Esoteric Lessons III
Verse for Wednesday. All esoteric life consists in taking in what we can understand and grasp exoterically with the soul with our hearty feelings. We must get to know the realms of Lucifer and Ahriman so we can protect ourselves against attacks. We must especially watch that we don't take concepts that we formed here in the physical-and that rightly exist for this world — with us into the spiritual when we cross the threshold.
Philosophy is something that some of you aren't very interested in, but you all know that philosophy tries to give men views about the world and life. In philosophy one mainly speaks about two things. Firstly about multiplicity, where everything is led back to the smallest parts, atoms, monads. For instance Leibniz's philosophy is a monadological-spiritual world view, and Haeckel's materialism is an atomistic one. The second thing that is spoken about in philosophy is unity. Spinoza's philosophy belongs here and Hegel's world view can be put here also. But multiplicity and unity are concepts that are only valid on the physical plane and in the elemental world to some extent, but are of no importance for the spiritual world. Anyone who worships unity and takes these concepts into the spiritual, succumbs to Lucifer. One who looks upon multiplicity as the only right thing falls prey to Ahriman. One who becomes conscious in the spiritual — and that's the main requirement for an advanced esoteric, that he's conscious outside of his body during meditation — first sees himself. He has himself before him as the main impression — his physical body and his relation to his physical being. Here in the physical world one feels that one is a unity with respect to one's surroundings that one looks upon as a multiplicity. One sees clouds, trees, mountains or the various kingdoms of nature around one. If we wanted to think that the clouds up there are part of us, like a finger is a part of us, we'd be making a big mistake. In the spirit one becomes aware of oneself as a multiplicity; we see all the forces and beings that work on our physical body in the elemental world as a multiplicity there. We see this like a hundred thousand fools there, like legions. But if we would only see these hundred thousand fools as a multiplicity and wouldn't say: All you little fellows there altogether are only I myself, all you together in your many-fellowedness only form me as a unity — if we wouldn't say this with all force and energy and self-contemplation, we would fall prey to Ahriman. And we shouldn't just tell ourselves that theoretically — which wouldn't be so difficult — but we must really experience this conviction that many are one in spiritual realms. If we did not do that, if we didn't strengthen our soul to have these feelings, and we looked upon these hundred thousand fools as just that, then pieces would fly out of us and we would be torn into multiplicity. Ahrimanic beings would take pieces of our being and disguise themselves with them and delude us with errors and lies.
Some African people only know lions as a multiplicity. They can't think of them as a unity, as a genus. One must grasp the concepts of unity and multiplicity really correctly and must leave ones that are only suitable for the physical plane behind when one crosses the threshold.
We must strengthen our soul through meditation to such an extent that when beings approach it in the spiritual world it immediately knows whether they want to lead it astray. The soul must be able to say: You (elemental beings) are the builders of my physical body. We often find schemata set up in theosophical literature that are somewhat useful. One starts with a unity which then forks and multiplies. Or one starts with many things and goes up to unity. And even if these things aren't quite right it doesn't harm anything too much as long as it stays on the physical plane. But it can become terrible if one wants to cross the threshold with this concept of a schema. The latter can be instructive if it only serves as a symbol, if one remains aware that one can portray the same thing in a hundred ways; if one isn't aware of this one has fallen prey to Ahriman.
Of course feelings and emotions play into all descriptions and explanations. One has to say things to one person in a vivid way, to another in a quite different way that would arouse antipathy in the first one. It has to be like that. But one must never force an esoteric truth on an esoteric by eloquent means, for then Lucifer would be at work. A pupil must be able to take things in freely.
So one has to keep life on the physical plane apart from the one in spiritual worlds. One must not take concepts that are valid in the physical realm with one when one crosses the threshold.
The working of ahrimanic and luciferic beings is necessary for the world order as long as they stay in their proper boundaries. An esoteric must strengthen his soul so that he recognizes the attacks of these beings and can protect himself from them. A man will only gain self-assurance in the spiritual world if he can keep a balance between Lucifer and Ahriman in physical life, if he knows from where everything that he encounters is coming.
An esoteric is supposed to acquire a different feeling from the one an exoteric has through what's given in esoteric classes and through his meditative life. He must let his entire life and actions be illuminated by spirituality so that quarrelling would be an impossibility in our ranks. That's really possible. In exoteric life an esoteric must behave like an exoteric. But his feeling about exoterics must be like adults' about children, quite objective, without arrogance or feelings of superiority. It's often quite painful to see how disputes, ambition and petty rivalries are present among esoterics also. This is just as if a 40 year old man were playing with children and he wanted to hit the bowling ball or pin that mashed his finger or blackened his eye. This way of expressing one's displeasure would be quite natural in a child. As an adult one can play better than children, but one accompanies this with other feelings; one stands above the play, whereas a child is completely engrossed in his play.
Some of our dear friends told me that my book Theosophy is very hard to understand, couldn't it be written in an easier way. I even lifted my pen several times to do this, but don't think that it's easy to write Theosophy in a popular way. But I always put the pen aside again. If one wanted to take in Theosophy without thought difficulties one would give Lucifer points of attack. It's quite good to torture oneself a little with it.
The idea that light is only based on waves is wrong. And it's quite wrong to speak of waves, oscillations and vibrations in connection with spiritual things. Some people like to talk about the good vibrations in an esoteric class, but one shouldn't do that.
Recently much has been said about the dangers that a pupil is exposed to on the way into the spiritual world. Now if someone wanted to say I don't want to go on this path, I don't want to develop myself into a spirit-bearer because it's too dangerous — then that's just as if someone would say: I'd like to live in a house that will soon collapse — I just don't want to know anything about the collapse. Everyone will have to go on this path sooner or later, and so it's necessary to become acquainted with the dangers. Man must go on this path into the spiritual realm because otherwise he'll dry out and atrophy. And here it's an esoteric's task to strengthen his soul to rightly recognize all of the difficulties — Lucifer and Ahriman and the Guardian of the Threshold — and to look them in the face and not fall prey to the hindering forces but to conquer them in order to show mankind the way. In the spirit lay the germ of my body .. In my body lies the spirit's germ ...