Practical life is the best spiritual preparation 

In my book “Vom Menschenrätsel” I have pointed out that one can say: as a man awakes from sleep in which has only a very dull consciousness, to the ordinary waking consciousness, so he can wake up from this ordinary consciousness, in which he usually lives his life, to perceive the spiritual. It is an awakening into a supersensible world that one acquires through spiritual exercises. But in the same way that everyday life can never be healthy if one does not also regularly have a healthy sleep life, so can the entrance into the world of spirit not be healthy, if one does not first develop a healthy waking life grounded in reality and practical insight; If one does not first discipline oneself, so that one can handle the realities of external life.

The awakening to spiritual perception can only follow from a healthy life during the day, just as the awakening to a healthy life during the day can only come about from a healthy sleep not disturbed by illness. Everything whereby man is in some way alienated from the realities of life, all that people search for out of folly, prejudice, false asceticism, aversion to life, living in mystical twilight or mystical darkness – all that the spiritual scientist needs to ban from his life. To stand properly in everyday life, face to face with practical reality, that is the best preparation for entering the spiritual world.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 72 – Freiheit, Unsterblichkeit, Soziales Leben – Basel, 19th October 1917 (page 78-79)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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Previously posted (in 2 parts) on 4 and 5 January 2015

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Visible World / Invisible World

Just as there could be no life in the ordinary sense of the word without death, so can there be no true knowledge of the visible world without insight into the supersensible. All knowledge of what is visible must plunge again and again into the invisible in order to evolve. Thus it is evident that the science of the supersensible alone makes the life of revealed knowledge possible. It never weakens life when it appears in its true form. When, having been left to itself, life becomes weak and sickly, supersensible knowledge strengthens it and makes it, ever and again, fresh and healthy.

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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Healthy body – Healthy soul

We need teachers who are able to educate children on the basis of a conception of the world that understands the true being of man. This was the thought underlying the Course I gave to the teachers when the Waldorf School at Stuttgart was founded. All the principles of the art of education as expounded in that Course strive in the direction of making men and women out of the children who are being educated — men and women in whom lungs, liver, heart, stomach, will be healthy in later life because, in childhood, they were helped to develop their life-functions in the right way, because, in effect, the soul worked in the right way. 

This conception of the world will never give a materialistic interpretation of the old saying, Mens sana in corpore sano. Interpreted in the materialistic sense this means: If the body is healthy, if it has been made healthy by all kinds of physical methods, then it will of itself be the bearer of a healthy soul. Now this is pure nonsense. The only real meaning of the phrase is this: a healthy body bears witness to the fact that the force of healthy soul has built it up, moulded it, made it healthy. A healthy body proves that a healthy soul has worked within it. That is the right interpretation of the phrase — and only in this sense can it be a principle of true hygiene.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 314 – Hygiene – a Social Problem – Dornach, April 7th, 1920

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Previously posted on July 24, 2017

Squabbles over differences of opinion

Nowadays people often squabble over opinions. But that cannot continue, simply because it is necessary that everyone has their own opinion. When a tree is photographed from different sides, it is still the same tree, but the descriptions will be quite different; thus, every person can have his own opinion – depending on the position he places himself.

The wise man will no longer fight over opinions. He will however, find some opinions healthy, and others unhealthy. But people no longer need to fight about opinions that differ from their own. It’s like looking at different pictures and then noticing: those pictures are quite unalike, these are good, and those others have failed. It can at most be interesting how a man comes to his opinion: whether an opinion is formed out of wisdom, or foolishness, whether an opinion is commonplace and infertile or noble and fruitful for humanity – that is of interest.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 337b – Soziale Ideen/Soziale Wirklichkeit/Soziale Praxis – Dornach, 16 August 1920 (page 62-63)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on April 27, 2018

Christ will help

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Worries put pressure on the physical body. We should do our duty, and also against opposition, but we shouldn’t worry too much. It’s hard to strike the right balance here between concern and standing above it, but too much worry dries out the brain so that it can’t take in new thoughts. 

The greatest man of sorrows was Christ, and as it says in I Peter 5:7  we should cast all our care on him; for he cares for you. That is, we should give all worries past a certain point to Christ so that He can make our physical body healthy and strong, so that our soul is also healthy.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Kassel, 27th June 1909

Previously posted on December 5, 2016