Prayer in childhood and the power to bless in old age

Whatever concerns our feelings always comes back in some form or other. You will probably remember the typical instance I have often given. If we teach a child to pray — if, that is, we teach him to develop a prayerful mood and feeling, the effect of it will swing back into his life after  many years. It swings back in the interval, but then swings out again further, and only later, after a very long time, does the feeling of prayer come back and manifest in a mood of blessing.
As I have often said: No-one will be able in old age to bestow blessing upon others, merely from his presence, from the imponderable elements in his nature, if in childhood he has not learned to pray. Prayer turns into the power to bless. That is how things come back in life. And it is becoming imperative that men should understand these things.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mission of Michael. The Revelation of the Intrinsic Secret of the Human Being: Elemental Beings and Human Destinies – Dornach, December 6, 1919

Previously posted on July 9, 2018

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Feelings and thoughts are realities

A further point of importance is what spiritual science calls orientation in the higher worlds. This is attained when the student is permeated, through and through, with the conscious realization that feelings and thoughts are just as much veritable realities as are tables and chairs in the world of the physical senses. In the soul and thought world, feelings and thoughts react upon each other just as do physical objects in the physical world. 

As long as the student is not vividly permeated with this consciousness, he will not believe that a wrong thought in his mind may have as devastating an effect upon other thoughts that spread life in the thought world as the effect wrought by a bullet fired at random upon the physical objects it hits. 

He will perhaps never allow himself to perform a physically visible action which he considers to be wrong, though he will not shrink from harboring wrong thoughts and feelings, for these appear harmless to the rest of the world. There can be no progress, however, on the path to higher knowledge unless we guard our thoughts and feelings in just the same way we guard our steps in the physical world. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment – II: The Stages of Initiation

Translated by George Metaxa

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Advice after the death of Anna Wagner

On December 31, 1905, Rudolf Steiner wrote to his esoteric pupil Paula Stryczek, who had turned to him for advice after the death of Anna Wagner (1847-1905):

Dear Miss Stryczek, 

Let me say this to you on the occasion of this unhappy event.
When a person dear to us crosses into the other worlds, it is especially important to send our thoughts and feelings without in any way giving the impression that we want her back, which would make life difficult for her in the new spheres she is entering.  What we would send into her worlds is not our own sorrow, but our love for her. Don’t misunderstand me; I do not mean that we must be hardened or indifferent.  But it should be possible for us to look toward the dead person and think, “May my love accompany you and surround you.”  According to my insights, such feelings give wings to the dead person, whereas the feelings of many mourners (such as, ‘Oh, if you were only still here with us’) become obstacles in her path. This is a general suggestion about how we ought to direct our feelings in such cases.  

In this particular case, let me advise you to take up some thoughts based on ancient occult traditions, although they are not yet fully accessible to me in good German.
In inner stillness, say them to yourself three times a day, one of which should be immediately before you fall asleep, so you take them with you into the spiritual world. Ideally, you should fall asleep with the thoughts:
May the offering of my love envelop you, cooling all heat, warming all cold.
May my gift of light carry you upward on wings of love. 
It is important to have the right feelings when it comes to the words “heat” and “cold”. They do not mean physical heat and cold but rather warmth and coolness of feeling, although it is not easy for someone still embedded in the physical heath to get an idea of what these qualities signify to the disembodied.  A recently deceased person must first become aware that the astral element is still effective even though it cannot make use of physical tools. Many of our earthly aspirations are fulfilled by physical tools, and now those tools are no longer there. The soul experiences not having physical organs as something similar to – but only similar to – a burning thirst. That is the strong sensation of “heat” upon becoming disembodied. The same applies to what our will wants to do: it is accustomed to using physical organs it no longer has. On the soul level, this “deprivation” is comparable to a sensation of cold.
Intervention by the living can be especially helpful with regard to these feelings, which are not exclusively the results of an individual life but are related to the mysteries of incarnation. That is why it is possible for us to come to the aid of a disembodied friend.
There is still one more thing that I would ask of you: precede the above sentences by directing a few thoughts toward Mr. Wagner. Their content should be something like this:
“her true love surrounded you until now and continues to surround you, unchanged.
May she continue to hold you, in strength of spirit, just as she illumined you through her visible presence.”
I wanted to write to you today, but physical work obscures spiritual experience,
and at the moment I have so much work to do on the physical plane that I cannot give you anything more specific than this general advice. Of course you should feel free to share these lines with anyone you see fit. I hope that many hearts will turn towards this personality who is dear to us.
Please give my best regards to our dear Doctor and be assured of the same for yourself.
Yours truly, Dr. Rudolf Steiner.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der ersten Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule 1904 – 1914 (page 101-103)

This translation is from Peter Selg’s book The Path of the Soul After Death, translated by M. Saar

It is in the end of book notes (note 37)

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Previously posted on October 24, 2017

Without effort it is impossible to attain a true knowledge

Without effort it is impossible to attain a true knowledge of the things which must gradually be made clear to the world through spiritual science. Today there are undoubtedly many people who argue: — “Why should we learn so many things through spiritual science? Must we become schoolboys again? Feelings or experiences seem to be the most important thing in it.” Indeed, feeling is precisely what should be taken into consideration — but, first of all, the right kind of feeling must be acquired.

The same thing applies to everything. A painter also would find it far more pleasant if there were no need for him to learn the elements of his art, and so forth, and if he were not obliged to paint his final picture slowly and gradually on the canvas. It would be far more pleasant if he could just breathe on the canvas, and so produce his finished picture! The peculiar thing in the world today is this — that, the more we reach the soul-spiritual sphere, the more people fail to understand that a mere breathing on the canvas does not suffice! In the case of music, few people will admit that a man who has learnt nothing at all can be a composer; this is quite obvious to them. They will also admit this in the case of painting — although less strictly than in the case of music — and in the case of poetry they will admit still less that study and training is necessary. This is why there are so many modern poets. No age has been so unpoetical as our present age, in spite of its many poets! Poets need not learn much — they are simply expected to write (although this has nothing to do with poetry) — at least orthographically; it suffices if they are able to express their thoughts intelligibly.

And less still is expected from philosophers. For it is taken for granted that anyone may express his opinion concerning all kinds of things which belong to a conception of the world, or life-conception. Everybody has his own point of view. Again and again we find that careful study, entailing the application of all means available to an inner activity, in order to investigate and know at least something of the world, counts for nothing in the present day. Instead, it is taken for granted that the standpoint of one who has toiled and worked in order, to venture to say at least a few things concerning the secrets of the universe is equivalent to the standpoint of one who has simply made his mind to have an opinion!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Reflections of Consciousness, Super-consciousness and Sub-consciousness – Munich, 25th February 1912

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Previously posted on September 29, 2017

Evil thoughts and feelings

We must become quite differently convinced about the importance of our actions and the responsibilities which life lays on our shoulders. It is the most down to earth aspects of life which can be influenced in this way by occultism. He who knows what results in the invisible world as a consequence of thoughts and feelings, will surely grasp that it is just as important for him not to direct evil thoughts towards a person as it is to refrain from firing bullets at him. He knows that throwing the thought of hate at astral man is just as harmful for him, as throwing a roofing slate is for physical man.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 – The Temple Legend: Lecture 19: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OCCULT KNOWLEDGE AND EVERYDAY LIFE– Berlin, 23rd October 1905 (evening)

Translated by John M. Wood

Previously posted on September 23, 2017