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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 43

Munich, 1-7-'09

Every meditation has been handed down by great initiates for millennia; it's the path into super-sensible worlds. Each one gives us a picture of initiation, if only as a weak reflection. It's a picture of what we'll someday have, albeit a very faint picture.

So that the meditation can work into and upon us in the right way we should imagine the meditational material as pictorially as possible in a spiritual picture that we create for ourselves. For instance, when we receive the meditation:

In pure rays of light
gleams the Godhead of the world

we should try to strip off everything that fetters us to the sense world at these moments and devote ourselves as much as possible to these pictures and live in them.

Meditation should be the most important and sacred event of the day for us. If we immerse ourselves in these pictures as much as possible and let them live in us, then depending on how intensive and serious we are in this and on our karma we'll sooner or later experience a moment in which we notice that these pictures and ideas are realities, that they are a world in which we suddenly find ourselves and that's quite different from the outer world. We find that we're on the other side of things, as it were. Meditators who haven't advanced to vision yet will find that as soon as they begin to meditate they are attacked by thoughts about their surroundings and everyday life. All noises seem to become more disturbing and all stray images and thoughts become more insistent. It wouldn't do any good to fight them, because powers stand behind them. It would be as if one wanted to defend oneself against a swarm of bees by punching them: they would just attack one even more.

There's an occult way of silencing these unwanted thoughts, and that is to clearly imagine a shining Mercury staff with a black snake winding around it and then a white snake winding against the other one. The black snake symbolizes the materialistic thoughts of the lower self that disturb one, and the bright one the divine thoughts of the higher self. And when we place this symbol with its whole significance before our soul—where the bright snake coils against the black one—then all disturbances will disappear and we can immerse ourselves in our meditation. Those who have attained clairvoyance are disturbed by wild animal visions that are very ugly or sometimes seductively beautiful and that comes from passions and desires. Here too the mental image of the Mercury staff is the only antidote.

Depending on karma we'll sooner or later have the feeling that our I is being torn to pieces when we devote ourselves completely to our meditation. This feeling must arise and it's quite right up to a point. We ordinarily feel like a unit in an enclosed physical body, but we must consider that we are very composite and complicated, and that the spiritual world to which we mostly belong isn't anything simple. Thrones, Kyriotetes, Dynamis and Exusiai worked on our physical, etheric, astral bodies and I on Saturn, Sun, Moon and earth, respectively. All kinds of high spiritual beings worked on our physical body on old Sun and Moon. Some built our larynx, others the heart or the liver; reproductive organs were created by some beings and the digestive apparatus by others, and so on. At a certain stage a meditator gets the feeing that he divides and gets into the hands of all of these powers and loses himself in them. One who hasn't attained vision yet will then have a nothing feeling, as if the meditation was not bearing any fruit. This is depressing, but there's no great danger here either for the meditator or the meditation. A clairvoyant will hear the voice of a figure and then also see it, and this will whisper to him that the world that he sees is an illusion that he's creating himself. This is the temptation that approaches him from the other side and doesn't want him to ascend into spiritual worlds but tries to hold him back in the sense world forcibly. And this temptation is a great danger. The occult way to combat this is to imagine the rose cross. The rose cross is the symbol for the Mystery of Golgotha. The cross, the symbol of death, out of which with the blood that flowed out of the five wound-roses sprout as a symbol of life. If we bring this symbol and its whole significance before our soul we'll have an unbeatable weapon against the power that leads us into temptation. And why? Because Christ through his death, at the moment when his blood flowed, united himself with the earth's astral body and brought it new life and light. He lives in this astral body as the astral light that shines in darkness. When we've attained vision we see in this astral light. Thus the rose cross is the symbol for the light that conquers the powers of darkness.

We see objects with our physical eyes because they're dark and they reflect light. But when we attain vision through our meditation, the dark sheath that covers objects will get thinner and thinner. We'll see the astral light in them shine, the light in the darkness, and they'll thereby disclose their interior to us. We'll know the forces that are at work in them and we'll live with them. We'll not only see a red, cubic crystal from outside, but we'll feel the forces that build it up and spread red light over its surface through green light. If someone wanted to get inside by breaking it apart he would only create more outer surfaces. One only presses inside if one sees in astral light. To be able to stand this astral light neophytes had to prepare themselves in a kind of a sleep in a grave. After seeing the astral light, Paul was without sight for three days.

If our meditation is done correctly, it should leave us spiritually strengthened. We often have no feeling that this occurred, but every meditation has an effect sooner or later and we often harvest the fruits unexpectedly years later. One who doesn't greedily and impatiently demand growth but is satisfied with little, will always receive a spiritual strengthening.