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

Self-knowledge and self-control

Let’s take a closer look at esoteric life. We know that various changes take place in our soul life through the exercises we received. For instance, the passions that a man had before get stronger. Old inclinations, drives and passions one thought one had overcome and put aside reemerge from the dark shafts of soul life and assert themselves vehemently. Or an esoteric often thoughtlessly does something which he would have been ashamed of before the start of his esoteric training or wouldn’t have done at all. His antipathies and sympathies for people become stronger than before; his whole soul life becomes stirred up. In short, a man gets to know what he’s really like in his soul depths so that he has real self-knowledge. Therefore strict and strong self-control is indispensable for an esoteric pupil.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 266 – From the Contents of Esoteric Classes – Esoteric Lessons Part II – Basel, 20th September 1912

Previously posted on November 12, 2017