It is an absolute necessity, in making the ascent into higher worlds to get to know oneself thoroughly and exactly

When man begins from out of the world of Imagination to light up his sleep consciousness, when he begins to lighten it with knowledge and experiences, then it is important for him to make sure that he himself gets out of the way and so shuts out of his consciousness all that might cause disturbance to his physical and etheric bodies.

It is an absolute necessity, in making the ascent into higher worlds to get to know oneself thoroughly and exactly. When we really know ourselves we cease as rule to love ourselves. Self-love comes to an end when we begin to have self-knowledge; and this self-love — which is always present in a man who has not attained to self-knowledge, for it is an illusion to imagine we do not love ourselves; we love ourselves more than anything else in the world — this self-love must have been overcome if we are to be able to shut ourselves out of our consciousness.

We must, in actual fact, come to the point where we say to ourselves: As I am now, I must eliminate myself. We have already gone a long way in this direction in that we have attained to self-surrender. But we must now not love ourselves at all. We must have the possibility at every moment to feel — I must put myself right on one side; for if I do not shut out completely all those things in me that otherwise I quite like to feel in me, errors, trivialities, prejudices sympathies, antipathies — if I do not put these right away then my ascent into higher worlds cannot be made aright.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 134 – THE WORLD OF THE SENSES AND THE WORLD OF THE SPIRIT – Lecture II – Hannover, 28 December 1911

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And you will have knowledge of what is true, and that will make you free (John 8:32)

Spiritual science shows how everything of a material nature is a revelation of the spirit and how in a way unknown to man spiritual influences are themselves diffused within him. […]

When we turn our eye to a beautiful, pure and noble thing, a concept is aroused in us; when we turn our eye to a sordid, ignoble thing then a different concept is aroused. Now when a concept is called forth in the soul through outer impressions there slip into man at the same time these Saturn spirits — the good and the bad. And through all that man by his mere sympathies and antipathies unfolds around himself as environment, as what he hears and sees and smells, he exposes himself to the insinuations of the one or other order of the Saturn-spirits. […]

So you see how we must picture man to ourselves as quite a complicated being, as an associate of many kinds of worlds, many kinds of beings. One who advances on the path of occult development to ever higher stages of knowledge learns to know these beings in their special nature and thereby becomes independent of them, he is able to view them from an independent standpoint. To take into oneself the truth concerning higher worlds means to become really free, really mature, for we are then aware of the activities and impulses which pulse and flow through our life. Learning to know one’s way means at the same time to become free and independent.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 102 – The Influence of Spiritual Beings on Man: Lecture I – Berlin, 6th January, 1908

Previously posted on July 6, 2019

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Conscious and subconscious soul life

There are many subconscious experiences in the human soul. There are depths of the human soul life that do not become concepts, mental pictures, acts of volition, at least not conscious ones, but only in the character of the human soul life. There is a subconscious soul life; and everything is there that can be in the conscious soul life. However, emotions, passions, sympathies and antipathies which we feel in the usual life consciously can also be in the subconscious regions, they are not perceived in it, but have an effect in the soul like a natural force, — save that they are mental and not physical. There is a whole region of the subconscious soul life.

The human being asserts, believes, and means many things not because he is completely aware of their premises; but he believes and means them from the subconscious soul life because unconscious emotions, inclinations urge him. 

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 63 – Spiritual Science as a Treasure for Life: Lecture II: Theosophy and Antisophy – Berlin, 6 November 1913

Portrait Steiner by Sunny West

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Connection of freedom with pure thinking and moral impulses

I laid stress in my Philosophie der Freiheit which was written in the early nineties, on the connection of the experience of freedom with what I called “pure thinking”. […] When we permeate pure thinking with moral ideas and impulses — that is, with ideas and impulses that are not associated with desires, or with sympathies and antipathies, but solely with pure, loving devotion to the deed that is to be done — when we do this and allow the impulse to quicken in our soul to action, then the action we perform is truly free.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA number unknown – The Threshold in Nature and in Man – Basle, February 1, 1921

Free Actions 

I laid stress in my Philosophie der Freiheit  which was written in the early nineties, on the connection of the experience of freedom with what I called “pure thinking” — that thinking which is completely detached from the inner organic life, and which (if the expression be not misunderstood) becomes, even in ordinary life, cognition on a higher level. For when we permeate pure thinking with moral ideas and impulses — that is, with ideas and impulses that are not associated with desires, or with sympathies and antipathies, but solely with pure, loving devotion to the deed that is to be done — when we do this and allow the impulse to quicken in our soul to action, then the action we perform is truly free.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – The Threshold In Nature and In Man – Basle, Februari 1, 1921

Translated by Mary Adams