016 

As many worlds exist, as there are organs able to perceive them

As many worlds exist, as there are organs able to perceive them, and this is an infinite number of worlds! We are unable to perceive them to-day, because we still lack the organs of perception. [The world is not only spatially infinite, but also intensively infinite: These is a world for every organ of sense.] These worlds are still inaccessible to us yet they exist, — they exist, where we ourselves exist. The only thing needed is that our eyes should be opened, for these worlds are in our very midst.

The words of Christ: “Do not seek the Kingdom of God, for the Kingdom of God is in your midst”, should be taken literally. Also spiritual science speaks in this sense of the spiritual worlds. There have always been initiates who knew how to enter these kingdoms of heaven. Every religion speaks of these kingdoms. Spiritual science is but the means of disclosing anew this fundamental truth contained in every religion: Whatever we see and perceive round about us, is but the result and the effect of what takes place in the spiritual worlds. Whatever manifests itself upon the earth, is but the development of that which works and lives in the spiritual worlds.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture I – Kassel, 16th June 1907 

Previously posted on September 19, 2016

Knowledge of man/Social conditions (1 of 2)

You people study what is in my Occult Science, and to do that you have to develop certain concepts that most people would still call “utter madness.” A few days ago, I got yet another letter from someone studying Occult Science, and he said that nearly every chapter was pure nonsense. You can understand people saying it is pure nonsense. Why, it is quite obvious that they often say it these days. Yet these people who do not put themselves out to accept the kind of concepts that lead to Saturn, Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan, and do not get down to developing ideas about a world that is not limited to the senses will also not acquire any knowledge of man.

They do not see the human being in the other person but notice at the most that one person has a more pointed nose than the other, and one has blue eyes whereas the other has brown. But they notice nothing of man’s inner being that manifests as his soul and organizes his body. The same force which enables us to take an interest, and I am not saying now that it enables us to have super-sensible occult powers, but the same force that enables us to take an interest in super-sensible knowledge also gives us the kind of knowledge of man that we need today.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 191 – Social Understanding Through Spiritual Scientific Knowledge – Dornach, October 4, 1919