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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons II
GA 266

Lesson 29

Prague, 3-29-'11

If we want to tread an occult-development path, we're given certain verses or formulas to help us, which have the power to develop our higher spiritual organs if we use them correctly. They were given to us by the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings. (Thursday verse.)

If we want to immerse ourselves in the first lines of our morning exercise:

In pure rays of light
Gleams the Godhead of the world …

we'll gain nothing for our elevation into the spiritual world if we only let the literal meaning of these words work on us. For we should realize that we can't see the Godhead in physical sunrays—we must look for them in their sublime spirituality behind the sunbeams. The latter are only the only the outer clothing of the Godhead. We should create a picture out of the spirit for our meditation and not take one from the outer world for this.

To begin with, we must eliminate everything that reminds us of our outer surroundings from our thoughts; we must be able to forget all the big and small thing that motivate us in daily life; all outer impressions should be silent within us.

If we've prepared ourselves like this, we'll be immersing ourselves and our thoughts and feelings in these lines in the right way. After we've done these meditations for a longer or shorter time, we should then try to empty our soul of these thoughts also. Thereby, the soul gets into a quiet condition, and when the intellect is silenced, a human being's higher members are lifted out of his physical body and he enters the super-sensible world.

But a pupil hasn't yet attained everything thereby. For if he isn't in the right soul state and hasn't prepared himself a long time by working at his defects, that is, if he doesn't enter the spiritual world with the right humility and a correct knowledge of his bad qualities, then this spiritual will appear to him in the wrong light. One could compare this with a man who's accustomed to wearing red glasses indoors and who forget to take them off when he goes outside; then he would see things in a red light so that they're quite different from what they really are. Likewise, an occultist would be judging things in the super-sensible world wrongly if he saw them through the colored glasses of his personality. For instance, he wouldn't see the angels who stand one stage higher than man as the radiant beings that they are—they would appear before him in terrible animal forms or as other grotesque things. If he would meet Luciferic or Ahrimanic beings between the angel and human levels on the astral plane, they might seem to be shining, radiant angels, masters of wisdom or other dissembling, alluring figures to lead him astray, because he's still mastered by his pride and his own personality too much. An occultist must especially guard against this and be sure that he gets rid of his pride. For if we want to tread an occult path, we can only prepare ourselves with the greatest humility in our heart and through unlimited reverence for the divine.

There are other formulas that can lead to the development of higher organs and to Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. The exercises can be done wrongly or can be misunderstood, so that we're led down a wrong path. For instance, if one would meditate: A part of the Godhead rests in me—with a certain egotistical feeling, one just cultivates pride in oneself, reinforces one's personality, and one would overlook the fact that part of Godliness can be found in every animal, plant and in all of God's creations. To be able to enter higher worlds, however, we must leave everything that's connected with personality behind in the physical world. We must especially acquire a subtle feeling for the truth. For if an occultist doesn't have this, he'll soon see that he has to take the consequences. An occultist must not excuse himself by saying that he thought that he was telling the truth. That doesn't suffice for an occultist, for he's responsible for each of his words, and he has to take the consequences for his untruthfulness even if he thought he was saying the truth.

It isn't easy to stick to the path in conventional life; things often have a dishonest tinge to them. How often one hears: I thought it was the truth. It's not easy to tread a spiritual path. A good method that anyone can use to arrive at greater clarity about his own personality is to look at sections of his life at least once a year, say on his birthday. Then we should ask ourselves: What good and bad deeds can I list for this period? Then if we examine ourselves seriously, we'll find that in most cases we let our good deeds be done out of an inner impulse, and that they didn't originate from our personality This inner impulse is our guardian angel who stimulates our good deeds. But we shouldn't rely on this completely and think: My guardian angel will give me the impulse—because that would be quite wrong. Our guardian angel would soon leave us, in a certain respect.

If we continue these exercises for a number of years, we'll find that nothing helps us to discover and get rid of our personality defects better than this statement of our account. Thereby we'll gradually prepare ourselves to tread the occult path in a productive way, as we free ourselves ever more from our personality and make ourselves empty in a certain respect, so that the Christ principle can enter us in the way that Paul says: Not I, but Christ I me. This filling of oneself with the Christ principle frees our personality from egoism and leads to the perception of the highest. The name “Christ” isn't really the name of the principle that is supposed to be expressed therewith; the divine power that one designates with this name has another name that should not be uttered. Therefore the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings didn't say this name when they said the following verse in their consecrated hours:

Ex Deo nascimur
In … morimur
Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus