Uplifting fact

Where the spiritual world is concerned the first essential is that we should develop thoughts about it. And even if it seems as though the dead were remote, while present life is near and close at hand, the very fact that we have such thoughts as have been described today, that we let our mind dwell on things seemingly remote from external life — this very fact uplifts and develops the soul, imparts to it spiritual force and spiritual nourishment.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 182 – The Dead Are With Us – Nuremberg, 10th February 1918

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on April 10, 2019

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The first days after death

Immediately after death a man has before him, as in a mighty picture, the life which has just run its course. For several days he goes back over his whole past life, but always so that the whole life is there before him. It lies before him as in a great panorama. Now, of course, if observed more closely, it turns out that these days in their review of the past life, are as it were endowed with a certain power of observation. In a sense we regard the life during these days from the standpoint of the Ego. We see in particular everything in which our Ego was interested. We see the relations which we have with a person, but we see them in a connection with the results we ourselves obtained from them. 

Thus we do not regard things quite objectively, but see all that has borne fruit for ourselves. Man sees himself everywhere as the centre. And that is extremely necessary. For from these days when he thus sees everything which has been fruitful for him, arises that inner strength and force which he needs in the whole of his life between death and rebirth, in order there to be able firmly to retain the thought of the Ego. For we owe the power of being able to retain the Ego between death and rebirth to this vision of the last life; the power to do so really proceeds from this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: Lecture 1: Spiritual life in the physical world and life between death and rebirth – Berlin, 16th November 1915

Pain/Sorrow/Will-power

As regards what we experience as pain and sorrow, it is seen on the spiritual plane that the pain and sorrow we have borne on the physical plane work on and permeate our soul with such force on the spiritual plane that this force becomes will-power. Our soul thereby becomes stronger, and we are able to transform this strength into moral power which we are able to bring back with us again to the physical plane, in order that we may not only have certain capacities, through which we are able to produce something of value to the world around us, but that we may also have the moral power to develop these capacities into character.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 153 – The Inner Nature of Man and Life Between Death and Rebirth: Lecture 6 – Vienna, 14th April 1914

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on December 14, 2016

Thoughts on Christmas

What is it really that we should write in our hearts — the feeling that we may have on this Christmas night?

In this Christmas night there should pour into our hearts the fundamental human feeling of love — the fundamental feeling that says: compared with all other forces and powers and treasures of the world, the treasures and the power and the force of love are the greatest, the most intense, the most powerful. There should pour into our hearts, into our souls, the feeling that wisdom is a great thing — that love is still greater; that might is a great thing — that love is yet greater. 

And this feeling of the power and force and strength of love should pour into our hearts so strongly that from this Christmas night something may overflow into all our feelings during the rest of the year, so that we may truthfully say at all times: we must really be ashamed, if in any hour of the year we do anything that cannot hold good when the spirit gazes into that night in which we would pour the all-power of love into our hearts. May it be possible for the days and the hours of the year to pass in such a way that we need not be ashamed of them in the light of the feeling that we would pour into our souls on Christmas night!

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – THOUGHTS ON CHRISTMAS EVE – Berlin, 24th of December, 1912

Translated by Harry Collison

Why do we occupy ourselves with Spiritual Science?

Why do we occupy ourselves with Spiritual Science? It is as though we were learning the vocabulary of the language through which we approach the Christ. If we take the trouble to learn to think the thoughts of Spiritual Science, and make the mental effort necessary for an understanding of the Cosmic secrets taught by Spiritual Science, then, out of the dim, dark foundations of the Cosmic mysteries, will come forth the figure of Christ Jesus, which will draw near to us and give us the strength and force in which we shall then live. The Christ will guide us, standing beside us as a brother, so that our hearts and souls may be strong enough to grow up to the necessary level of the tasks awaiting humanity in its further development.

Let us then try to acquire Spiritual Science, not as a mere doctrine but as a language, and then wait till we can find in that language,  the questions which we may venture to put to the Christ. He will answer, yes, indeed, He will answer! Plentiful indeed will be the soul-forces, the soul-strengthening, the soul-impulses, which the student will carry away with him from the grey spiritual depths through which humanity in its evolution is now passing, if he is able to receive instructions from Christ Himself; for, in the near future He will give them to those who seek.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 175 – Cosmic and Human Metamorphoses – Lecture 1 – Materialism and Spirituality (bottom of lecture) – Berlin, February 6, 1917

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on February 23, 2016