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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 35

Berlin, 6-5-'08

The content of what's given in an esoteric class isn't much different from what's given in an exoteric one—it's the way that it's given that's different. An esoteric shouldn't just imbibe information. Every class should be an experience of his soul. At the end of a class we should be different from what we were before it.

In esoteric schools they used to say: If you don't know whether you should do something or not, don't do it. But one can't say this to an exoteric, because he'd get lazy and wouldn't get experiences. One finds the following exchange in a Rosicrucian book: The pupil's heart asks the teacher: How do I find the path to higher development? The teacher answers: When you find the place that's free from all personal things. The pupil's heart asks: Where do I find this place? The teacher: In your I that wills without self, and that thinks without sense perception. Question: How can I will without a self, how can I think without senses? Answer: Will without I, think outside of your self.

People often ask whether it wouldn't be better to use the time that one uses for development for doing good deeds in the world. But occultists must reply that time that's spent on development isn't wasted. For a man can only work well and rightly for mankind by making himself more perfect. Outer deeds that seem to be ever so good can be harmful; one just doesn't know it. There's chaos in our soul now; we must develop it into an organism, just as our body was made into a well structured organism through the wisdom of higher beings. We attain this by bringing certain lines and figures before our souls and finding out what they mean. (See the previous lesson.) The three upper dots have come together voluntarily; reflected over into the soul element they make themselves into a triangle with sides.

a=devotion, leading up to the Gods; i=a particular direction that's supposed to lead to the divine; o= the all embracing God-head; the embracing of revealed form; u=resting in the Godhead and feeling protected in divine peace; e=a streaming in from far distant spaces (overcoming of difficulties); ei=divine revelation into men before which one retreats shyly with reverence; oe=same as ei but more so. A man feels that he's enclosed in his body with the active Gods outside.