An esoteric should realize what he is really doing wit the exercises that are given to us. We've often mentioned that an esoteric is trying to loosen the etheric body and in general the four bodies from each other. This can happen in an esoteric and an exoteric way.
One can prepare the physical body sufficiently through diet, breathing exercises, etc. so that it ejects or squeezes out the etheric body. Our vegetarian way of living is basically intended to support the physical body in this striving. These are exoteric ways to loosen the bodies. The esoteric ones are our exercises. And here one has to say that the latter are the main thing. In our materialistic age many a materialist would gladly follow the most extensive dietary rules, would do breathing exercises for hours if he could attain something that way. To exert oneself spiritually is much more inconvenient, and here the spiritual inertia often becomes evident.
If we would squeeze out our etheric body by merely physical means the physical body couldn't give it anything to take with it, and it would go out into the unknown empty. Then states arise where for instance we can't grasp something with our thinking when we want to think it through. Our etheric brain can't use the physical one properly. It's as if we were swimming in water and wanted to grab something that kept on eluding us. Under such conditions a sensible esoteric will tell himself that he must first create order here through suitable willed concentrations and thought exercises. Even in normal development some things will arise of which we must tell ourselves that it's a temporary suffering. For through the pulling out of the etheric body and physical body undergoes something similar to a plant that has its sap withheld from it for awhile. It dries up. And although one doesn't see it physically, part of the physical body dries up and if it has predispositions for diseases, they appear. But if the etheric body has permeated itself rightly with spiritual truths it thereby receives new forces, and they have a healing effect on the physical body. One can observe that cuts and other wounds in the physical body heal more easily if the man permeates himself with spiritual truths or if he just lets the theosophical way of thinking work on him.
So at first we work on the astral body through our meditations. This is the builder of our nervous system that runs towards the spinal cord, or as one says today — goes out from it. Through an imprint from the astral body we're now supposed to bring about the unfolding of lotus flowers in the etheric body, which are connected with each other and thereby create a cord up front, as it were.
This front cord is only present etherically-astrally and can only be formed through concentration and meditation. That's why they're the most important part of our esoteric development.
The drinking of alcohol is very harmful for an esoteric. Alcohol must definitely be avoided. It's good to support development through a vegetarian diet, for this lifting out of the etheric body is not at all easy today. Many modern vocations are expressly designed to drive the etheric body firmly into the physical body, so that it often pains a clairvoyant to see something like that. The food one gets in hotels has the same effect.
We're supposed to acquire a new thinking, feeling and willing through esoteric work on ourselves. We must tell ourselves that when we've gotten up the courage to tread the esoteric path we must make a jump over an abyss. We must let a thought that we have thought through pass over into our feelings and then permeate the latter with it completely so that we don't carelessly say something that we haven't fully grasped. A frequently heard statement that's misused more than most is: I am a Christian. An esoteric should realize that being a Christian is a distant ideal that he must constantly try to attain. To live like a Christian mainly means to accept whatever destiny may bring us with equanimity, to never grumble about the Gods' work, and to joyfully accept whatever they send. It means to let the sentence “Look at the birds of the air, they don't sow, reap or store in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them” pass over into your flesh and blood. We're living in accordance with this saying if we thankfully accept what's given to us. If we don't do that it becomes blasphemy in our mouth. We should realize that if we don't prepare ourselves sufficiently for the leap over the abyss and into spiritual regions we can do so much damage through words and thoughts that the Gods have to destroy worlds to make the damage good again. For what is ruined must be destroyed in order to be created anew.
We arose from the spirit — Ex Deo nascimur. And when we jump over the abyss we express this through, In Christo morimur — with the firm confidence that we come to live again over there in the Holy Spirit — Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus. But because we should always keep the name of the holiest one — who was always connected with our earth — so holy that we don't say it unworthily, there's an esoteric version of the Rosicrucian verse in which the name is omitted:
In … morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.