“Temperance purges feelings, awakens spiritual faculties, strengthens inner awareness and strengthens the memory, the soul is relieved of her earthly burden and thereby enjoys a higher freedom”, a wise man said long ago. Would the human being eat too much and too often, he would have no fertile thoughts to bring forth. Because if the digestive system claims a lot of energy, then no forces are accessible to apply to the thinking capability.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 266a – Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden/Band 1 (page 559)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger


Previously posted on 10 september 2018


I felt my girlfriend like something of the sun in my life

Between the younger daughter and me there gradually came about a beautiful friendship (In about the years 1879-1884 Steiner had a friend in Vienna where he often visited the family. This younger daughter was a sister of that friend. RvD). She really had in her something of the primal type of the German maiden. She bore in her soul nothing acquired from her education, but expressed in her life an original and charming naturalness together with a noble reserve, and this reserve of hers caused a like reserve in me. We loved each other, and both of us were fully aware of this; but neither of us could overcome the fear of saying that we loved each other. Thus the love lived between the words we spoke to each other, and not in the words themselves. I felt the relationship as to our souls was of the most universal kind; but it found no possibility of taking a single step beyond what is of the soul.

I was happy in this friendship; I felt my girlfriend like something of the sun in my life. Yet this life later bore us far apart. In place of hours of happy companionship there then remained only a short-lived correspondence, followed by the melancholy memory of a beautiful period of my past life – a memory, however, which has through all my later life arisen again and again from the depths of my soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 28 – The Story of my Life: Chapter VII


Kamaloka – How long does that last approximately?

Whereas here in life we can recollect all that we have experienced in our day-life, after death — after the time of the life-tableau is past — we obtain a memory of all our nights. This is an important secret which is revealed to us. We remember all our night-life. This review so presents itself that we really live backwards starting from the last night passed here in life, passing to the preceding one, and so on. In this way we experience the whole life again backwards, but as seen from the night-aspect. 

One experiences again in this retrospective recollection, what one has unconsciously thought and investigated. One really goes back through one’s life, but not from the day-aspect. How long does that last approximately? Now remember that we sleep away about one-third of our life. As you know, there are people who naturally sleep much more. But on an average we sleep away a third of our life. Therefore this retrospect also lasts about one-third of our earth-life, because we experience the nights. 

Rudolf Steiner – 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


Forgetting unhappy experiences

Memory and oblivion signify for the ego what waking and sleeping signify for the astral body. Just as sleep permits the cares and troubles of the day to disappear into nothingness, oblivion spreads a veil over the bad experiences of life, blotting out a part of the past. Just as sleep is necessary for the restoration of the exhausted life forces, so man has to eradicate certain parts of the past from his memory if he is to approach new experiences freely and without bias. 

But precisely through forgetting, strength develops for perception of the new. Consider certain facts, like that of learning to write. All the details the child has to experience in learning to write are forgotten. What remains is the ability to write. How would man be able to write if at every stroke of the pen all the past experiences in learning to write were to arise again in the soul as memory?

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: II: THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF MANKIND

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


Memory of animals

It is even easier to fall into the error of ascribing memory to animals than it is to ascribe consciousness to plants. It is very natural to think of memory when a dog recognizes its master whom he has not seen perhaps for a long time. Yet, in reality, this recognition does not rest upon memory, but upon something quite different. The dog feels a certain attraction to its master. This attraction proceeds from the master’s personality. This personality causes pleasure in the dog when the master is in its presence, and every time the master’s presence reoccurs, it causes a renewal of this pleasure. 

Memory, however, is only present when a being not only feels with its experiences in the present, but when it retains also those of the past. One might acknowledge this and still fall into the error of thinking that the dog has memory. For it might be said that the dog mourns when its master leaves it, therefore it has retained a memory of him. That also is an incorrect conclusion. Through sharing the master’s life, his presence becomes a need to the dog and it, therefore, experiences his absence in the same way that it experiences hunger. Whoever does not make these distinctions, will not arrive at clarity concerning the true relationships of life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: II: THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF MANKIND

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