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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Esoteric Instructions
GA 270

Ninth Lesson

22 April 1924, Dornach

My dear friends! At first, without just taking note of it, let us allow to wash over our human souls, hearts, and minds the following admonition, which clarifies for human beings the ageless holy word of insight.

O Man, know yourself!
So sounds the word of worlds.

You hear it soul-forcefully,
You feel it spirit-powerfully.

Who speaks so world-mightily?
Who speaks so heart-inwardly?

Does it work streaming through space
Into your sense’s self-experiencing?

Does it sound weaving through time
Into your life's evolving stream?

Are you the one, who yourself
In sensing space, in experiencing time
Creates the word, feeling yourself
Estranged in in space’s soul-emptiness,
As you lose the power of thinking
In time’s destroying stream?

My friends, we can look up upon the vast reaches of the stars, and allow our gaze to rest upon what shines and sparkles down on us from that world of vast reaches, in the resting stars, the stars that show us specific forms in their groupings. We will, if we place ourselves within this beholding, within what works on us from the world of vast distances, we will win inner forces that are ever stronger and stronger. We will then, especially due to needing such force to maintain the soul free of what pertains to the body, we will then be especially advised to regard this gazing on the starry world as a purely inward activity. By this is meant, to have held the stars in view time and again so that the view is retained in our minds, so that we will no longer depend on gazing out into the external starry heavens in order to activate in our consciousness the mighty image of the dome of the heavens, beset with stars shining down on us. When this image emerges from our own inner being, when the soul strengthens itself, so as to build this image within itself, then it will be just in the condition needed, through the strengthened soul forces, to become free of corporeality, free of all pertaining to the body.

And then we may gaze out distantly at all that radiates and streams through us from the wandering stars revolving about the earth. In their revolving, the wandering stars certainly entrain all that moves and exists in wind and weather. And once again, we can make ourselves an image of it all, retaining in mind and living inwardly in this revolving movement of enmeshed interwoven existence, as a second inner experience.

And then, if we become attentive to all that chains us to the earth, to what happens there, to our being a dense body among other dense bodies, and if this so lives in us as a perception of our earth-bound existence, then we can make it active in the soul. And there it will be a third.

And out of these three inner experiences we are enabled. Out of the one in which we unite with the resting stars, although now having won into it with resplendent moving living thoughts, we are enabled. Through the second, when in emerging from the course of our own path on earth into the world-all, emerging into the coursing of the movements of the wandering stars, which call meaningfully from space down to us, out of this, as in our perception of the resting stars within the resting human being, as we feel ourselves in this way coming into movement with the cosmos, we are enabled. And out of the third, arriving at the feeling of being bound to the earth, of somehow being affected by the force of earth, drawn by the earth to a spot on the earth, we are enabled. Out of this, gradually and properly, we are enabled, more and more, to commence our entry into the spiritual world. And this entry can be achieved today by each and every person.

Of course, the question may then be brought up, why is it that so few people achieve this? The answer to this must be, that the majority of people do not experience this as intimately as is needed in order to come into the spiritual. They are scornfully disinclined to experience it so intimately. They like to experience things tumultuously, so that the spiritual world comes up to them with all the qualities of the sensory world.

People today would easily be persuaded about the spiritual world, if for instance they were confronted with a table from the spiritual world. There is no table in the spiritual world, however, but rather only spiritual essences in the spiritual world. These must be perceived as such, just as that which in men and women itself is spiritual. And spiritual is what we can read in the resting stars, what we can feel in the movement of the wandering stars, and what we can sense of the force with which the earth holds us, maintaining us as people of the earth.

Therefore, each and every one who wishes to understand things about the spiritual world ever more and more correctly, must also understand inwardly. Of course, with healthy human understanding one can understand all of Anthroposophy, but understanding inwardly means to carry this ever more and more into one's inner life. Whoever wishes to have an appreciation of this inner transformation of inner life must be determined to devote himself to these three feelings, or experiences, call them what you will, to these three feelings, experiences.

And that is what flows from the spiritual world through this school to you, my dear brothers and sisters, that is what I would like to speak to you about today, how through intimacy in practice with one's own human nature, one may become more aware of human interconnectedness with the world, more aware than one is accustomed to in taking stock of external awareness.

The first thing concerning this is to really come into intimate relationship with one's own human nature, though later in life, just as we certainly were to a very high degree when we were children. As children we were mostly just sense organs, eyes, ears. A child takes in everything that is happening in his surroundings, so much so, that the child's entire body seems to be a sensory organ. Everything is imitated, for everything reverberates within the child, and then in the same manner as it vibrates within, it will re-emerge.

A child has his whole body as a sensory organ for only so long, but once we understand having had one's whole body as a body-organ of sensing, then later, as wakeful human beings, we can renew it; we can renew the body as an organ of sensing. A child really retains this inner sensory ability for a long time, and we all carry it along still, we still preserve it, for it has not yet been set aside by the forces of the earth. And it is certainly something wholly wonderful, in the evolution of human beings, that their sensory existence is preserved even during the effective penetration of the forces of earth, and that this sensory existence can be made fully and remarkably alive.

The moment a child stands erect, in order to begin to walk, so that his movement falls into line with the forces of earth, the child must then rely on his own inner equilibrium, and at this moment his intimate sensory existence ceases. A person cannot really remember back to this first step into humanity, much less remember feeling his whole person just as an organ of sense. But we must be filled with this again, if we wish to take on human life ever more and more, we must be filled with being a sense organ as such. As a whole human being we must be filled with this feeling of just experiencing. We must experience ourselves in this way, as a touching-tasting-organ, as a solitary great touching-tasting-organ that is our entire body.

Now let us imagine grasping something or other, my brothers and sisters, that presses in upon you. You take the impression as a reality. As a matter of course you take the superficial quality to be a reality whenever you touch or taste something. But in reality, you touch and taste always, for by means of your entire body, from top to bottom, positioned on the earth, with the soles of your feet you touch inwardly and taste the earth below. You are just so used to it, that you don't notice it. When you begin to take note of it, then you feel yourself to be a person first standing, just standing within the forces of the earth. And just so comes the admonition at the threshold to the spiritual world. [It was written on the board.]

O Man, touch inwardly 1Lesson 9 contains quite a few verbs that may stand alone but are inflected here with the prefix er- (ertaste, erlebe, erfühle, erdenke, erschaue, erwese, erhalte, erschaffe). All are command forms and the er- prefix specifies some internal activity that is to be done. In English the action of the German prefix er- is accomplished with a phrasal verb, and so we have touch inwardly, live inwardly, feel inwardly, think inwardly, look inwardly, etc. in your body’s whole existence,
How earth forces for you in existence-awareness
2Dasein, used 4 times here, is not just existence, but rather, existence-awareness. are pillars.

With this we have made the first step in allowing this inner experience to work effectively in us.

Then in turn we can feel ourselves as the person who senses, who touches. We can experience this tasting, this sensing, we can feel ourselves inwardly as the person in whom this touching is enmeshed and lives. When we ascend to this, allowing this sensing to fill our hearts and minds, then don't take in only the earth forces as a reality, but also begin to take in as a reality the vibratory-water-forces, the forces of fluidity, that beat as waves enmeshed within our body's blood and fluids. And in these forces, we may then feel, in all that is flowing within us, that is beating within and is enmeshed in fluidity, our close connection to the etheric in the world. [It was written on the board.]

O Man, live inwardly in your touching’s whole sphere,
How water ways for you in existence-awareness are sculptors.

If we had only earth-touching-forces in our human frame, we would be constituted in a way that would evermore tend down toward decay. The water forces in us, however, literally mold us out of the universal ether into well-formed human bodies. Fixed earth forces hold sway in all that is fixed in us, where the earth alone has influence. In all that is fluid in us, the whole wide world of the etheric has influence.

After this we may enter more deeply, as a third step, into what is moving and living in fluidity. We can feel it inwardly, for example, when we feel our breath. Then we will discover how we as human beings are continually nourished, sustained by the essence of breathing, by the essence emerging from the air. We would be helpless children in the world, were we not continually infused with the forces of air, nourishing us, making us out of helpless children into men and women. [It was written on the board.]

O Man, feel inwardly in your living’s whole weave,
How air powers for you in existence-awareness are nurturers.
3Pfleger is cognate with pledgers, those who are pledged to care for others, to guardian, to nurse, and more than just to nourish, but to nurture. Pfleger are care-givers or nurturers.

And having in this manner ascended to the third step of inner experience, we may now come to the fourth, in which we feel inwardly warmed through and through, in which we become aware on our own of warmth enfolding us, warmth that lives in the breath, that lives in everything aeriform in us. For only through the aeriform moving and living in us, will warmth be generated in us, physically internalized within us.

But just what lives inwardly in us as warmth we can arrive at with thoughts. And here is a very significant secret of human nature.

My dear brothers and sisters, you cannot arrive with thoughts, but rather only by the feeling of inner-touch, how earth-forces affect you and are pillars for you. You cannot arrive with thoughts, but rather only by inwardly experiencing, how water-forces in you are plastic sculptors. You cannot arrive with thoughts, but rather only by feeling inwardly, how air powers in you are nurturers. You can be thankful for these nurturers, you can love these nurturers, but you cannot arrive at their immediacy with thoughts. But warmth, however, a person can arrive there by meditating, by sinking down with thoughts into the warmth of meditation, by really thoroughly living within as a being of warmth.

A doctor may come with his thermometer, but only measures external warmth. Just as individual places on the body can be distinguished, so the inner warmth of the individual organs can be distinguished. One's thoughts can be directed down into individual organs, and there one can find differentiated the whole inner warmth-organism. One arrives at oneself as an organism of warmth by wrapping oneself with thoughts.

When one has arrived there, however, one has a quite extraordinary feeling. Bring this feeling, my dear brothers and sisters, before your souls here and now. Just think, you arrive there by focusing your thoughts, in becoming absorbed into your organism, thereby arriving at differentiated warmth, the warmth of the lungs, the warmth of the liver, the warmth of the heart, of all in you in reality in your essential nature that is given by the breath of God. You arrive there with your thoughts. You know now what thought is. Before, you did not know what thought is. At this point, you have arrived, for you know that thought, as it is drawn down into warmth, makes the formerly bland warmth flame up, it makes it blaze up. For a thought, well, it appears to you in customary life in the untrustworthy manner of merely being abstract. When you sink it down into absorption into your own body, the thought then appears to you as if it is glowing, radiating, and permeating into the lungs, the heart, and the liver. As the light, going out from your brow, extends inwardly, the thought is thoroughly illuminated, differentiated within into the various nuances of color, into the individual organs.

One cannot simply say, I am thinking about the differentiation of my warmth. One must say, through thoughts I am illuminating myself about the differentiation of my warmth. [It was written on the board.]

O Man, think inwardly in your feeling’s whole stream,
How fire-mights
4Feuermächte for you in existence-awareness are helpers.

And then all this can be combined together. All that lies in these eight lines can be combined together, so that in a certain way, what one has undergone is combined and once again allowed to work effectively on one's soul in the following words. [It was written on the board, the elements after the corresponding mantric lines.]

O Man, look within yourself into the elemental realm.
Look into the elements of

earth,

water,

air,

fire

In this way take measure of yourself, delving and streaming within, strengthening yourself in concentrating on the body. But please take note, this strengthening, this taking stock, passes beyond simple physical feeling. It passes into moral feeling. Here we have first the pillars for the person, the physical pillars. [In the first mantric sentence "pillars" was underlined.] Here we have the plastic building forces. [In the second mantric sentence "sculptors" was underlined.] It is still somewhat physical, although infused with the etheric. Here we have guardians, nurturers. [In the third mantric sentence "nurturers" was underlined.] It is already somewhat moralistic. For as one comes up and out of the water into the air, one finds that the beings present in the air are infused thoroughly with the etheric. And in fire we have not only guardians, but helpers ["helpers" was underlined in the fourth mantric sentence.], comrades, beings congenial with us.

However, even as one can feel into the body in this manner, one can also feel one's way into the soul itself. For this, however, one must not concentrate upon the elements, but upon what courses about the earth in the wandering stars, sweeping along with them the currents of air and sea. One’s physicality is felt, within one’s spirituality, when what stands apart is intermixed in the body. All pertaining to the soul, however, one simply experiences directly. We shall develop this in more detail in later lessons. Today we shall merely describe allowing, experiencing this feeling of penetration into the soul. [It was written on the board.]

O Man, just so let rule 5Walten is an ancient Germanic word meaning the wild waiting army of the woods and is cognate with the English verb to wield, that is, to wield authority, and so it translates as “to wield” or “to rule.” in the depths of your soul
The wandering stars' world-guiding might.

Again, this can be brought together in the sentence:

O Man,
bring yourself into being, into motion, through world’s circling.

Moving on, connecting with, experiencing the spiritual within us, that will be attained when we raise our spirit to the resting stars that beam down upon us in their grouped formations, in their constellations, in what becomes for us the handwriting of the heavens. When we realize just what is inscribed in this way in the starry heavens, then we become aware of our own spiritual nature within, of spirituality which speaks not just from person to person, but rather which speaks from the entire universe. [It was written on the board.]

O Man, inwardly hold in the work of your spirit
The resting stars’ heaven-heralding words.

Brought together:

O Man, fashion yourself through heaven’s wisdom.

Not with common sentences, nor with common feelings, do we come to this, to coming out and beyond ever more and more with our soul, our heart, and to crossing over into the universe. Instead, we come to this solely in just this certain way, by grasping element upon element, the movement of the wandering stars, the significance of the resting stars. In so doing this, we bond to the world.

And we will notice, as we do this, engaged in such exercises, as we complete the first part, we feel life in us, the life of the world. [Along the front of the first eight mantric lines was written:]

life

As we complete the second part, we feel love in us for all the world. [Along the front of the tenth and eleventh lines was written:]

love

As we complete the third part, we feel piety within ourselves.

piety 6Frommsein, similarly to Dasein, is actually being pious. In English piety is used not only for the concept of piety, which in German is Frömigkeit, but for being pious, which is Frommsein, responsible devotion to one’s family, to other people in general, and to the angels and the gods. Socrates was sentenced to death for being impious, due to his lack of understanding that caring for the gods could benefit them. For Socrates the communication from his daimon to himself was a one-way street.

And it is really an ascension of the human being from life through love to piety, to a truly religious experience of the world. This can be achieved by means of such mantric words.

But then, when this has in fact been undertaken to completion, when we finally arrive at reverence through such an exercise, then the world ceases being physical for us. Then we say with complete inner certainty, the physicality of the world is mere appearance, maya, for the world is everywhere through and through spirit. As men and women, we belong to this spirit. And when we feel ourselves to be spirit in the world of spirit, then we are on the other side of the threshold of the spiritual world.

Then, however, when we are on the other side of the threshold of the spiritual world, then we perceive just how here our body, through its external bodily force, how our body holds thinking, feeling, and willing together, but how, the moment we become body-free in our experiencing, then thinking, feeling, and willing are no longer a unity, but instead are a trinity. For it is so, it is so for us, insofar as we bond ourselves to the earthen authority of earth, water, air, and fire, if and when we lead ourselves there in will, and through our will would become one with the earth.

It is somewhat more, feeling love in our souls toward the movements of the wandering stars, in other words, toward the spirit beings who live therein. It is so, that we experience there the circling might of wide-open space as a feeling. And when we can say, that the Sun bestirs itself in the feeling of wide-open space, Mercury bestirs itself in the feeling of wide-open space, Mars bestirs itself in the feeling of wide-open space, then we have grasped feeling in its universal existence sundered from thinking and sundered from willing.

And when we can take hold of thinking, so that we bring freedom from physical reality to thoughts, then it is as if our thinking were to fly out, out to the resting stars and itself rest among the resting stars. And we may say to ourselves, when we have arrived at the other side of the threshold, that my thinking rests in the resting stars, my feeling bestirs itself in the wandering stars, my willing articulates with the forces of the earth. And thinking, feeling, and willing, in the universal world-all are split asunder.

And ever and again they must be reconnected. Here on earth, one does not need to actively bind thinking, feeling, and willing together, since they are already together, by means of the unity of the physical body, for in the physical human being they are bound together. Thinking, feeling, and willing would perpetually come apart, were they not being held together by a person's physical nature, without the person willing it or knowing anything about it. However now they are torn apart so thoroughly, thinking, feeling, and willing, that thinking rests overhead with the fixed stars, feeling circles with the planets, and willing is intermingled down with the forces of earth. And we must bring up our inner forces firmly, enthusiastically so that the three lying far apart are reconnected through our own forces into a unity.

This we must do, and through a sort of mantric formulation we can perceive a sort of unity in thinking, feeling, and willing. Thinking, which is off among the resting stars, can be put in touch to some extent with feeling and willing. Feeling, circling among the wandering stars, can be put in touch to some extent with willing and thinking. Willing, so bound to the earth, can be put in touch to some extent with thinking and feeling.

We must gaze out upon the resting stars, taking care to say, there rests your thinking. But I bring the entire starry heaven into motion, as is done otherwise by the planets with feelings. Slowly I bring the starry heavens out there into motion in spirit. As I feel myself immobilized by the starry heaven, then I would like to break out, I would like to become one with the starry heaven as an entire human being. So, I have incorporated feeling and willing into the thinking bound to the resting stars.

Then I gaze into the wandering stars, and feel that my own feelings wander in these wandering stars. But I will endeavor, the moment I gaze about, to hold them firmly as they shift and change with the wandering stars, to hold them as firmly as the fixed stars elsewhere stand. And with the whole center of my being, with all pertaining to the heart and lungs, I will become one with the entire planetary system. And so have I attached thinking and willing to feeling.

If I were to become aware through these mantric formulations of how bound I am to the earth as a human being, then I really ought to admix feeling and thinking into this union with the earth. I should set the earth into motion in myself in thought, so that I am to her as a wandering star gliding along, oblivious to her heaviness, my union with the earth being so, that I could carry the earth through the universe. So feeling is admixed with willing. Thinking I drag in when I travel with the earth in my thoughts, but then again, I can hold it still, making the earth itself into a resting star through my own meditative power of thought.

When I carry out such a meditation, and ever and again carry it out, then I come upon myself as a person in the universal world-all external to the body and little by little I approach it with intimacy, with feeling. To this end, my dear brothers and sisters, one allows a mantric formulation to work effectively, and as such it can work effectively, especially forcefully, on the soul. [It was written on the board.]

Drag7Trag’: This is the imperative tense of the verb tragen. As a person is ensconced in either thinking, feeling or willing, the other two cannot be carried in, but must be dragged in. into think-living 8Denk-Erleben

That as pure musing

That means as meditation, as musing.

In the soul brilliantly
gleams
Feeling and willing
And you are spirit
Among pure spirits.

As a duality:

Drag into feel-emoting 9Fühlenskräfte
That as noble loving
Through the soul warmly
weaves
Thinking and willing
And you are soul
In the land of spirits.

As a trinity:

Drag into will-powering 10Willensmächte
That as spiritual striving
About the soul effectively
lives
Thinking and feeling
And you observe yourself
As body from spirit heights.

Put in this way the human body appears in its true constitution, its true gestalt.

This sounds forth just so from the spiritual world, the initiate experiences this within the spiritual world, made fast within words. In this sense they are mantric words, and the experiences, to which they point, are entered into in the spiritual world.

To this end it is guidance, really, into the spiritual world, when your souls just allow the words to work effectively.

Drag into think-living
That as pure musing
In the soul brilliantly
gleams
Feeling and willing
And you are spirit
Among pure spirits.

Drag into feel-emoting
That as noble loving
Through the soul warmly
weaves
Thinking and willing
And you are soul
In the land of spirits.

Drag into will-powering
That as spiritual striving
About the soul effectively
lives
Thinking and feeling
And you observe yourself
As body from spirit heights.

Then, when it becomes ever clearer and clearer to you, my dear brothers and sisters, just what lies within such mantric words, then you will, when you ever and ever again come to these lessons, you will come with greater understanding, which means that you will hearken here to these words with ever greater world experience.

O Man, know yourself!
So sounds the word of worlds.
You hear it soul-forcefully,
You feel it spirit-powerfully.
Who speaks so world-mightily?
Who speaks so heart-inwardly?
Does it work streaming through space
Into your sense’s self-experiencing?
Does it sound weaving through time
Into your life's evolving stream?
Are you the one, who yourself
In sensing space, in experiencing time
Creates the word, feeling yourself
Estranged in in space’s soul-emptiness,
As you lose the power of thinking
In time’s destroying stream?

Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (left side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard (right side)
Blackboard Text for the Ninth Lesson

Leben:
O Mensch, ertaste in deines Leibes ganzem Sein,
Wie Erdenkräfte dir im Dasein Stütze sind.
O Mensch, erlebe in deines Tastens ganzem Kreis,
Wie Wasserwesen dir im Dasein Bildner sind.
O Mensch, erfühle in deines Lebens ganzem Weben,
Wie Luftgewalten dir im Dasein Pfleger sind.
O Mensch, erdenke in deines Fühlens ganzem Strömen,
Wie Feuermächte dir im Dasein Helfer sind.
O Mensch, erschaue dich in der Elemente Reich.

Liebe:
O Mensch, so lasse walten in deiner Seele Tiefen
Der Wandelsterne weltenweisende Mächte.
O Mensch, erwese dich durch den Weltenkreis.

Frommsein:
O Mensch, erhalte dir in deines Geistes Schaffen
Der Ruhesterne himmelkündende Worte.
O Mensch, erschaffe dich durch die Himmelsweisheit.

Trag’ in Denk-Erleben
Das als reines Sinnen
In der Seele lichtvoll
glänzt
Fühlen und Wollen
Und du bist Geist
Unter reinen Geistern.

Trag’ in Fühlenskräfte
Die als edle Liebe
Durch die Seele wärmend
weben
Denken und Wollen
Und du bist Seele
Im Reich der Geister.

Trag’ in Willensmächte
Die als Geistestriebe
Um die Seele wirkend
leben
Denken und Fühlen
Und du schaust dich selbst
Als Leib aus Geisteshöhen.

Life:
O Man, touch inwardly in your body’s whole existence,
How earth forces for you in existence-awareness are pillars.
O Man, live inwardly in your touching’s whole sphere,
How water ways for you in existence-awareness are sculptors.
O Man, feel inwardly in your living’s whole weave,
How air powers for you in existence-awareness are nurturers.
O Man, think inwardly in your feeling’s whole stream
How fire-mights for you in existence-awareness are helpers.
O Man, look within yourself into the elemental realm.

Love:
O Man, just so let rule in the depths of your soul
The wandering stars’ world-guiding might.
O Man, bring yourself into being through world’s circling.

Piety:
O Man, inwardly hold in the work of your spirit
The resting stars’ heaven-heralding words.
O Man, fashion yourself through heaven’s wisdom.

Drag into think-living
That as pure musing
In the soul brilliantly
gleams
Feeling and willing
And you are spirit
Among pure spirits.

Drag into feel-emoting
That as noble loving
Through the soul warmly
weaves
Thinking and willing
And you are soul
In the land of spirits.

Drag into will-powering
That as spirit striving
About the soul effectively
lives
Thinking and feeling
And you observe yourself
As body from spirit heights.