To think I strive for happiness is a misconception  

To think I strive for happiness is a misconception. I want to be productive and work as much as I can. I want nothing besides.  

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 39 – Briefe – Band II – 1890-1925 (page 433)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on July 9, 2017

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The Importance of Education for the Human Being

When you consider the whole human lifespan, not only what is comfortable, not just childhood, to obtain basic pedagogical rules, pedagogical impulses, it becomes clear for the first time what a vitally important role education and upbringing have in the life of a human being. One realises, how often happiness or misfortune in terms of mental, psychological and physical wellbeing are related to education and upbringing. When you see how the doctor, when treating people in old age, without knowing, needs to correct upbringing mistakes and that he often fails to address the problems he encounters, because they are too firmly anchored in the human being. When you see how a child lives with its feelings into what it experiences and how this has physical consequences, when you realise how the interchanging between the physical and the psychical occurs, you come to deeply respect, to evaluate in the right way the importance of the methodology of learning.  You begin to understand what the existential conditions for educating should be, merely according to the nature of the human being himself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 308 – Die Methodik des Lehrens und die Lebensbedingungen des Erziehens – Stuttgart, April 8, 1924 (page 16)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Musicality

There are people who easily identify with another individual, who relate to what the other is experiencing. They can usually also sympathize with any animal, with each beetle, with each sparrow, and be happy with whatever happens around them, or be sad together with the people they encounter who are sad. Notice how often it arises in life especially at a certain age, that a young person can be elated one moment and suddenly the next moment be intensely and extremely miserable. Some people will then say this is senseless, that it is neither here nor there! These two sorts of people exist. Of course, these qualities will be developed to a greater or lesser extent in particular cases, it may not at all be so strongly present, but the tendency will nonetheless be there.

Now the spiritual researcher considers such manifestations in the world and then comes to the following conclusion: Musical people are the ones who in a previous life found it easy to make the transition from happiness to sorrow … from sorrow to happiness, who went along easily with everything. This quality metamorphoses into the ability to be inwardly mobile and the aptitude in the inner life for rhythmic variation that generates the musical soul. By contrast, human beings who passed life by obtusely in a former life will not be musical in the next life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 169 – Weltwesen und Ichheit – Berlin, July 18, 1916 (page 154-155)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 1, 2017

Everything that a man thinks and feels has its effects in the outer world

It is so often said in everyday life: Thoughts are duty-free! — meaning that we can think what we like and nobody in the external world will be affected. This is one important point where a man who has really grasped spiritual impulses is at variance with the materialistic thinker.

The materialist agrees that injury is caused if he throws a stone at a man, but he thinks that a thought of hatred which he may harbour against a fellow-creature, does not hurt him. Those however who have real knowledge of the world know that far, far stronger effects proceed from a thought filled with hatred than can ever be caused by a stone. Everything that a man thinks and feels has its effects in the outer world and the seer can follow with great precision the effect of a loving thought that goes out to another man, and the very different effect that is produced by a thought filled with hatred. When you send out a loving thought to someone the seer perceives a form of light shaped like a sort of flower-calyx, playing around his etheric and astral bodies, thereby contributing something to his vitality and happiness. On the other hand a thought of hatred bores its way into the etheric and astral bodies like a wounding arrow.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian: VI: The Law of Destiny
– Munich, 30th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D.S. Osmond

Good thoughts are like balm to the dead

Good thoughts are like balm to the dead. No selfish love must be sent to them, no grieving because the departed is not around any longer; this bothers the deceased and brings to them a heavy burden. The love that remains and makes no claim to still want the dead  here with us, benefits the deceased and increases his or her happiness.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 -Vor dem Tore der Theosophie – Stuttgart, September 2, 1906 (page 151)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 30, 2015