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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 40

Munich, 11-8-'08

Esoteric and exoteric lectures don't have to be very different as far as content goes, but one should keep in mind that the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings speak to us in an esoteric class. The important thing is in how an esoteric class is given and that we should let its effects live in our soul. Classes are given to us so that in life we like to think back to them and let them form a central core in our soul. They're complements to the exercises that an esoteric has to do.

We know that these exercises bring about colossal changes in the astral body that had previously been disordered and unstructured, although it was a harmonious whole, so that islands and pockets are created through which we begin to form organs. These astral organs are the canals through which the masters let communications from higher worlds flow into evolution to promote it. We intervene in the Gods' world order through this independent formation of astral organs, we challenge it by using forces that it had previously used for other things, and namely to protect the astral body from the effects of negative qualities.

An esoteric must try to be objective about his neighbor's qualities and be able to notice and tolerate their negative qualities without judging them. For instance, he should say: I see that this man is vain and ambitions, but at the present stage of his development these qualities are just as necessary as other, positive ones. We can compare things with a tree here. Even though the bark is the dying part of a tree-organism, it is necessary to protect the interior in which vital juices and forces circulate. Some of the forces must be used for bark formation, but not all, otherwise the tree would lignify, wither and die. But nature sees to it that the tree's inner life forces counteract this and regulate the process. That's the way things are with respect to a man's negative qualities such as ambition and vanity and their effect on the astral body, that make it look as if it had light rays in the form of needles coming out of it that become fainter and further out.

The divine world order sees to it that these needles don't go deeper into an ordinary person's astral body by sending forces out from within to the astral body's skin, like a tree towards its bark, and thereby makes these needles into an outer protective wall. Although an esoteric must be objective and lenient about these qualities in other men, he must be strict with himself and get rid of ambition and vanity. For he uses his protective forces for other things, so that his astral body wouldn't be able to prevent the needles from permeating it and eventually sickening the physical body.

Another negative quality that lazy people often have is envy. It arises in the soul because one compares one's achievements with those of other people and painfully feels their superiority This makes the astral body's substance cloudy and opaque. Divine forces counteract this in an ordinary person. Anger is another negative quality. It becomes manifest in the astral body as condensations with thorns. Since an esoteric no longer has the protective forces that other people have, he must develop others. Some people say that one should combat vanity, envy, etc. by fighting them directly. This would definitely not be the right thing for an esoteric. Fighting ambition and vanity would get him too involved with himself, and that would just worsen these errors. Instead, he should think about man's seven-fold nature and his various bodies intensively. If one does this every time that one especially feels these qualities, one will notice that they eventually disappear The cure for envy is to meditate on beauty in art and nature in some particular form that shouldn't have any thing to do with the envied person. If we occupy ourselves with something beautiful whenever we feel envy, it will gradually disappear. Some people get angry at city noise, but the really harmful thing there is the demons that the noise keeps in check. One must be able to live in noise without getting angry. An esoteric attains this by meditating intensively on the four sentences in Light of the Path or on other verses that were given to us. Then one will see that the noise and anger gradually disappear. Anger also has a very bad effect on an esoteric's physical body. When we transform our errors in this meditative way, we build a temple in us into which we can withdraw from noise, in which we gather forces, from which we can get strength, calm and enthusiasm. Thereby we'll feel ever more intensely that we're a big family gathered round the shining central point of the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings from which light and life flow down to us. Our goal will then float before us ever more as a shining star that nothing can darken anymore.