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Esoteric Lessons II
GA 266

Lesson 28

Berlin, 3-15-'11

Our meditation should stand in the sign: Steady dripping hollows the tone. A study of theosophical works is an effective preparation for exercises. It's better to have read a book 25 times than to read five books five times each, and one who has read a book two or three times shouldn't imagine that he's read it at all. If on a particular day of the year, we have experienced this or that in our meditation, then if we've really studied hard in between, we'll be able to experience much more on the same day a year later. It's good to keep on doing the same exercise for long periods; that's much better than continual changes.

We should develop certain feelings and not just get more thoughts through study. One can find starting points for something much deeper in simple sensations. For instance, we should begin to pay attention to the feeling of grasping an object or of being grasped by the hand.

We can feel a distinct difference if we imagine the sensation that's aroused in us when we grasp a snail or when a snail unexpectedly crosses our hand. If we develop the two feelings well, we can form a concept of the difference between the subsensible and the super-sensible worlds.

The whole physical world and our feelings about it is an illusion or maya. We can picture it as a field or plane with the super-sensible world above and the subsensible world below it. The super-sensible world is one that can be connected with the feeling of being grasped and the subsensible one with the feeling of grasping.

In Rosicrucian teachings the subsensible region was always called the elemental world, the world of the elements fire, air, water and earth.

One presses through to the element of earth if one meditates on triangles, rectangles, pentagons, and geometrical figures in general. One should do this by writing these figures on the palm of one's hand with a finger. Then eliminate all thoughts about the hand and writing and only think about feeling the writing on the palm as if were floating freely in space, and immerse yourself in this feeling. That's how one gradually grasps the earth element.

One grasps the water element by thinking a fixed, material point and another mobile point that moves in a circle around the first one. Then one should write this in one's hand and proceed as with the first figure. One should think of the second point as one that rotates continuously.

For the air element, one thinks of two fixed points that want to fly away from each other after they first describe a kind of a semicircle round each other and then fly apart into endless distances. If we work with this figure exactly as with the preceding ones, we then grasp the air element—we don't just feel air caressing us, we really grasp it.

Diagram 1

For the fire element, one thinks of a closed figure such as a loop or a figure 8. One should especially feel that there's an intersecting point where the curve touches itself.

One should keep on doing these exercises for some time. They're not easy; one must acquire a certain skill in the feeling of sensations in space, without using one's hands, and also in holding on to the figure. But then this exercise leads to a grasping of the elemental world; one learns how to grasp it.

However it's a rule without exceptions that these exercises also make one egotistical. That's why one must never do them without also developing a great sympathy for everything that gives men joy and sorrow.

When we go up into the super-sensible world, we're actually taken hold of by higher beings who use us as their instruments, just as we use our eyes, ears, etc. The danger with this experience is that one loses oneself ever more, in the bad sense of the word. Therefore, it's also necessary to develop courage and fearlessness. Then we can calmly let ourselves be grasped by beings in the spiritual world, so that we feel: now we're being inspired by an angelic being, now by an archangelic beings, and so on. Imaginations lead into the super-sensible world. One sees that these two directions towards above and below are combined on the Rosicrucian path. As a clairvoyant, one must learn to strictly distinguish between the elemental world and the super-sensible beings—between two things that appear to be united in the physical world. Someone who saw a being and its elemental expression in one picture would be making a big mistake and would be mixing everything up. It isn't easy to separate the two regions at first because they can be seen by both astral and Devachanic vision, but when one ascends and sees a being, one gradually learns to descend immediately to find the elemental part of this being below the physical world, just as when one sees an object one can immediately look down and see its reflection in the water.

One couldn't describe the Saturn condition if one couldn't raise oneself up to beings such as the spirits of Will and Spirits of Personality, and also press through to the fire element. Likewise for the Sun condition, one must know Spirits of Wisdom, archangels, and also the air element. Both of these are described together in Occult Science—how the thrones let Saturn warmth stream out, etc. but in observing it, it's necessary to feel it as a duality.

One must be prepared to see and hear things in the spiritual world that one has never seen or heard here below. One who just expects to find things he's familiar with over there will never be able to press into the spiritual world. That's what's expressed in the second line of our Rosicrucian verse: In … morimur. It's only when a dying in Christo takes place in us that we can be reawakened by the Holy Spirit. In a way, this is a commentary on the two-part verse that's given to us by the masters:

In 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.