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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons II
GA 266

Lesson 11

Munich, 8-24-'10

Anyone who undertakes an esoteric training must be clear about what he is doing thereby. We're karmically connected with what we are and do; we're placed into the whole of earth existence by leading divine beings. Everything that we think, feel and will in the way of the most sublime beauty and the highest morality is always still connected with general evolution. But by deciding to begin an esoteric training we step out of this general development that's guided by higher beings. Thereby we begin something absolutely new. In an esoteric training we stop being led by spiritual, divine beings and we become independent companions of these creator spirits.

Man on earth consists of the tetralogy: physical body, etheric body, astral body and ego, which are kept in harmony by higher beings. If we carry out the resolve to begin an esoteric training we then begin to work independently at the transformation of these individual bodies. This takes place through the exercises that are given to us. They gradually work on our etheric body in such a way that it becomes loosened from the firm structure of the physical body. This influence is not directly on the etheric body but on the astral body or soul which we work on through the regular daily or weekly repetition of exercises and pictures.

Every sound, word and sequence of sounds and concepts in the meditation verses is of some significance; they have an effect through the regular repetition while one completely forgets oneself.

When we wake up in the morning we sometimes have a dim memory of the spiritual world, of the world from which strength flows to us through our exercises, and some of an esoteric student's nicest experiences are these faint memories of the world where we were at the sources of strength. If someone had to leave a friend who was dear to him, it could be that something about this person will flow into the esoteric pupil together with his memory of the spiritual world. Someone who's given something like this should look upon it as grace.

After meditating for some times we notice that we've changed; we no longer say some of the unkind things that we used to and we acquire a much finer logic. We feel that we've improved. We get better.

But because we place ourselves outside of the customary framework we lose the support that's given by convention. We become inwardly freer but thereby your bad sides come out more; then we notice how bad we are. We're really a lot worse than we usually think.

Difficult, unpleasant hours come to every esoteric striver, and then it's good to have some support. We find this support in the New Testament; we find advice and support for every case and situation and in every weakness; we only have to look for it. And if we don't find it, we can comfort ourselves with the conviction that it's our own weakness that keeps us from finding the right thing but that it's nevertheless in the Bible.

Deceptions in clairvoyance can easily occur at first. One thinks that one is seeing something outside, and it's one's own interior that's reflected there. It's even worse with sounds that one thinks one hears; beings who want to pull a meditator down deceive him thereby.

An esoteric striver not only has to do his meditations, to pray in the best sense of the word, but also to watch, to be on the lookout for bad influences that want to interfere when an independent transformation of bodies is undertaken. An occult sentence against all deception is: Every path into the spiritual world goes through the heart. During the meditation one can feel that lines go from every point of the outer physical body towards a center, which is the heart. These lines then go on in the opposite direction and into the spiritual world. This is like a feeling that Christ is in one, and it's a sign that there's no deception.

Each of our members is connected with one sign of the Zodiac; forces from Leo flow down into our heart. Forces from the sun also stream into our heart. Likewise, fire spirits work on our heart. Leo, sun, and flame are often used as symbols for the heart. Like the heart every part of us is related to outside forces; we've grown out of the whole world and are imbedded in it.

If we really let this fact live in our soul we then rightly understand the verse:

In 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.