Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 49

Berlin, 5-5-'09

We form an idea of a rose when we see it, we feel that it's beautiful and so we pick it. We stimulate our physical and etheric bodies through this thinking, feeling and willing. We make an impression on the physical body through every ideation and feeling whether we perceive it or not.

But things are different in a meditation. The masters of wisdom and of the harmonies of feeling made meditations that stimulate the etheric body and not the physical body; the etheric brain oscillates while the physical one is quiet. Thereby the etheric body can imprint its meditative experiences on the astral body and thus develop the organs it needs in it. And this has a salutary effect on the physical body.

Looking at a shiny object can also loosen one's etheric body. But since no meditational material streams into it, it's exposed to all high and low, good and bad spiritual influences around it. This is something that's very low, whereas the exclusion of the physical body through meditation is something high. Things were different in ancient times when an initiator pulled the etheric body out of the pupil's body to imprint experiences from spiritual worlds into it. From trances to three and one-half day temple sleeps, it was always the hierophant who mediated everything into the pupil's consciousness, whereas today the pupil tears out and elevates the etheric body himself and lets the master's teachings stream into him. Why is this so? The being whom we call the archangel Gabriel started directing things around 1525. Through the right control of births he brought it about that the organ that's in the sinus above the root of man's nose gradually developed. It's not directly perceptible physically, but if one could compare a recent corpse with one from the 13th century, one would find differences in structure and in the windings of the brain at the place mentioned. Archangel Gabriel gradually prepared this organ in man, so that he was able to take in the message of archangel Michael, who was next in line in 1879. Through this new organ Michael will print theosophy's message into men, although not directly but by letting his wisdom stream into men's etheric bodies through the great white lodge, and from there a man must consciously let them flow into the organ for them and then let them work in his etheric body. Those who make messages receptive for the message are ready to work on human and Earth evolution in the right way, and an esoteric should place this high, ideal goal before his soul modestly but also decisively and to become ever more aware of his high, responsible task. The others who don't use the organ allow it to degenerate and dry out, and so they don't do the work they should be doing. Archangel Michael will see to it that the work gets done—but in a different way than it would have been done by men. Whenever men shirk their duty the spiritual world is obliged to do their work. When the earth passes over to the Jupiter condition the task that was assigned to it in this evolutionary period must be done. We want to unroll the great future panorama that will be seen when the earth matures for the Jupiter condition. It will be completely spiritualized by the men who worked in the right way, and these men will live in a wonderful paradise. But another part of the earth will harden and shrink into a small kernel, as it were, through the men who let their organ dry out, and the men who live on it won't perceive the others; they won't exist for them. They aren't mature enough to go into the Jupiter condition by themselves and will therefore be carried over in the lap of spiritual beings; and they'll show one how hard it is not to have gone along with evolution. A man only has this earth period to develop to freedom and through it to love and we should get strength for this work in our meditations. Sooner or later we'll get to know spiritual worlds that surround us, and namely through our meditation, but we should always remember to do it with the right attitude, not out of curiosity—that we like to call thirst for knowledge—but to help mankind to progress towards freedom and love.