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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 55

Munich, 12-7-'09

When we begin an esoteric life through our meditation, we must resolve to move something new into the center of our life, something that wasn't there till now but that will now become the main thing. The success that our exercises will have will depend on the intensity of this resolve. One can take the exercises that one gets as something that's added to everyday life, so that one does them like some other ordinary work. But one will then notice that the progress one makes isn't especially great. The resolve that an esoteric should make is to connect everything he runs into in ordinary life with his esoteric life, to really feel that this is the center from which he directs all of his other life, from which something is constantly flowing into this life.

For what are we supposed to accomplish with our meditations? If we do them in the right way we're supposed to develop a strong force, a force that uses the words of the meditation as an instrument with which we gradually create spiritual organs in our astral body with which we'll perceive the surrounding spiritual world. The impressions that we make in the mass of our astral body only gradually become permanent, for we can compare our astral body with an elastic mass that becomes imprinted but then returns to its previous shape after awhile. We make these impressions during sleep when our ego and astral body have left the etheric and physical bodies. The stronger and more intensively we do our meditations, the more intensive the impressions in the astral body become, until they remain and the organs we call lotus flowers develop from them. This process is described in the verse that comes to us from the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings:

In the spirit lay the germ of my body ...

But we can only really use these organs when they've become so strong that they can be imprinted from the astral into the etheric body. It's only when the etheric body has received a copy that the portals before which the Cherub with the flame of the whirling sword, stands open for us.

We've heard that our physical and etheric bodies couldn't live for a second without an ego and an astral body and that therefore when these two leave the physical and etheric bodies during sleep, higher kinds of beings enter them, beings who are of the same nature as our I and astral body, but who stand much higher. An archangel replaces our astral body, and a spirit of personality, our I. We meet these high spiritual beings when we've developed our astral organs, and esotericism calls this tremendous event that's so sacred to us the “meeting with the higher self.”

We should look towards this moment with feelings of highest devotion, with a being intensively permeated by its sacredness. If we don't do our meditation with this attitude of really genuine humility, then the spiritual world won't reveal itself to us in its true form, but all kinds of fantastic formations will appear to us, and the moral result will be a ruinous price. It's a good deed that the world into which we would like to press prepared by a school that rightfully exists, is closed by the Cherub with the fiery sword as long as we're insufficiently prepared. The guardian of Paradise stands exactly at the place where we slide over into deep sleep, where we lose consciousness. If we didn't lose it here we would see him. But a glance into the world of archangels would destroy us, since we're not up to it.

Now, why is this archangel who enters our etheric body called our higher self? Why do we try to become united with him? Here we must touch upon a secret that concerns the human being. The man that we see walking around on earth today is really a maya, he is incomplete. There was a time in the ancient Lemurian epoch when only a single pair of human beings remained on earth, that was strong enough to ensoul animal-like formations. The other men had gone to various planets, and so present men originate from this primal pair. The Bible' story about Adam and Eve is right, even though it's presented in the form of an allegorical tale. Now Lucifer overpowered these first human beings and permeated their astral bodies with his influences. This made the later Ahrimanic influences possible and everything that helped men to live in the physical sense world. Thereby the spirit behind matter disappeared for him ever more, and the latter became an unpenetrable cover for him. If man had only remained under the influence of the divine spiritual beings who created him, he wouldn't have become free, but he always would have recognized spiritual things behind matter. Now, these guiding creators didn't want the whole etheric body to be permeated by Luciferic influences. So they held one part of Adam's etheric body back in spiritual worlds. And this part of the etheric body is the higher self with which we should reunite ourself and with which we're a whole human being. An esoteric should tell himself: This higher being that really belongs to me is waiting over there to become reunited with me, and in my meditation I should strive to go to him with all fervor, should form myself into a chalice that takes in this higher element. Paul, who was an initiate in these things, uses exactly the right expressions when he speaks of the old and the new Adam. This union of the etheric body that remained behind with a human being happened for the first time when the Luke Jesus was born. This Jesus boy received Adam's etheric body. The high, guiding creator beings had held back the capacity of individual thinking and speech for men with this part of the etheric body. It's true that a man thinks, but it's no thinking that he produces himself individually—instead he takes some of the divine thinking substance that streams through the world. Man has no individual language either, for high spiritual beings gave groups of men a common language. Men are supposed to acquire their own thinking and language through a reunion with their higher etheric body. Since the ability to speak lies in the etheric body, one can understand the legend that tells us that the Jesus boy didn't have to learn to speak, but that after his birth he spoke to his mother in a language that she understood. Through the connection of Adam's etheric body with a physical human body again, it became subject to the law of number and multiplication that applies to every spiritual thing that descends into matter. Just as a seed that's laid in the earth produces an ear with many kernels, so Jesus' body was the soil for Adam's etheric body, the through-station for multiplication, and it's these multiplied etheric bodies that are waiting for us. When we're immersed in our meditation so that the whole outer world disappears for us, we'll then get the feeling that we're dying, and then united with our higher self we're resurrected. That's why for the more recent esoteric schools that exist rightfully, the cross is the symbol for resurrection to this new life. It's not a birth that's taken to be the starting point of this life, but a death, the death of Christ on the cross of Golgotha, and the symbol for this life is the holy blood that flowed forth. That's why we have the dead plant, the dried wood with the live, red roses sprouting from it united in the rose cross. And in our meditation we should feel that we're born from God, as it says in our main guiding-verse, that's supposed to be the guiding verse of our esoteric life, and that we die in Christ as we let the force of our meditation become a light in us that radiates into higher world; and our higher self comes to meet this warmth, these rays—thereby it unites with us as the Holy spirit in which we come back to life again:

Ex Deo nascimur
In Christo morimur
Per Spiritual Sanctum reviviscimus.