Through our thoughts, feelings and perceptions, we stand in a continual relation to higher worlds

We live in our soul-life in the most manifold feelings, perceptions, ideas, concepts, and impulses of will. These all take their course in our soul-life from morning to evening. If we observe man superficially, this soul-life appears to us to be something self-contained, enclosed in itself, and this view is justifiable. Observe how your life flows along with the first thoughts formed in the morning, the first feelings moving through you, the first will-impulses arising. Observe how feeling is linked to feeling, will-impulse to will-impulse, until the evening when the consciousness sinks in sleep. That all looks like a progressing stream.

Observed in a deeper sense, however, it is by no means just a progressing stream, for through our thoughts, feelings and perceptions, we stand in a continual relation — to most people quite unconsciously — to higher worlds. Today let us consider this relation as regards the astral world.

When we have some kind of feeling, when joy or terror flashes through our soul, that, to begin with, is an event in our soul-life, but it is not merely that. If someone can test that clairvoyantly, it will be seen that something goes out of the soul like a current, like a shining current, which goes into the astral world. It does not go in casually, however, and without direction, but it takes its way to a being of the astral world.

Let us suppose a thought arises in our soul; let us say we ponder on the nature of a table. Inasmuch as the thought shimmers through our soul, the clairvoyant can observe how a current proceeds from this thought to a being of the astral world. And so it is for every thought, every concept, every feeling. From the whole stream that flows away before the soul, currents continually go towards the most diverse beings of the astral world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 107 – The Astral World: Lecture I – Berlin, October 19, 1908

About insanity and disharmony in thinking, feeling and willing

There are three soul forces in human beings: thinking, feeling and willing. These three forces are bound up with the physical organization. Certain thoughts and feelings will call up certain acts of will. The human organism must function correctly if the three soul forces are to act in harmony. If the connection between them has broken down due to illness, then there is no longer consistency between thinking, feeling and willing. If an organ connected with the will is impaired, the human being will be unable to translate his thoughts into impulses of will; he is weak as far as action is concerned. Although a person is well able to think, he cannot decide on action. Another disturbance may be that someone is unable to link thoughts and feelings correctly; this human cannot bring his feelings into harmony with the thoughts behind them. Basically that is the cause of insanity.

In the normally constituted human being of today, thinking, feeling and willing are in harmony. This is right at certain stages of evolution. However, it must be born in mind that as far as a person is concerned, this harmony is established unconsciously. If a person is to be initiated, if he or she is to become capable of higher perception, then thinking, feeling and willing must be severed from one another. The organs connected with feeling and will must undergo division. Consequently, even if it cannot be proved anatomically, the organism of an initiate is different from that of a non-initiate. Because the contact between thinking, feeling and willing is severed, the initiate can see someone suffering without his feelings being roused; he can stand aside and coldly observe. The reason is that nothing must occur in the initiate unconsciously. An individual is compassionate out of his own free will, not because of some external compulsion. He becomes separated into human beings of feeling, a person of will and a thinking person; above these three is the ruler, the newfound individual, bringing them into harmony from a higher consciousness. Here too a death process, a destructive process must intervene; should this occur without a higher consciousness being attained, insanity would set in. Insanity is in fact a condition in which the three soul members have separated without being ruled by a higher consciousness.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 55 – Supersensible Knowledge – Lecture III – The Origin of Suffering – Berlin, 8th November 1906

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Kamaloka – Now I have to suffer all these pains and torments myself

During his life a man does not merely do things which yield pleasure; he lives also in the company of other men and other creatures. Consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, he causes pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, to animals and men. All such occasions he will encounter again as he lives through the Kamaloka period; he returns to the place and moment when he was the cause of pain to another being. At that time he made someone else feel pain; now he has to suffer the same pain in his own soul.

All the torment I ever caused to other beings I now have to live through in my own soul. I enter into the person or the animal and come to know what the other being was made to suffer through me; now I have to suffer all these pains and torments myself. There is no way of avoiding it. All this is part of the process of freeing oneself — not from the working of karma, but from earthly things.

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Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science – Lecture III: Life of the Soul in Kamaloka – Stuttgart, 24rd August 1906