Dislike of anthroposophy

Maybe you are a really good anthroposophist, very keen on spiritual science, but you are living in the same house and in very close connection with someone else who detests it, who regards Anthroposophy as his greatest enemy. Now you may say, you are extremely sorry to be causing him so much pain by your attachment to what he detests. From the aspect of earthly life this may be rightly judged. Seen from the other side however, very often it turns out in such a case that it lay in the other person’s Karma not to be able to come near to Anthroposophy owing to hindrances brought from a former life, making him in his head a very hater of it. As to his head, he simply cannot bear it. He becomes vexed and excited every time he hears tell of anthroposophical truths. 

Yet all the time, in his inmost heart he may not be averse to them at all, and when he dies it may well be that he has after death a very deep longing for Anthroposophy. Often therefore you will be doing just what is needed for one who hated it during earthly life, if after his death, you turn to him with thoughts derived from Anthroposophy, so as to bring them to him. 

Paradoxical as it may sound, not a few relatives who raged and stormed when another member of the family became [an] anthroposophist have become deeply attached to it after death. In this respect once more, you must take seriously what I said during my last sojourn here: we judge life very differently from yonder side than we do from this side.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 218 – Planetary Spheres and Their Influence on Mans Life on Earth and in the Spiritual Worlds: LECTURE VI – London, 19th November, 1922

Translated by George and Mary Adams

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Previously posted on January 21, 2018

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Submitting to whatever the future may bring

We need only to remember the feelings of fear and anxiety that gnaw at our soul-life in face of the unknown future. Is there anything that can give the soul a sense of security in this situation? Yes, there is. It is what we may call a feeling of humbleness towards anything that may come towards the soul out of the darkness of the future. But this feeling will be effective only if it has the character of prayer. Let us avoid misunderstanding. We are not extolling something that might be called humbleness in one sense or another; we are describing a definite form of it — humbleness to whatever the future may bring.

Anyone who looks anxiously and fearfully towards the future hinders his development, hampers the free unfolding of his soul-forces. Nothing, indeed, obstructs this development more than fear and anxiety in face of the unknown future. But the results of submitting to the future can be judged only by experience. What does this humbleness mean?

Ideally, it would mean saying to oneself: Whatever the next hour or day may bring, I cannot change it by fear or anxiety, for it is not yet known. I will therefore wait for it with complete inward restfulness, perfect tranquillity of mind. Anyone who can meet the future in this calm, relaxed way, without impairing his active strength and energy, will be able to develop the powers of his soul freely and intensively. It is as if hindrance after hindrance falls away, as the soul comes to be more and more pervaded by this feeling of humbleness toward approaching events.

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Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 59 – Metamorphoses of the Soul: Paths of Experience Vol. 2: Lecture 4: Nature of Prayer – Berlin, 17th February 1910

Translated by C. Davy and C. von Arnim. Original translation by George Metaxa

Soul peace

Let’s imagine a quiet sea and then the same sea with towering waves, and that we’re on a sinking ship in this wildly surging water so that death is inevitable. Anyone who can feel no fear of death but only the wonderful beauty of the unfettered elements and the grandness of creation at such a moment knows what soul peace is.
We should let such images, such thoughts, live in us in their whole richness and greatness as often as possible. Then we’ll feel that fear and terror about the elements and eruptions disappear, and we’ll draw strength from all hindrances that life puts in our path.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Munich, 8th March 1909

Previously posted on March 31, 2017

Learning to write at an early age

When, as is the custom today, a child is obliged as early as the sixth or seventh year to learn to read and write, it is torture for the soul that wants to develop and unfold in accordance with its own nature. I can only repeat what I have already told you in my autobiography that I owe the removal of many hindrances to the circumstance that when I was twelve years old I was still unable to write properly. For the capacity of being able to write, in the way that is demanded today, kills certain qualities in the human being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I – Lecture XII – Dornach, 23rd March 1923

See also: Where are the earlier intiates?

Previously posted on November 16, 2015

The love or even the sympathy we extend to the dead eases his path, removes hindrances from him

In order that we may really understand one another, I want to speak first of certain aspects of the mutual relationship between the living and the dead, starting with a quite simple phenomenon which will be explained in accordance with the findings of spiritual investigations. Souls who sometimes practise a little self-contemplation will be able to observe the following (and I believe that many have done so). Let us suppose that someone has hated another person in life, or perhaps it was, or is, merely a question of antipathy or dislike. When the person towards whom hatred or antipathy was directed dies, and the other hears of his death, he will feel that the same hatred or antipathy cannot be maintained. If the hatred persists beyond the grave, sensitive souls will feel a kind of shame that it should be so. This feeling — and it is present in many souls — can be observed by clairvoyance. During self-examination the question may well be asked: Why is it that this feeling of shame at some hatred or antipathy arises in the soul, for the existence of such hatred was never at any time admitted to a second person?

When the clairvoyant investigator follows in the spiritual worlds the one who has passed through the gate of death and then looks back upon the soul who has remained on the earth, he finds that, generally speaking, the soul of the dead has a very clear perception, a very definite feeling, of the hatred in the soul of the living man. The dead sees the hatred — if I may speak figuratively. The clairvoyant investigator is able to confirm with all certainty that this is so. But he can also perceive what such hatred signifies for the dead. It signifies an obstacle to the good endeavours of the dead in his spiritual development, an obstacle comparable with hindrances standing in the way of some external goal on earth. In the spiritual world the dead finds that the hatred is an obstacle to his good endeavours. And now we understand why hatred — even if there was justification for it in life — dies in the soul of one who practises a little self-contemplation: the hatred dies because a feeling of shame arises in the soul when the one who was hated has died. True, if the man is not clairvoyant he does not know the reason for this, but implanted in the very soul there is a feeling of being observed; the man feels: the dead sees my hatred and it is an actual hindrance to his good endeavours.

Many feelings rooted deeply in the human soul are explained when we rise into the worlds of spirit and recognize the spiritual facts underlying these feelings. Just as when doing certain things on earth we prefer not to be physically observed and would refrain from doing them if we knew this was happening, so hatred does not persist after a person’s death when we have the feeling that we ourselves are being observed by him. But the love or even the sympathy we extend to the dead eases his path, removes hindrances from him.


Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 140 – Links Between the Living and the Dead – Bergen, 10th October 1913

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond & Charles Davy

Previously posted on July 1, 2017