My failures as an anthroposophist

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.

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76 responses to “My failures as an anthroposophist

  1. Ton Majoor

    The three cited sentences from CW 26 would represent thinking (knowledge), feeling (need of the heart, need of the life of feeling, inner need), but foremost willing (justification, satisfaction).

    “… the nearer we come to modern times the more we see how, in the so-called Rosicrucian training — conditioned by the demands and requirements of humanity — a particular kind of will culture, the exercise of the will is introduced. Although the meditations are at first similar to those of pre-Christian schools, there nevertheless prevails everywhere at the basis of the Rosicrucian exercises a particular training of the element of Will.” (GA0104/19080619)

    See https://en.anthro.wiki/Initiation

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  2. Tom

    Everything helps Jeremy — to think anthro thoughts in study becomes food for the hierarchies I hear — a + contribution to the greater good — it surely also has to prep one for the interim life in spirit then the next physical one 🙂 yeah?

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  3. Nigel

    This a great audio book version of how to know higher worlds ; The way of initiation – A modern edition . https://www.scribd.com/listen/427489270 .

    I’ve always found breathing techniques to be the best method for meditation . And if time’s an issue I’ve had great results meditating in the middle of the night .

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    • Ton Majoor

      Compare: “The ideal of the development is that no exercises be made at all by means of the physical body itself, also no breathing exercises, but that everything that occurs in the physical body in this way should only come about as a consequence of pure intuition exercises.” GA013_c05-07

      Bringing rhythm into life, is also described as “preparing the philosopher’s stone”. GA055/19070314

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  4. Nigel

    I should have been more specific regarding meditation for the purists .. If you’re struggling with getting started ; the breathing exercise is a great method to get you going .. When you become more proficient – advanced you don’t need said exercise. .

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  5. Beena

    It is interesting that the jab is purported to take you away from spirituality… do you feel this has occurred for you? I’m genuinely interested as I am facing mandates of a loss of my job.

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    • No, I don’t, at least not so far.

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      • Emanuel Blosser

        Hi Beena, I agree with Jeremy. I see no effect on my spiritual activity from the Phizer vaccine. Nor do I see any effect from the social force of mandating it for my healthcare job. Healthcare jobs have for decades required a whole set of vaccines as a legislated condition of employment. But then as I explained in the post earlier today, my spiritual activity is purely spiritual and isn’t based on any substance or activity of the body nor of the social situation of my earthly body. So why would it be effected? The father remains just as good a father and the bureaucrate maintains his daily affairs. The path of knowledge that sets time aside from the daily affairs to develop new forces in evolution is universal and doesn’t care what karmic situation your body is entrapped by. Rather it sees life forces being released in the body and starting the enlivening of the mineral kingdom that prepares for the future Jupiter conditions when the ego creates separation from the astral body. Every karmic situation has non-essential activities in it that can be set aside for time in spiritual activity. The book says everyone can find at least 5 min in every day. Cheers, Manny

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  6. Nigel

    Also the breathing is only to help you get into the meditative state . Once in the state you should have subjects to meditate on . Which is what Steiner is referring to .

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  7. Emanuel Blosser

    Dear All,

    Steiner writes in ‘Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and It Attainment’ in chapter 1 six carefully defined sets of thoughts and feelings to create a new self experience and proceed with that new self to do deeds on the earth that have cosmic evolutionary significance. The chapter ends with concentrating these thoughts and feelings down into a process that has 3 stages. The higher self can work upon the earth by preparing, enllightening, and initiating what it can see in the spiritual world. The text describes the birth of this second or higher self that can step forward and do such deeds as the fifth step after four prerequisites are established. The first of the four prerequisites for birth of the higher self is devotion to truth and knowledge where the ego steps out of the egoism of body bound sense life. The second is to enter the realm of living thoughts that release life forces by leaving the realm of dead thoughts that slay soul forces. The third is to establish the boundary of free will between what one individually knows and what one doesn’t know yet. The fourth is to divide the essential from the non-essential to create inner tranquility in bodily consciousness.

    When the ego has created these conditions for itself by willing the thoughts and feelings that are prescribed in the text, then it can separate from the body and become the higher self that is otherwise only awake during sleep and death. Death occurs when the ether body separates from the mineral body. Sleep occurs when the astral body separates from the ether body. The higher self that is awake during sleep and death can at this point in evolution wake up also when the ego separates from the astral body. This waking up by separating the ego from the astral body begins in very small moments set aside from the daily affairs of life. The higher self wakes in these moments and then sleeps again. As the ability to divide the essential from the non-essential to establish the boundary between what is known and what is still unknown by observing which thoughts release life forces and which slay soul forces to strengthen the devotion to truth and knowledge the higher self can stay awake for longer and longer moments. These moments of the higher self being awake when the body is also awake Steiner says is the life in mediation. He also says that nothing in the body’s activity or the outer world can support, assist, or effect this development of the life of the higher self in meditation.

    As these moments gain strength and duration the higher self can enter the trials that are described in the next section of the book. Before it can enter the trials there are four new developments for it to learn. First it has to concentrate the six steps of the first chapter into a working process within itself. Then it can learn the thoughts and feelings required to observe the forms of growth and decay and hear the spiritual words. Third it can learn to look at the three lower kingdoms of nature and see the three auric colors there. Forth it learns the thoughts and feelings required to see the flame of life and the flame of consciousness in the human bodies. Then it can enter the fire trial where it learns to see the future karmic debt that needs to be satisfied by reading the occult script that shows in the words that are heard in the forms of growth and decay, the colors that are seen in the lower kingdoms of nature, and the flames of life and consciousness. Then it is prepared for the water trial where it learns to do the deeds that these forms, colors, and tones say need to be done. Once it learns the certainty required to read and do these deeds then it can graduate to the air trial where it has to do the deeds out of its own certainty without the guidance of the forms, colors, and tones of the occult script. Then it graduates to the temple of wisdom.

    More work is required for it strengthen the duration of its separation from the astral body in the temple of wisdom. The chapters continue through the Practical Aspects, Conditions, and Results. Then further recapitulates are described in the chapters on Transformation of the Dream Life, Continuity of Consciousness, and Splitting of the Personality where these realities grow and deepen. Then the final judgements are made by the two Guardians as to whether the higher self is mature enough to take over their work in the evolution of the cosmos and the enoblement of the human being. Then the separation between the ego and the astral body can be maintained continually so the the higher self can work as an eternal universal Christ being directly into the individuality of the other three bodies with spiritual purpose transforming the kingdoms of nature giving life to the dead minerals, consciousness to the sleeping plants, and self-conscious ego to the animals raising them up a step on the evolutionary sequence so that on the future Jupiter evolution of the earth there is no dead mineral kingdom.

    That was all written out in the necessary and sufficient detail beginning in 1904 and last edited in 1918. Then in 1924, Michael appears in the School of Spiritual Science. In Michael’s words the six steps of chapter 1 and all the steps up to the temple of wisdom, and then up through the chapter on splitting of the personality are concentrated down into two mantric stanzas that take us up to meeting the judgement of the lower guardian that shows us our true being and the greater guardian that show us our ideal image. The first lesson gives the mantra that says look at the four kingdoms of nature, the living colors, the lifeless forms, the sentient joys, and the human bodies. Feel the wisdom, beauty and majesty there. Know that within all that wisdom, beauty, and majesty there is nothing that can answer the questions of who I am and was and will become anymore. These questions have become completely dark and cold and separated from all that wisdom, beauty, and majesty. Karma, culture, and nature have turned our three soul forces into beasts that have nothing to do with the wisdom, beauty, and majesty that nature presents to our senses. They fear creative spirit being, scorn spirit revelation, and doubt the power of spirit light. This is our true being at this point in evolution.

    Merde. Pardon my French.

    But there is now the light shining from the future in the words that Steiner spoke from Michael giving us the words of the greater guardian describing our ideal image there in the future at the end of time. Contrary to modern materialistic science based on isolated dead phenomena measured and modeled with mathematical calculations, time has an end and a beginning. But right now we’re in the middle, turning away from all that began in darkness and turning to what needs to be created to get to the end in the light of Christ.

    Michael says that the guardian says that the guardian is the only messenger that can lead to the light at end of time from this dark dangerous dumb dead dungeon we are stuck in. If the lower self takes hold of such an ‘only’ statement then it becomes just another egotistical rant. But if we enter fully into this feeling of isolation and separation from the wisdom, beauty, and majesty that is all around us but not in our inner being, then the ego separates from the astral body and is no longer bound to being egotistical. If it does that without the guiding words of the guardian then it will lose itself in nothingness. Instead it can follow the words of Steiner in ‘Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment’ or ‘Philosophy of Spiritual Activity’. Both also guide the ego out of the body into stable reality outside the body, but modern life doesn’t give a time and place for all those details to be constructed. Michael revealing the words of the guardian directly, shorten the path. It can start now. It is still a long path that leads step by step through three future evolutions of the earth to the end of time. But to get there we need to start now creating separation between the ego and the astral body so that the higher self with its universal and eternal life can begin the long path of becoming active in the transitory world of space and time. Michael’s words give us the idea that space is at this point in evolution devoid of soul and that thought loses its living force in the destruction stream of time.

    The famous words ‘one small step for man, one giant step for mankind’ also apply to the ego separating from the astral body. It begins with one small step. The Michael words say, ‘with anxious seeking soul we turn to the light which from darkness takes its strength.’

    Sincerely,
    Manny

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    • Ton Majoor

      These 3 stages preparing, enlightening, and initiating in KOHW correspond to the Rosicrucian Estimation, Imagination and Inspiration, leaving Steiner’s 4th principle of Intuition (Preparing the Philosopher’s Stone) out. GA266/19080412 and GA015_c02:

      “A person who is able to look into the spiritual world is called esoterically a “clairvoyant,” but merely to be clairvoyant is not enough, for such a man might be able to see well enough although unable to discriminate. He who has acquired the faculty of distinguishing the various beings and events of higher worlds, is called an “Initiate,” Initiation brings with it the possibility of distinguishing between different kinds of beings.”

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