The most excellent first stage of all spiritual-scientific training

It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that it is necessary for the observer of supersensible realms first to acquire a view by means of the above-mentioned logic, before he tries to approach the spiritual world through his own perception. He must also recognize how comprehensible the manifest world of the senses appears when it is assumed that the communications of spiritual science are correct. All experience in the supersensible world remains an insecure, even dangerous, groping, if the above-mentioned preparatory path is ignored. Therefore in this work the supersensible facts of earth evolution are first communicated, before the path to supersensible knowledge itself is dealt with. 

We must also consider the fact that anyone who finds his way purely through thinking into what supersensible cognition has to impart is not at all in the same position as someone who listens to the description of a physical process that he himself is unable to observe, since pure thinking is itself a supersensible activity. Thinking, as a sensory activity, cannot of itself lead to supersensible occurrences. If, however, this thinking be applied to the supersensible occurrences described by supersensible perception, it then grows through itself into the spiritual world. In fact, one of the best ways of acquiring one’s own perception in the supersensible realm is to grow into the higher world by thinking about the communications of supersensible cognition, for, entrance into the higher realms in this way is accompanied by the greatest clarity of perception. For this reason a certain school of spiritual-scientific investigation considers this thinking the most excellent first stage of all spiritual-scientific training. 

Source:Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science – IV. The Evolution of the Cosmos and Man

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

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Whenever man develops one of the virtues, he unfolds a new faculty of perception

All the great Founders of religions have been possessed of clairvoyant sight. They are the spiritual Guides of mankind, and their precepts are precepts of the moral life based on astral and spiritual truths. This explains the similarities in all the religions. There is a certain similarity, for instance, between the Eight-fold Path of the Buddha and the Eight Beatitudes of Christ. The same underlying truth is that whenever man develops one of the virtues, he unfolds a new faculty of perception. Why are eight stages mentioned? Because the seer knows that the faculties which may be transmuted into organs of perception are eight in number.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – An Esoteric Cosmology – Lecture X: The Astral World – Paris, 6th June 1906

Translated by Rene Querido

Previously posted on May 10, 2018

Why should I trouble about the spiritual world before I die?

Man thinks to himself: Why need I trouble about what happens in the spiritual world? When I die I go into the spiritual world in any case and then I shall see and hear what goes on there! In endless variations one hears this easy-going way of talking: Why should I trouble about the spiritual before I die? When the time comes I shall see what there is to see. My relationship to the spiritual world will not be altered in the slightest, no matter whether I do or do not concern myself with it.

— But indeed this is not so! A man who thinks in such a way will enter a world of darkness and gloom, unable to make very much of what is said in my book Theosophy about the spiritual worlds. For it is only by allying himself in spirit and soul with the spiritual world during life in the physical world that man can acquire the faculty of perception in the spiritual world; the preparation must be made in his life here on earth. The spiritual world is there in very truth — the faculty of being able to see in that world must be acquired on the earth; otherwise there is blindness in the spiritual world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Deed of Christ and the Opposing Spiritual Powers – Berlin, 22nd March 1909

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

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Previously posted on May 5, 2015

Whatever we have received of spiritual truth is fruitful after death, no matter if we have beheld these truths ourselves or not

As regards mankind in general perception of the spiritual world is of higher worth than non-perception. For one who is able to look into the spiritual world has intercourse with that world, he can teach not only men, but others, spiritual beings, and so further their development. Clairvoyant consciousness has therefore a quite special value, but for individuals knowledge only has value; and in respect of individual worth the clairvoyant does not differ from anyone else who only receives communications, and is himself unable to look into the spiritual world in any particular incarnation. Whatever we have received of spiritual truth is fruitful after death, no matter if we have beheld these truths ourselves or not.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 124 – The Gospel According to St. Mark – The Ego – Lecture 3 – Berlin, 17th October 1910

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Previously posted on April 19, 2018

Perception of the etheric world

True perception of the etheric world after death or here on earth in clairvoyant Imaginations requires greater strength than we usually have between birth and death. We need greater inner strength of soul. We do not perceive the etheric world around us during earthly life because we lack sufficient strength of soul. To perceive the etheric world we must become much more active, work much harder than we do in ordinary life. 

After death, too, the soul must be filled with much more active strength than in ordinary life to relate to its environment. Otherwise we do not perceive the etheric world, just as we wouldn’t perceive anything if we lacked all senses in the physical world. Thus, we need a more active strength of soul to find our way after death and not to be deaf and blind, figuratively speaking, to the world we enter then.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (PART ONE) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim and edited by Joachim Reuter

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