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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 36

Munich, 6-14-'08

Impatience slows development of the organs one needs to see into higher worlds. For many pupils already have spiritual organs developed before they know about them or know how to use them. It's like a sleeper who hears nothing because the ego and astral body have left his ears.

When we look at a rose its red color, form, etc. has a destructive effect on our retina. The rose sensation runs along our nerves and has a destructive effect on them. The astral body throws what the retina receives into the etheric body that thereby gets many impressions from outside daily.

What tears down the physical body builds things up in the etheric body. The latter builds itself up through impressions and experiences from outside. The astral body is also destroyed by outer impressions and then the I is supposed to build things up again. The astral body is harmoniously organized when it comes to a new incarnation and is then made disharmonious. That's the occult explanation for the fact that most children cry after they're born. Their astral body feels that entry into life destroys its harmony and it feels this as pain. This harmony can only be restored by the I, through the creation of thought pictures that the I throws into the etheric body via the astral body, and that are viable. Most of the impressions that we send to our etheric body in ordinary life are worthless as far as their vitality is concerned. We should create mental images that are clear and rightly structured and therefore are able to live. For instance, what the eyes receive from outside they throw onto the etheric body, on which the picture arises. The I then works on the etheric body from the other side via the astral body by forming a thought in this that it throws on the etheric body as an impression; and the main thing is that they should be the right, viable thoughts. These viable thoughts form our spiritual organs that'll make us clairvoyant. Just as Gods created our physical body harmoniously so that each organ and limb is at the right place, so we must form our astral and etheric bodies harmoniously and make our thoughts viable. This doesn't have to take long. An experienced esoteric often only needs a minute to harmonize his impressions again. One creates such organ-forming, vital impressions in one's etheric body through meditation, by immersing oneself in certain concepts, in eternal thoughts.

For instance, it's important for every pupil to meditate on the wisdom concept. This doesn't mean that he should form a firmly outlined, intellectual definition of wisdom. He should have mobile views about it that are easy to change. Wisdom and cleverness or erudition are very different things. Some beings don't think and yet are very wise. They execute plans very wisely, although they were created by other beings. There are also men who aren't clever or erudite but are wise. Now if one meditates on the wisdom concept in the right way some wisdom will flow into us, enlightenment from higher worlds will come to us.

A second concept that one should meditate on is love. What the average person calls love is often nothing but crass egotism. True love is always productive, as when an artist devotes himself creatively to his work. The Gods created our earth out of love as they devoted themselves entirely to the creation that they sweat out of themselves, as it were. What can unite love and wisdom is that I that always works at itself, that must always be egofied anew, as Fichte puts it. One only understands Fichte's philosophy rightly if one sees that the I must always create itself anew, must know itself anew. That's also what Meister Eckhart means when he says: What good is it to be a king if one isn't aware that one is one.

All things on higher planes throw shadows onto lower ones, and so I, wisdom and love work as thinking, feeling and willing on the next, lower plane. One who thinks intentively about it will realize that the I is changed into thinking, wisdom passes over into feeling, and productive love becomes will, that is the impulse to creativity, to devotion. To complement these three points and the triangle it's good to meditate on four other points and a square. Choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic beings create an etheric body for a man when he presses towards a new incarnation. Each man gets something from each of these beings, although one or the other usually predominates. This dominant temperament becomes manifest in a man's whole behavior, especially when he is young. For instance, phlegmatic beings are enemies of the philistine, petty things that a man would get into if he got too much from the melancholic beings. Choleric beings also become manifest in fire, sanguine ones in air, phlegmatics in water and melancholic beings in earth. Our earth is the outer expression for melancholy that has become physical. If one meditates on all of this one will someday lose consciousness of the outer world and will then know what eternity is and that birth and death are only changes. The etheric body will light up from the other side through the I and we'll see the effects of the eternal, live thoughts that we imprinted on it, namely, the clairvoyant organs that we can now use. If we're impatient and try to speed up this process the I illumines the etheric body, but we only see the outer impressions that were put into it, distorted pictures that are often horrible, or else beautiful, deceptive pictures. Therefore it's advisable to use the greatest care and patience in creating well formed, proper spiritual organs, for we're creating our future, our new earth with them. The Gods meditated our present planet, and what we create should be just as full of wisdom.

Every perusal of art also strengthens clairvoyant organs. For instance, when we look at a statue it's good to feel the forms and lines in one's thoughts. This strengthens our creative capacities.