A complete fallacy

It should be borne in mind that we encounter the beings of the Higher Hierarchies, but whether or not we perceive them and establish the right connection with them depends on whether we kindled a light in our last earthly existence so that we do not pass them by and are able to receive impulses from them. That is why it is a complete fallacy to maintain that it is unnecessary to concern oneself with the beyond during earthly existence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH: 11. The Mission of Earthly Life as a Transitional Stage for the Beyond – Frankfurt, 2 March 1913

Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer, by R. M. Querido

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The best kind of anthroposophist

It might be thought that the best kind of anthroposophist is one who works at his development for a time and then engages in some activity which brings blessing on his fellow-men. But it may be that our position in external life does not enable us to put into application in the world what we elaborate in the soul. There may be no greater fallacy than to imagine that a man can be a good anthroposophist only if he actually turns to account in the world what he has learnt inwardly. 

For decades we may not be in a position to put into application any of the impulses that are now within us. Then one day we may happen to be traveling with someone in a railway carriage and are able to say something of significance which otherwise we should have had no opportunity of saying. This single action may be more significant in life than one of much wider scope. We must realise clearly what we are capable of doing and that through the working of karma, the opportunity for turning it to account will be given us at the right moment.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 118 – The Sermon on the Mount and the Return of Christ – Düsseldorf, February 20, 1910

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

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Portrait Steiner by Mariia Domnikova

Previously posted on December 3, 2017

Spiritual Science / Technical Science

It is only by descending into the depths of his own inner life that man comes into connection with the divine-spiritual Beings who work for his good, the normally evolving Beings of the spiritual Hierarchies. This coming together with the spiritual Hierarchies for whom we have in truth been spiritually born, this community with them, is rendered very much more difficult for man by the fact that the world is becoming more and more steeped in the milieu created by modern technical science. Man is as it were torn out of the spiritual-cosmic setting, and the forces he must unfold in order to be linked with the spirit-and-soul of the Cosmos are stifled and suppressed within him.

Therefore one who has already taken the first steps on the way to initiation perceives that everything which permeates modern life in the form of machinery and the like presses into the life of the human spirit-and-soul in such a way that a great deal is killed, destroyed. And he becomes aware that this destruction makes it particularly hard for him to develop those inner forces which bring him into connection with the lawful — please do not misunderstand the word — the lawful spiritual Beings of the Hierarchies.

If while in a railway carriage or steamer someone who has taken the first steps towards initiation wants to find his way into the spiritual world in meditation, he naturally makes efforts to develop the power of vision and seership which will bear him thither; but he perceives how the Ahrimanic world fills him with everything that opposes this striving to reach the spiritual world, and the battle then waged is intensely fierce. It is an inner battle, producing in the etheric body an experience of being crushed, hacked to pieces. Naturally, those who have taken no steps on the way to initiation are also involved in this battle, the only difference being that those who have taken these steps are consciously aware of what is happening. Everybody is obliged to undergo the battle; in its effects it is experienced by everybody. There would be no greater fallacy than to say: We must rebel against what technical science has brought to us in modern life, we must protect ourselves from Ahriman, we must withdraw from this modern life.

In a certain respect such an attitude would be an indication of spiritual cowardice. The real remedy lies, not in allowing the forces of the soul to weaken and to withdraw from modern life, but in so strengthening these forces that its pandemonium can be endured. World-karma demands a courageous attitude to modern life, and that is why genuine Spiritual Science calls at the very outset for effort, really strenuous effort on the part of the human soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 275 – Technology and Art: Their Bearing on Modern Culture – Dornach, December 28, 1914

Translated by Dorothy Osmond 

Why should we concern ourselves with life after death?

There are many people, particularly in our materialistic age, who ask why they should concern with life between death and rebirth or, if the idea of repeated earth lives is rejected, with an existence after death, since they surely can wait and see what happens after death when the time comes! This is said by people today who have not quite lost the feeling for the spiritual world but who are not yet equipped with sufficient soul-powers to acquire concepts and feelings about the super-sensible. They add that if they perform their duty here on earth, they shall experience in the appropriate way what awaits them after death.

Now a genuine connection with life between death and rebirth brings out clearly the fallacy of such a view and how important it is during earthly existence to have formed an idea of the conditions of life after death.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Life Between Death and Rebirth – XVI – Strasbourg, May 13, 1913

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on February 1, 2017

The best kind of anthroposophist

It might be thought that the best kind of anthroposophist is one who works at his development for a time and then engages in some activity which brings blessing on his fellow-men. But it may be that our position in external life does not enable us to put into application in the world what we elaborate in the soul. There may be no greater fallacy than to imagine that a man can be a good anthroposophist only if he actually turns to account in the world what he has learnt inwardly.

For decades we may not be in a position to put into application any of the impulses that are now within us. Then one day we may happen to be traveling with someone in a railway carriage and are able to say something of significance which otherwise we should have had no opportunity of saying. This single action may be more significant in life than one of much wider scope. We must realise clearly what we are capable of doing and that through the working of karma, the opportunity for turning it to account will be given us at the right moment.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 118 – The Sermon on the Mount and the Return of Christ – Düsseldorf, February 20, 1910

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond