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.
166 responses to “My failures as an anthroposophist”
Jeremy I think you are being too hard on yourself — from my perspective your writings reflect a living anthroposophy full of nourishment and pure thinking. My understanding is that this is much needed in our world today so it is sad that you feel your contribution to be unauthentic . I think there are no hard and fast rules about living in anthroposophy — we find our own inner relationship to the spiritual world and Steiner indications are guidelines but one size does not fit all. Sometimes trying too hard to do all the “right” things can actually block our connection to the spiritual beings whereas gentle honest seeking in a living way can bring us far closer than any amount of practising meditation . Love and blessings, Laura
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I absolutely agree. We share what we can from where we are on the path. I, too, got so little out of Philosophy of Freedom that I thought I was a dumb dumb; but low and behold, five years later, I picked up the book again and found that I could read it easily. Not only that, I found the reading very enjoyable, whereas previously, I just didn’t “get it”.
With meditation, I found that I just could not do it. Then one night, I thought that I would just sit and feel peace in my body (with the idea that I could radiate the feeling ( no matter how infinitesimally). Low and behold the experience balanced me and was very enjoyable. So I decided that I could make a contribution to my neighborhood (no matter how ever so slightly). It feels wonderful and it feels like meditation.
As far as the spiritual exercises, I was incompetent, except for the accounting of my day’s activity backward at the start of my evening prayer. I also shared in my prayers what event of the day brought me the most delight. Father seemed pleased with this attempt at prayer. I also studied The Lord’s Prayer from the Aramaic and praying the prayer in that language is never the same experience twice because Aramaic is not a perceptual language (like English, Latin, etc.). So I usually include The Lord’s Prayer in my nightly prayer, also.
These tiny efforts towards my spirituality come with the reading of Steiner books and the books of Maurice Nicoll. I am fortunate to be able to feel the presence of the spirit and see with the eye of faith at times. I am not discouraged by my lack of greater abilities. I hope anthropopper comes back to share from whatever changing psychological/spiritual place he finds himself.
I hear your pain. The first step in initiation is “study” and so we are all on that first step of a very long road. You mustn’t beat yourself up like this. That first step is a huge one. Many will not take it and we should not take it for granted. The intellectual work we do regarding our study is essential and the fruits will be how we interact with the spiritual world when we have crossed the threshold. One day the results will be felt. Let us not fall into the illusion of not “seeing” anything… And not being worthy, is a huge temptation. We see more than we think we do but it takes time to realise this. I don’t know if this helps at all but your work goes a long way to help many. It will all come at the right time for each of us. May the wings of enthusiasm carry us ahead and trust in God be our foundation.
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I totally relate to what you have said and feel exactly the same!
I think this combination of spiritual despair and frustration is common despite many experiences that we dismiss or forget. Most of my insights have occurred during times of physical trauma, a sudden loosening from the bonds of physicality such as childbirth, accident and illness. But I do take more notice of signs now, I notice the words that arise in a surprising fashion which I then hear have had impact, and I have a clairvoyant daughter who I can ask, ‘did you see that?’ She always nods and we smile, I am such a novice! There is such good in striving, such power in sharing. Thankyou for all your words Jeremy, truly where the ripple ends we have no idea. x
Laura’s response feels exactly right, Mr Smith. Steiner’s teaching has led me to one insight that can light up everything else: communion with higher levels of reality is not really something anyone can learn, earn, or work to achieve in any ordinary sense. The disciplines Steiner commends might help to enable such communion, but they neither cause nor guarantee it. We have to wait for such moments to come to us, holding ourselves ready, sometimes for what seem impossibly long stretches. My experience of such brief moments as have come to me so far have always been recognitions, a sudden realisation that ‘Oh, that was you there all along, wasn’t it?’ It can be very hard to keep my spirits up when it feels as though nothing will ever progress, but perhaps our sense of time dragging on is itself an illusion? Like the limitations of childhood viewed from an adult perspective, once we arrive, the difficulties that may have transfixed us then will no longer burden us with the same weight.
Here’s hoping, anyway!
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I think you have a great blog and an honest, feeling approach to anthroposophy. That is what is needed, not a lot of “advanced meditation” ideas. I too find Steiner’s writings very difficult, almost impossible to read. But I have enormous respect for him as a practical man–biodynamics, medical work, education. That is why I’ve stayed with the movement for 50-plus years–also, it’s where I met my spouse and how I became a Mom. Couldn’t have happened otherwise. If you are a “bad anthroposophist” I am a terrible one, for I feel that Steiner was never able to free himself from the philosophical incubus of German Idealism. In his writing he was never able to have his “feel on the ground.” The practical work is entirely and miraculously different.
Oh Jeremy please consider continuing your post, you are a lifeline to many of us who are UK citizens but whose destiny has led them to remote corners of the world. I am living in eastern Poland [50 miles from the Belarussian border] (and for a long time now) and I am honestly alone in my anthroposphical quest. I studied theology in London in my twenties (I’m in my fifties now) (Thomas Aquinas was my favourite:) )and was attracted to the religious atmosphere that is tangible here. However, while on maternity leave and enduring the long, cold Polish winter, I decided to read the bibliography of an esoteric book I had in my possession. I saw the name Rudolf Steiner and a brief summary of his writings. I thought I would search the net to see if his work would provide some satisfaction for my spiritual hunger and unfulfilment. I have not been disappointed, I have been an avid reader and follower ever since. I don’t wish to go into detail but there is strong opposition to anything anthroposophical here. (Although there is now a website and offices being opened up…just this year.) I am very dependent on the content you provide and check avidly for any new post but I do also respect your personal necessity and choice. Albeit with much sadness. Please, please consider offering an on-line group, an internet link-up perhaps where we can share our insights and challenges. I am prepared to pay a donation or monthly fee for such a possibility. I lost my Polish catholic friends some time ago 😦 …and now I feel I will lose my anthroposphical friend(s) / link…at a time when we / I need it so much. I know Rudolf Steiner was very much in favour for active group connections and I am aware we really have to work hard to maintain such links. I feel a very strong responsibility to try to do this. You have provided a wonderful blog whose content is so valued and I agree with Laura who has written above, your genuine, honest approach can bring us all closer and even help with meditation and personal growth through exercises. You are bringing so many people together, often a heavy burden I’m sure on times, but you are very much appreciated and I truly hope you’ll continue to be available and active in the future. With love and much hope, xxx
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Thank you very much for your kind words, which moved me. Although I won’t be blogging so much in the near future, I would like to suggest that you can do something which I’m planning to do and that is to join an online group which is studying Knowledge of the Higher Worlds via Zoom. This is coordinated by Dr Sue Peat from Rudolf Steiner House in London and her email address is here: email@example.com
I will send you any further links that I come across that may help you to feel less out on a limb and please feel free to write to me at any time if there is anything you wish to share or ask about.
Very best wishes,
Over the years I have been reading your blog, as I have said I believe more than once, you have been a major influence in my awakening to Spiritual Science. Admittedly, I have not always agreed with your views or actions, which, sadly on my part, comes across all too clearly in your previous post.
I feel myself far behind all those I have come to know across this globe of a shrinking Earth in the (widening) circle of Anthroposophists. This includes you, my friend. However, if it be of any consolation or comfort, of the many lectures, books, etc. that I have read of Dr. Steiner’s, one thing stands out at the moment; In our age we need not be clairvoyant to consider ourselves (true) Anthroposophists, nor do we need to achieve such heights to function for the betterment and growth (ascension) of humanity toward the 6th epoch. In fact, as I understand it, the (atavistic) clairvoyance “of old” is not where we are headed, but rather a new clairvoyance that is (for lack of proper terminology in this moment of my typing) is becoming inherent in our makeup, a natural progression of who and what we are as Human Beings.
If I am at all accurate in my understanding shared above, you, sir, are “right on track” and a valuable part of our community. In the world today – as dark and darkening as it is as Ahriman builds his material kingdom – it may seem to many of us (as it seems all to often to myself) that our “circle” is either small, and, the gods forbid, shrinking – but this simply is not the case.
I don’t know if this helps, but to many that I engage with – who are not just Anthroposophists and many not Christian or spiritual – I use the following metaphorical picture.
Each of us functions like the smooth stone thrown into the center of a calm pond. We are thrown not of our own “steam” but by the strength of those spiritual beings and elementals by whom we are what we are. But we are the stone, the white stone upon which is written a new name ( ‘I’ ). Upon hitting the water (of life) it creates ripples that flow out to all around us, affecting everyone and everything around us for the good of humankind. It is a synergy between the exercise of our free will and the subsequent energies of higher beings that ripple out and influence the world for the better.
You are, for my (spiritual science) life, one of the most important stones to hit the pond of my life. Yes, you are one of many (thank the gods!) but you are one of the first whose words written in this blog provided enough clarity to continue the pursuit of higher truths contained in Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy.
I respect your resolve to “back away”. I too have a blog where I have worked hard to share what I know – to no obvious effect. I tire of the effort. I too have decided to back away from the effort to concentrate on other ventures (further learning and my personal fiction writing). However, please don’t take the site down and, on occasion, check comments to see if there is someone (like myself) covets your view on some topic. Thanks for all you have done here – many have profited.
If only the true “initiates” were allowed to speak it would be a silent world indeed. We need the voice of every sincere lover of the spirit to speak, loudly, clearly, repeatedly, from their own experience. Because that is how we recognize each other and ourselves. Rudolf Steiner set a high bar. The honor and gratitude we owe him is beyond words to express. But don’t for a minute question the value and power of your own thoughts in these blogs. Anthroposophy needs interpreters, needs living souls who have opened themselves to this high spirituality and can articulate for those of us newbies how they work with this material. Grappling, questioning, sharing of experience, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, in all avenues of inner and outer life. We need more. Because its real and true but the parameters aren’t clear. It needs thoughtful discourse, thru blogs like this, where someone takes hold of the ideas and communicates their lived experience for it to enter into the world and begin to be made manifest. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Not one, two. You have an audience, another writer will have a different audience, all are needed. Your life, your thoughts, your talent are authentic just as they are. I’m listening and grateful for your sharing.
Please keep sharing, you help so many to grow awareness and gain interest to live in the world of wonder that these readings seed.
Trust in the ever presence 🙂
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I have deep respect for your decision. After working in and around Waldorf schools for over 30 years, I made the same decision for myself. Taking up the meditative work is the best thing I’ve ever done. ~Wendy
I am crying while I write this message.
Your blog is a godsend jeremy, nobody needs special endowments to reach
the stars of the spirit.
We live in a time of great revelations, the death of an old order and Birth of a new, We must keep the good from the old order.
I love paintings, especially the old masters, Titian, Durer, Turner, El Greco, Rubens, the dutch stillleben masters. I remember going to the gare d’Orsay exhibition, on the top floor You were met by a gigantic light emanating from pretty small paintings…..they were the impressionists…..I was flabbergasted…..many of them delved in the occult, so did many musicians etc…what an ambience these people must have lived in…Your blog does this for me, it is spiritual work…..
I had three books when psychic survival was essential: selvarajan Yesudian Sport and Yoga, The Mysteries of the Chartres Cathedral were two of th books my grandfather had that he’d never opened….they saved my life….I found the third book myself: Gopi Krishna kundalini the evolutionary energy in man. What Gopi Krishna tried to hammer into our minds is that our brain is the most overlooked organ and extremely sensitive at that…this is being discovered now and a lot is being done in research… All the true masters point to this energy, Steiner too, Edgar Cayce had a study group on the revelation from the bible, it’s all about this energy, he calls it the kundaline force, the imaginary force…and mentions it 17 times in in his readings..
In the atomic age the morals of men have to be raised say these people, but they also say they too are prone to failures….
The Dark forces never win they are premeditated, the spirit is “INSPIRED”, in the now and will never let us down. Gopi Krishna says in one of his downloaded poems from above: 1 billion hours of benevolent work Can save the planet. This from ca 1980, he died in 1984 and exclaimed: “ We Will succeed..!”
I sincerely hope You will continue this eloquent and beautiful blog…it and You are very much needed…..
Rest in Natural Great Peace…….
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Jeremy thank you so much for your blog. I am a young anthroposophist myself and have learned a lot through your blog. I support you wholeheartedly and, like you, I am constantly struggling with my spiritual development based on the path suggested by RS. Thank you for your words.
I read this article (or perhaps it would be better to call it a confession or an outburst) and I said to myself that I could write it by referring it to myself. What you say / write is a common thought to many of us who identify with Anthroposophical ideas. In fact, all Anthroposophy is based only on the prediction that starting around the 1950s, a certain part of humanity would have the possibility of encountering the etheric Christ. All this did not come true. It is good to be clear. Whether the reason is our inadequacy or an excessively utopian vision on the part of Dr. Steiner is the subject of speculation, but the reality is that none of this has come true, but I don’t stop calling myself Anthroposophus for “mindset”. I reason as an Anthroposophus for my free choice, but this does not prevent me from recognizing the reality of the facts that it would be absurd to want to hide behind inconsistent justifications. We could say to ourselves that all our intellectual effort has been useless and abandon the Anthroposophical idea as we abandon an old thing made obsolete by the times, but I don’t think so, even if I don’t preclude the possibility that in the future I could reconsider all my convictions and abandon it, but for me it is still a treasure chest of spiritual treasures on which to reflect especially now, in the dark times we are living in.
Excuse me Mr Forni but there have been some different “meeting with the Christ” around the world, (also here in Italy) not to say about those well known in the “Anthro circles” , as George Ritchie’s or Von Halle’s…Luckily enough
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Andrea, my experience in Assisi, is hard to put into words. It began as soon as I walked into the church, powerful place is Assisi.
I apologize to Jeremy and the other blog commentators for expressing myself in Italian, but it is easier for me to contact my friend Andrea Franco, with whom I have already had the opportunity to talk about this very same topic on Facebook (which I no longer use for some time).
Caro Andrea, Se non vado errato, abbiamo già discusso in passato di questo e la mia opinione di allora è rimasta la stessa. Prendo atto di quello che dici. Confesso di non sapere nulla di George Ritchie che tu citi (non si può essere informati di tutto purtroppo), ma conosco bene la vicenda Judith Von Halle e tutte le polemiche e gli strascichi che hanno diviso il movimento Antroposofico sulla sua figura e la sua storia personale, ma che io sappia finora nessun altro si è fatto avanti per portare la propria testimonianza a favore di quanto avrebbe dovuto verificarsi e che purtroppo non si è verificato o se vuoi si è verificato in quantità del tutto trascurabile ben lontana da quanto lo Steiner si aspettava. C’è inoltre da da dire che la personalità di Judith V.H. è del tutto eccezionale ed atipica anche riguardo a tutta la casistica collaterale di fenomeni fisici collegati alla sua persona. Le aspettative di Rudolf Steiner erano ben altre, e si può dire che queste aspettative sono state ribadite persino “ad nauseam”, ed ogni lettore sa bene tutto questo. Detto questo, ognuno poi giudica secondo il proprio punto di vista. Per quanto mi riguarda, cerco in primo luogo di essere obiettivo, e l’obiettività mi impone di spogliarmi di ogni veste “ideologica” nel giudicare la realtà.
Wow, what an honest assessment ! After a lifetime (? ) of living with anthroposophical study and 7 (!) years of your blog writing..
I , too, hear an echo in many of your sentiments .
There is ,as always , another side to this story, though , and here it is : ,
Rudolf Steiner was once asked about this by some of his students/ followers.
: Why is it that we don’t have any success in our spiritual strivings ?
His answer was simply : We all have thousands of spiritual experiences every day , we just pass them by and don’t notice them .
( these are my own words , in the absence of the exact quote , )
‘ Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, den können wir erlösen :
Love Michael x x x
P.S. I shall be harvesting the Light Roots next week if you fancy coming along to join me …..
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‘the essential core of anthroposophy is really about studying and working with exercises’
Comparing and studying Steiner’s various descriptions of spiritual methods, I would consider the first essential step of spiritual development as ‘probation'(CW 10, c03), ‘material knowledge’ (CW 12, c01), ‘preparation’ and ‘purification’ (CW 13, c05-04), ‘study’ and ‘power of judgement’ (CW 13, c05-10).
(the second step then, would be: ‘enlightenment’, ‘clairvoyance’, ‘imagination’ or ‘illumination’)
“For it takes a long time, often a very long time, before the organs are sufficiently developed to permit their employment by the spiritual student in perceiving the spiritual world. This is the moment when something occurs for him that may be called illumination, in contrast to the preparation or purification consisting of the exercises that develop the organs.”
When I am asking myself thing like those you wrote above dear Jeremy Smith, I say to myself…But ,,who were you BEFORE meeting Steienr’s insights, and who are you NOW??? THis is, in my opinion, the basic question more than asking about “clairvoyance” or “spiritual experiences”…So carry on with your goodwill, hearthfelt, precious inisghts , bro’,,,,All the best.
Jeremy – keep in mind that sometimes (many times) our “failures” are shown to us to create a resistance in which we find room to expand. If we give in to these contractive forces we tend to give up and walk away, yet engaging in them, however uncomfortable they can be, can help us work toward the expansive forces in which we find the light, the courage to go on. I have found this to be true over the years that I’ve been studying Steiner’s teachings. You have a voice, and that voice is worth hearing, as are many others’.
Thanks so much for your honest self assessment many of us recognize from our own “failures”. Fortunately you have some good friends who give you appropriate advice. When I started meditation (not anthroposophical but Vipassana) the most important rule we were told to observe was “don’t talk about your experiences”. Of course we did talk however a little bit, but there is a very good reason for this rule. Even talking with yourself about it is “dangerous”. We tend to immediately pin down our experiences and start interpreting them. That is the best way to chase them away. We are so used to making images and babble (also in our own thinking) about ‘flashes of light’, angels, clairvoyance, threshholds and shadows, Doppelgangers, even talking too much about love as I do can kill it. These all are hindrances for authenticity. Just be whom you are and observe quietly, with pleasure and gentle curiosity. Maybe you have the feeling that you fail as an anthroposophist (as many people do). but you are a super anthropopper! And that is what the 21st century requires.
Meditation is a natural phenomenon, even animals do it, plants. Too many exercises are no fun. Unless you want to be a champion, a winner, a hero. So, I am sure you make the right choices in your own life, but do not think that your grateful blog participants feel you are not good enough.
However, what I wanted to say before I read this post of you, about the “Pixton initiative”: why not try to make it more than an elderly home. It can also become a “think tank” of Emerson College Elders, or so. An Anthropopper Cafe. Something creative. A “meditation center”?
Is it possible to be happy and an anthroposophist?
Jeremy, you mention your single encounter with and angel when in a state of deep despair. That is something that I can share.
It was whilst struggling with despair and depression that I was most intensely busy with ‘the path’. When asked at the Goetheanum if I was an anthroposophist? I could only honestly say that I was a member of the society but claimed no special status.
After years of working with ‘The Foundation Stone’ and the ‘Rose Cross’ with little success I came across aiming for “Cosmic Communion”. That was a bit of a blow. Luckily at that moment I was able to overcome my ‘allergy’ to religion and become active in the Christian Community. I succumbed to laziness and trusted the priest to allow me to share Sacramental Communion
As Roth Hensley wrote:” If only the true “initiates” were allowed to speak it would be a silent world indeed.”
Jeremy, by not pretending to be a Guru, you ARE a teacher. Your humility illuminates your contributions. Please keep sharing your insights.
I recall a a statement RS made in the Michael lessons, one does not have to be clairvoyant to understand or participate in the lessons, just have healthy common sense. Meditation in my present circumstance is difficult because my husband is about as far from Spiritual Science as one can get. Quiet time is hard to come by, still I read and get moments when I think about what I have read. Or have learned here or on other blogs etc. It is a lonely time for me now, but I tarry on so to speak.
This blog is important, especially for us who do not have any other contact with like and soul minded people, however if this blog gets in the way of your moving forward, I understand if you need a break.
I do have a suggestion. Another blog I read has an open forum page where anyone can post on a subject. He maintains a ‘clean’ blog and most people posting are civil minded. Oh an occasional ‘troll’ pops up, but is booted. Maybe this would work as an idea if you still have the time to mediate.
By the way, there is not enough pages for me to lament on my own failures as a Spiritual Scientist. At least we know we are struggling, while the majority of humans do not know there should be a spiritual struggle at all.
Oh Man Know Thyself
God bless you Jeremy. We are all students. We are all teachers. I pray your next journey is fruitful and blessed and joyful. non nobis, david simpson LA, CA
Jeremy, I deeply agree with Steiner’s teaching that we all have experience of the Spiritual World all the time, but are often not conscious of it. It wasn’t until I learned something from Abraham Maslow that I began to understand how to more effectively engage in S’s teaching – and why Imagination is the first step in Initiation. Like Steiner, Maslow taught that the world we live in forces us to account for our memories/experiences in a literally descriptive manner. This leads to abstraction – so we all have complicity in denial . To awaken to the presence of our spiritual experiences (“peak experiences”) we need to regard them metaphorically and in pictures. He suggested mental health professionals reflect back to our patients/clients whatever it is they are telling us (or themselves) – in images rather than in literal or abstract descriptions. He advises we use pictures. The first time I used this approach the results were remarkable and the person spontaneously remembered a string of events that defied the illusion of her being victimized/trapped by her trauma and depression. Most do not experience such thorough and definitive results immediately, but the approach was effective.
Imaginative pictures came easily to me as a child but I didn’t understand the need to interpret them. My mother, one day, told me she had “something under her arm and needed to go to the doctor. In my mind I “saw” a little blue baby whale, bouncing happily in someones’ hand and I knew, though my Mom was worried, that everything was OK. When she came home she told me everything was OK . The doctor told her it was a lump of flesh called a lipoma – just a “lump of blubber”. I was old enough to know that whale fat was “blubber” and that my pictures were more than I had realized.
What I think I am trying to get to is we make it harder than it is. The hardest part is to detach from both our sympathies and antipathies – I think this allows images to flow more easily. And then, with the development of the will, we exercise the courage to interpret and act – and the grace to forgive ourselves when necessary – and start again.
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I understand your interest in a heavenly bridge, but Michael wants this world to be for humanity, and every social organism we can give ourselves to helps make a home for Anthroposophy.
Gaspar Beccarra – HW Longfellow
By his evening fire the artist
Pondered o’er his secret shame;
Baffled, weary, and disheartened,
Still he mused, and dreamed of fame.
‘T was an image of the Virgin
That had tasked his utmost skill;
But, alas! his fair ideal
Vanished and escaped him still.
From a distant Eastern island
Had the precious wood been brought
Day and night the anxious master
At his toil untiring wrought;
Till, discouraged and desponding,
Sat he now in shadows deep,
And the day’s humiliation
Found oblivion in sleep.
Then a voice cried, “Rise, O master!
From the burning brand of oak
Shape the thought that stirs within thee!”
And the startled artist woke,–
Woke, and from the smoking embers
Seized and quenched the glowing wood;
And therefrom he carved an image,
And he saw that it was good.
O thou sculptor, painter, poet!
Take this lesson to thy heart:
That is best which lieth nearest;
Shape from that thy work of art.
this contribution of yours has appealed to me very much; it has triggered many thoughts in me and I have thought about whether I should answer or not. I have already read so many good answers and reactions to your letter.
I experience something in your contribution or you speak of something that many anthroposophists know. But I also see an element that I do not know or have not experienced with many anthroposophists. What? I mean an existential element, a questioning and wrestling for life and death, for “to being or not to be”. Of course it is nice “to make the world a better place” with the help of the daughter movements of Anthroposophy. But the inner, existential question about the meaning of existence is not answered with that.
You spoke of a spiritual experience when you were “in deep despair”. There are many reports of Christ encounters in such extreme desperate situations. Such threshold situations can open us to the good spiritual forces. And in your honest stocktaking I see such a moment of pause: Where do I stand? What have I achieved? Was my striving insufficient or did it go in a wrong direction?
Perhaps your disappointment and despair, your (temporary?) withdrawal, your reconsideration can give you the strength for a new beginning, a new orientation. I can not and do not want to give advice, but I think to myself: such stations or situations are not often in life, hopefully he finds a really deep answer and is not satisfied with quick answers.
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The striving for clairvoyance, for becoming conscious in the spiritual world is of course known to (almost) all anthroposophists.
-On the one hand (almost) every person is clairvoyant, only he does not know it. It is covered up by false expectations and by inattention, sleepiness, one’s own thoughts. (Rudolf Steiner speaks of the fact that at the moment of a first encounter with a person everything is visible, including karma. But this moment of being open is immediately covered up again by our everyday consciousness and perhaps also for our own protection).
-On the other hand, crossing the threshhold is not trivial. Who can stand before the small guardian of the threshold? A “successful” first class or other spiritual efforts may have as a result that we can pass the guardian of the threshold. Of course, study is the prerequisite, but after years and decades of study, this is no longer the problem, (perhaps even the opposite). But “mental purification and purity”, becoming free from anxiety, worry and fear, from vanities, envy, illusions, bossiness, in short rejecting Lucifer and Ahriman, that is our task before we can pass the Keeper! And we must be aware of the fact that anthroposophists tend to become a victim of Lucifer, later of Ahriman.
And finally: Everybody approaches the “great goal” from a different side. Each path is absolutely individual. Everyone has steps to take, but we can never know: Is this perhaps his last step before the great goal or does he still have 1000 steps ahead of him. We are not entitled to any judgment, not about other people!!!
Jeremy, you may have this book, but incase you do not will post;
A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises, edited by Christopher Bamford,
might find it helpful in your quest.
it is moving to hear of your struggles.
I know in my own practice I have often felt such difficulties and doubts.
For some considerable time you have been very preoccupied with the evil you see in the world. And you have been worried about your work and the restrictions imposed.
It sounds to me as if you are depressed.
I wonder if instead of trying to meditate it might be more helpful to you to pray.
Prayer is healing.
Just saying the ‘Our Father’ several tines a day might be a better course to follow than trying to wrestle with meditation – at least until you feel well, have inner energy again, and the effort of meditating does not deplete you or make you dispirited.
However, if you are sure you want to work with the meditations of the first class, I suggest you would be best to just read one and form a picture in your mind afterwards.
5-10 minutes engagement, nothing more.
You don’t have to follow the sequence. Steiner himself followed a different sequence in the recapitulation lessons.
I would even give the lessons a miss.
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Am thinking the struggle of our time, 21, birth of the ego, goes all the way out to the war in heaven, the disagreement between the planetary intelligences.
Those who say mankind isnt up to the task, they need monitoring, guidance, slavery is all they are good for,
the Schillerian Freedom Fighters. Mankind has a heart and soul and aligned to truth and the fruitful, will put the all devils in their places and carry the wounded and injured and the world itself towards heaven and godly abundance.
It is destined that we will.
All in their place can help this happen, whether in the monastery or in the field.
Dear JeremyI wonder if you are aware that having your c injection has seemed to cause you great negativity and even depression. Many of my unvaxxed friends and healers have noticed this negative effect in those recently vaxxed. I knew as soon as I started reading in your previous Anthropopper that you had been vaxxed. This is Ahriman working at this time even being injected into our bodies and it seems to hit our weakest area. Some have heart issues some strokes and neuro conditions and some their intellectual abilities have been hit. Hopefully you have not had your 2nd jab and with time can overcome the negativity and depression of your 1st. Are you taking high vit C , Vit D, zinc and selenium? Plus lots of sunshine. See if you can find a way of staying in your job and home maybe as a volunteer until all this craziness unwinds. See if you can get a medical exemption due to the side effects of 1st jab. No point in doing all this having your jabs to keep your job if it makes you too unwell to continue working anyway! As others have said in their comments we often don’t notice the changes and insights that we have all the time. But I can see that you are observing yourself now and that is one of the most important steps we can make as we evolve our consciousness Soul. Do you get New View – An Anthroposophical magazine from UK. Some very good articles re this crisis of 21st century. See http://www.newview.org.ukI can send you one of the articles by Trevor Boardman . Covers the whole spiritual issues going on. All the bestCheryl Kemp. Far North QueenslandAustralia. Sent from my Galaxy
I wish to thank everyone who has left a comment here – I have been moved by, and am very grateful for your appreciation of the blog and your kind advice. To those who have suggested that I may be depressed, all i can say is that although the world presents us with many reasons to be depressed, I don’t think that I am cast down by the general gloom. I was struck recently by a message received from the Alliance for Natural Health, of which I’m a subscriber:
“Right now, with tyranny being the default position of world governments, we’ve got everything to fight for. Literally. Liberty and informed choice in healthcare have always been close bedfellows. But the perverse changes we’ve witnessed over these last few months as to the way the world is now being run means that irrespective of where you are on the political spectrum, so many of us have come to realise Big Government can get it wrong. Especially badly wrong when it comes to putting the public interest first during a pandemic caused by what is, in all likelihood, a lab-reared pathogen.”
That is my position, too. But I don’t feel that I have taken Ahriman into me through having both injections (he was already there, has been there since birth in every one of us and will not leave until the moment before death), though I have been outraged by the state coercion of vaccination which has something Ahrimanic about it. It’s just that I have reached a stage in my life where I now feel the need to follow a more interior path of exploration, which probably won’t fit well into a regular pattern of blogging. I’m interested to see what will unfold over the coming months…
Very best wishes to each one of you,
Don’t despair, you are actually doing good.
I will tell a little of my own story. I was born into a Rosicrucian family and read my first esoteric book at twelve, Steiner’s Cosmic Memory (Akashic Records).
At fifteen I tried to start at contemplation and other training methods, but every time I felt as if I was drained for energy.
Until 27 I read everything esoteric or old religious texts I could find, and I felt very knowledgeable but I didn’t get wiser. I believed I understood what I read, but I couldn’t read the deeper hidden layers of the texts, so I decided to stop reading and start living fully, inclusive my work.
At 49 I started the ascent from a deep work depression, what I later understood was the Dark Night of the Soul. Now I began to understand what I didn’t in my younger years, I had now the courage to question what I believed Steiner said, I had gotten confidence in my own mind through the twenty years I hadn’t read an esoteric book. When reading for example Steiner we may misunderstand something we have read, and we don’t dare question that misunderstanding because we think it was what Steiner had meant. I needed to stop reading and learn to trust and train my intuitive thinking through life.
In the dark night I also found out that the reason for why I lost energy when trying son of the schooling methods was because I used them already in my daily life, as I had learned it through my previous lives.
The retrospective inquiry I did already, I couldn’t sleep until I had thought about the main problems of the day. I learned contemplation through dreams in the dark night, but I didn’t need to contemplate, my thoughts wasn’t noisy, and I could fantasize, and this is a kind of noiseless contemplation.
If I had learned these techniques again, they could have destroyed my inherited skills.
I found out that I shouldn’t read books again, I should live creatively and contemplate instead. Through contemplation I got the answers, and with these answers I could find the precise text where it was mentioned, without reading whole books. I found out I shouldn’t write books or longer texts, the inspiration disappeared if I tried to write something wise :-), but if I write to others, the inspirations flow freely.
When we write we are too much in our head and that wasn’t good at this time in my life. Another thing was that I learned new things all the time, so I would have to go back and change what I had written.
Live and Love fully, contemplate or connect directly to people, be creative.
May your coming time be blessed, joyful and interesting.
Jeremy; You wrote that well, and I understand exactly what you mean. However, whatever you may think of your spiritual development, what you do here is valuable. Your page is a storehouse – there’s nothing else like it on the internet! We’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got; and our self-assessment isn’t always right. As Oswald Chambers said: “Never take your estimate of duty after a sleepless night, or after a dose of indigestion.” As Christ said to Thomas a’ Kempis: “It is when you think that I am far away from you that I am nearest to you;” and, “Our worthiness is not to be measured by the visions and comforts we may enjoy, nor by knowledge of the scriptures, nor by being lifted to an elevated position. It is, rather, measured by being steeped in humility and filled with the love of God.
If you were to cease or reduce writing, it would be like yet another candle going out in an already-too-dark-world. I appreciate your page immensely. Your posts always give me food for thought, and I often ponder for several days on what you said. You often present a startling new angle on something that I’d never thought of, or information that I didn’t know, or I see I was wrong about something. Take your recent post, where you quoted Aldous Huxley. Reading your words brought me up short: – “He’s right!” Without noticing it, I’ve been focusing a lot on evil, these last 2 years. Well, that’s understandable, isn’t it? I look back wistfully to 2019, when everything seemed to be ticking along as normal, and I believed myself to be living in a ‘free’ country. We’ve never lived through a time quite like this, “When wrong comes up to meet us everywhere.” But reading your words, I realised I’d forgotten that if you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares into you, and I’d been overlooking Steiner’s often-repeated advice to always look for the positive in anything. There and then I resolved to change my attitude, and not to allow the current horror show to claim every particle of attention. That’s just one example of how your words affect people. Years ago, my daughter said something that’s stayed in my mind. We were talking about how Team Dark (Ahriman, Lucifer), are always trying to get at the spiritual people. Eg, you have an idea, then a thought comes to not pursue it. She said, “it’s funny how the thought is always NOT to do something, isn’t it?” Yes, it is, and I’ve often noticed this! Those on a spiritual path will easily spot a ‘do this negative thing’ idea, and reject it. But Ahriman likes most to work by persuading us *not* to do something, or to limit or reduce it. You have a glimmer of an idea, to give or do something. Thoughts then appear: ” Oh, there’s no point, it’s not warranted, is it? Anyway, someone else can do that, and probably much better than you. It would use too much time/money/energy. And it would interfere with this or that other commitment, wouldn’t it? Nah, don’t bother….” So, do consider that, if you’re thinking of lessening your writings here. Less than a year ago, an anthroposophist I used to know, died. He was not an initiate. He had a few spiritual experiences, but not many, and he told me he always found Steiner’s exercises, eg in KoHW, very difficult, which of course they are. Nevertheless, he spent years of his life disseminating spiritual science; he wrote, talked, oversaw groups, promoted Rudolf Steiner’s teaching to people, etc. His own spiritual perception may have been negligible, but he did WORK to spread spiritual truths in the world. I hadn’t seen him for ages, nor had I been thinking of him, so I was surprised when one night I had a vivid dream of him. He was standing, blinking, looking confused. A few yards to his right, stood Rudolf Steiner, smiling, his dark eyes shining. I said, to this anthroposophist, “Look – it’s the Doctor, who’s been feeding you all these years.” He exclaimed, “YES!!”, and holding his arms out, he and Steiner hugged. It was a great moment, I stood there smiling; it was so moving, I woke up with tears in my eyes. Two days later, I got a message from someone, telling me this anthroposophist had died. He had died when I had that dream vision. A great moment, it was!
You never know the effect of your work, till you die. And you may be amazed!
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It takes a certain bravery and courage to put one’s head above the parapet and speak publicly about Anthroposophy, and indeed one’s own inner struggles. It seems to me that, over the past seven years, what you have shared has been faithful to the Word, and that you have resolutely and patiently stood your ground when confronted by the ‘enemies of knowledge’.
Lifting the veils of spiritual knowledge, which we are called upon now to do, can often be accompanied by feelings of inadequacy and doubt; but we can be too hard on ourselves when viewing our progress, or apparent lack of it, from our own perspectives. Rudolf Steiner tells us that, when reviewing our past life in the presence of the Hierarchies, we are shown that what we may have considered a failure was in fact the opposite from a cosmic perspective. Even if we do not fully experience what lies behind the song of a bird, or the colour of a flower, the very act of thinking of these things helps to spiritualize the Earth, and is therefore beneficial to the Cosmos.
The question of which exercises and meditations to undertake is so personal, it would not be appropriate to comment, save to suggest that one follows the voice of one’s heart and intuition. The Rose Cross meditation might be right for one person, but not another. The latter was my own experience.
However you decide to proceed, I wish you well….and ‘Bonne Route’!
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Hello Jeremy & everyone
Thanks for the excellent posts you have given us over the past seven years. I get that you need some inward time now after the great sharing you have provided.
Is there the possibility of having different people give a monthly presentation as you have had happen a couple of times but on a regular basis?
Although you may also want a break from administering the whole thing. The next question being can Anthropopper be taken on by others? Or would a whole new development be required? Something in the same vein as the quality of Anthropopper would be very supportive of this cosmopolitan community that has frequented this site.
“However, it would be serious if every theosophist also wanted to become an occult disciple. It would be just as if, and I apologize for the trivial comparison, for the fact that all men need clothes, everyone should also become a tailor. All men need. of theosophy if there are certain premises, only a few of the esoteric discipline.
[…] I could not even advise you to “do exercises” without directions. I would not like to forcefully urge anyone to rely on “discipline”. For each one it must be their own and free decision. “(Letter from Rudolf Steiner of 20 September 1907, O.O. 264)
I don’t think this is what you are looking for. But as a sign of how “normal” esoteric studies are becoming, here an announcement of University of Amsterdam.
Thank you, Hans – esotericism as a lifestyle choice, or so it seems to my cynical old eyes.
You don’t have to be cynical nor old for that observation. And, yes, Rudolf Steiner’s incredible body of wisdom is now also a subject of mainstream academic research (an issue you planned to discuss on this blog). But what I learn from the reactions to your decision to release yourself from the monthly rhytm of writing antropop opinions and curating discussions is that you succeeded in creating an extraordinary platform with existential value for its participants, including me. Not a shallow act but a manifestation of true and deepest spirituality, in my perception. And you call that a failure!?!
A few days ago my neighborhood was in an uproar because no one could find a neighbor who was stroke-prone and reclusive. I was awakened early when the call went out and went out to try to get into her house then drove around to find her wandering. When it was over I pulled into my carport, turned off my engine and couldn’t get my keys out of the ignition – neither could I start the car. As I envisioned crawling into my house through the dog door, a neighbor came by and told me to put the car in neutral. Problem resolved…a problem I’d never experienced or understood in all my years of driving. Then came the epiphany..!
I have always regarded the need to detach from both my sympathies and my antipathies as rigidly staying at the fulcrum with Christ and never leaning toward either Luci or Ahri. The inner struggle is being an extrovert and an Aires trying to practice a Buddhist equanimity. But what if the balance point is not where I have to rigidly remain? Maybe I should regard the fulcrum as “Neutral” – a place to pass through, a place that allows me to get into gear and do what I’m here for – to apply both Luci and Ahri abilities/gifts. Now I am grateful for their gifts. – for providing exactly what we need to function in this 3-D fairy-tale/nightmare called a post-Atlantean epoch. And I have a renewed respect for Chan Tsu – the fact is “IT” is not this nor that, nor both, nor neither! But not not neither, either! GOT IT!!!
Jeremy, without this blog who else could I tell this to?
Recall in The Fifth Gospel when Jesus of Nazareth was on his wanderings and living at times with the Essenes, he saw Lucifer and Ahriman fleeing the gates of the monastery. This troubled him greatly. What he eventually realized the Essenes were not accepting their part in dealing with the 2 beings. All humans have to take part in these 2 beings inside us with the Christ in the middle. Aries huh, I get it…..
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‘Knowledge of HIgher Worlds and Its Attainment’ says several things over and over. One is that spiritual organs of perception are built out of thoughts and feelings. Another is that no spiritual perception can be attained if there is too little logical rational thinking. Another is that the steps to the spiritual knowledge that Steiner is describing are minutely prescribed facts to follow in the spiritual world. Another is that there are other kinds of spiritual experience and spiritual instructions that don’t lead to the same place this instruction is leading.
The instruction in ‘Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Its Attainment’ leads to a specific kind of spiritual activity and everyone that follows its instructions will end up at that place. That place is described in the 2nd sentence.
In the older George Metaxa translation the first 6 sentences are:
1) There slumber in every human being faculties by means of which she can acquire for herself a knowledge of higher worlds. 2) Mystics, Gnostics, Theosophists-all speak of a world of soul and spirit which for them is just as real as the world we see with our physical eyes and touch with our physical hands. 3) At every moment the listener may say to herself: that, of which they speak, I too can learn, if I develop within myself certain powers which today still slumber within me. 4) There remains only one question, how to set to work to develop such faculties. 5) For this purpose, they only can give advice who already possess such powers. 6) As long as the human race has existed there has always been a method of training, in the course of which individuals possessing these higher faculties gave instruction to others who were in search of them.
Each of these thoughts draws our attention off in various directions. The 2nd sentence draws us to the assertion that there are people who look upon the soul and spiritual worlds just as real as the sense world. How does that feel? The 1st sentence asserts that such knowledge in already slumbering within me. Each of these thoughts has several possible feelings that can arise in sympathy with them or in antipathy to them. The 3rd sentence suggests that I say to myself out of my self-initiative that I too can learn what these others know if I follow the instructions. What feelings exist within me that oppose this initiative? The 4th sentence draws my attention to certain faculties that are slumbering within me. Not just any of of the faculties that are slumbering within me but certain ones. There are faculties slumbering within me that are despicable also. How does it feel to create such a division? So far Steiner is the only individual that I’ve met that can give the advice that sentence 5 speaks of and he is only accessible through his written words that have been printed into the intellectual property of the sense world. I can’t see how any of the other advice given in the comments on this post are congruent with these 6 sentences and therefore these 6 sentences are going somewhere different than all these other comments. How does that fact feel? The 6th sentence asserts that such training has always existed for those that are in search of the place where sense, soul, and spirit are all equally real. How does that feel?
I have found that by rationally thinking about the observations that these 6 sentences indicate a stable set of 6 feelings can be built. With these specific feelings the ego begins its journey into the slumbering faculties that exist outside bodily consciousness in the soul and spiritual worlds free of the despicable impulses that limit our experience and activity to the sense world.
It takes will force to make our thoughts and feelings follow these prescriptions. The thinking, feeling, and actions that karma, culture, and nature give to us in our bodily experience where we gain self-consciousness will never follow these prescriptions. Only an inner self-initiative born out of this self-consciousness as you have described accurately in your retirement from blogging can follow such prescriptions.
Leonard Cohen wrote in his song ‘Suzanne’ : Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water and when he knew only drowning men could see him, he said all men shall be sailors and walk upon the water. Leonard had a drug induced imagination that was close to the truth.
Taking the self-initiative that the instructions above indicate literally means stepping out of the body that karma, culture, and nature provide without that body dying or falling asleep and going into the realms of soul and spirit where we go when our body falls asleep or dies. These are factual realms that are just as real as the sense world of our body. Our self-consciousness can go there now at this point in evolution without the body falling asleep or dying if we follow the facts of spiritual science that are given in these instructions.
Thank you for these very wise and pertinent words, Manny, which I needed to hear at this point. My feeling, supported by many years of experiencing no capacity to meditate, is that for whatever reason, I can’t do it. But what you have pointed out is that because these potential capacities are slumbering in every human being, it takes a real act of will to tell oneself that you are going to persist in trying. Even if these capacities don’t manifest in this lifetime, the effort will not have been wasted, because it will have its own karmic effect in a future lifetime – at least, that’s my hope!
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Well Jeremy with these words you have written it is easy to see what the reason is that you haven’t made any progress yet on awakening the faculties slumbering within you that lead to the meditation that Steiner is teaching. What you have done with these words that you have written is show that you have taken the first step and then decided that it is so insignificant that you aren’t going to take the next one. Maybe you feel it is rude of me to be so blunt. Please let me explain this more fully. Observe carefully what you have just said and felt. At my suggestion you say that you willed Steiner’s thought ‘There slumber in every human being faculties by means of which she can acquire for herself a knowledge of higher worlds,’ into your brain and felt its wisdom and reality. Then based on this feeling you decided to will a new attitude into your heart. These two self-initiated deeds are the first steps to recognize spirit and soul. You just did them. There is nothing in the bodily sense world that can produce the feeling that Steiner’s introductory thought is real. You felt it is wise. Then based on that spiritual perception you decided to change the attitude you feel in your soul. You willed a new feeling that wasn’t present in your soul before you felt the reality of Steiner’s spiritual words. Now I’m suggesting that you can look at these done deeds with your personal intelligence and personal observation and in doing so conclude that these deeds are just as real as if you built a new window in the wall of your house where there never was a view before. It’s just a window and not a door. With these two small deeds the first observation of spiritual words working in your soul can be personally observed. With these two small deeds what Steiner means by self-initiation can become just as real to personal observation and personal intelligence as any observation and thought about objects in the sense world.
When we expect perception of soul and spirit to begin with something bigger than this small experience of willing a simple thought and then willing a new feeling based on perceiving the wisdom of that thought, then we will miss ‘seeing’ all the rest of what exists as soul and spirit slumbering in our being. If we don’t recognize what you wrote as spirit and soul activity initiated by our own self willing, then all the rest of what Steiner wrote will also remain as slumbering facts within our being. Can you wake up to the little step that you just made and see it with your personal intelligence and personal observation? If so then you will have built a door and can step into the 2nd sentence where you feel the reality and wisdom of knowing there are people who look upon soul and spirit just as real as the factual objects of the sense world and can then initiate a 2nd new small new attitude based on that wisdom.
The steps forward in spiritual science are minutely prescribed. The organs of thought and feeling that have to be constructed must be as precise as any microscope or telescope lens that is constructed to see beyond and behind the surface of the objects of the sense world. Soul and spirit are present in our ordinary consciousness and activity. To see them with clear awake self-consciousness we have to construct thoughts and feelings that take our observation beyond and behind what appears in ordinary consciousness. Steiner construct thought and feelings that achieve this depth and extension. We have to learn to discipline our thoughts and feelings to be the exact formations that can see what is always present but otherwise invisible. Then sentence 3 can begin its awakening.
Minute steps are real. In my sense world job I do 6-8 thousand steps a day to be productive.
Wow, Emmanuel – that’s some complex explanation of how simple things are! This perpetual dance required of us – forward and backward, inside and out – is mind-blowing . But I’m left certain of at least one thing: it’s a mortal sin to misquote Leonard. I’ll pray for you.
We do not need go to Rome anymore…..
When the Christian missionarys had been in Australia for a little while, to convert the Aborigines, they reported back to their superior: “we do not need to convert them, they’re already there !”
This is from Gopi Krishna’s last poem in 1984 “ The Way to Self-knowledge”, written that same year he died. (Gopi Krishna had a hefty kundalini awakening, “the short path” (no chakra, no anything, just direct). It took him 20 yrs to adapt – his life on the line a few times during that first stage. Seeing auras, chakra, etc came later, as did the insights and the poetry).
He certainly did not recommend that route.
Here is chapter vI.
If you find self-reform too hard,
In spite of your intense desire,
For lack of firmness to discard
The habits that stink of the mire,
There is no reason to despair,
Try what you can time and again,
Beseech your Maker to repair
The faults and you in strength will gain.
If meditation does not suit
Your inclination or your taste,
You can select another route
At once and let no time go to waste.
A simple prayer from the heart,
Full of devotion, hope and love
So deep they make your eyes to smart
With years and lift your mind above
The cares and fears which e’er assail
The God-forsaken worldly mind,
And its attention firmly nail
To things our soul with fetters bind,
Repeated with assiduity,
Day after day, at the same time,
With faith in one’s divinity
And longing for the life sublime,
Can slowly act, like to a balm,
Upon the world-tormented brain,
Its passions cool, its fever calm
And for the Crown of Glory train.
The aim of worship, Yoga or
Other religious exercise
Is to divert our thinking, for
A while, from triffles, which we prize,
Towards the glorious realm of God,
But we, believing earth is all,
And we the products of her sod,
Cut off completely by the wall
Of senses all our life remain,
Without our knowledge, choice or will,
Obedient prisoners of our brain
Until death strikes it cold and still.
That is why nature has instilled
In us the deep desire to solve,
Our mystery which, when fulfilled
The walls confining us dissolve.
Whate’er discoveries we have made,
Inventions done or knowledge gained,
At death, irretrievably fade
And not one atom is retained.
What truck-loads of joy will it bring,
If Lost to this world in a dream
One is anointed as a King,
Attired in gold and fed with cream,
Science is proud that it has filled
The earth with plenitude and ease,
Tamed time and distance, famine killed,
Defeated drought, subdued disease,
But all this in the prison-yard
Of flesh, or life’s prolonged dream,
Where senses all the entries Guard,
And make pure shadows real seem.
Science is rooted in the dream,
And ne’er awakens from its sleep,
Hence it will of the high esteem
It has won but a fraction keep,
When with the methods known of yore,
The enterprising of the race,
Begin reporting at that shore
And come back Resurrected by Grace
To sing in poetry and prose
The wonder of the Realm Divine,
Where senses their main office close
To allow infinity to shine.
The flood of wonders science wrought,
Already seen by mortal eyes,
Has not prevented human thought
From wistfully looking at the skies.
Because the prize there has no peer
In all the wonders it has wrought,
That can make one a sage or seer
Who has won to the Source of Thought..
The world when looked at with the eye
Of science, no meaning shows nor aim,
We ne’er can say nor find out why
We all are here or whence we came,
The reason why wise nature mocks
At our attempts to read her plan
Is that proud science the windows locks
Through which we could the drawing scan.
To assume that senses and the mind
Are both, without a shade of doubt,
The best informers we can find
To study and to know about
The world and all it does contain,
Is but our boundaries to seal,
For we know not about the brain
What secrets it might soon reveal.
That is why science is engrossed
In piling up new arms to kill,
But when the false outpost is crossed
In future, who will foot the bill?
The earth is in a sullen mood
Enwrapt in darkness at full noon,
Her snoring elders, with their brood,
Make drowsy crowds dance to their tune.
This welter of Metallic toys
Will not take mankind very far,
Because too soon the playful boys
Will use them for a deadly war.
As opposed to scientific thought about the workings of the smoke clouds used by the Native Americans, an Aborigin tells the following:
“ When I want to convert a message to someone in my community in the area, I light a fire so as to make smoke clouds. When my people see them, they sit down and wait in thoughtless silence, and then the message that I want to send, will be received by the one intended and only him or her.”
Rest in Natural Great Peace;
Wonderfull poem by Sogyal Rinpoche:
As a Buddhist and an active participant in anthroposophy I think it is good to remind us that Sogyal was one of the Buddhist teachers who crossed the barriers of the ethics that should be inherent in his position. Sogyal passed away in isolation after finally the core group of his students admitted that they had covered up his bad behaviour for decades. I am also sorry to say that I do not like the video poem. Unfortunately it is not only Sogyal in the Buddhist world who demonstrates a taste for ‘kitch’ which breathes a high degree of artificiallity. When we discuss meditation it is, as far as I am concerned, about a better relation with reality.
Thanks Kathy,.I see time has eroded my mortal consciousness.
And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them
Still how is ‘until the sea shall free them’ different from ‘and walk upon the water’? Same number of syllables and same spiritual fact. is there or isn’t there a part of our being slumbering within that can become free from the gravity of the sense world?
The Foundation Stone speaks of how the karmic will in our limbs carries us through the world of space into the ocean being of the spirit where in depths of soul we re-member ourselves and our identity unites with the identity of God. Is that drowning out of sense life and becoming real as a spiritual being free from the sea, walking on the water?
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They differ for me. I view it more as the sea, itself, will free us from the need to sail – or drown – or walk…free us from all definitions, attachments and restrictions of this 3-dimensional maze. Walking on water doesn’t free us – it’s only the beginning.
The main thing is not to meditate and to become clairvoyant. The main thing is understanding spiritual science and if possible use it practical. Common sense and morality.
Imagine someone sees all of ghosts and auras and more like that. it would be worthless if he doesn’t know and understand nothing about it. I think you are not a failure. I think you have done a lot of very good work. I have also never meditated, it is just too much for me.
A very apt quotation from Steiner – thank you.
Good to hear a confident voice that has worked out for themselves who they are and were and will become and so knows where to dedicate their thoughts, feelings, and actions to the practical tasks. What I hear Jeremy saying is that having successfully accomplished a particular practical task for a significant number of years, he now is sensing a calling to a new one, but doesn’t have the inner tools to redefine who he is and was and will become.
The first lesson of the first class of the School of Spiritual Science gives us the indication that we can look at all that exists in the 4 kingdoms of nature in the sense world where we have our bodies and do our practical work, but for all the wisdom, beauty, and noble majesty that exists there we can never in that content find an answer to the question which practical deed do I need to do now and in the future. How can I know if the practical deed I might do next is the right deed for me to do and that it contributes to the evolution of the cosmos and the ennoblement of mankind? Can I know if the deeds I have already done succeeded in that goal or did they fall short and need redemption? How much do I need to know right now about the answer to these massive questions? Everyone needs shoes. Not everyone needs to be a shoemaker. Someone needs to make the shoes. Which am I? Shoemaker or shoe user? Nothing in the practical life can answer that question and we all need answers to such questions. Jeremy has taken up the courage to say he needs a new answer what to do in the practical life. Someone else can moderate and carry on with what he has created with this project. But how does he get to the realm where the answer exists the question to what will I become next out of what I have been and how in the present moment do I get from here to there?
Anthroposophy explains to us that the part of our being that decides such destiny questions is awake when our body is asleep and when our body is a corpse. The higher self that creates the body situation has in all past incarnations worked upon the construction and guidance of the body’s activity from outside the body. Anthroposophy says that at this point in evolution the lower self that lives in the body can stop its activity and make space for the higher self to enter and work directly in practical life without the indirect cycles of excarnation or sleeping. In other words earthly practical life can be directly guided by pure spiritual activity.
In the first paragraph of ‘Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Its Attainment’ Steiner gives us the indication, “12) The question may be raised: how, then, under these circumstances, are the uninitiated to develop any human interest in this so-called esoteric knowledge? 13) How and why are they to seek for something of whose nature they can form no idea? 14) Such a question is based upon an entirely erroneous conception of the real nature of esoteric knowledge. 15) There is, in truth, no difference between esoteric knowledge and all the rest of man’s knowledge and proficiency. 16) This esoteric knowledge is no more of a secret for the average human being than writing is a secret for those who have never learned it. 17) And just as all can learn to write who choose the correct method, so, too, can all who seek the right way become esoteric students and even teachers.”
It is an ‘entirely erroneous conception of the real nature of esoteric knowledge’ to think that it doesn’t imbue practical life with meaning and that it can’t become real for everyone. The first first class lesson says that to answer the questions of who I am, was, and will become I have to get outside earthly nature into the realm where the higher self looks down upon earthly affairs and can see what spiritual deed needs to be done next to add light to the earthly darkness. If you read ‘Philosophy of Spiritual Activity’ carefully it also says in the prefaces that everyone needs to know at least that much about spiritual life. There is of course lots more to see and do in the spiritual world but like shoemaking, only some need to do it for the rest to benefit from that practical activity. But everyone needs to answer the questions of who they are, were, and will become. Which practical part of life am I going to dedicate my individuality to? Which part am I prepared for out of my past? Which part is going to give me a secure heavenly life in the future?
Jeremy has stepped up and provided a clear incarnated articulation that he is going to swing the bat at these questions and that he has found the ground zero place where he now knows that the lower self that has grown out of the bodily experiences of this incarnation can’t possibly even pick up the bat, step to the plate, or see the ball coming at him. And you yourself Ridzerd have also reached the same conclusion. If all that you are now is all that there is you can’t possibly do what anthroposophy says to do and just have to be satisfied with plugging away at the practical affairs that are pressing upon your existence as best you can.
But 1) There slumber in every human being faculties by means of which she can acquire for herself a knowledge of higher worlds.
And 2) Mystics, Gnostics, Theosophists-all speak of a world of soul and spirit which for them is just as real as the world we see with our physical eyes and touch with our physical hands.
Are we going to take these indications seriously? The lower self that has grown out of practical life can’t do this. But slumbering underneath, spiritual words exist that can open the door to the higher self that lives in the spiritual world and works down through the soul world upon the bodily existence.
But “How and why are they to seek for something of whose nature they can form no idea?”
What is the “correct way”?
Your text is so long and you ask so many questions that it confuses me a bit. It may seem like I’m confident, but I’m not. The more I read Steiner, the more I realize how little I really know. In addition, my English is very limited. I will also make a lot of mistakes in my writing.
Among other things, you write: ‘There slumber in every human being faculties by means of which she can acquire for herself a knowledge of higher worlds.’
And: ‘Mystics, Gnostics, Theosophists-all speak of a world of soul and spirit which for them is just as real as the world we see with our physical eyes and touch with our physical hands.’
That’s right, but to see these higher worlds is only possible for very few people at this time. It is only for the very gifted in this field. In addition, who can do all that is necessary for this? First of all, you have to do the 5 basic exercises. That alone is too much for many people, including myself. In addition, one should do meditation every morning and every evening. That’s all just too much for me and a lot of people. And it doesn’t have to be for everyone. Just reading anthroposophy and thinking about it is quite something. Steiner repeatedly says, “Thinking and trying to understand is much more important than clairvoyance.” In future lives a great many people will be clairvoyant, only those who do the meditations and exercises now will achieve it sooner.
You also write: ‘But everyone needs to answer the questions of who they are, were, and will become. Which practical part of life am I going to dedicate my individuality to? Which part am I prepared for out of my past? Which part is going to give me a secure heavenly life in the future?’
Only initiates know very consciously what their task in life is. The ordinary person simply does what he has the most talent and interest for and what the circumstances and opportunities in his life are. The karma will bring you what you need to do. Just follow your impulses from within and whatever comes your way from outside.
I can’t say anything better about it. Excuse me if I misunderstood you.
Kind regards, Ridzerd
If I understand well, Emmanuel, postulates a distinction between spiritual activity and practical work. How these two dimensions relate in general is a philosophical question. However, as we all are now interpreting “what Jeremy thinks” and aspires, I would like to add, while risking another misinterpretation, that Jeremy, in his previous post, speaks about taking an initiative: repurposing Pixton mansion at Emerson College in Forest Row, Sussex, Southern England. Irrespective the specifics of this very challenging initiative, in general I would like to make the observation that in particular in “taking initiative” the dimensions of spiritual activity and practical work are entangled such that it constitutes its own category of spiritual engagement, and its own learning path. It requires deep re-channeling in a situation where it asks attention, especially shortly after a “defeat” like the one we feel after “forced” vaccination. On the rocky path of taking initiative, formal exercises (like techniques for an artist) may be less important than direct confrontation with challenges of “meaning”, “purpose”, “teambuilding”or “destination” and the need to dig deep to find answers (especially in dialogue and conversation). Maybe it could be helpful to recollect the pristine inspiration behind the Anthropopper initiative which grew into such an important “institution” for many of us.
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You say you have doubts, but you write words that express certainty about who you are, where you have come from, and what you can and can’t become. Your answer to those 3 questions is: “The ordinary person simply does what he has the most talent and interest for and what the circumstances and opportunities in his life are. The karma will bring you what you need to do. Just follow your impulses from within and whatever comes your way from outside.” When Steiner writes ” 15) There is, in truth, no difference between esoteric knowledge and all the rest of man’s knowledge and proficiency. 16) This esoteric knowledge is no more of a secret for the average human being than writing is a secret for those who have never learned it. 17) And just as all can learn to write who choose the correct method, so, too, can all who seek the right way become esoteric students and even teachers.”, you scoff with hatred at this spirit revelation. You also look upon the creative spirit-being in these words with fear of a monstrous foe and doubt the power of the spirit-light in these words. In the Michael words of the School of Spiritual Science which are now available for everyone to read on the RSArchive (https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA270/English/eLib2018a/19240215p02.html), the first lesson explains that everyone in their ordinary karma has these three problems. Personal karma, cultural karma, and natural evolution have arrived at the point where, as you so accurately describe, we all have soul forces that hate spiritual revelation, that fear creative spirit-being, and that doubt the power of spirit-light. With this inner constitution of our soul forces it is logical to conclude that the answer to who I am and was and will become is “The ordinary person simply does what he has the most talent and interest for and what the circumstances and opportunities in his life are. The karma will bring you what you need to do. Just follow your impulses from within and whatever comes your way from outside.” What karma has given me in my ordinary consciousness arrives at the same conclusion. I agree with you entirely that the ordinary person is trapped in this condition,, Michael’s words teach that everyone starts from this karmic inner constitution and your words beautifully describe this condition.
But Steiner’s words and Michael’s words say there is a new possibility that everyone can step up to that is no more difficult than learning to write. Without our body dying or falling asleep we can lift our self-consciousness out of out the karmic, cultural, natural conditions of our body (Steiner writes in the first paragraph sentence 18 &19, of ‘Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment’, “18) In one respect only do the conditions here differ from those that apply to external knowledge and proficiency. 19) The possibility of acquiring the art of writing may be withheld from someone through poverty, or through the conditions of civilization into which he is born; but for the attainment of knowledge and proficiency in the higher worlds, there is no obstacle for those who earnestly seek them.”) and transfer that self-consciousness to our higher self that we ordinarily only meet when our body is asleep or is a corpse. As our higher self we can work upon the still awake, still living earthly body with creative-spirit power, with spirit-revelation, and with spirit-light.
Steiner says this possibility is real. Steiner says that the Archangel Michael says this possibility is real. You say that it is only real for the very few. I disagree. My experience shows that when I carefully think and carefully feel each of the 315 sentences in the Goerge Metaxa English translation of ‘Knowledge of Higher Worlds and Its Attainment’ by willing them into my the brain and heart of my body, I find myself at the end as a higher being that has gone through preparation, enlightenment, and initiation as the last sentences in the chapter describe and that the first sentences of the next chapter say are prerequisite for doing the exercises on growth and decay, seeing the colors of the kingdoms of nature, and finding the flame of living thought and the flame of spiritual feeling. It all works if you devote the same forces to the instructions as you would have to devote to learning to write a foreign alphabit that you didn’t grow up with. The instructions say 5 minutes a day is sufficient if those 5 min accurately follow the instructions.
The words say such a creative spirit-being exists. Does this appear to you as a monstrous foe? The words say such spirit-revelation is real. Do you scorn or hate such revelation? The words say such powerful spirit-light is now shining on everyone. Do you doubt this reality and create spectral forms of thought instead? Do you want to always be what ordinary consciousness provides or do you want to consecrate the dearest longings of your heart to become a higher being? This is the new step in evolution that is possible now! There is enough non-essential activity in everyone’s daily life that can be set aside to re-create ourselves as higher beings.
My first name is spelled Emanuel. People at work call me Manny or Eman. I introduce myself now as Manny. I used to always say Emanuel but now the nickname is more comfortable. I have met a lot of superstitious anthroposophists who react to the name Manny as a grandeous delusion without realizing that on the scale of grandeous delusions Manny is a humble step down from Emanuel and without noticing that it is Manny and not Mani. I was given this name after my grandfather. His nickname was Manny. For years I didn’t feel comfortable with the nickname because of him. Now he is gone and I am the grandfather in the family so it feels comfortable.
Hello Emanuel, I know everything you write here about what Steiner writes. I doubt not anything about what he says about developing higher consciousness. I only think I cannot reach this higher consciousness in THIS life. Of course I know it in THOUGHtS, but not in SELF SEEING.
I thougt I made this clear, but maybe I have written it not very clear.
Steiner has indicated two other christian esoteric paths besides the occult-rosicrucian path of willing (e.g. CW 10/12/13 and CW 97): the gnostic-Johannine path of feeling (CW 13_c07) and the scientific-phenomenologic path of thinking (CW 13_c05-03 and CW 322).
Dear Jeremy, while I work on what I want to send to you (and the more I work, the more I know it is really to me that I want to send it), please present this as a contribution to the very interesting ‘debate’ that has arisen in response to this blog: This question of understanding spiritual development is truly an enigma; as Steiner points out in his presentation concerning Tauler in ‘Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age’, “No more than the fish has in itself what appears as mammal at a later stage of development, does the rational man already have in himself what is to be born out of him as a higher man. If the fish could understand itself and the things around it, it would regard being a fish as the essence of life. It would say: ‘The universal essence is like the fish; in the fish the universal essence sees itself.’ The fish might speak thus, as long as it merely holds fast to its intellectual understanding. In reality it does not hold fast to it. In its actions it goes beyond its understanding. It becomes a reptile, and later a mammal. In reality the essence it gives to itself goes beyond the essence which mere reflection suggests to it. Thus must it also be with man. In reality he gives himself an essence; he does not stop at the essence he already has, and which reflection shows him. Understanding leaps beyond itself, if only it understands itself aright. Understanding cannot derive the world from an already completed God; it can only develop from a germ in a direction toward a God. The man who has understood this does not want to look at God as something that is outside of him; he wants to treat God as a Being that walks with him toward a goal which, at the outset, is as unknown as the nature of the mammal is unknown to the fish.” Thus, whatever I, or Jeremy, or Ridzerd or Manny, etc., can or can’t understand or articulate right now; it’s clear that we’re certainly not going to stop developing. To each fish his own.
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Please leave your blog for us out there, all across the world,
I beseech you.
It is one true Anthroposophical link,
like a light in the darkness of these days.
Love and blessings from the bottom of the world.
After Jeff’s wonderful explanation there is very little left to say. But I feel I still owe you something. In my contributions I have provided little information on how I actually integrate anthroposophical indications in my practice, and you may ask if I actually include any.
In the first place there is ‘Knowledge of the Higher Worlds’ and this was indeed the start for passionate personal interest in meditation in my twenties, even before I engaged with Buddhist practice. However, even with the very helpful introduction of Manny just here, it also remains a difficult path for me. Maybe the main issue is that it guides to a ‘particular place’ where I have got used to “unguided” meditation with open space. Still, it induces always new experiences and thank you, Manny to bring that back. More recently I found very helpful and in a way it follows the same path: the book of Arthur Zajonc on ‘Meditation. When Knowledge becomes Love’ (I think it is the correct title). This includes actually meeting Arthur and organising his lecture here in Bangkok.
But above all, and I feel that is maybe the “anthropopper way”: exactly from your introduction to the blog I looked some five years ago with totally new eyes at this:
“Anthroposophy is a path of knowledge, to guide the Spiritual in the human being to the Spiritual in the universe. It arises in humans as a need of the heart, of the life of feeling; and it can be justified only inasmuch as it can satisfy this inner need.”
For me it is a most helpful exercise to let inner space arise from contemplation on this description. It is an inner space where one always can go back too in order to ground meditations: a space reaching from the I, to Anthroposophy as an esoteric as well as social (very diverse) movement, to the universe (!). Co-creating this inner space by careful contemplation enables free arising of the Spiritual in whatever form or non-form it manifests itself. Related to personal life, concrete purpose or beyond that with intrinsic meaning.
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