Still not becoming clairvoyant

Many people object they have tried to meditate in all kinds of ways but are still not becoming clairvoyant. This lack of clairvoyance simply shows they do not really want the activity and strength I have just described. They consider themselves fortunate because they do not need them. They do not want to develop any active strength of soul, but want to become clairvoyant without having to acquire this strength first. They want the tableau that arises before them through clairvoyance to appear by itself. But that would be nothing but hallucinating or dreaming. 

To put it bluntly, a dream is a piece of the etheric world that we can take with our etheric feelers and move from one place to another. This has nothing to do with true clairvoyance. In experiencing true second sight we are as active as we are in the physical world in writing on paper. The only difference is that when we want to write in the physical world, we need first to know what it is we want to write down — at least it usually helps if we do. By contrast, in spiritual perception we allow the beings of the spiritual hierarchies to write, and only then, while we are writing, do the things appear that we are to perceive. Real clairvoyance cannot come about without our active involvement in every single aspect of our perception.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 154 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (PART ONE) – Berlin, April 18, 1914

Translated by Christian von Arnim and edited by Joachim Reuter

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Sleep and the acquisition of faculties

Take the process of learning to write. What really happens before the moment when we are able to put pen to paper and express our thoughts in writing? A great deal must have happened — a whole series of experiences, from the first attempt to hold the pen, then to making the first stroke, and so on through all the efforts which lead at last to a grasp of the craft of writing. If we recall everything that must have occurred during months or years, and all we went through, perhaps by way of punishments and reproofs, until at last these experiences were transformed into knowing how to write, then we must say: These experiences were recast and remoulded, so that later on they appear like the essential core of what we call the ability to write.

Spiritual Science shows how this transformation comes about. It is possible only because human beings pass repeatedly through the condition of sleep. In daily life we find that when we are at pains to absorb something, the process of imprinting and retentions is considerably aided if we sleep on it; in that way we make it our own. The experiences we go through have to be united with the soul and worked on by the soul if they are to coalesce and be transformed into faculties. This whole process is carried through by the soul during sleep, and thereby our life is enhanced.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 58 -Metamorphoses of the Soul / Paths of Experience – Volume One: Lecture 5: Human Character – Munich, 14th March 1909

Translated by C. Davy and C. von Arnim

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Forgetting unhappy experiences

Memory and oblivion signify for the ego what waking and sleeping signify for the astral body. Just as sleep permits the cares and troubles of the day to disappear into nothingness, oblivion spreads a veil over the bad experiences of life, blotting out a part of the past. Just as sleep is necessary for the restoration of the exhausted life forces, so man has to eradicate certain parts of the past from his memory if he is to approach new experiences freely and without bias. 

But precisely through forgetting, strength develops for perception of the new. Consider certain facts, like that of learning to write. All the details the child has to experience in learning to write are forgotten. What remains is the ability to write. How would man be able to write if at every stroke of the pen all the past experiences in learning to write were to arise again in the soul as memory?

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 13 – An Outline of Occult Science: II: THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF MANKIND

Translated by Maud and Henry B. Monges and revised for this edition by Lisa D. Monges

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Why does the human being not remember his former incarnations?

Why does the human being not remember his former incarnations? Put like this, this question makes little sense. You will understand in a moment why I say this. It is as if someone says: ‘human beings call themselves human beings; in front of us stands a four-year-old child that can’t count’. Then he continues to say: ‘this child cannot count, however if it is a human being so that means humans cannot count.’ It is, however, a matter of development. At some stage in life every person will come to a point which advanced students have already reached, namely the ability to recall past lives; If he cannot remember anything, then he has to acquire this skill first just like the child acquires the skill of reading, doing arithmetic and writing. The person must not unconsciously let destiny pass him by if he intends to let his experiences lead him towards the point where he can remember earlier lives on earth.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 054 – Berlijn, Die Welträtsel und die Anthroposophie – February 15,  1906 (page 300)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 5, 2016

Experiences are transformed and become capabilities, skills and talents

The way in which the experiences here on earth are processed, is such that only a very small portion of these experiences are retained; every ability one acquires needs much more than what is retained in the end. For example, one does not remember how one has learned to write. Acquiring the ability to write was accompanied by a variety of experiences. These experiences contract, as it were, into a single power, the skill of writing. What at first is outer experience turns into a skill. In all experiences there lies such a possibility, such an opportunity: the experiences one gains in life can later on transform into abilities, talents. The conversion takes place after death. When the person is born again they will appear as talents, as capabilities. This is the basic feeling in devachan: that all experiences are transformed to capabilities, life-skills. That results in a feeling of bliss…. a stream of happiness permeates the people. All creative activity evokes a feeling of bliss. The relationships that have been spun in the world are much more intense in devachan than here on Earth. The limitations of space and time fall away. One can in fact penetrate other people.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 96 – Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft – Berlin, 22nd October 1906 (page182-183)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on February 5, 2016