Esoteric Lessons II
The example of playing children showed us how an esoteric pupil is related to exoteric life, and that he can play better than kids because he connects himself with the latter, rather than with the toys. The important thing is his soul attitude and his connection with the children, and not the toys. That's the way things are on the esoteric path also. There, the pupil gets into a different relation to his surroundings. He looks at the latter differently than before. In a way, he's outgrown them and yet he understands them better. We shouldn't lose interest in things in the outer world, although an esoteric training tends to make one lose interest in what formerly interested one.
A man out in life likes some men more than others. He, of course, tends to either ignore the defects of someone he likes or to excuse them much more easily than in someone he doesn't like. This attitude must be changed in an esoteric. His relation to his fellow men must become more impersonal. This shouldn't happen overnight; that wouldn't even be right, for karmic connections could be torn thereby. But he must gradually get to the point where he also wants to help people he doesn't like. This makes him see others' defects — also those of loved ones — more clearly than before, but that doesn't do any harm; it gets evened out again through esoteric training.
Our soul mood really becomes different. Taking another look at what happens to us in the moments when we end our meditations it's not indifferent whether this playing in of the spiritual world happens right after the meditation or only later on in daily life, and also whether this is the result of meditation or whether it's only atavistic clairvoyance, clairaudience or a reflection of visions.
It's best for our soul life if these transitions only play in fleetingly and are easily forgotten. The main thing for an esoteric is to learn to pay attention to this brief lighting up of the spiritual world. Through esoteric training our thinking becomes finer, more spiritual and more independent of the brain. Look at how important the concepts of time and space are for human feelings. And yet time and space are maya in the spiritual world. An esoteric pupil in the midst of exoteric life may suddenly get the feeling that it's not he who's thinking at this moment but that he's perceiving his thought body and the thoughts that are weaving and working in it. He'll have the intense feeling: Something is thinking in me. This weaving and working of thoughts is always present in our subconsciousness, but we only become aware of it at special moments. The feeling that something spiritual wants to think, feel and will in us must increasingly awaken. Someone could ask: Isn't that a contradiction when we're told to receive everything with full consciousness, and now we hear that the I and thoughts work in our subconsciousness? Such questions arise from today's brutal logical thinking — not only brutal with respect to men, but also brutal with respect to thinking. However an esoteric must learn to think subtly and he must be aware that everything becomes transformed in esoteric life.
In sensory life a man is aware of his three soul forces — thinking, feeling and willing — through which the soul works; sentient, intellectual, and consciousness souls. These three soul members seem to mingle when one goes into higher worlds, and yet they're separate. This seems contradictory. But one should know that the three soul members are never completely separate, although each seems to exist by itself.
All of a man's desires, passions and drives surge in his sentient soul. But a man had to have something as a counterpole for his egoity. The powers who led human evolution saw this, and so they placed fear in man's sentient soul. A man had to have fear, otherwise he would have grabbed everything in sight and his egoity would have become too strong. Ancient pedagogues were well aware of this, and the telling of fairy tales and ghost stories were part of the education. Children aren't told ghost stories in school today, but this is necessary for a child's soul to a certain extent so that amazement is aroused in it, because reverence for something unknown develops from this. A child who was never told about something unknown and great can never feel devotion in later life. An esoteric must consciously transform fear into reverence, piety, devotion and an ability to sacrifice. When one goes into spiritual worlds, fear must be transformed into reverence; that's why it's good to cultivate it on the physical plane. But if the feeling of fear in man is exaggerated and the ego isn't strong enough to keep the fear from taking hold of not only the soul but also of the physical body, violent rages can arise, among other things. This can always be ascribed to a weak ego. People who have these are afraid of water and other things that don't hang together. This is a wrong working in of spiritual forces upon the soul and body.
The basic condition for the intellectual soul is cleverness, which is often crossed through by sympathy. It is odd that these poles confront each other in the intellectual soul. The intellect is often crossed through and influenced by sympathy. A placing of oneself into other beings, a feeling of sorrow and joy as if it were our own, is something that should be attained through conscious meditations. We must arrive at the feeling that we're all a unity, and we must learn to feel that time and space become something separate. For instance, a mother will have different attitudes towards her child's pains at the ages of one, three, and twenty. She also feels differently about her own child than about someone else's. A mother feels differently because she's connected with her child, is a unity with him or her, just as we're a piece of the unity of spiritual worlds. One also sees that maya changes through time and space and that thereby one's soul sympathy changes.
We'll find that with such sympathy we often feel a tremendous bliss. But we shouldn't give in to this mood. This should just be the main feeling when we become free of the body, that is, that we don't feel in the physical body but in meditation; and then enjoy the tremendous bliss of working creatively in the world.
This blissful feeling creates the greatest egoity, and that's why it's only beneficial through meditation. In physical existence we should bear everything that destiny places on us with equanimity, and we should learn to feel as if all of this didn't concern us at all, and take it as calmly as if our body was foreign to us. We must always awaken the feeling in us that we can be just as glad about the progress of others as about our own, and that it's not as if we were specially chosen to make progress. It's immaterial for world evolution who make the progress, but for us the combating and transformation of egoism is the important thing.
The one pole of the consciousness soul is the feeling of being able to exclude oneself, and the other pole that projects in from the spiritual world is conscience. This keeps us from doing things that disagree with moral laws. We must let ourselves be guided by our conscience, and not act according to the principle of the statesman of whom one says that although he seemed to let himself be led by his horses, he nevertheless directed these horses where he wanted them to go.
We must see to it that we develop conscience in the right way on the physical plane; it's only what one has acquired that one can take into spiritual worlds. Conscience changes through our meditations. The hardest stage for an occultist is the one where he's bereft of conscience. A man must have advanced a great deal here, must have cleared ambition and vanity out of his soul — those worst of all soul forces that can always drag him down again; he must have transformed them completely.
Being “without conscience” is a feeling of being completely free of one's body in the sense of higher self-knowledge, in order only then to be able to feel like a center for the reception of truths from the spiritual world. We must learn to lead a double life, to have the feeling that we're carrying our physical body around like a piece of wood. An esoteric must learn to feel that his whole body is an organ for thinking, feeling and willing.
He must get to the point where he is not only thinking with his brain that's encased in a hard skull, but with all parts of his body; for instance, hands are better organs for thinking than the brain. He must gradually spiritualize the physical to such an extent that everything becomes a mere instrument for him. He must get to the point where he looks at his etheric or physical hands without seeing them, just as he now sees neither his eyes nor his brain. Just as we feel that an ax that we take in our hand is something external, so the hand must also be felt as something that does not belong to us. We must be the driving factor that directs the hand as an instrument with which we work.
We must develop everything in us beyond the corporeal and spiritualize ourselves so much that we become like our archetype.
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.