Pain and suffering/Joy and happiness/Karma (2 – End)

Simple reflection upon the influence of personal enjoyment shows that inherent in it is something that makes us stagger and blots out our true being. No sermon is here being delivered against enjoyment, nor is an invitation extended to practice self-torture, or to pinch ourselves with red hot pliers, or the like. If one recognizes a situation in the right way, it does not mean that one should escape from it. No escape, therefore, is suggested, but a silent acceptance of joy and happiness whenever they appear. We must develop the inner attitude that we experience them as grace, and the more the better. Thus do we immerse ourselves the more in the divine. Therefore, these words are said not in order to preach asceticism, but in order to awaken the right mood toward joy and happiness.

If it is thought that joy and happiness have a paralyzing and extinguishing effect, and that therefore man should flee from them, then one would promote the ideal of false asceticism and self-torture. In this event, man, in reality, would be escaping from the grace that is given to him by the gods. Self-torture practiced by ascetics, monks and nuns is nothing but a continuous rebellion against the gods. It behooves us to feel pain as something that comes to us through our karma. In joy and happiness, we can feel that the divine is descending to us.

May joy and happiness be for us a sign as to how close the gods have attracted us, and may our pain and suffering be a sign as to how far removed we are from what we are to become as good human beings. This is the fundamental attitude toward karma without which we cannot really move ahead in life. In what the world bestows upon us as goodness and beauty, we must conceive the world powers of which it is said in the Bible, “And he looked at the world and he saw that it was good.” But inasmuch as we experience pain and suffering, we must recognize what man has made of the world during its evolution, which originally was a good world, and what he must contribute toward its betterment by educating himself to bear pain with purpose and energy.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Facing Karma – Vienna, 8th February 1912

Translated by Dietrich V. Asten

Previously posted on September 23, 2015

Pain and suffering/Joy and happiness/Karma (1 of 2)

While our pain and suffering lead us to ourselves and make us more genuinely ourselves, we develop through joy and happiness, provided that we consider them as grace, a feeling that one can only describe as being blissfully embedded in the divine forces and powers of the world. Here the only justified attitude toward happiness and joy is one of gratitude. Nobody will understand joy and happiness in the intimate hours of self-knowledge when he ascribes them to his karma.

If he involves karma, he commits an error that is liable to weaken and paralyze the spiritual in him. Every thought to the effect that joy and happiness are deserved actually weakens and paralyzes us. This may be a hard fact to understand because everyone who admits that his pain is inflicted upon himself by his own individuality would obviously expect to be his own master also with regard to joy and happiness.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – Facing Karma – Vienna, 8th February 1912

Translated by Dietrich V. Asten

Previously posted on September 22, 2015

Poverty, misery and suffering are nothing but the result of egoism

Spiritual science wants to implement a mighty education of our innermost soul forces so that the social life will shape itself out of other thoughts and feelings. What this means is that spiritual science has no patented recipe about how this or that is supposed to be done on this or that post, it doesn’t judge anyone, but it’s very confident that everyone will arrive at a right judgment if he’s permeated by the fundamental truths. One such truth is that poverty, misery and suffering are nothing but the result of egoism. One should look upon this as a law of nature. A man is egotistical as soon as he lives in accordance with the principle: I must be remunerated personally, I must be paid for the work that I do. An esoteric must ask himself whether work is really what sustains life. Work is of no importance if it isn’t directed wisely. What serves men can only be produced and made through the wisdom that men put into it. One who doesn’t understand this and who sins against it even slightly, sins against the social thinking of the present time.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Hamburg, 3rd March 1906

Previously posted on June 24, 2015

No one should imagine himself to be better than others

Anthroposophists must feel part of the whole and, to some extent, responsible for all that happens. […] No one should imagine himself to be good or even much better than other people. We must be permeated by the thought that we can’t be much better than others. What is the advantage of making a few happy when our lifestyle reduces many to unhappiness? Ignorance is the root of suffering. Ignorant as we often are, we help sharpen the knife for those who use it for evil.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 266a – Aus den Inhalten der esoterischen Stunden – Berlin, 15 February 1904 (page 34-35)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on August 26, 2017