Pain and sorrow – The basis of forthcoming joy 

Pleasure and joy are founded on pain; without it they cannot exist. Just like the pleasure of satiety depends on hunger, so do knowledge and joy originate in pain. That is also the reason why, in a tragedy, the sense of an expected redemption fills us with satisfaction. Everything that will have fullness in the future endures states of sadness and pain at present. The knowledge that what is now pain and suffering will in the future turn to plenitude comforts us.  

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 101 – Mythen und Sagen Okkulte Zeichen und Symbole – Berlin, October 28, 1907 (page 96)

Anonymous translator

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Previously posted on 8 November 2018

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Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted

Steiner about one of the Beatitudes from the sermon on the mount – Matthew 5, verse 4

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” One of the major riddles that we face in this world is that of suffering. To the ancient Greeks, this free, cheerful people, who were as dependant for their existence on sensual enjoyment as the air they breathed, Silenus provided the following answer to the question ‘what would be the best for the people’: “miserable people … the very best is for you would be completely unreachable: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. However, the second best for you –  is soon to die.” Aesop though, says that one can draw lessons from suffering. And Job comes through all the suffering imposed on him to the conclusion: Suffering purifies, it brings advancement. – Why do we leave the theatre with a feeling of fulfilment after attending a tragedy? The hero overcomes suffering. Between advancing a step further and living through tragedy there is a link. […]

The soul needs to form an organ so that it can bear suffering. Like the eye was formed by light, the ear by sound, suffering and pain likewise form spiritual organs. […]

The human being progresses to a higher stage through suffering.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 97 – Das christliche Mysterium – Stuttgart, 19 January 1907 (page 95-96)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

 who-mourn

Previously posted on 3 januari 2016

Antipathy and karma (4 – End)

And now, as we go on again into the third life, the outcome of the suffering which came to us (though only of that suffering which came, as it were, out of our own stored-up hatred), the outcome of the pain which was thus spent in our soul is a kind of mental dullness — dullness as compared with quick, open-minded insight into the world.

There may be a man who meets the world with a phlegmatic indifference. He does not confront the things of the world, or other men with an open heart. The fact is, very often, that he acquired this obtuseness of spirit by his sufferings in a former life on earth, the cause of which lay in his own karma. For the suffering which subsequently finds expression in this way, in dullness of soul, is sure to have been the result of feelings of hatred, at least in the last earthly life but one. You can be absolutely sure of it: stupidity in any one life is always the outcome of hatred in this or that preceding life.

Yet, my dear friends, the true concept of karma must not only be based on this; it is not only to enable us to understand life. No, we must also conceive it as an impulse in life. We must be conscious that there is not only an a b c d, but an e f g h. That is to say, there are the coming earthly lives and what we develop as the content of our soul in this life will have its outcome and effect in the next life. If anyone wants to be extra stupid in his next earthly life but one, he need only hate very much in this life. But the converse is also true: if he wants to have free and open insight in the next earthly life but one, he need only love extra much in this life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture IV – Dornach, 24th February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

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Previously posted on  24 September 2018

Antipathy and karma (3 of 4)

Well, my dear friends, to picture, if I may, in homely and familiar fashion, the possibilities there are in this respect, think of an afternoon-tea, a real, genuine, gossiping party where half-a-dozen (half-a-dozen is quite enough) aunts or uncles — yes, uncles, too — are sitting together expatiating on their fellows. Think of it. How many antipathies are given vent to, what volumes of antipathy are poured out over other men and women, say in the course of an hour and a half — sometimes it lasts longer. In pouring out the antipathy they do not notice it; but when it comes back in the next earthly life, they notice it soon enough. And it does come back, inexorably.

Thus, in effect, a portion (not all, for we shall still learn to know other karmic connections) of what we experience as suffering that comes to us from outside in one earthly life, may very well be due to our own feelings of antipathy in former lives on earth.

But with all this, we must never forget that karma — whatsoever karmic stream it may be — must always begin somewhere. If these are a succession of earthly lives:

a b c (d) e f g h

and this one, (d), is the present life, it does not follow that all pain which comes to us from without, is due to our former life on earth. It may also be an original sorrow, the karma of which will work itself out only in the next life on earth. Therefore I say, a part — even a considerable part — of the suffering that comes to us from outside is a result of the hatred we conceived in former lives.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture IV – Dornach, 24th February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

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Previously posted on 23 september 2018

Antipathy and karma (2 of 4) – People go through the world with far more hatred than they think

Then, in the next earthly life, out of the hatred is born what comes to us from the outer world as pain, distress, unhappiness caused from outside — in a word, the opposite of joy. You will reply: we experience so much of suffering and pain; is it all really due to hatred — greater or lesser hatred — in our preceding life? “I cannot possibly imagine,” man will be prone to say, “that I was such a bad lot, that I must experience so much sorrow because I hated so much.”

Well, if you want to think open-mindedly of these things, you must be aware how great is the illusion which lulls you to sleep (and to which you therefore readily give yourself up) at this point. You suggest-away from your conscious mind the antipathies you are feeling against others. People go through the world with far more hatred than they think — far more antipathy, at least. It is a fact of life: hatred gives satisfaction to the soul, and for this reason, as a rule, it is not at first experienced in consciousness. It is eclipsed by the satisfaction it gives. But when it returns as pain and suffering that comes to us from outside, it is no longer so; we notice the suffering quickly enough.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I: Lecture IV – Dornach, 24th February 1924

Translated by G. Adams, M. Cotterell, C. Davy, & D. S. Osmond

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Previously posted on  22 September 2018