Esoteric Lessons III
We know that everyone who's on a path of esoteric development must gradually transform his whole thinking, make it different than it is in ordinary sense life, so that he can find his way into the spiritual world. We must learn to rethink, as it were, and our whole life of feeling and perception must also become different than it had been until now. What really is our thinking in ordinary life? We're used to saying that thinking takes place in the physical body, but that's not the case. The etheric body is the real causer of our thoughts. Our physical body only has something to do with it to the extent that it's a mirror for our thoughts that reflects the picture so that we can thereby become aware of it. We can clarify this through an example. When a man looks into a mirror he has his mirror image before him, the mirror gives him the outer impression of his physical shape that is, a shadow of his outer personality. Likewise the thoughts that have their living seat in the etheric body are the reflected shadow pictures of our physical brain when we think them. What do the concentration exercises that are given us bring about? They help us to gradually loosen ourselves from the thought shadows as we concentrate and contract ourselves in our etheric body so that we can press forward to the real origin of our ideas that have their life in the etheric body. It should become ever clearer to us not only that our thoughts are shadows but that all of our percepts are really nothing, and that in reality only the spiritual world exists. A naive man says that what he perceives exists. But what is existence (Sein) really? Philosophers have tried to get behind this entity in various ways. “Sein” is really derived from sehen(seeing); it's really the past participle of “sehen.” No one can see existence in the physical world, because it rests in the spiritual world; but one only sees the spirit when one doesn't see matter. Matter is really nothing, it's enveloped by spirit which is the real thing. The following example can elucidate this. When one has a bottle of seltzer water before one can't really see the water — one sees the glittering bubbles of carbon dioxide that rise like shiny pearls. And what are these sparkling, shiny pearls? They're just empty gas bubbles filled with a substance that's much thinner than water, that's “nothing” in comparison with water. So what one sees here is nothing, whereas one doesn't see the real water in which they're resting.
Thus we must become aware that all space around us is filled with spiritual realities, beings and facts, and that there's nothing there where we perceive the world's things, nothing but a hole. When we stretch out an arm we push it through the spiritual world, but we don't feel it; we only feel resistance when our hand runs into nothing or matter. We don't really see objects in space — we only see the contours of the spiritual world that these objects bound.
We grow into the spiritual world when we've gotten to the point where we've let all the shadowiness of our thoughts and of our outer surroundings fall away. But to be able to rightly place ourselves into the new world we must transform our whole thinking through esoteric development so that we can understand and judge the things and facts of the spiritual world correctly. Because it's an entirely new world for us, but a world that's more real than the one we've known so far. We enter a world that has real things and beings in it, and we connect ourselves with it, we grow into this world. As the beings and things of this world move into us we lose our head thoughts — it's as if we had stuck our head into an anthill. Then we become aware of the elemental world. As our soul life gets stronger through thought concentration and our inner self gets increasingly separate from the physical body, the things of that world appear before our soul's eye in ever clearer Imaginations and visions. We'll see that all the thoughts we've had about good, benevolent and noble things have become transformed into Imaginations that continue to live and to give their value to the universe, and that all bad, evil and low, egotistical thoughts remain behind as waste products. This becomes something that's unproductive by itself but which becomes food for what's supposed to develop from the germ of the good. Just as the mineral soil furnishes food stuffs for plants here on the physical plane, so everything that's thought badly becomes the soil for germinating thoughts of good, true and beautiful things in the elemental world. That's the reason why an occultist can think out bad and wrong things so quickly and imagine them in thought. But he doesn't let it get further. He knows that he's only allowed to get to the point where it remains thought — he doesn't let it pass over into deed, into reality. He only lets it prepare the soil from which the germ of the good can grow.
That's what happened in the world order also, that's the way the earth's mineral kingdom arose. The Elohim thought erroneous things on old Moon — that was all right there — and the mineral kingdom on earth arose from this. Jahve-Elohim was able to create man from this dust and give him his physical sheath. But Lucifer who is now about where the Elohim were on old Moon still wants to go on doing the same thing. He can only use men for this, he can only think errors within men.
We want to develop ourselves into an organ of the spiritual world, just as we've developed our physical eyes into organs for sunlight. The germ for it lay in us, and we also have a germ for that spiritual development in us that we can only unfold through strict self-training. Various means are indicated in How Does One Attain Knowledge Of Higher Worlds? to really free ourselves from the physical body through concentration and so on, so that through this splitting of one's nature one can cross the threshold of the spiritual world and behold spiritual reality. The following verses express the position one has to take with respect to the physical world and to this new spiritual world. They can be meditated in any way by people who've already received a verse to meditate on; one who doesn't have such can meditate the first verse in the morning, the second in the evening and the third verse should only be meditated occasionally to check the extent to which one has attained what was striven for in the first two strophes.
things I turn myself
I turn myself with ray senses; —
Sense existence, you deceive me! —
What flees existence as nothing:
For you it's existence and reality;
May what must seem like nothing to you
Be disclosed to my inner life. —
(I must attain this: it's the taking of a position towards the new, outer world.)
light warm me
Let me feel myself volitionally in you.
Well thought, truly known things
How does shining I experience you
May weaving of error, badly thought things
Show itself to shining soul
That I may be weaving in myself.
(That's a questioning and experiencing in the new existence within.)
I and luminous soul (- oneself -)
Floats over real developing being
What was thought, what was known
Now becomes dense spirit existence
And what seems like existence to the senses
Lives in the ocean of divine reality
Like aery existential bubbles.
(In anticipation of truth. It's a guessing, a feeling of the new self.)
When elaborated each of these strophes contains the same thing that's successively compressed in our rosicrucian verse in the ten words: Ex Deo nascimur, In Christo morimur, Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus