Our bookstore is now open. Shop today →

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Esoteric Lessons II
GA 266

Lesson 32

Munich, 8-26-'11

Before we can begin with the esoteric lesson, I'm obliged to tell you something, namely that one of our members from the more intimate circle gave me a brochure, as if driven by a right impulse, and this induces me to say a few things As you know each esoteric pupil, depending on his predisposition, gets exercises that for deeper lying reasons and through their buildup and sequence of word bring about what a pupil needs for his development. The sequence of words is of the greatest importance, also which word is used and where it stands, so that what is intended is attained. Many of you have received the verse: In pure rays of light … as a morning exercise.

Now I just received a brochure that contains the following:

I see in the pure rays of light
The Godhead of the world;
In love to all beings radiates the divinity of my soul.
I live in the Godhead
And find myself again
In the Godhead of the world.

It is hard to determine how the writer of this brochure arrived at the formula, for it belongs exclusively to our esoteric school. It could be that one of our students was careless enough to tell it to outsiders. We could also imagine the other case — that actually happened several years ago — that someone meditated in a rooming house, and a man was in the adjacent room who took in these ideas clairvoyantly. We should always have the greatest sympathy for people like the first case mentioned, for as esoterics, we know that everything punishes itself, even if nothing bad was intended. The reason it must have this effect is that every word of the formula was put in its place with the greatest care, and if they are torn out of context, they'll have the opposite effect. One has created a contrary effect through an arbitrary change in the word sequence and through the use of the positive little word “I” — whereas everything was kept in flux and as if objective in the original formula, so that everything is supposed to work through the imaginative picture. Our meditations should always proceed from our inner moral impulses; the other world and especially our personal ego should be excluded completely. We should grasp the Godhead of the world and the way it streams through the world with its divine light in our thoughts quite objectively. Our ego shouldn't become obtrusive here or then the effect would become just the opposite. Quite differently constituted spiritual effects would then have to appear, namely Luciferic effects.

In the first line, I see in pure rays of light, the moral impulse that suppresses the ego in all humility and that should e completely devoted to the divine spirit of the world in which one rests while forgetting oneself, doesn't come out.

The egotistical principle also emerges strongly in the last lines:

I live in the Godhead
And find myself again
In the Godhead of the world

for something quite different is experienced in the I rest.

From this, one sees how very exact and careful we must be so that we also use the words of our meditation quite correctly in our thoughts.

We'll now pass on to several images that we can use for our esoteric training because they have a very strong effect. We know that the path to higher worlds first goes through Imagination and then via Inspiration and Intuition. The pictures that shall now be given strengthen the organs that lead to imaginative perception.

In our theosophical teachings we've often heard that the world is maya, that we ourselves are nothing but maya, and if even outer science is beginning to explain the world in this way, we should then take this saying even more seriously.

If we look at this rose, then, it has an upwards directed flower and a stem directed downwards. But what seems to be there is no true image. Science has taught us that what we see comes about through a crossing of light rays, so that the upside-down image of the rose appears in our eye, whereas we see the outer picture of the rose with the flower up. That's the mirror image of the real light phenomenon in us. From this we see that what we perceive outside is maya, and it's a reverse maya, where down is up. That's the way it is with everything around us; the whole world whose surface we think we see — and ourselves also — is really standing on its head. If we want to perceive the true shape of the world then we mustn't look for mirror images but we must look for the realities behind them before they become reflected in the outer world. Practically everything is the opposite of the way we imagine it. What seems to be up is down; what seems to be behind us is in front; what seems to be left is right, they're really coming from the left; if we see objects standing before us, then in reality forces are there that press towards us from behind. The same is true of the starry heavens. We see it before us when we look up; in reality, it's reflected to our eyes by forces that are behind us.

If we want to arrive at the truth in the world, we must ascend from the Spirit of Form to the Spirits of Movement, so that the latter can help us to see what is placed before us as a mirror image by Spirits of Form as the inversion of reality. We can use the following as a symbol to gain practice in this. When we see a rose with a flower on top, we move it down in our thoughts and therewith make a movement that the forces of the Spirits of Movement can symbolize for us.

But there is one thing in man that is no mere sensory illusion, that's no maya. This is the word that resounds from men, the living word, the logos. The word doesn't come to us from outside, it's something alive in us, it's our real being. It streams out of our soul life; we who let the word stream out over our lips are it ourselves with all of our feelings. And if we top to think that the word is the Logos and that everything that's spoken in the world is spoken out of this source, we'll then feel a deep responsibility towards the word.

Only what men have said in their words will survive the earth and pass over to the next planetary condition. As we said, what we hear from the left comes from the right, but the sound that we utter is the only thing that's no different from what it seems to be. It sounds forth from within and it really comes from within. Divine beings, the Logos, speak to us out of it.