Passing through successive incarnations

Our passing through successive incarnations is significant for the overall evolution of our essential being, which has undergone successive past lives and will continue to go through future lives. The evolution of the earth runs parallel to our own. At some point in the future, the earth will have reached the end of its course; then the planet earth, as a physical entity, will have to separate from the totality of human souls — just as when we die the body separates from the spirit, and the soul, in order to live on, enters the spiritual realm between death and rebirth. From this point of view, our highest ideal must be the striving to make all the fruits to be gained in earthly life truly our own before we die.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Lecture One – Copenhagen, June 6, 1911

Previously posted on May 10, 2019 

We owe all our wisdom to our suffering and pain during past lives on earth

It is important and of great interest to realise that everything which we have experienced in the course of one life — our feelings concerning the world, pleasure, pain, etc. — that in the spiritual world all this surrounds us as an external world. We need not feel sad that there our sufferings lie spread out before us. This is not sad at all, for there, all our sufferings exist in the same way in which storms exist in the physical world and in the spiritual world all our joyful experiences appear to us like wonderful cloud-phenomena. In Devachan our own inner experiences do not exist within us, as here on earth, but they live in our environment in an external form, in the same way in which a picture of Nature lies spread out before us. Our inner experiences live round about us, as if they were images, sounds or atmospheric phenomena; they have become objectified, as heavenly forms.

I have told you that it is not sad if our sufferings come raying towards us; just as little sad as lightning or thunder in physical life. Those who perceive these connections know what they owe to their sufferings in particular. Just those who have passed through pain and suffering will always say that they gratefully accept joy and pleasure, but that they would never wish to do without suffering and pain. We owe all our wisdom to our suffering and pain during past lives on earth. A man whose physiognomy bears upon it the mark of wisdom in this life, owes this to the fact that in former lives he experienced the world’s connection as suffering.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture V: Metamorphoses of Our Earthly Experiences in the Spiritual World – Kassel, 20th June 1907

Previously posted on November 21, 2013