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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Interior and Exterior Evolution
GA 91

On Meditation I

17 August 1903, Graal

Meditation is like a system of nature forces, through which man does something not only for himself but for the whole world. Meditation differs from the forces of nature in that they do unconsciously what we do consciously. But in truth, this is only correct from a human perspective that these forces act unconsciously; actually it is conscious. It would be wrong, of course, if we said that in the clock there is a little soul that moves the wheels, the spring and the rest; but nevertheless this whole apparatus is put together by a guiding intelligence. It is the same with the forces of nature. There, too, it is the dhyanic intelligence of the higher beings who consciously decree everything in such a way that the nature forces in their combination result in the entities of the various realms. In man the dhyanic intelligence is inserted into his own being.

We remember the three elemental kingdoms. In nature the elemental beings act as creators; the work of the higher forces of nature are visible through them. Within the entities of the three elemental kingdoms, human beings also participate. For we would not be able to control our physical make-up if it were not so. There we work together in community with the beings of the first elemental kingdom. In that which belongs to the animal, the astral elemental beings co-operate; in the Rupic-Mental those of the third kingdom cooperate.

Only where man acts independently, do elemental beings not work with him. In his brain-life a fourth elemental kingdom arises; it is, as it were, the elemental kingdom drawn into him. Here he is master. He rightly extends nature's efficacy. He takes the lead as a thinking man. In the Kama-Manas no other elemental being participates; here man participates as a mineral man, as an elemental being himself.

Today man can only direct his physical body; he is able to change the physical through his actions. He is conscious on the physical plane but has experiences on the astral plane through his astral body, and on the mental plane through his mental body. Only what we call his physical body is properly developed. His astral body has not been developed as far. As far as the mineral body is concerned, man differs from all animals. Man is formed in the shape of a cross, while the animal has a horizontal spine. On the mineral plane this upright position is characteristic of man; he has developed the physical body, to the point that it must really be at, although his physical body will continue to be perfected until the end of this round. But he does not have the likeness of God in the astral or in the mental. The astral body is still on the level of the animal existence; the lower mental on the plant level; the Arupic-Mental body is three levels lower. It is the task of the future rounds to develop these bodies. In the seventh round the Arupic body is to become as perfect as it can be. This progress in his development, which man sees before him, is summed up in a certain formula: his physical nature is complete; the astral body, which surrounds the physical like something that is still to grow, is still in living development, is in a rudimentary stage.

"I am the jewel in the lotus flower."—Aum mani padme hum.

Aum, the innermost, the very life-force in man, which he strikes only with the sound;

Mani, the stone transformed, the jewel, manas;

Padme, the astral;

Hum, once again, I am.

This rhythmic Aum is yet only the imagined innermost essence of Man. And when it is placed before the soul with the right thought-content, Man does something cosmically; he resonates with the highest rhythmic world-vibrations; his single tone sounds harmoniously within the entire spherical world.

This is how Man prepares himself for that which he must absolutely attain if he is to undergo the proper Pitri development.

Man must now form his astral body. The elemental beings have built the three lower corporealities with him. To the extent that he can, he must take his astral body into his own hands. Out of an undifferentiated organism the sensory body has come into being. The astral body is still undifferentiated and must be organized by man himself. This is done by a review of the day which is done in the evening. By doing this, I must face myself as I would face a stranger. Because he is stuck in his lower astral man cannot work on himself. He is united with his astral and his "I" is not free. Only when he stands next to himself can he organize the astral.

The astral body can form senses just like the physical body. There will be seven senses, five of which can already be seen clearly in the astral aura. Directly in the center of the body is a six-petaled lotus flower. When man begins to meditate, these wheels begin to turn. This rotation means that the chakra is developing into the sense organ. The chakras are the developing astral sense organs.

Next is the ten-petaled lotus flower in the navel area. Near the heart, the twelve-petaled one. By the larynx, the sixteen-petaled one. Between the eyebrows the two-petaled one. The lotus flowers will develop very specific forms when the astral body becomes organized. Only then will man be conscious on the astral plane.

This organization is the task of this part of meditation. The main thing is to remove from consciousness everything that is external sense impressions and memories. Free we must be from all sense impressions; create absolute inner peace; control ourselves completely from the inner self—not be controlled by the outer world. All that composes our earthly-spatial personality has nothing to do with our higher self, unless we draw it out as a lesson, suck it out like a bee, [when we] form the eternal out of the temporal. One makes oneself completely free by getting hold of oneself outside of time and space. We can not imagine the overall human by thinking of our temporal personality, but rather when we think of our higher self which is pure like the Sun. We are human and nothing more than human when we utter this formula, which has been uttered by adepts for eighteen million years, ever since there have been human beings.

The second thing is to organize the lower mental body by concentrating on one particular thing. One chooses an inspired scripture; all these teachings are received from higher planes; there are spiritual forces of nature which lie in these teachings; their full truth and power lie on the mental plane. When we allow a completely empty, free field of consciousness to work upon us without speculation, we accomplish what we are meant to accomplish. What belongs to the mental work must be done outside of meditation. During meditation, the sentence must speak to us. If a person cannot yet let the sentence work on him completely, it is good to have it in front of him as if on a blackboard, even to write it down and hold it in front of him. We must look at foreign thoughts like waves of the sea, which we always chase away; we must purify ourselves from all waves, keep the field of consciousness pure. By having such writings created by inspiration, the masters of the different times have given us powers through which we work on our mental body to achieve what we must achieve in the sixth round. The Theosophical movement offers that which helps man to do this work. Not all will reach the goal; the undeveloped mental bodies will remain behind in the eighth sphere.

Up until the middle of the Lemurian period people practiced this concentration by themselves, which was as necessary for them as eating and drinking is for people today. In the second half of the Lemurian race, for example, people were still made of air, who did not need food and drink, but felt the longing to absorb the spirit. So this is concentration within meditation.

Developing the Arupic in the mental is achieved through the devotional part. Raising oneself up to a great role model teaches true humility, where man enters into the mood to what he should elevate to—the sensation that is exalted.