Passing through successive incarnations

Our passing through successive incarnations is significant for the overall evolution of our essential being, which has undergone successive past lives and will continue to go through future lives. The evolution of the earth runs parallel to our own. At some point in the future, the earth will have reached the end of its course; then the planet earth, as a physical entity, will have to separate from the totality of human souls — just as when we die the body separates from the spirit, and the soul, in order to live on, enters the spiritual realm between death and rebirth. From this point of view, our highest ideal must be the striving to make all the fruits to be gained in earthly life truly our own before we die.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Lecture One – Copenhagen, June 6, 1911

Previously posted on May 10, 2019 

Memories disappear, the fruits remain as abilities

The impressions that man acquires from his experiences fade gradually from memory. Not so, however, their fruits. We do not remember all the experiences lived through during childhood while acquiring the arts of reading and writing. Yet we could not read or write had we not had such experiences, and had not their fruits been preserved in the form of abilities. Such is the transmutation that the spirit effects in the treasures of memory. The spirit consigns to its fate whatever can lead to pictures of the separate experiences, and extracts therefrom only the force necessary for enhancing its abilities. 

Thus not a single experience passes by unutilized. The soul preserves each one as memory, and from each the spirit draws forth all that can enrich its abilities and the whole content of its life. The human spirit grows through assimilated experiences, and although one cannot find past experiences in the spirit as if in a storeroom, one nevertheless finds their effects in the abilities that man has acquired.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 9 – Theosophy: Chapter II. Re-embodiment of the Spirit and Destiny

Translated by Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Gilbert Church, Ph.D

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Everything we experience by day we work upon during the night

In the time between your sleeping and waking — quite unconsciously, of course, as regards the normal consciousness — you will work upon much of what you are now in a position to hear. You will work upon it a great deal in your next sleep and perhaps also during the following nights. One sees souls labouring between sleeping and waking in quite a different fashion at what they have absorbed. And even if it occurred that someone had listened very inattentively, and had merely been somewhat receptive, yet through that receptivity he would draw into his soul the spiritual powers and impulse in the lecture. And that would be worked upon during sleep, and transformed into what we require not only for the rest of life up till death, but beyond death. Thus we work over our whole life as it transpires by day between our waking and sleeping.

Everything we experience by day we work upon during the night. Thus as it were, we learn lessons which we need for all the rest of our life here, and beyond death into the next incarnation. When we are asleep, we are our own prophetic transmuters of our life. This sleep-life is full of tremendously deep riddles, for it is much more deeply connected with what we experience, than is the external consciousness, and we work at it all from the standpoint of its fruitfulness for the following life. What we can make of ourselves through what we have experienced, is the object of our labour in the time between sleeping and waking. Whether we become stronger and more powerful in our soul, or perhaps have to reproach ourselves, we labour at all our experiences so that they become life-fruit. You see from this, that the life between sleeping and waking is really enormously significant, and that it goes deeply into the whole riddle of man.

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

Translated by Harry Collison

Previously posted on February 27, 2019

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Wisdom and beauty born out of suffering and pain

A brilliant man, Fabre d’Olivet, made a right comparison when he wished to show how the highest, noblest, purest in human nature arises out of pain. He said that the arising of wisdom and beauty out of suffering is comparable to a process in nature, to the birth of the valuable and beautiful pearl. For the pearl is born from the sickness of the oyster, from the destruction inside the pearl-oyster. As the beauty of the pearl is born out of disease and suffering, so are knowledge, noble human nature and purified human feeling born out of suffering and pain.

So we may well say with the old Greek poet, Aeschylos: Out of suffering arises learning; out of learning, knowledge. And just as in respect of much else, we may say of pain that we have grasped it I only when we know it not only in itself but in what proceeds from it. As so many other things, pain too is known only by its fruits.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness and Death: THE ORIGIN OF SUFFERING – Berlin, 8th November, 1906

Translated by M. Cotterell and V. E. Watkin

See also: https://rudolfsteinerquotes.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/there-can-be-no-beauty-in-the-world-without-pain-and-suffering-and-illness-2/

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Antoine Fabre d’Olivet (1767-1825)

Hidden spiritual causes (2 of 2)

The same may apply to another supposition. Again assume that what spiritual science says is true, namely, that the fruits of a past life are incorporated in the spiritual human seed, and that the land of the spirits in which this seed exists between death and rebirth is the realm in which these fruits ripen in order to appear again in a new life changed into talents and capacities, and to form the personality in such a way that it appears as the effect of what has been gained in a former life. — 

Anyone who makes these assumptions and, with them, observes life without prejudice will see that through them all facts of the sense world can be acknowledged in their full significance and truth, while at the same time everything becomes comprehensible that must remain forever incomprehensible to the one who, while relying only on physical facts, directs his attitude of mind toward the spiritual world. Above all, every illogical assumption will disappear, for instance the one mentioned above, that because the most important name stands at the end of a blood relationship series, the bearer of that name must have inherited his talents. Life becomes logically comprehensible by means of the supersensible facts communicated by spiritual science.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: III: SLEEP AND DEATH

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges.

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