Assimilating spiritual thoughts on Earth is fundamental to achieving consciousness after death  

The ideas of ancient religious founders gave something to human souls that awakened them spiritually and gave them strength to perceive in the etheric world, and that also means to lead a conscious life after death. Assimilating modern spiritual science will in turn give our soul the strength to develop the necessary power of thinking after death to consciously perceive its etheric environment. Both people of ancient times who followed their religious founders and modern people who are willing to understand spiritual science will be able to find their way after death.

Only one type of person will have difficulty in finding his or her way after death. In fact, this type will frequently not even experience a life after death, because it will have become so dulled and obscured. This sort of person is the dyed-in-the-wool materialist who clings to images of the physical world and does not want to develop any strength to perceive the world we enter after death. In terms of the soul-spiritual, to be a materialist really means the same as wanting to destroy one’s eyes and ears in the physical world, gradually deadening one’s senses. It is no different from someone saying, “These eyes — they can’t be trusted, they provide only impressions of light. Away with them! These ears — they perceive only vibrations, not the one single truth. Get rid of them! Get rid of the senses, one by one!” To be a materialist in regard to the spiritual world makes as much sense as this attitude in regard to the sensory world. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – THE PRESENCE OF THE DEAD on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE ONE: UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (PART ONE) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

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Not the words, but the spirit behind them

In our present materialistic age, one can be a downright materialist, another a downright spiritualist. People belonging to either current can present their beliefs in a similarly convincing manner. The question, however, is not so much about the words one uses to declare his conviction. The question is: what is the spirit that really lies behind the words? What matters is not the literal content of words, but the spirit at their origin. Words alone are only good for those who are satisfied with concepts, not reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, 1 February 1920 (page 139)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on March 8, 2016

It does not depend on what a person says or believes

You can find plenty of doctors nowadays, properly recognised members of the medical profession, who would never admit to being sworn materialists; they profess to one or another religious faith, and they would staunchly deny the accusation of being materialistic. But this is not the point. Life does not depend on what a man says or believes. That is his personal concern. To be effective it is necessary to know how to apply and make valuable use in life of those facts that are not limited to the sense world but have an existence in the spiritual world. So that however pious a doctor is and however many ideas he has regarding this or the other spiritual world, if he nevertheless works according to the rules that arise entirely out of our materialistic world conception, that is, he treats people as though they only had a body, then however spiritually minded he believes himself to be, he is nevertheless a materialist. For it does not depend on what a person says or believes but on his ability to set in living motion the forces behind the external world of the senses.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Being of Man and His Future Evolution: Lecture 2: Different Types of Illness – Berlin, 10th November 1908

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

Previously posted on April 6, 2016

For the truly practical person it is not important what the contents of the thoughts are, but the activity they bring about

It is not the theories that have significance, but the habits of thought. For the truly practical person it is not important what the contents of the thoughts are, but the activity they bring about. That is what it is all about. It does not matter whether someone is an idealist, but what is important in life is that one’s thoughts are fruitful, that they stimulate life and bring progress.

It must be kept in mind that Spiritual Science does not want to have any part in one or the other dogma or belief system. It is of no importance that someone has many spiritual theories, but that these ideas are fruitful when applied to life. When someone declares that they are not materialistic and believe in the force of life, even in the spirit, but at the same time treat the human being like a gigantic test tube when considering nutritional matters, his worldview cannot bear fruit. Spiritual Science can only bring adequate answers to concrete questions when it is able to penetrate the details – and it is indeed able to shed light on nutritional as well as health issues.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 57 – Wo und wie findet man den Geist? – Berlin, December 17, 1908 (p. 172-173)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 2, 2014

Not the words, but the spirit behind them

In our present materialistic age, one can be a downright materialist, another a downright spiritualist. People belonging to either current can present their beliefs in a similarly convincing manner. The question, however, is not so much about the words one uses to declare his conviction. The question is: what is the spirit that really lies behind the words? What matters is not the literal content of words, but the spirit at their origin. Words alone are only good for those who are satisfied with concepts, not reality.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, 1 February 1920 (page 139)

Anonymous translator

1-Corinthians-2-4