Esoteric Lessons II
What we want to attain through esoteric exercises is to concentrate completely on one thought and afterwards to let an empty space arise in us and to wait for what flows to us as a result of our meditation What we attain thereby depends on the intensity of the perseverance that we have applied to this. One might think that one gets ahead faster by changing exercises, but the most profound esoterics have always said that they got the furthest by doing the same exercise with patience and perseverance for years.
One might get a spiritual exercise from someone and then not see him again on this earth. But if this exercise is done correctly and the pupil's karma is favorable, it can last him a whole lifetime and bear fruits for him until he finally finds his teacher in the spiritual world.
When an esoteric applies forces to his inner development, he'll notice that certain bad qualities had become more manifest. One of these is criticism, but an esoteric should realize how this desire to knock other people down arises. We heighten and intensify our egoity through the exercises, and criticizing is a desire to assert oneself, a wanting to be something special, a need to separate oneself. An esoteric loses interest in many outer things that he paid a lot of attention to previously. This goes so far that some esoterics have the feeling they can't see as well as before.
Most of them also complain that their memory isn't as good. But as we pointed out in previous classes this not paying attention to one's environment is a mistake. It can happen that someone doesn't do his exercises intensively enough to fill the inner emptiness with spiritual content, which he now no longer wants to fill with his previous interests. This gives him an urgent feeling, a driving restlessness, a need to fill his inner emptiness from outside. Then he's easily tempted to criticize outer things. In a way, this criticizing is understandable and justified, for after a man first closed himself off from the outer world and now steps out of himself again, he would like to assert himself against the world. But there's an egotism in this that should be suppressed together with the criticizing. When we attain this the forces that we would have wasted otherwise will turn inwards and fructify our soul life. The need to separate himself is something that's quite justified for an esoteric, for he can only make progress in solitude. The feeling of loneliness is unbearable for most ordinary mortals, but an esoteric should learn to tolerate solitude. This promotes his esoteric life a great deal. A man who longs for company dissipates his forces through this longing. It's as if this longing sprayed out from him in all directions He should gather thee forces and turn them inwards instead. That way he'll gain a great deal.
An esoteric must bring two qualities into equilibrium like pendulum swings, first the tolerance of solitude, that is, the strengthening of egoity, and secondly complete devotion to the duty that approaches us from outside, to the point of self-sacrifice or the forgetting of oneself. When we've gotten to the point where our heart longs for solitude in the midst of our surroundings, where the latter makes us suffer and we nevertheless give it our full, devoted love — then we've attained the unification of apparently contradictory qualities.
A third thing we should practice is to be silent about our esoteric experiences. An undeveloped man almost explodes if he has to keep a secret, and he feels very relieved if he can get things off his chest. But an esoteric should consider that this force that threatens to blow one up must be a very strong one if one prefers to store it up inwardly. That's why it says, “Learn to be silent and you'll get the power” — that is, the power to rule things within one. For instance, an occult investigator can perceive how much stronger a man gets when he has to suppress the telling of a secret for some reason. Say that a man has something on his soul that he would like to tell a friend. Intending to rush over to him, he meets another acquaintance at the door, but he doesn't want to tell this one about it. Later it's too late to go to his friend, so he has to suppress his urge to communicate. An occultist will see that the soul in such a person has developed a force that wouldn't have arisen if the man had fulfilled his wish to make his communication. The saying: “The mouth speaks out of the heart's abundance” shouldn't apply to an esoteric.
It might sometimes be good and appropriate for a nonesoteric to tell all, but not for an esoteric. By communicating his innermost feelings and thoughts, he sprays out forces that would have been very necessary for his soul. Every time we're able to keep thoughts and feelings to ourselves, especially ones that are connected with our esoteric experiences and difficulties, we acquire a soul force that we can't lose. One should speak about universally human things and about things that can be useful to people, but not about one's own affairs that are nobody else's business. Where does this need to communicate come from anyway? We seldom feel the need to go to other men because we love them selflessly, but usually because they have qualities that give us something. We should also drop the wish to be coddled. We should be grateful to people if they treat us badly, because then we can exercise our tolerating forces. We should try to love these people anyway, and we'll then notice that this is the right thing to do. An esoteric should also stop complaining. What does he complain about? Mostly about the thoughts that storm in on him from all sides when he begins his meditation. But he should be thankful for this and look upon it as progress that he notices how real the thought world is and that it can assert itself like this. He should just oppose it because he'll get stronger thereby We should figure out how these thoughts do it, look upon them as models of how we can concentrate ourselves and tell ourselves: We should immerse ourselves in meditation with the same intensity — then we'll attract spiritual forces that support us. It would be a very comfortable meditation if angels or other spiritual beings would come beforehand to sweep away the undesired thoughts.
Once an esoteric has overcome all of these qualities and has learned to speak the right amount, he'll arrive at what mystics called the portal of death, because he finds himself in the same condition as a man who has turned all of his interests away from the outer world as he gets ready to die. He has turned inwards or toward divine spiritual things. That's what's meant in the second part of our Rosicrucian verse: In Christo morimur; we die in Christ when we transform ourselves completely and turn toward the spiritual world again. Ex Deo nascimur: We're born from God and must incarnate in the physical. Then it's our task to develop so that we can say; In Christo morimur. We turn away from all physical things and raise ourselves to the spiritual that was always called the Holy Spirit, and in this we are reborn: Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus. The verse that masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feeling gave us:
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.