Karma

In fact the law of karma is the most consoling law there is. Just as it is true that nothing exists without a cause, so it is equally true that nothing existing remains without its effects. I may be born in poverty and misery; my abilities may be very limited; yet whatever I do must produce its effect, and whatever I accomplish now, by way of industry or moral activity, will certainly have its effect in later lives. If it depresses me to think that I have deserved my present destiny, it may equally cheer me to know that I can frame my future destiny myself.

Anyone who really takes this law into his thinking and feeling will soon realise what a sense of power and of security he has gained. We do not have to understand the law in all its details; that becomes possible only at the higher stages of clairvoyant knowledge. Much more important is it that we should look at the world in the light of this law and live in accordance with it. If we do this conscientiously over a period of years, the law will of its own accord become part of our feelings. We verify the truth of the law by applying it.


Source: GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture VI – Stuttgart, 27th August 1906

Translated by E. H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on March 6, 2018

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The power of the fairy tales

Materialists say myths and fairy tales originated in the childhood stage of the human race. But in its childhood, humanity was taught by the gods. In the process of our evolution, myths and fairy tales are gradually lost, but children should not grow up without them. It makes a tremendous difference whether or not children are allowed to grow up with fairy tales. The power of the fairy tale images, which give wings to the soul, becomes apparent only at a later age.

Growing up without fairy tales leads later to boredom, to world-weariness. Indeed, it can even cause physical symptoms — fairy tales can help to prevent illnesses. The qualities that seep into our soul from fairy tales later emerge as a zest for life, enthusiasm for being alive, and an ability to cope with life, all of which can be seen even in old age. Children have to experience the power of the content of fairy tales while they are young and can still do so. People who cannot live with ideas that have no reality on the physical plane will be dead to the spiritual world. Philosophies based only on the material world are the death of our soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – The Presence of the Dead on the Spiritual Path: LECTURE SIX: FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE – Prague, April 17, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim

Previously posted on March 23, 2020

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Christ impulse: Not the teachings, but the power

In order to avoid misunderstandings, we must emphasize that when we speak of the old religious founders we are not including Christ among them. I have often said that Christ’s significance does not lie in his teachings, but in what took place through him. The ancient religious founders were in a sense teachers, but Christ’s main deed was to imbue humanity with His own power through the Mystery of Golgotha. To this day, this has been extremely difficult for many people to understand. That is why they speak of Christ as only a great cosmic teacher. For those who really understand the full significance of Christ, this is simply nonsense.

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

See also: Buddha and Christ

Previously posted on March 2, 2020

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Strength and Power/Egoism

Strength and power are not acquired by sitting down and brooding all day long over such questions as — “What shall I think now? What shall I do? What’s that pain I feel coming on again?” — but by opening the heart to everything great and beautiful in our surroundings, and by showing interest and understanding for everything that warms the hearts of others, as well as for their wants and privations. In this way we strengthen the life-forces in the realm of feeling within us; we overcome narrow minded egoism and we enhance and enrich our Ego by bringing the true form of egoism into harmony with our environment.

[…] A man who exerts his will only for himself and his own advantage will always feel inwardly dissatisfied. Only when he can see his resolves reflected in the outer world and his will-impulses realised in action — only then can he say that he has brought his willing into harmony with outer events. And here we learn that our inner strength and power are not developed by anything we will for ourselves, but by whatever we will for the outer world and for other people. Our willing becomes reality and its reflection shines back to us. As our eyes are formed by light, so is our strength of soul developed by our actions and activities.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 – Metamorphoses of the Soul/Paths of Experience Vol. 1: Lecture 7: Human Egoism – Berlin, 25th November 1909

Translated by Charles Davy and Christian von Arnim

The Lord’s Prayer

Prayers that are not of merely transient effect, but which possess the soul and rejoice the heart for thousands of years, are the fruit of deepest wisdom. Such a prayer could never have arisen through an arbitrary collocation of beautiful or sublime words. It is only because these words have been drawn from the deep well of wisdom that they possess the power to influence the soul of man for thousands of years.

To maintain that the simple-minded have no understanding of this wisdom is not a valid objection. They have no need of understanding, for the power of the Lord’s Prayer stems from this wisdom and is effective even when there is no understanding of the wisdom content.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – The Structure of the Lord’s Prayer – Karlsruhe, 4th February, 1907

Translated by A. H. Parker

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

and deliver us from evil.

            For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen.

Previously posted on June 8, 2016