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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Lessons I
GA 266

Number 54

Berlin, 10-26-'09

An esoteric who meditates and is approached by things from outside could ask: Would this have happened to me if I hadn't become an esoteric? An esoteric should make it his duty to observe life and himself very intimately. The fact that he has set out on this path should stand at the center of his life, for him, for he is a small center of spiritual life, and this radiates out into his environment—more of less unconsciously for him—and brings about the things that approach him. Through his higher development, a pupil leaves his lower self that connects him with the outer world alone—at least for a short time. During meditation he leaves it to itself and qualities that we thought we had overcome already crawl out from all corners of our nature and can make us worse if we don't keep ourselves under firm control. Certain exercises have been given us to support us here, in addition to our meditations.

As you know, everything runs cyclically, and this is also true of development. If we begin an esoteric training now, then after seven years all kinds of qualities that were slumbering in us can emerge strongly and set one back. But this can't happen if a man pays enough attention to himself, his life and his surroundings.

Anyone who has a hidden opposition to his teacher will find that this feeling soon breaks through and adversely influences the effect of meditation. In an esoteric's daily meditations he should keep it in mind that he's mainly trying to get through to his higher self, and he should reflect on what this higher self is. He shouldn't think that he's supposed to bring something to this higher self—he should have an expectant attitude towards him and expect everything from him. Usually there are three ways in which it approaches a pupil on his path. The first way is a rather flitting one and it requires the attentiveness that an esoteric should have for all things. Namely, this is in a dream, and what happens there is what one calls a doubling of the I. For instance, one has a problem or wants to do something. Then someone appears to one in a dream who tells one what to do or who solves the problem, one who is better and cleverer than oneself. One should pay attention to such dreams. Then in the course of development it may happen in helpless moments or at times when one has made a decision that one hears a quiet voice that, for instance, advises one not to do what one has decided on. It's often a decision that one has made with the best knowledge and conscience, and if one follows the voice that nevertheless advises against it, it may seem as if one has done the wrong thing, but in by far the most cases, one will immediately notice that one did the right thing in following the voice. Now, if one practices paying attention to this, one will notice that one has something in one that's higher than one's own reason, that's cleverer than one is oneself. And the third time that one confronts one's higher self is a very important and sacred one. This is during meditation. One will only unite with him for short moments there. But to attain this, one must silence one's whole lower nature. We must eliminate everything that fills us with antipathy or petty feelings for the world and life. In observing himself, a pupil must always keep the polarity law in mind, that is, if he has a bad quality and wants to get rid of it, he must also look for the opposite quality in himself. It's certainly there. The presence of one quality definitely conditions the existence of the opposite one, whether one believes it or not, and this must be eradicated—then the other one also disappears. For instance, if one feels then there's also the polar hate in one, be it ever so hidden, and one has to drive this out. Then the fear disappears by itself. The higher self will only unite with us if such qualities are eradicated in meditational moments.

This union with the higher self is beautifully depicted in the saga of Lohengrin and Elsa. Lohengrin comes to save Elsa, to unite himself with her. Distrust, a negative quality is sown in her soul, and the higher self, Lohengrin, must withdraw to higher worlds, can't unite with her.