Variety in the different incarnations (1 of 2)

Just as the sex usually alternates in the successive incarnations, so, as a rule, an incarnation with a more intellectual trend follows one more inclined towards faith, then again towards intellectuality, and so forth. There are, of course, exceptions — there may be several consecutive male or female incarnations. But as a rule these qualities are mutually fruitful and complementary.

Other qualities in the human being are also complementary in a similar way, for example, the two qualities of soul we will call the capacity for love and inner strength.

Self-reliance, harmonious inner life, a feeling of our own sure foundations, the inner assurance that we know what we have to do in life—in this connection too the working of karma alternates in the different incarnations. The outstanding stamp of the one personality is loving devotion to his environment, forgetfulness of self, surrender to what is around him. Such an incarnation will alternate with one in which the individual feels the urge not to lose himself in the outer world but to strengthen himself inwardly, applying this strength to bring about his own progress. This latter urge must not, of course, degenerate into lack of love, any more than the former urge must not degenerate, as it might well do, into a complete loss of one’s own self. These two tendencies again belong together. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 135 – REINCARNATION AND KARMA THEIR SIGNIFICANCE IN MODERN CULTURE 4. Examples of the working of karma between two incarnations – Stuttgart, 21 February 1912 

Translated from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer, by D.S.   Osmond, C. Davy and S. and E. F. Derry.

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Still not becoming clairvoyant

Many people object they have tried to meditate in all kinds of ways but are still not becoming clairvoyant. This lack of clairvoyance simply shows they do not really want the activity and strength I have just described. They consider themselves fortunate because they do not need them. They do not want to develop any active strength of soul, but want to become clairvoyant without having to acquire this strength first. They want the tableau that arises before them through clairvoyance to appear by itself. But that would be nothing but hallucinating or dreaming. 

To put it bluntly, a dream is a piece of the etheric world that we can take with our etheric feelers and move from one place to another. This has nothing to do with true clairvoyance. In experiencing true second sight we are as active as we are in the physical world in writing on paper. The only difference is that when we want to write in the physical world, we need first to know what it is we want to write down — at least it usually helps if we do. By contrast, in spiritual perception we allow the beings of the spiritual hierarchies to write, and only then, while we are writing, do the things appear that we are to perceive. Real clairvoyance cannot come about without our active involvement in every single aspect of our perception.

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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Discord

When a person sets about spiritual science, he encounters an inevitable discord. You have to picture this dissension clearly. Many people who come to Anthroposophy are of two kinds. One kind says: I want to help; I want to be a valuable member of the community – and they understand this to mean that the Anthroposophical Movement will give them the means to start doing this tomorrow. 

The others may only be under the illusion that they want to help. In reality, they only want to satisfy their curiosity, to experience something sensational. Both groups will not become the right members in the Anthroposophical Society. Those who want to help right away do not consider that one must first learn to help. They must be told: You must have the patience to develop your strengths and abilities, to become a mature helper of your fellow human beings. […] 

However, the others, who only want to satisfy their curiosity, must realise that they must regard all the opportunities and skills they received only as the means to become valuable members of the entire human development. […] One must combine both patience and the will to work in oneself.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft – Berlijn, October 8, 1906 (page 89-90)

Trranslated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

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It is the effort which counts (2 of 2)

Even if it were to be the case that everything we have taken up was wrong and the only thing we have done is to make an effort, this means we shall have developed the eye of the soul so that we are now able to see what it there in the spiritual world.

Now the situation is that the teachings of the different religious teachers are in no way completely wrong. It is rather that the truth concerning the supersensible world has been presented from different points of view and only appears to be contradictory. The one must be taken to complement the other. What is essential is that all these religious systems have something in common, and this is that they all provide the human soul with concepts the soul uses to make itself strong to enter the spiritual world, so that the soul is raised from death in its spiritual depths. 

Individual religious teachers give to the souls what those souls are capable of receiving, depending on the conditions given in individual races — I would say depending on climatic conditions of the country and on the time when such teachers come forth. They all have in common that they give power and strength to the souls of men. We may also say they make them radiant within so that the souls may be real not only in the physical world but also in the spiritual world. Food to strengthen the soul is the universal truth that has been given to men in all religious systems, depending on the given situation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Destinies of Individuals and Nations: Lecture 6: Spiritual Perception Essential at the Present Time – Berlin, January 26, 1915

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Spiritual Perfecting and Deeds of Love

Spiritual perfecting will be for earthly man the goal most worthy of aspiration — (this is described at the beginning of my second Mystery Play, The Soul’s Probation) — but nobody who understands what deeds of love truly are will say that his own striving for perfection is selfless. Striving for perfection imparts strength to our being and to our personality. But our value for the world must be seen to lie wholly in deeds of love, not in deeds done for the sake of self-perfecting. Let us be under no illusion about this.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 143 – Love and Its Meaning in the World – Zurich, 17th December, 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond &   E.A. Frommer & S. Derry

Previously posted on October 27, 2018

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