What is it that is not well in a mentally ill person?

What is unwell in a mentally ill person?  In the case of someone who is mentally ill it is the body that actually is sick; the body is unable to use the soul and the spirit in the right way. In the case of someone of whom it is said that he is mentally ill, it is always the physical body that in reality is ill; when the brain is not able to function in the right way it is understood that the person concerned will not be able to think normally. In the same way the feelings of a person with a sick liver cannot function in the normal way.

And so to call someone “spiritually ill” (in German it is called Geisteskrank) is actually the most incorrect expression to use. Someone, of whom it is said that he is mentally ill, actually suffers from a bodily ailment. The body is so ill, that the spirit, which is never ill, cannot be utilised in the right way.

Above all, you must clearly understand that the spirit is always healthy. Only the body can get sick in such a way that it cannot take hold of the spirit in the right way. If someone has an ailing brain it is the same as when someone uses a hammer that keeps on breaking when he uses it. If I call someone who does not have a hammer lazy and tells him he is incapable to function as a woodworker, it goes without saying that I am talking nonsense. He might be able to function as a woodworker if he had a hammer at his disposal. In the same way it is utter nonsense to say that someone is mentally ill. The spirit is perfectly healthy, but his body, his tool, lets him down.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 350 – VORTRÄGE FÜR DIE ARBEITER AM GOETHEANUMBAU – Dornach, 28th June 1923 (page 144-145)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on February 11, 2018



Evil feelings

Wherever the opportunity is given for definite beings, then they are always there. If a person sends out wrong, evil feelings, these live around him and attract beings which are there waiting, just as some physical being waits for food. I once compared this with the fact that there are no flies in a clean room; if there are all sorts of food-remains in the room, then there are flies. So it is with the super-sensible beings: one need only provide them with the means of nourishment.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture IX – Berlin, 1st June 1908

Previoously posted on July 21, 2019


The dead are in our midst

Today men think: When a human being has passed through the Gate of Death, his activity ceases so far as the physical world is concerned. But it is not so, in reality. There is a living and perpetual intercourse between the so-called dead and the so-called living. Those who have passed through the Gate of Death have not ceased to be present, it is just that our eyes have ceased to see them. They are there, nevertheless. 

Our thoughts, our feelings, our impulses of will are connected with the dead. The Gospel words hold good for the dead as well: “ The Kingdom of the Spirit cometh not with observation (that is to say, external observation); neither shall they say, Lo here, lo there, for behold, the Kingdom of the Spirit is within you.” For we should not seek for the dead through externalities but should become conscious that they are always present. 

All historical life, all social life, all ethical life, proceed by virtue of co-operation of the so-called living with the so-called dead. The whole being of man can be infinitely strengthened when his consciousness is filled not only with the realisation of his firm stand here in the physical world but with the inner realisation that comes to him when he can say of the dead whom he has loved: The dead are with us, they are in our midst.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – THE DEAD ARE WITH US – Nuremberg, February 10, 1918 

Translated from the German by D. S. Osmond.         


Moral feelings / Concentration / Meditation

Those directions which are given for the training of the moral feelings, as also those for concentration in thinking, for meditation — all this makes finally for the one goal of loosening the spiritual texture which binds together the physical and etheric bodies, so that the etheric body does not remain so firmly fitted into the physical body as it naturally is. All the exercises strive after this lifting out, this loosening, of the etheric body. […]

The efforts in concentrated thinking, according to the instructions given nowadays — and given also by the Rosicrucians — the efforts in meditation, the cleansing of the moral feelings: all these finally produce on the etheric body the effect described in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. As we use our eyes for seeing and our hands for grasping, so eventually we shall use the etheric body with its organs, but for looking into the spiritual, not the physical, world. The way in which we gather together and concentrate our inner life works for the independence of the etheric body.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 131 – From Jesus to Christ: Lecture II – Karlsruhe, 6th October 1911

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on December 24, 2018