Today we'll clarify how one should answer questions that approach one in esoteric life. An esoteric should never answer: “What is the heart?” by saying that it's the cause of blood circulation, for he shouldn't give physical causes for things. Everything physical, all of our organs and the whole human being are only symbols of something spiritual, of what higher hierarchies have created. Spirits of Motion already worked on our blood circulation on the old Sun. Then Spirits of Form descended and pressed forms and signs on all created things; and so the heart is only a sign for work that higher hierarchies did on us.
Everything that surrounds us is just maya. Good Gods created this world of maya for men, as it were, like a flower out of the real world so that man develops through it, kindles his ego on it, and penetrated it to get back to the world of real things once again. A man definitely needs this world of maya in his present condition. That's the way one should interpret Goethe's saying: for what is this beautiful world, the starry heavens there except for man to be delighted by it? This is a seemingly naïve expression for the fact that the world in this form and as we perceive it with our physical senses is really only there for us. For in reality, in the world of real things, everything appears with its spiritual causes behind it.
The world of maya doesn't exist for minerals, plants and up through cold-blooded animals. But it exists for warm-blooded animals, although the latter have no ego that could become ignited by it. These animals give a clairvoyant the impression that they have been brought into evolutionary conditions that they're not adapted to, and this upsets one. That's why the humanoid apes give one such a grotesque impression.
As we should become ever more aware, an esoteric should wrest himself away from maya and connect himself with the world of real things. He can only do this through the meditations from the spiritual worlds that are given by the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings, those personalities who support the work of the higher hierarchies. For instance, they gave a concentration exercise that enables us to help in the work on evolution. It may take hours and many attempts, but if an esoteric concentrates on the place where he feels the heart in him, he'll notice that his thoughts don't remain with the heart he's concentrating on — they ray or pour out from there, and he'll see something like a rising, shining star whose center is the archetype of what the heart is the sign for. And the star's lines and rays will begin to resound and the sounds will become words, the primal words that created the heart out of the world of real things. And when the words are translated they're the words of the prayer to the Sunday spirit: Great embracing Spirit, many archetypes sprouted out of your life. (See EL 58) The star's rays are always the words: You were. Whereas the lines in between are the other words.
Thus an esoteric arrives at such an experience through correct, serious exercises. Although many don't do their mediations intensely enough, one who does can penetrate the world of real things, and depending on what he brings with him, he'll feel comfortable or repelled by it. The latter gives him pain and suffering, but necessarily so. For the good Gods can only tolerate what fits into their world; everything else is rejected.
An esoteric may often still have qualities that he's not fully aware of but which work on his development and that he's made aware of by certain indications. If an esoteric does his exercises diligently and correctly, and he wakes up at night with a feverish feeling, he can oppose this with a psychic coldness; and then he has a definite feeling that he's not alone, that he has awakened a doppelganger in himself through his esoteric training. Who is that? And what does he want? The good Gods have, as it were, hired certain Luciferic spirits to keep the qualities of men that don't belong in their world out of it. One of them is Samael, who counteracts our hate and envy. We notice him through the feverishness that befalls us as long as we're still full of these defects.
Another being becomes active if an esoteric hasn't overcome a certain untruthfulness that we're all guilty of, and that often lies so deep in our subconsciousness that we don't notice it. For instance, someone may decide to go to a theosophical meeting in another city because it would be instructive and good for him. But in reality he has quite different motives for going there, for instance, he wants to meet somebody there, but he doesn't admit this real reason to himself. Another dishonesty that's hard to notice is the following. We often think that enthusiasm is driving us into spiritual worlds, whereas we only want to wallow in the enjoyment of the feeling that results from occupying oneself with such things. Now if we do our exercises correctly and we want to press into spiritual worlds, we might get a feeling of being choked or of someone sitting on our chest. The Luciferic being who causes this is Azazel. He hinders us from entering the spiritual world before we've gotten rid of all lies.
If we do our daily duties in a lazy, inattentive and careless way, we might have a drowning feeling on awaking, as if our air was cut off and we were melting and flowing away.
The attention that we should pay to the surrounding world is of greater importance than most people think. If we exercise with real joy, it's a big help in pressing into spiritual worlds. For we should think of the spiritual causes behind every thing and encounter. Spiritual beings have to do what we don't do, because the work must be done.
Here's an example of how inattentively we often do our work. A new educational program was being started at a school, and all its teachers had to take an exam. The humane school inspector told himself: I won't ask the older teachers what they learned at the seminar long ago — they wouldn't remember it. I'll only ask them what they taught every day. But it turned out that many of these teachers did not know what they'd had their students repeat to them maybe twenty times. That's how little they'd been paying attention.
Like these teachers, we're often not thinking about our work. And the being who has to make adjustments for this is called Azael in occult parlance.
These three things are direct defects. A fourth quality we must also get rid of is avoiding one's karma, instead of courageously going to meet it. Under such circumstances if we want to press into the world of real things, we'll wake up in the morn with a feeling of being fettered, as if we were returning to a prison, and our whole body will hurt. This is brought about by Mehazael.
Of course exoterics must also bear the consequences of their defects, but they become manifest in them differently — as corporeal diseases for instance — and they don't become aware of why they got something like that. An esoteric should gradually bring everything into his consciousness, and esoteric schools help him with this. Of course what we perceive of such a school with our senses is only a very small part of it — a faint, outer sign. Just as everything physical, also sensations that we perceive, are only symbols for realities, so what an esoteric school looks like on the physical plane is only a symbol for what it is on the spiritual one. When such a school forms, it's mostly the case that a man immerses himself say in the heart through concentration. The experience forms itself into a formula in him which he can pass on to a number of pupils, whereby they're reconnected with spiritual realities. Our closing mantra expresses this creative force that's active in the spiritual.
the spirit lay the germ of my body.
And the spirit has imprinted in my body
The eyes of sense,
That through them I may see
The lights of bodies.
And the spirit has imprinted in my body
Reason and sensation
And feeling and will,
That through them I may perceive bodies
And act upon them.
In the spirit lay the germ of my body.
In my body lies the germ of the spirit.
And I will incorporate into my spirit
The super-sensible eyes
That through them I may behold the light of spirits.
And I will imprint in my spirit
Wisdom and power and love,
So that through me the spirits may act
And I become a self-conscious organ
Of their deeds.
In my body lies the germ of the spirit.