I started this blog in 2014 and have been writing an average of around one post a month on anthroposophical and other related themes ever since. My original purpose in writing was partly to help my own understanding of anthroposophy, through having to research and study particular topics, and partly to share my discoveries with people around the world, because I’m convinced that anthroposophy as a path for spiritual awakening and development is vital for all our futures.
Just lately, however, I have started to feel that in some respects I have failed as an anthroposophist and in this post I will set down why I think this is so. Of course, it has been good to share through this blog some of Steiner’s ideas that I’ve found really helpful; and in my personal and working lives it has also been good to be involved with biodynamic farms, anthroposophical trusts and educational bodies; but I’ve come to realise that the essential core of anthroposophy is really about studying and working with exercises to gain access to higher forms of knowledge and insight, so as to deepen ourselves as human beings. My approach up until now has been both an intellectual and an emotional path but this has not enabled me to develop the capacities for ‘living thinking’, nor to open up any latent abilities for spiritual insights (though I do have moments of intuition).
I have always had a blockage when it comes to meditation and feel that I lack the basic ability to do this, despite having tried hard on various occasions with various teachers and writers about meditation over the years. This inability to meditate is a serious stumbling block on the path to spiritual development, which means that I fall at the first hurdle and have no access to working with the mantras of the First Class or the exercises in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. This also means that the experiences and images Steiner describes when preparing to ‘cross the threshold’ between the physical/sense world and the non-visible worlds beyond are for me a closed book. Nor do I find The Philosophy of Freedom an easy work to engage with, though this is the book that Steiner said could be used like his Occult Science or Theosophy to produce an understanding of anthroposophy.
After years of reading Steiner’s lectures and books and writing about them on this blog, I feel that I can hold my own in conversations about most topics of anthroposophy, but I cannot claim to have developed any spiritual abilities whatsoever – no clairvoyance, no guidance from spiritual sources, no encounters with elementals or awareness of angels (apart from one encounter many years ago when I was in deep despair). So I remain stuck in what is primarily an intellectual worldview of anthroposophy but am making no progress in what should be the core, which is the development of new spiritual capacities.
If I were seeking excuses for my inadequacy, I might point out that many anthroposophists are in a similar position and that generally we are paying far too little attention to what Rudolf Steiner had to say about the importance of this schooling for ‘initiation’ and the meditation it demands. Study groups, in my limited experience at least, tend to concentrate on reading and discussing lecture cycles or books, which can be enjoyable and useful things to do – but shouldn’t we also be holding meditation groups or groups to discuss and share spiritual experiences? In such groups we could learn to work together, to be socially active and to get feedback from one another in our task of capacity building.
Steiner’s view was that: “Humanity must become a partaker of the spirit in order to carry its revelations into the physical world. Human beings must transform the earth by implanting in it what they have ascertained in the spiritual world. That is their task. It is only because the physical world is dependent upon the spiritual, and because human beings can work upon the earth, in a true sense, only if they are participators in those worlds in which the creative forces lie concealed – only for those reasons should they have the desire to ascend to the higher worlds. No one approaching esoteric training with these sentiments and resolved not to deviate for a moment from these prescribed directions (ie in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, from which this quotation is taken), will have the slightest danger to fear. No one should allow the prospect of these dangers to keep them from esoteric training; it should rather act as a strong challenge to one and all, to acquire those faculties which every true esoteric student must have.”
If that is our task, I now need to begin anew. I probably need to find a good teacher, or teachers, and groups to belong to where I can find help to discipline myself to do the exercises – again and again and again. As I now consider myself unqualified to write about some of these core aspects of anthroposophy, I will not be writing any more posts on this blog unless they are clearly from the perspective of a learner. I will keep the blog available on the web for the time being as it has many worthwhile topics on it and I know many people in many countries around the world have found it useful. Thanks to those of you who have shared this journey with me so far – I hope one day to be able to write again, from a place of authentic experience.