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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 9

Berlin, 5-6-'06

A man is always destroying living things. He kills when he breathes. No living creature could exist on earth if only men who exhale carbon dioxide lived on it. The gas that a man exhales pollutes the atmosphere. It is lethal for all living things. Plants exhale oxygen and thereby enable live things to exist.

When the earth was still at the old Moon stage there was no human kingdom such as the one we have. The whole Moon was a kind of a plant being like a peat bog, soft and alive. The beings who are now men developed out of this plant-mineral earth. This plant porridge also contained present plants and animals. There was an intermediate kingdom between these two: animal-plants had sensation. There was a plant kingdom on old Moon, higher than the present mineral kingdom, an animal-plant kingdom of sentient plants, and a kingdom of man-animals, higher than the present animal kingdom and lower than the present human kingdom.

Creatures on this old Moon mainly lived in a nitrogen atmosphere. The Moon was surrounded by it, and it perished from an excess of nitrogen. The mushrooms that now still live on a more plantlike soil are remnants of the animal-plant kingdom that was present on old Moon. Since they contain much nitrogen they're not good for occult development. Parasitic mistletoe is another remnant of that kingdom.

After old Moon had perished from its atmosphere everything went through a pralaya, re-emerged, and present earth evolution began. Then after awhile everything that wasn't favorable for further evolution split off and formed the present moon. Other kingdoms developed out of the Moon kingdoms on earth. So that present plants could arise, one part of the plant-mineral kingdom had to be pushed down a stage, and the present mineral kingdom gradually arose through consolidation and hardening of the same. Men had not been able to perceive the world objectively on old Moon, but now that the plant-mineral kingdom had descended and the present mineral kingdom formed gradually it became objectively visible. It was only through the solidification that it could now reflect light and there was a world that became visible for physical eyes. This is what the biblical story about the creation of light refers to. All heavenly bodies that can be seen in a telescope have solidified to the mineral stage. But there are many more heavenly bodies than those we can see minerally.

Plants not only live from the mineral world, but also from the light that is reflected by the mineral kingdom. And just as plants live from this light, so men and animals live on the oxygen that plants exhale. The animal-plants of old Moon went down a step on one side and up a step on the other side. That's why animals can live from plants' oxygen. Physically oxygen is what otherwise lives in a plant as its etheric body.

Men-animals also split into two kingdoms, into the two sexes. This split gives rise to the human love that initially is still physical. Man can lift himself into the Gods' realm through this love. They lived from men's physical love just as men and animals live from the oxygen that plants emanate, and as plants live from light that's radiated back from the mineral kingdom. The nectar and ambrosia that the Gods feed on is the love of men and women. Man's ascent takes place through the overcoming of physical love, the regulation of the breathing process, and the development of kundalini light. First the overcoming of physical love. A separation of the previously unisexual man into two sexes was necessary so that the intellect could develop in man. Man was split into a higher spiritual nature and a lower animal one. It's an ascent when a man overcomes the forces of physical love and transforms them into higher, more spiritual forces through his own inner soul force. Secondly, a man who wants to develop higher must give up the forces that he takes from plants. Man uses up the vital oxygen that plants exhale through his breathing process. The breath becomes purer through rhythmization of the breathing process and inner soul work, so that what a man exhales contains less carbon dioxide. Then the air around him isn't used up as fast, and he doesn't take away so much oxygen or vital substance from other living beings. To attain this as much as possible Indian yogis withdraw into caves, where they breathe as little oxygen as possible. They can do that because their breath is so pure from soul work that they can live a long time without intake of outer air. The more spiritualized a man is the longer he can live in his own air and the less carbon dioxide he exhales.

The breath of a materialist ruins much more air than that of an idealist. Modern materialists can't live without a continual supply of fresh air. A man out in the country brings a certain rhythm into his life through his life with nature. Thereby the air that he exhales becomes better, whereas the city air gets full of poison through men's immorality. Plants stream out pure air, oxygen. They're pure, selfless, without desire, and that's why a man feels good among plants. But a continual supply of fresh air actually has an unfavorable effect on occult development, because one thereby takes too much life from plants. An esoteric learns to control his breathing process, and thereby he can have moments when he doesn't participate in the destructive process that's brought about by breathing. Thirdly a man learns to radiate back the light that the mineral kingdom reflects. He develops kundalini light and radiates it into the world, thereby giving light back to it—the light of the human kingdom. A man doesn't know what an important instrument he has in his organism. He knows the rest of the world better than he knows himself. He can in fact develop wonderful capacities.

A man has an organ in himself that fills with air when he inhales and loses this air when he exhales. It fills up with outside air right into its finest branches on inhalation. But spirit lives in the air around us. When a man inhales he breathes spirit in, and when he exhales he puts some of the spirit that lives in him into the exhaled air. The spirit develops in him ever more and also outside in the world through the rhythmicized, spirit-filled breath. The spiritual man's growth is promoted through breathing in and out. The most important thing is the spirit that a man puts into his exhaled breath. The spirit is built up by thoughts. A man builds up and streams out his spirit through every thought that he gives along with the exhalation. Man didn't always have an organ to inhale air. Beings breathed fire instead of air on old Moon. Just as we breathe oxygen in and out, so they breathed fire in and cold out. Future men will no longer breathe air. Just as a man prepares his warmth by feeding his warmth organ, the heart, with the blood circulation, through air streaming in from outside, so he will later have an inner air organ through which his organism will be supplied with what we now take in from the atmosphere. A man prepares his own warmth, that on old Moon had been directly sucked in from the environment by the beings there. A man will be able to elaborate the used up air in his interior. Later on he'll no longer live in an outer air. On Jupiter he'll live in light and inhale light just as we inhale air now and inhaled warmth on old Moon.

Overcoming of physical love or development of astral body and transformation into spirit self, ennoblement of animal kingdom ... wisdom

Rhythmization of breathing or development of the etheric body and transformation into life spirit, elevation of the plant kingdom ... beauty

Radiation of kundalini or development of physical body, transformation into spirit man, elevation of mineral kingdom ... power

When all of this has happened the mineral kingdom will pass over into a kind of plant kingdom, then the latter into an animal kingdom, etc. until the next round.