Imaginative cognition is attained when the lotus-flowers unfold from the astral body. As a result of the exercises undertaken for the attainment of Inspiration and Intuition, movements and currents make their appearance of man's ether- or life-body, which were not there before. These movements are the organs that enable man to add to his faculties the “Reading of the Hidden Script” and yet further powers that lie beyond. The changes that are wrought in his ether-body when a pupil has attained Inspiration and Intuition, reveal themselves to supersensible cognition in the following way. Somewhere as if in the neighborhood of the physical heart one becomes conscious of a new center in the ether-body, which forms itself into an etheric organ. From this center all manner of movings and streamings run out to the various parts of the physical body. The most important of these go to the lotus-flowers, flow right through them and through their several petals, then turn outwards and pour themselves into outer space like rays of light. The more highly developed a pupil is, the larger is the circle around him in which these currents are perceptible. Under a properly regulated training this center in the neighborhood of the heart does not however develop right at the beginning. Preparation has to be made for it. A preliminary center appears first in the head, is then transplanted into the region of the larynx and finally comes to rest in the neighborhood of the physical heart. If development is irregular, it may be that this organ is formed in the region of the heart form the outset. There will then be a danger that instead of attaining calm and objective supersensible perception, the pupil might develop into a fantastic dreamer.
As he progresses further, the pupil comes to the point where he can release these currents and memberings of his ether-body from dependence on the physical body, and make use of them directly, without reference to the physical body. The lotus-flowers serve him then as instruments by means of which he moves his ether-body. Before this can happen, certain special streams and rays must have been forming in the whole circumference of the ether-body, enclosing it as though with a fine network, rendering it a distinct, self-contained entity. Then there is nothing to hinder the movements and streamings that are going on in the ether-body from making contact with the external world of soul and spirit and from uniting with it, so that what is happening without and what is happening within — that is to say, within the human ether-body — are able to come when the human being can perceive consciously the world of Inspiration. This kind of cognition shows itself from the first to be of quite a different character from the cognition that relates to the physical world. Here, we receive impressions through our senses and then proceed to entertain ideas and concepts about these impressions. The acquisition of knowledge by means of Inspiration is not like that. The “knowing” is achieved in one single act; there is no thought-process following the perception. What in the act of cognition by means of the physical senses is acquired only subsequently in the concept, is in the Inspirational cognition given simultaneously with the percept. This being so, the pupil would flow right into the surrounding world of soul and spirit, would merge with it and be unable to distinguish himself from it, had he not formed before in his ether-body the network that has just been described.
The exercises that are given for Intuition influence not only the ether-body; they also leave their mark on the supersensible forces that are at work in the physical body. This must not be taken to mean that changes are effected there, perceptible to ordinary sense-observations. Supersensible cognition alone can form any true idea of them; they are right outside the scope of a cognition that is concerned with externals. The changes come about as a result of the pupil's consciousness being so far matured that, notwithstanding his having banished from it all that he has experienced in the past, whether outwardly or inwardly, he is nevertheless able to have conscious experience in Intuition.
Yet the experiences that come with Intuition are intimate, are tender and delicate. Man's physical body, at its present stage, is quite coarse in comparison; consequently, it offers stubborn resistance to these results of the exercises for Intuition. If however the exercises are preserved in with energy and patience, and with the necessary inner quiet, they will at length overcome the formidable hindrances that the physical body presents. The pupil will begin to notice that he is gradually bringing under his control certain activities of his physical body that formerly took their course without his being in the least conscious of them. He will become aware also of a change of another kind. He may observe that for a short while he feels a need so to order his breathing — or some other bodily process — as to bring it into harmony with what his soul is doing in the exercises or whatever else he is undertaking in inner, meditative life. The ultimate ideal is that no exercises of any kind should be done with the physical body as such, not even breathing exercises; so that whatever happens in the physical will occur simply and solely as an outcome of the exercises for Intuition.