We owe all our wisdom to our suffering and pain during past lives on earth

It is important and of great interest to realise that everything which we have experienced in the course of one life — our feelings concerning the world, pleasure, pain, etc. — that in the spiritual world all this surrounds us as an external world. We need not feel sad that there our sufferings lie spread out before us. This is not sad at all, for there, all our sufferings exist in the same way in which storms exist in the physical world and in the spiritual world all our joyful experiences appear to us like wonderful cloud-phenomena. In Devachan our own inner experiences do not exist within us, as here on earth, but they live in our environment in an external form, in the same way in which a picture of Nature lies spread out before us. Our inner experiences live round about us, as if they were images, sounds or atmospheric phenomena; they have become objectified, as heavenly forms.

I have told you that it is not sad if our sufferings come raying towards us; just as little sad as lightning or thunder in physical life. Those who perceive these connections know what they owe to their sufferings in particular. Just those who have passed through pain and suffering will always say that they gratefully accept joy and pleasure, but that they would never wish to do without suffering and pain. We owe all our wisdom to our suffering and pain during past lives on earth. A man whose physiognomy bears upon it the mark of wisdom in this life, owes this to the fact that in former lives he experienced the world’s connection as suffering.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 100 – Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Lecture V: Metamorphoses of Our Earthly Experiences in the Spiritual World – Kassel, 20th June 1907

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 PAINTING BY DAVID NEWBATT

Previously posted on April 1, 2016

Fear of the spiritual world

The soul life of man, as well, is entirely accommodated to space and time. If you enter a world to which you are not adapted, the lack of adaptation implies sensations of pain and suffering; so that the first entrance into the spiritual world is not won without the vanquishing of pain and suffering. […] There are indeed few people today who have sufficient inner courage to venture themselves, as it were, into the bottomless and timeless in actual experience. Certain people, however, are bound by their destiny to cross over the threshold; and without the wisdom which can be brought over from beyond the threshold no further progress is possible.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 194 – The Mysteries of Light, of Space, and of the Earth: Lecture III: Historical Occurrences of the Last Century – Dornach, December 14, 1919

Translated by Frances E. Dawson 

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Previously posted on May 31, 2018

The greatest wisdom is acquired by the quiet endurance of pain and suffering

Knowledge of the connection between the physical and the astral world enables us to have a clear understanding of the world in its inner process of development; things are often connected in quite a different way from what people like to imagine. Many people deplore pain and suffering, but from a higher point of view this is quite unjustified, for if they are overcome and the person is ready for a new incarnation, suffering and pain are the sources of wisdom, prudence and comprehensiveness of vision. 

Even in writing emanating from the modern, materialistic standpoint, we find it stated that there is something like “crystallised pain” in the face of every thinker. What this materialistically minded author says here has long been known to the occultist, for the greatest wisdom of the world is acquired by the quiet endurance of pain and suffering; this creates wisdom in the next incarnation.

Source: GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – VI. The Law of Destiny – Munich, 30th May, 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on February 19, 2018

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Egoism / Suffering / Poverty

How often may one not hear it stated, as a truth beyond question, that it would be a thing against all nature to try and constitute a society on principles of good-will and human kindliness. People are much more ready to go on the principle that a human community will, as a whole, be most prosperous, when it also allows the individual to reap and garner the full — or the largest possible — proceeds of his own labor.

Exactly the contrary, however, is taught by Anthroposophy, which is founded on a more profound knowledge of man and the world. Anthroposophy, in fact, shows that all human suffering is purely a consequence of egoism, and that in every human community, at some time or other, suffering, poverty, and want must of necessity arise, if this community is founded in any way upon egoism.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – Anthroposophy and the Social Question

Translated by Harry Collison 

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Opposing forces (1 of 2)

We have evolved to our present condition because beings we call luciferic and ahrimanic have affected us. Through their forces, our essential being became worse than it would have been if only the forces of the spiritual guides of the world, those who want to advance our development in a straight line, had worked on us. Indeed, suffering, disease, and death can be traced to the fact that, in addition to the beings who advance our development in a straight line, luciferic and ahrimanic beings are also at work and continuously thwart our progress.

What we bring with us at birth contains something that is better than anything we can make of it in later life. In early childhood, the luciferic and ahrimanic forces have only a limited influence on our being. Essentially, they are active only in what we make of ourselves through our conscious life. If we retained the best part of ourselves in its full force beyond the first phase of childhood, its influence would be too much for us because the luciferic and ahrimanic forces opposing the part of ourselves that is better than the rest would weaken our whole being. Our constitution as human beings in the physical world is such that, once we are no longer soft and malleable as children, we can no longer stand to have the forces of the spiritual world continue to affect us directly. The forces that underlie our orientation in space and the formation of the larynx and the brain would shatter us if they continued to influence us directly in later life. 

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 15 – The Spiritual Guidance of the Individual and Humanity: Lecture One – Copenhagen, June 6, 1911

Previously posted on May 8, 2019

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