In our last few lectures we learned that our whole existence is guided by high beings who each in their own way work at world becoming and at our special human features. If we want to connect ourselves with them through concentration and meditation we must fill ourselves with a feeling of humility that can't be compared with the humility that we have in daily life, for this feeling of humility stands too high above every human comprehension, when we connect ourselves with these sublime beings who are also our teachers in the spiritual world. Later on, a man is able to distinguish between real beings and forces that radiate from within him. One can feel in one's heart whether what's seen comes from higher worlds or from within one; it goes through the heart with a warmth and excitement that radiate into it from the cosmos. For the heart is connected with Leo and the sun, and the warmth of these forces participates in spiritual vision.
Now what does it mean to be an esoteric? A man is placed in his karma through all phases of his earth existence. It's impossible for him to escape it, for the consequences of his feeling, thinking and especially of his deeds follow him irrevocably through all of his incarnations, be it sooner or later. He must eradicate the wrongs that he did here on earth, depending on the circumstances into which he's put through his incarnation. Divine guidance sees to this. Before a man takes his own development in hand, everything goes according to regulated laws that nothing can accelerate. But if he begins an esoteric training something quite different happens to him. He frees himself from guidance, takes his development in hand and becomes a different man qualitatively. Through what? Things that he previously thought were desirable mostly love their value for him, his views and attitudes change, and he sees that he often acted unsympathetically in the past. His feeling of responsibility now becomes much more subtle, and he tries to make his wrongs good in every direction, no matter how many outer and inner sacrifices it may cost him. The meditation and other exercises that are given to an esoteric transform his etheric body through daily repetition, assuming that he experiences them in the right way, that is, with the right feelings and through pictures that arise within. Thereby the etheric body gradually separates itself. After these exercises have been done patiently and by giving up one's whole existence for a short time each day, something wonderful will be faintly noticeable to the man on awakening which he can't express in word, for it's a very delicate feeling of an experience in the spiritual world from which he's just returned. After awhile, he sees colors rising before him in which forms take shape, and something quite unlike what he's used to seeing confronts him. At the beginning of spiritual development the things that appear are similar to things in our daily environment, and they often radiate out of our soul as the latter's qualities — so we shouldn't take them to be spiritual experiences right away. One should emphasize that esoteric training doesn't just make a man better. A man may have moral virtues and be ever so intellectually developed, and yet have disharmonious, bad qualities hidden in his soul that are usually varnished over by conventional morals. A man is really worse than one usually thinks. When a man takes his esoteric development in hand, his vices inevitably appear, and here an esoteric must use his whole strength to master them; he brings up his karma and accelerates it through his development. Let's understand this well for we've entered on another life's path; we've now become companions of our sublime spiritual guides who previously directed us, for now we direct ourselves and also take full responsibility for this.
People often say that it's nothing but egoism if a man wants to develop faster than his fellows. But that's not so. As soon as we realize that we have a divine origin and that we must develop ourselves up again to the primal source of our existence, to divinity, then it's even a sin of omission if we say: I don't want to participate in the Godhead, it'll lead me to the goal someday.
There's a lot of intellectual arrogance in a statement like that, for the Gods have laid the germs of our spiritual capacities in us, and when we're aware of this it must be our duty not to let these forces lie fallow or to leave their germination to the general stream of development. We must take the unfolding of our spiritual organs in hand ourselves, we must no longer let ourselves be led — we must become companions of our leaders. It's a difficult path. There can be no question of egoism here for we have duties with respect to the leaders who've previously shown us the path.