Spiritual development and environment

Something may here be said concerning the environment in which this training should be undertaken, for this is not without some importance. And yet the case differs for almost every person. Anyone practicing in an environment filled only with self-seeking interests, as for example, the modern struggle for existence, must be conscious of the fact that these interests are not without their effect on the development of his spiritual organs. It is true that the inner laws of these organs are so powerful that this influence cannot be fatally injurious. Just as a lily can never grow into a thistle, however inappropriate its environment, so, too, the eye of the soul can never grow to anything but its destined shape even though it be subjected to the self-seeking interests of modern cities. 

But under all circumstances it is well if the student seeks, now and again, his environment in the restful peace, the inner dignity and sweetness of nature. Especially fortunate is the student who can carry out his esoteric training surrounded by the green world of plants, or among the sunny hills, where nature weaves her web of sweet simplicity. This environment develops the inner organs in a harmony which can never ensue in a modern city.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 10 – Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment – IV. Some Practical Aspects

Translated by George Metaxa

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Intelligence is everywhere in nature; everything, everywhere is wisdom

One must acknowledge that intelligence holds sway in nature. And if you really study nature, you can find this intelligence holding sway everywhere. And you will then think more humbly about your own intelligence, for first of all, it is not as great as the intelligence ruling in nature, and secondly, it is only like a little bit of water that one has drawn from a lake and put into a water jug. The human being, in fact, is just such a water jug, that has drawn intelligence from nature. Intelligence is everywhere in nature; everything, everywhere is wisdom. A person who ascribes intelligence exclusively to himself is about as clever as someone who declares: You’re saying that there is water out there in the lake or in the brook? Nonsense! There is no water in them. Only in my jug is there any water. The jug created the water. So, the human being thinks that he creates intelligence, whereas he only draws intelligence from the universal sea of intelligence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 220 –  Fall and Redemption – Dornach, January 21st, 1923

Previously posted on June 23, 2015

Intelligence is everywhere in nature; everything, everywhere is wisdom

One must acknowledge that intelligence holds sway in nature. And if you really study nature, you can find this intelligence holding sway everywhere. And you will then think more humbly about your own intelligence, for first of all, it is not as great as the intelligence ruling in nature, and secondly, it is only like a little bit of water that one has drawn from a lake and put into a water jug. The human being, in fact, is just such a water jug, that has drawn intelligence from nature. Intelligence is everywhere in nature; everything, everywhere is wisdom. A person who ascribes intelligence exclusively to himself is about as clever as someone who declares: You’re saying that there is water out there in the lake or in the brook? Nonsense! There is no water in them. Only in my jug is there any water. The jug created the water. So, the human being thinks that he creates intelligence, whereas he only draws intelligence from the universal sea of intelligence.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 220 –  Fall and Redemption – Dornach, January 21st, 1923

Previously posted on March 27, 2014

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The origin of suffering and pain

When we realise this connection of suffering and pain with the conscious spirit that surrounds us, we shall well understand the words of a Christian initiate who knew such things fundamentally and intuitively, and saw pain at the basis of all conscious life. They are the words: In all Nature sighs every creature in pain, full of earnest expectation to attain the state of the child of God. — You find that in the eighth chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans as a wonderful expression of this foundation of consciousness in pain. Thus one can also understand how thoughtful men have ascribed to pain such an all-important role. I should like to quote just one example. A great German philosopher says that when one looks at all Nature around one, then pain and suffering seem to be expressed everywhere on her countenance. Yes, when one observes the higher animals they show to those who look more deeply an expression full of suffering. And who would not admit that many an animal physiognomy looks like the manifestation of a deeply hidden pain?

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – The Origin of Suffering, Origin of Evil, Illness and Death – Berlin, 8th November 1906

Previously posted on January 27, 2014

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The best method of developing good thinking

We nurture and sharpen the thinking especially by the development of characteristics which seem to have nothing whatever to do with thinking, with concepts. The best method of developing good thinking is by complete absorption and insight, not so much through logical exercises but by observing one thing and another, using for this purpose processes in nature, in order to penetrate into hidden mysteries. Through absorption in problems of nature and of humanity, through the endeavour to understand complex personalities, through the intensifying of attentiveness, we grow wise. Absorption means striving to unravel something by thinking, by conceiving. In this connection, we shall be able to see that such mental absorption has a wonderfully good effect in later life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Esoteric Christianity and the Mission of Christian Rosenkreutz – Lecture 2 – Leipzig, 5th November 1911

Translated by Pauline Wehrle

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