Saving strength in one life to use it in another

Suppose a man dies before the age of thirty-five. On reincarnating, those forces develop in him which he did not use in the years which would have followed his thirty-fifth year. Such men, who before the thirty-fifth year go through death in this way in one incarnation, thereby economise for the next incarnation certain forces, which would have been exhausted if they had lived till fifty, sixty or seventy years of age. The forces which they thus saved are added to those with which they incarnate in the next life. Thereby such souls are born into bodies through which they are in a position, especially in their youth, to confront life with strong impressions. In other words: when such souls, who in their last incarnation died before the thirty-fifth year, reincarnate again, everything makes a strong impression on them. They are deeply stirred by things, they enjoy things deeply, they have living feelings and are easily urged to impulses of will. They are those who take a strong position in life, and who receive a mission. A man does not die without cause before his thirty-fifth year; he will thereby receive a quite definite mission in his next life. These things are complex, and death before the age of thirty-five may also bring about other things — it is not absolute law, for these are only examples. […]

Now, if an especially active man is summoned from life at an early age, it would then occur that in his next life his Karma would appoint him to a quite definite task in life, which he would certainly accomplish. He would be as if predestined. If, however, a man is especially active in one life and lives to a good old age, these forces are then intensified inwardly. He has then in his next life a more complicated task. Outer activity withdraws, and there appears in the soul the necessity to evolve inner activity.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157a – The Forming of Destiny and Life after Death: LECTURE 2: ON THE FORMING OF DESTINY – Berlin, 18th November, 1915.

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Habits and Health

If a man has bad habits and bad characteristics and does nothing to get rid of them, this will appear in the next life in the physical body as a disposition, a predisposition to illness. Strange as this may sound the disposition towards certain illnesses, particularly infectious ones, depends on the bad habits of a preceding life. This insight therefore enables us to prepare health or illness for our next life. If we conquer a bad habit, we become healthy and immune against infections in our next life. Thus we can prepare health for our next life. By endeavouring to foster only noble qualities, we can prepare a healthy body for our next incarnation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: VII. THE LAW OF KARMA – Kassel, June 22, 1907

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There can be no beauty in the world without pain and suffering and illness

Fabre d’Olivet, who has investigated the origins of the Book of Genesis, once used a beautiful simile, comparing destiny with a natural process. The valuable pearl, he says, derives from an illness: it is a secretion of the oyster, so that in this case life has to fall sick in order to produce something precious. In the same way, physical illnesses in one life reappear in the next life as physical beauty.

Either the physical body becomes more beautiful as a result of the illness it endured; or it may be that an illness a man has caught from infection in his environment is compensated by the beauty of his new environment. Beauty thus develops, karmically, out of pain, suffering, privation and illness. This may seem a startling connection, but it is a fact. Even the appreciation of beauty develops in this way: there can be no beauty in the world without pain and suffering and illness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture Eight: Good and Evil/Individual Karmic Questions – Stuttgart, 29th August 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on October 13, 2016

There is a hundred times more hatred than love among human beings

In perceiving the sequence of earthly lives one also learns to understand what streams from the present into the future. Men who are capable of intense hatred carry over into the next earthly life as the result of this hatred the disposition to be hurt by everything that happens. If one studies a man who goes through life with a perpetual grudge because everything hurts him, makes him suffer, that is what one finds. Naturally one must have compassion for such a man but this trait in the character invariably leads back to a previous incarnation when he gave way to hatred.

Please do not misunderstand me here. When hatred is mentioned it is natural for everyone to say: “I do not hate, I love everybody.” But let them try to discover how much hidden hatred lurks in the soul! This becomes only too evident when one hears human beings talking about each other. Just think about it and you will realise that the derogatory things that are said about an individual far outweigh what is ever said in his praise. And if one were to go into the true statistics it would be found that there is a hundred times — really a hundred times — more hatred than love among human beings.

This is a fact although it is not generally acknowledged; people always believe that their hatred is justified and excusable. But hatred is transformed in the next earthly life into hypersensitiveness to suffering and in the third life into lack of understanding, obtuseness traits which make a man hard and indifferent, incapable of taking a real interest in anything.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 239 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume V: Lecture II – Prague, 30th March, 1924

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Previously posted on October 22, 2017

Musicality

There are people who easily identify with another individual, who relate to what the other is experiencing. They can usually also sympathize with any animal, with each beetle, with each sparrow, and be happy with whatever happens around them, or be sad together with the people they encounter who are sad. Notice how often it arises in life especially at a certain age, that a young person can be elated one moment and suddenly the next moment be intensely and extremely miserable. Some people will then say this is senseless, that it is neither here nor there! These two sorts of people exist. Of course, these qualities will be developed to a greater or lesser extent in particular cases, it may not at all be so strongly present, but the tendency will nonetheless be there.

Now the spiritual researcher considers such manifestations in the world and then comes to the following conclusion: Musical people are the ones who in a previous life found it easy to make the transition from happiness to sorrow … from sorrow to happiness, who went along easily with everything. This quality metamorphoses into the ability to be inwardly mobile and the aptitude in the inner life for rhythmic variation that generates the musical soul. By contrast, human beings who passed life by obtusely in a former life will not be musical in the next life.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 169 – Weltwesen und Ichheit – Berlin, July 18, 1916 (page 154-155)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 1, 2017