The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons II
GA 266

Lesson 36

Berlin, 10-30-'11

If we dive down within us, we'll find a lot of beings there. This may seem strange to us at first, but the more we learn to look into spiritual worlds, the more we'll see that a number of spiritual beings are working in us — often to undo the destruction that we men bring about through foolishness. Let's ask ourselves where disease comes from. We know that every disease has a physical cause and also a spiritual one that must be looked for in immorality, passions or other mistakes in this existence but mostly in the previous one. The overcoming of every disease releases force, but this doesn't mean that one should drag out an illness as long as possible to make rapid progress. Everyone should do his best to get well fast. But if he's been sick for three weeks or six months, he should look at this as karma and bear it patiently and calmly.

But there's another reason why disease is something beneficial. Since the Lemurian epoch and on through Atlantis until the Mystery of Golgotha, mankind sank every more deeply into matter. Through the fact that we follow our drives and passions, we were brought ever further away form the goals that the Gods set for us. Disease is what bends this downward impulse and gives us an upward direction again.

Modern science condemns theosophical teachings and calls them dreams, but just read John's Gospel or any theosophical book and one will see the enlivening, refreshing effect it has, whereas a materialistic or monistic book desiccates one's soul. And since purely materialistic thinking only uses up forces the consequence in the next existence is that such people will be feeble-minded. Their brain will be a spongy watery mass; they'll want to think, but won't be able to. This feeble-mindedness is a good thing that keeps these people from sinking irrevocably. For through the fact that the brain is kept from materialistic thinking, the eternal can work on the core of the man's being after two successive incarnations, and influence it so that it strives upward again.

Something you'll all experience sooner or later in meditation is that one feels entirely loosened, the etheric body expands, one feels carried out to distant world boundaries, and then suddenly, one feels as if one were riveted to this world again, that one can't get away from it; it's as if one were sitting in a vise. That's good. It's our karma from previous incarnations that holds us fast like this. If our exercise would immediately take us up into the spiritual world before we took care of our karma, the result would be a long fall. Mehazel is the leader of these hosts who fix us to the earth. Like Samael, Azazel, and Azael, we get to know him when we descend into our interior. Then we'll really see that our interior is a field of action for demons, and as it says in the Bible: My name is Legion. We're supposed to become acquainted with these beings on our esoteric path so that we become sensible and gradually outgrow them. Azael works in such a way that he harmonizes what arises through dullness with respect to the spiritual world. We take over Azael's work when we acquire equanimity. Equanimity doesn't mean to jubilate or to complain about pain, but to recognize the reality of karmic action in everything. We shouldn't just believe in the karma idea theoretically, but should sense that karma is active in everything that hits us. This is the scourging stage in Christian initiation, that is, one should calmly confront all the pains of life that hit us like the blows of a whip and know that they're conditioned karmically. That's true equanimity.

We know that the physical world is only an inverted mirror image of the astral world. A very important meditation to make the words “The world is only maya” effective is the following. Everything around is really there in reverse. What we see from above downwards is really there from below upwards. A plant's root is above and the flower down below. The starry heavens we have before us is the result of spiritual beings who are really active behind us. Any sound that's received by the left ear comes from the right. We must become familiar with these facts and also with complementary colors. If someone has a lot of red spots imagine that they're green, or imagine that projecting limbs are cavities. One imagines the green in a plant as reddish purple and a brown root as dark blue. One should permeate all of these exercises with reverence and devotion. That's the feeling with which we can hope to approach the world's Godhead; whereas God remains an abstraction to mere thinking. If we glow through our thinking with reverence, devotion and humility, we may hope to penetrate the spiritual world.