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A READER'S JOURNAL
Disease, Karma, and Healing, GA#107
Spiritual-Scientific Inquiries into the Nature of the Human Being
18 Lectures, Berlin, 1908,9
ARJ2 Chapter: Spiritual Science
Published by Rudolf Steiner Press/UK in 2013
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2014
Disease, Karma, and Healing, GA#107
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What do disease and karma have to do with one another? Seen from the perspective of past karma, that would involve a re-balancing of some deed from a previous lifetime, which seems to make little logical sense, since disease is something that happens to oneself, or seen more appropriately, something that one does to oneself. Why would such a deed have to be re-balanced? Seen from the perspective of future karma, our future development may depend on significant events which happen to us in this lifetime.
[page xv, Matthew Barton's Introduction] While 'suffering' an illness we may of course die. But, according to Steiner, it will still have given us the strength to realize and more fully embody our karma in a subsequent life. In this view, illness is a misfortune only from a narrower and more immediate perspective. From a larger, complementary one, it offers us the opportunity for deeper healing. It is itself a 'remedy' to balance our otherwise deep immersion in sensory delights of the material world, reminding us, also, of the pain and curtailments of merely physical existence.
A large percentage of the world's population, whether claiming to be religious or not, are locked into the "prevailing paradigm of materialism" — which Barton points out, "is merely a belief", without a shred of sensory-based evidence to refute the equally plausible paradigm of a spiritual reality. These believers demand we believe materialism exists and that no spiritual world exists, but the only proof they can offer presupposes the very premise they expect us to accept without proof. They proffer only skepticism to the existence of the spiritual world, but reject any skepticism about the independent existence of a material world. A paradigm of spiritual reality would accept claims that the material world has its origins, its foundations, in the spiritual world. Rightly understood, both material and spiritual worlds exist. Rudolf Steiner accepts the premise of a material world and offers substantial evidence in thousands of ways for the premise that a spiritual world exists upon which the material world is founded.
When dealing with illness, one finds problems which appear in the physical (material) body whose origin is in the spiritual bodies of a patient.
[page xvi, Matthew Barton's Introduction] In Steiner's own metaphor, considering the physical body alone in efforts to cure illness is rather like tinkering with a train engine when the problem actually lies with the train driver.
The rantings and ravings of materialistic skeptics are enough to make one laugh or cry. They claim that we are animals, a slightly advanced primate with a slightly bigger brain and greater intelligence. But it is clearly observable that no animal can laugh or cry. If we can laugh or cry at the ludicrous claims that we are animal, how is that possible? In Lecture 17, Steiner gives simple reflections on laughing and crying, and in the other lectures gives powerful evidence to refute the prevailing and misguided paradigm of materialism. Rafts are ships without a rudder and they can be blown by the prevailing wind, but human beings have built-in rudders and creativity to produce propulsion against the prevailing winds of the materialistic paradigm, and so they can take a new tack in the direction of truth and make headway against the prevailing winds of public opinion and scientific paradigms. Navigators of old under a cloudy sky used dead-reckoning, that is, guiding their path using land-based markers. With Steiner as our navigator we can live-reckon our course through life using celestial navigation, looking with clear vision to the stars, and avoiding the dead-reckoning paradigm of physicality which ignores karma and other spiritual realities, up until now.
When someone experiences a quick shiver in the absence of any cold draft or other physical explanation, people will say, "Someone is walking over your grave." If you are walking along and one spot feels a bit colder, it means you are walking through a ghost, a spirit. With a little live-reckoning we can understand that such shivers are direct perceptions of the spiritual world which we can explain in no other way. Sayings such as these originated in a time when people could still directly perceive the spiritual world and thus simultaneously confirm that the shiver happened at the same time as some event happened in the spiritual world. Since we live in a material world filled with spirits, it would be a rather common occurrence for a spiritual being, a remnant of a deceased human, to pass through a living human, with the only physical effect being an otherwise unexplainable shiver. This process works in the other direction also, as Steiner explains in this next passage, in other words, when we have some salient feeling arise in us, it radiates out into the world as if we were attached to an astral spider web and beings of the astral world can experience the pulse we sent out on the web.
[page 3, 4] When we have some feeling or other, when joy or alarm flares in our soul, initially this is an occurrence within our soul. But it is not merely that. If one is able to examine this clairvoyantly, it becomes apparent that something like a luminous stream emanates from a person at the moment of alarm or joy, and that this enters the astral world. It does not enter it haphazardly or arbitrarily, though, but makes its way to a being within the astral world. In other words, when a feeling shimmers up in us, we enter into a connection with a being of the astral world. . . . This is the remarkable thing here: that as individuals we are not connected with just a single such being, but that we spin the most diverse threads connecting us to the most diverse beings of the astral world.
In the 1980s Jean Houston in various workshops explained that we humans have "leaky margins" and that the most intimate thoughts we have in the privacy of our bedrooms can leak out into the world and affect other people. Steiner not only agrees with Houston, but claims it is a valuable and productive ability that everyone possesses, but few realize they have it, up until now(1).
[page 7] It will become necessary for people to know what lies in the depths of the soul. You see, we would be endlessly impoverished if we were unable to produce many such streams that enter the astral world; and our nature would be very restricted if we were unable, by deepening our lives spiritually, to gain mastery over all these streams. We really must say therefore that we are not confined within our skin but extend beyond it on all sides into other worlds, which in turn penetrate into our world. A whole network of entities is spun out over the astral world.
When thoughts are shared with other people during a discussion, differing views may be expressed, but seldom do physical battles ensue after heated discussions. In the astral world, such heated battles are the rule rather than the exception.
[page 11] You see, as beings in the astral world you cannot restrain a thought within yourself since thoughts immediately become deeds, and objects immediately materialize. . . . Everything becomes deed there, and views have to battle with one another rather than discuss and argue. . . . Other opinions can happily exist alongside one's own, since battle will sort it all out.
Steiner points out that in the physical world you cannot build two different churches in one spot, but in the astral world, two churches can be built in one spot, a reality that is taken for granted there, a knowing that no argument is necessary because of the knowledge that truth will prevail, a knowing that "fruitful things will prevail".
[page 11] What has been described here, this interpenetrability, is a very important and key quality of the astral world. No being of the astral world will develop a concept of truth such as those we know here in the physical world. The beings of the astral world find debate, argument and so forth to be entirely unproductive. They agree with Goethe that "Fruitful things alone are true!" We should not come to know truth through theoretical reflections but through their productiveness, through the way in which they prove their value. One being of the astral world will therefore never dispute with another as people do, but will say: Fine, you do your thing, I'll do mine. We will see which is the more productive idea, and which will knock the other out of the ring.
"Discussion begins when knowledge ends." Steiner has said that in many places, and in this next passage he explains the difficulty of discussion with those without knowledge. In a less elegant way, a former governor, Earl K. Long, of Louisiana famously said, "When you wrestle with pigs, you can both get dirty, and the pigs love it." This can happen when an anthroposophist speaks of spiritual realities to an unprepared audience of materialists.
[page 14, 15] Whenever spiritual science collides with an entirely unprepared audience, the anthroposophist must be somewhat aware that in many respects he speaks a different language from those who have heard nothing at all or only very superficial, external things about insights that underpin the spiritual-scientific movement. It is necessary to delve a little deeper to find harmony and accord between what can so easily be presented in modern science — that is, experiences gained from research into the sensory world — and what is given us through insight gained by means of spiritual, higher, supersensible consciousness. One has to go more deeply into these things before being very gradually able to gain a real overview of this harmony. Then, however, we will see the beautiful harmony existing between what the spiritual researcher asserts and the assertions — that is, the cataloguing of facts — gained through research into physical realities. . . . Greater understanding of spiritual science can only be achieved in a broader context, therefore, by speaking from a spiritual perspective, even to an unprepared audience, in an entirely and unashamedly direct way. Then, amongst these unprepared people, there will be a large number who say: "This is all nonsense, fantasy, gobbledygook!"
At best one can hope there is an intrepid few, some thirsty souls who will take deep quaffs and learn to make sense of spiritual worlds through the unanswered questions which they allow to come to a flowering of understanding in their hearts. I attest firmly that this is possible and it began to happen to me several decades ago. I was trained to think like a physicist and questioned everything I read that Steiner wrote against my knowledge of science, often finding it lacking.
[page 15] When people say, "What you tell us does not accord with the most elementary scientific research," then the anthroposophist will reply, "I know that perfect harmony in relation to all these facts can be established by everything spiritual science can offer, even if at present it may not yet be possible for us to agree."
As I progressed in my study of spiritual science, I found again and again the harmony of spiritual science with the science of physics along with a great expansion of understanding of the world, its origin, humankind's origin, and our destination, of which physics provided me no clue, instead providing me only misleading and ill-founded claims. Both physics and religion, rightly understood, provide a kindergarten-like explanation of life's most important questions, intended mostly to deter further questioning, i.e., to dispel any unanswered questions from the minds of their students and believers which might lead them eventually to find fruitful and truthful answers. Once you hear a person say to a new idea, "I know that!" or "That's not right!", you can imagine they are not likely to be holding any unanswered questions, the top is left off the pressure-cooker of their minds and there can be no unanswered questions cooking up answers within. When the new idea involves concepts of spiritual science which are rejected without adequate inspection, you have signs of a person who is fully acclimatized to the material world, living entirely within matter.
[page 46] Only a being living entirely in matter believes that he will fade away by sacrificing himself. No, ever higher, richer development is connected with self-sacrifice in the service of universal evolution.
What does the gardener feel when he goes out to hoe his garden rows and his hoe is broken? He feels pain because what he could have done easily with his hoe, remove unwanted plants between his rows, he must now do by hand, on his knees what he could have done while standing with his hoe. Our body feels pain whenever something smashes a part of our body or makes the smallest cut or incision into our body. That's why we rub that part of our body which is not working fully, the part which hurts, why we like it when someone else rubs that part, why kids like Mommy to kiss it better. All these actions add etheric energy to the spot where the etheric body is working to restore itself fully and our astral body experiences pain until the etheric body has restored itself.
[page 49] If we now imagine making a small slit in our skin, thus wounding it, this incision will prevent the etheric finger from arranging the finger's different parts in the right way. The ether body is in the finger and seeks to keep the latter's parts together, while the mechanical incision we have made sunders them. Thus the ether finger cannot do what it ought. It is in the same position as we would be if, say, we had made ourselves a tool to use in the garden but someone had broken it. We would then be unable to do the work we had intended, and would be deprived of the chance to do it. This 'being unable' is best summed up by the word 'privation'. And it is this inability to act or intervene that the astral part of the finger experiences as pain.
If we chop off a hand, only the physical hand is chopped off, not the ether hand, and this ether hand is then unable to act any longer. The astral hand experiences this huge deprivation as pain. Thus, in the interplay of the etheric and astral, we acquaint ourselves with the nature of the most primitive, primal pain experiences. This is how pain arises in fact; and it lasts until the astral body has accustomed itself to the fact that this activity is no longer being carried out in this part of the body.
One can understand the phenomenon of "phantom limb pain" as due to the etheric limb being unable to act and the astral limb experiencing this as a pain. Materialistic doctors use various circumlocutions to explain this phenomenon which can only be rightly understood by spiritual science concepts. If someone asks you to "scratch their leg" which has been amputated, one does best to follow the instructions and scratch where the leg used to be. That missing leg's etheric body is still there and will communicate to the astral body and reduce the phantom leg pain. I have heard of a case when the woman responded to such a request from a veteran, "But the leg's not there." And the vet replied, "Yes, but the leg doesn't know that!" Why is it possible to scratch an amputated limb? Because the etheric and astral portions of the missing physical leg are still there.
Losing a limb can be hell; losing one's entire physical body is literally hell. The pain of the loss of one's physical body is experienced in kamaloca, which occurs a few days after death and is felt all the more intensely by materialists who do not believe in the existence of a spiritual world and imagine that their body is a physical body only. Steiner gives us an easy-to-remember definition of pain:
Pain results from an inability to act.
If you have recently lost a loved one, you typically feel pain because you can no longer touch your loved one, but you yourself can be consoled, find solace, if you understand that your loved one, your wife perhaps, is alive in the spiritual world, and when you grieve for her, she is acted upon by your grief and you cause pain in her. One does best to interact in one’s mind with such a departed loved one, treating her as still alive in the spiritual world; this soothes her and helps ease the pain she feels from others who may be grieving for her.
[page 49, 50] Let us [look at] the experience of pain in kamaloca. There we are suddenly deprived of our whole body; it is no longer present and the ether forces can no longer act. The astral body senses that the whole can no longer be organized and it yearns for the activity that can only be carried out by means of the physical body, experiencing this privation as pain. Every experience of pain is a suppressed activity. Every suppressed activity in the cosmos leads to pain and, since activity must frequently be suppressed in the cosmos, pain is something necessary there.
When we leave kamaloca (hell) and enter the next level of the spiritual world devachan (heaven) we have reached a state of bliss. This is the state that religious preachers refer to as Heaven, calling it our ultimate and only goal in the after-life; lacking, as they do, a full recognition of the spiritual realities of our time between death and a new birth, they mistake a way-station for a permanent home. This next passage summarizes what happens during our time at the way-station.
[page 51] And now we can apply this to the spiritual worlds. Just as inhibited activity is privation in kamaloca — and privation is the kamaloca state — when we enter devachan all suppressed activity falls away because nothing remains there that is in any way connected with the physical plane or yearns back hungrily for physical things. Here we are given up to spiritual substantiality, which gradually builds up the form of our next incarnation. Here is the purest, most uninhibited activity, which we experience as the purest bliss. In life we continually learn from everything that surrounds us. The bodies, though, which we have now, are ones we built up in accordance with the powers of our former incarnations: we have built them up through these powers. What we encounter and acquaint ourselves with in this life is not yet in our body. During our life we change: our feelings and emotions change, our ideals grow. A great sum of inhibited urge for activity sits in us but we cannot transform our body. We have to make do with it as it was built up in line with the experiences of former incarnations. In devachan we are liberated from these constraints and in consequence our unconstrained urge for activity lives its life to the full in bliss. There we create our astral body, etheric body and physical body for the next life.
Steiner takes us in Lecture 7 into the mystery of forgetfulness. Do you remember the last time you forgot something? You might feel good about that, especially after reading this lecture in which Steiner discusses the "Blessing of Forgetting". Our etheric body remembers things, and the process of growth in a plant, whose highest body is the etheric body, uses the memory of making one leaf to create another leaf: it re-members the leaf or the section of a vertical stalk and adds it onto itself. Plants would keep doing that linear progress of growth were it not for the astral body of the Earth which soon stalls the process of re-membering and forces the leaves to be formed into flowers to culminate the growth of the plant and provide for reproduction processes of pollination and seed-formation to occur.
Our spinal cord grows much like a plant adding one section of stalk upon another and when it reaches its culmination the astral body creates an invagination of the top vertebra which forms the human skull. Our human flower, the reproductive portion, is not in the skull but at the lower end of the spinal cord; our brain is more related to the roots of the plant than the flower. In proceeding from the plant to the animal to the human kingdom, each step involves a right-angle turn. Animals have their head and reproductive organ parallel to the Earth, and humans are completely inverted from plants with our reproductive region close to the Earth and head farthest from the Earth.
The etheric body of plants is solely focused on processes of growth.
[page 65] The human ether body is different. Besides the part of it used for growth, for the same kind of development that in a sense encompasses us as it does the plant, there is another part of the ether body, you can say, that exists freely and has no prior use unless we teach the child all sorts of things in educating him, incorporating into the human soul all manner of things which this free part of the ether body makes use of and assimilates. In other words, there really is a part of the human ether body in us that nature does not use. We retain this and do not use it for growth, do not apply it to natural, biological development, but retain it within us as something intrinsically free by means of which we can assimilate the ideas and images which approach us through education.
Our astral body is like a TV receiver which can receive instantaneous signals and create visual images from them. Our etheric body is like a modern DVR (Digital Video Recorder) which can store these instantaneous signals and play them back later. In order to hold these accumulated images, the DVR needs a storage mechanism (a Hard Drive). Steiner says that our etheric body contains growth processes which only fills half of its capacity when we are born, that extra capacity available for storage during our education.
[page 65, 66] This assimilation of ideas occurs initially however by virtue of the fact that we receive impressions. We must always receive impressions since all education is also based on impressions and on collaboration between the etheric and astral bodies. To receive impressions, you see, we need the astral body. But to retain an impression so that it does not fade again, the etheric body is needed. The activity of the ether body is necessary for retaining even the least, apparently most insignificant memory. For instance, if you look at something, you need the astral body. But to retain it after turning your head away, you need the etheric body, The astral body is involved in looking at things, but the etheric body is necessary for retaining the image of it. Though very limited activity of the etheric body retains images in this way, and though it really only comes into its own in relation to lasting habits, inclinations, changes to temperament and so on, nevertheless, this is where it is needed. To retain even a simple idea in our head the etheric body has to be present, since all retention of ideas is in a sense based on memory.
Steiner explains that a person who is lethargic and makes little use of their surplus etheric body is less likely to recover from an illness than a person who has absorbed a great deal in their lifetime, making much use of the free portion of the etheric body.
Next Steiner explains the importance of forgetting, how an instantaneously received image can not enter the free portion of our etheric body until we have let go of the received image! What we forget goes to work inside of us.
[page 67, 68] So let us consider an image formed in response to an external impression, which is now living in our awareness. Then let us cast our eye of soul on the way it gradually disappears, is gradually forgotten. It is still present though within our whole spiritual organism. What is it doing there? What is the "forgotten image" preoccupied with? It has its own very important role. You see, it only begins to work upon this free part of the ether body which I described, and to render this free part of the ether body of use to us once it has been forgotten. It is as if this image or idea has only then been properly assimilated.
My experience with doing crossword puzzles confirms this phenomenon to be the case. So long as I hold the image of the word with missing letters in my mind, I usually cannot fill in the blanks to create the right word. This can happen for many words. But, if I put it aside for an hour or so, or better yet, overnight, the next time I come to the puzzle, each of the half dozen or so missing words pop into my mind as if by magic, and soon the puzzle which formerly stumped me has now been completed. My putting the puzzle away caused me to forget the blank-filled words and allowed them to work in my mind which soon found the words without my conscious effort, a conscious effort which can get in the way of solving the puzzle. Who does this work for me out of my awareness?
[page 68] The laborers are our forgotten ideas. That is the great blessing of forgetting!
Forgetting something is a benefit of our mind, not a defect of our mind! Forgetting is like putting money in a saving account — we forget about the money for a time, and when we draw it out we find it has grown bigger — drawn interest is the metaphor we use. As if what we forget draws interest to it and provides us with a later dividend when we need it. Forgetting a slight or insult from someone works in a similar way; it is the very essence of forgiving.
[page 69] If someone has done harm to us and, having absorbed the impression of what he did to us we repeatedly return to it whenever we see him, then we relate this idea of harm to the person concerned, and allow it to stream out from us. But if the next time we see this person, we manage to shake his hand as if nothing has happened, this is actually healing — not just in a metaphorical sense but in reality. . . . Forgetting is not a mere deficiency in us but is intrinsic to the most beneficial aspects of human life. . . . We owe our capacity for development to forgetting.
The ideas on these pages inspired me to write a poem about the blessing of forgetting. I modeled its title after the famous play by Oscar Wilde called "The Importance of Being Earnest".
The Importance of Being Forgetful
Did I ever tell you about the blessing of forgetting?
OW! I forget.
Who wrote "The Importance of Being Earnest"?
OW! I forget.
Who wrote "The Importance of Being Forgetful"?
OW! I just did.
I was just testing the Blessing of Forgetting.
OW! I forgot!
You want to know the Blessing of Forgetting!
OK, what is the Power of an Unanswered Question?
OW! You forget you asked it,
and later an answer pops up!
Having trouble due to forgetting things?
OW! Forget it!
Remember the Blessing of Forgetting!
What if I can’t forgive someone?
OW! Forgiving requires forgetting! Forget it!
What if I can’t forget what they did?
OW! Forgiving allows forgetting. Forgive them.
But I worry when I forget things!
OK, 95% of the things we worry about never happen.
OW! Forget them!
Remember the Blessing of Forgetting!
I still find forgetting upsetting.
OW! Forgetting something
puts it to work inside of you.
That's the Blessing of Forgetting!
Remember this, next time you’re fretting about something:
Fretting is not forgetting;
It is remembering and re-remembering indefinitely.
OW! Forget you read this
and put it to work inside of you.
Remember the Blessing of Forgetting!
When we are in kamaloca, early during our time between death and a new birth, we must release the ties which bind us to our home, the Earth, before we can enter devachan and begin our work on our next life on Earth. During my childhood, the most popular deck of cards was the Bulldog Squeezers and the image on the back of the cards haunted me for some inexplicable reason. You can see the image at right. Two bulldogs are chained near their doghouses while the Man in the Moon grins down on them. The words at the bottom were most puzzling, "There is a tie that binds us to our Homes." The chains represent the linked together "instincts, drives, desires, passions, feelings, emotions, and pleasures" of our astral body which must be dissolved before we can release the ties to our physical existence on Earth and progress into the spiritual world of devachan.The importance of forgetting sheds new light on our loved ones who lose their memories while still in their physical bodies. Who knows but that this forgetting is an advance preparation stage for their eventual total forgetting which must occur before they can enter Heaven?
[page 70] The astral body is the bearer of all instincts, drives, desires, passions, feelings, emotions and pleasures. Now in kamaloca the astral body would be unable to become aware of the torments of privation if it were not continually able to recall, through its ongoing connection with the residues of the ether body, what it has enjoyed and desired in life. The shedding of these habits is basically nothing other than a gradual forgetting of what chains us to the physical world. And so, when a person wishes to enter devachan, he must first learn to forget what chains him to the physical world. Here too therefore we see that we are tormented by retaining our memory of the physical world. Just as anxieties can become a torment when they refuse to be dislodged from our memory, inclinations and instincts that remain after death are likewise a torment; and this tormenting memory of our connection with life comes to expression in everything we have to undergo during our kamaloca period. The moment we have succeeded in forgetting all desires and wishes connected with the physical world — and only then — the achievements and fruits of our previous life appear in the way necessary for them to take effect in devachan. There they create and craft the shape of our forthcoming life.
How can we recall our previous life if we have cast off our etheric body? Steiner asks and answers this question for us. We are familiar with the concept of cloud computing, where the data is not stored in our local computer, but in some remote computer we know not where, but our data is available for recall when we wish it. Our etheric body is like a local hard drive which stores and feeds up impressions (memory) when we are in the physical world. When we die the impressions stored by the etheric body are fed into a "cloud memory" which is known as the akashic record.
[page 71] Naturally, memory and forgetting acquire a somewhat different form after death. A transformation occurs so that in place of ordinary recall we read in the akashic record. Whatever has happened in the world does not vanish but exists objectively. As memory of our connection with physical life fades during kamaloca, these same occurrences surface in a quite different way, becoming apparent to us in the akashic record.
In Lecture 8 Steiner focuses on the theme of disease and talks about a "medical papacy" with ominous foresight of our 21st Century medical juggernaut which threatens to consume most of our national resources unless its thrust is blunted by common sense and spiritual science insights. People today want the best of care, no matter the cost, and expect, for example, to be prescribed antibiotics at the slightest sniffle.
[page 74, 75, italics added] People usually only concern themselves with disease, or at least with one or other forms of disease, when they fall ill in some way; and then they are mostly only interested in their recovery, in the fact of being cured. How they are cured is usually of very little interest to them, and it is even very agreeable to them not to have to concern themselves further with the nature of this recovery. Most of our contemporaries are happy to delegate the task of curing them to the people appointed to do so. In fact, a far more pervasive faith in authority holds sway in this field in our era than has ever held sway in the sphere of religion. Medical papacy, irrespective of what form it assumes in one place or another, has today become extremely prevalent and will go on taking stronger hold in future. Lay people are not in the least at fault for this state of affairs and its future increase. You see, people don't give it any thought, don't concern themselves with such things — not, at least, until they have first-hand experience of it, suffer an acute illness and need a cure. And for this reason a great majority of the population looks on with complete indifference as the medical papacy assumes ever greater proportions, worming its way into the most diverse fields — for instance, intervening extensively in children's education, in school life, and staking a claim here to a certain form of therapy. People do not worry about the deeper underlying factors at work here. They stand by and watch as public ordinances are given some kind of legislative form. They have no real wish to gain insight into such things. By contrast there will always be those who, finding themselves in difficulty and discovering that ordinary, materialistic medicine — whose foundations they have no interest in — does not answer their needs, will seek help from practitioners who draw on an esoteric foundation.
Our current medical papacy resembles the religious papacy which burnt Giordano Bruno at the stake and threatened the life of Galileo for daring to explain spiritual realities with physical and mathematical concepts. The world has come full circle now with a medical papacy focusing solely on the material aspects of the human being while belittling spiritual science which focuses on soulful healing of the human being. The medical papacy insists we heal ourselves with the half-loaf approach of materialistic science, while the full loaf is available to all of us, if we but seek anthroposophically trained and oriented medical doctors.
[page 76] If a scientific discipline maintains that we consist only of the physical body, it will be unable to engage in any salutary way with aspects of human health or disease. You see, health and illness relate to the whole human being, and not just to the part of him that is the physical body. . . . However pious a doctor may be, and however many ideas he may have about some kind of world of spirit, if his medical practice is based on rules founded entirely on our materialistic world-view, and if he tried to cure, therefore, in a way that only acknowledges the body, he still a materialist, however theoretically spiritual his outlook.
My wife found a doctor who formerly had worked at Touro Infirmary, but left to begin her own practice based on anthroposophical medicine. After a year or two of intensive treatment, my wife is sleeping better and no longer suffering from various hormonal imbalances which had earlier plagued her.
Doctors typically only view blood under a microscope, instead of a macroscope. Blood removed from a living being and examined under a microscope is no longer a living substance infused by a person's I. When doctors begin using a macroscope to view the entire living human, solutions can be found which would confound the medical papacy which would proclaim such results as anomalies, lucky guesses, and mysticism, all of which words can be rightly seen as a projection of their own procedures. "We'll try this drug and see if it works." How many times have you heard doctors say something similar? They are no better than Shamans or Witch Doctors at times, and deserve to be called "Wish Doctors" as many of their therapies are found on a wish that this new drug explained to them by a Drug Co. sales rep will heal their patient's illness. Drugs that are built on a microscopic level when they enter a human being have to relate to it on a macroscopic level and require the doctor to be informed of what is happening on a macroscopic level to the patient, the doctor must put the patient under the doctor's macroscope.
[page 81] Here we must realize that everything surrounding us in the macrocosm of the wider world is related to our complex internal organism, to the microcosm. Every food we know, therefore, is connected in a quite specific way to what lies within us.
My wife's doctor put her under the macroscope, looking at every food she ate, and she recommended certain changes in Del’s diet which proved beneficial.
[page 81] What developed in the external world has a particular relationship with what formed within us. And now anyone who knows how outer things relate to internal ones can say in each instance how an external substance in the macrocosm can be used to benefit the microcosm. Otherwise we can experience, in a sense, how what we stuff ourselves with really isn't suitable for us. We must therefore seek in spiritual science for the real foundations governing our judgment. When someone falls ill and his diet is then guided by purely empirical laws derived from statistics or chemistry, this will always be a superficial approach.
In the past several decades diet seems to be formed by superficial fads, low-fat, low-carb, high protein, no-sugar, lite beers, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, just to name a few. The ones that go back the earliest in time have all fallen away, some proven actually dangerous, and the latest fad is ready to take its place, and food companies are ready to provide whole new labeling such as NO SODIUM for stuff which never had sodium in the first place.
When we taper the amount of food we eat to a low level, we can experience what food is suitable for us, and when we have eaten enough, we will know it, and thus maintain a healthy weight without resorting to faddish diets. A fad diet is an experiment we do with our bodies, is it not? Will the results be good? You never know until you find out.
In Lecture 9 Steiner gives us an explanation of the Ten Commandments which he refers to as an anteroom to Christianity. His explanation of the first Commandment on page 89 is worth a big WOW! He repeats his explanation on page 96.
What I'd like to focus on is the evils which are spread in our time: on almost any TV Channel, but especially so-called news channels, one can be subjected to about ten phobia installations(2) a minute, and many of those come through the commercial advertisements, especially those by lawyers. Seems any drug used currently by Wish Doctors are followed shortly by lawyer ads describing the horrors they have caused to patients who took them, or the pain inflicted on patients by the artificial hips, joints, etc. they installed. Ninety-five years ago, Steiner was aware of this process of evil caused by materialistic doctors.
[page 95] Only if we can delve into spiritual science can we discover the mysterious way in which health and sickness develop. If you walk through the streets of a city, the atrocious things in advertisements and shop windows exert a baleful influence on your soul. Materialistic scientists have no sense at all of the capacity of these dire things to cause disease. They seek pathogens merely in bacilli, unaware that health and sickness are introduced into the body via the soul. Here only a humanity that acquaints itself with spiritual science will learn the significance of absorbing one or another kind of pictorial image.
Thou shalt not steal is a powerful Commandment which is often ignored and spuriously justified, "Everyone does it", "They won't miss what I took", and so on, but Steiner gives us insight into the process by which a thieving harms the perpetrator.
[page 99] . . . anyone who desires to acquire possessions by taking or stealing from another, thus trying to deprive him of some of his I power, weakens his own I power.
The evil effect of taking another's primary property as one's own also weakens one's own I power. Primary property as defined by Andrew Galambos is a person's thoughts and ideas. Consider the rampant thievery in the world today of primary property and you will gain insight into the cause for widespread low self-esteem (low I power).
In Lecture 10 we find a history of how male and female sexes arrived in the Lemurian era with the withdrawal of the Moon from the Earth. Steiner explains the causes of illness and ends the lecture with an apt description of what people do to their bodies by ingesting a pharmacopeia of drugs. Del and I have known people who were on their deathbed, given up by doctors, who simply stopped taking the drugs and experienced a miraculous recovery. When people take multiple drugs, the interactions between the drugs are too complicated for medical doctors to judge, and materialistic doctors admit as much. Steiner explains that the taking of these drugs create a phantom inside of you and that each drug creates a new phantom. How do these phantoms arise? He says on page 112 that with spiritual sight it is possible to observe a human form, a phantom, that consists of the medicine a person has ingested.
[page 113] If you left [a patient], as he is someone who needs something like this, and did not give him the medicine despite his real need of it, certain negative forces in his astral body would work upon his ether body, and the ether body in turn on the physical body, gradually destroying it. Now, though, you have imbued the physical body with a double whose effect is to prevent the physical body from hearkening to the astral body's influence.
That double is a phantom, and each successive drug the patient gets creates another phantom within and soon the patient is a mere shadow of his former self. Holding off the illness with the various drugs has made him into an extreme unhealthy individual. The effect is truly horrendous.
[page 113] By this means you render a person's physical body independent in a sense from his astral and ether body. That is the effect of a mineral medicine. But you will also immediately see the negative aspect of this for it does indeed have a very deleterious side to it. Since you have artificially removed the physical body from its connection with the other bodies, weakening the influence of astral and ether body on the physical body, you have made the physical body independent — and the more you administer such medicines to your body the less the astral and ether bodies will engage with it. Thus the physical body will grow to be inwardly hardened, an autonomous entity subject to its own laws. . . . Someone who has medicated himself in this way for a long time will find, if he seeks a more psychological form of treatment that acts particularly on the subtler bodies, that he has become more or less unreceptive to soul influences.
Modern drugs, to the extent that they incorporate mineral substances in them, can have this deleterious cumulative effect upon human beings. The disease is cured, but the patient is turned into a robot which will likely die of some other disease caused by the inability of the astral and etheric bodies to have a natural healing influence due to the blocking action of the drug-induced phantoms.
[page 114] We can now understand how mineral substances act on the human being. They engender doubles in him that preserve his physical body and remove him from potentially harmful effects of his astral or ether body. Today, almost all our medicine is geared to this, since materialistic medicine is unaware of the human being's subtler bodies, and only knows how to treat the physical body in some fashion.
Several decades ago, my friend Doyle Henderson and I were talking and he used the phrase "healing states" to refer to what we usually would call the symptoms of a disease. Some bug gets into our system and we experience certain discomforts, it could be fever, spots on our face or body, a rash, upset stomach, diarrhea, etc. If we consider these as "healing states" it is possible that these conditions can be bodily states recalled as a bodily memory (a doyle), and, if so, the so-called disease can be traced and erased by the Speed Trace process of doyletics. I mention this because to my surprise Steiner mentions in Lecture 11 that fever is a healing state.
[page 121] Now let us assume that the astral body has some intrinsic defect. Through this defect it works upon the ether body, and thus the defect is replicated and carried through into the physical body. Then the latter also becomes defective, and the organism begins to revolt against the defect, activating defensive forces. Fever is the most common form of revolt and invokes our healing powers. Fever is not illness, but a state in which we summon all the powers that exist everywhere in our organism to remedy this defect. This revolt of the whole organism against the defect is usually expressed in fever. Fever is the most beneficial, most healing factor in disease. The part of the body that has become defective cannot heal itself and needs to be aided by powers originating elsewhere — and this comes to expression in fever.
In Lecture 12 Steiner explains how Lucifer, whose name is light-bearer, ironically brought darkness to humankind. But for Lucifer's gift to humankind, the physical world would have remained transparent and we would yet today be able to see the spirits who fill the world in which we live. The cost for this would have been our freedom and autonomy, a very high price indeed.
[page 129] Instead of this, or course, Lucifer approached the human being and as it were drew a veil over part of the backdrop of the spiritual world, making it invisible. For as passions, instincts and desires arose in the human astral body, the spiritual beings who had always previously been perceived as standing behind the human being in the world from which he had originated were obscured. . . . The hosts of Lucifer were generally visible to the Atlanteans who — in twilight states of clairvoyant consciousness, in states of sleep and intermediate states between sleeping and waking — could find their way into the higher world of spirit.
As humans progressed through the Atlantean Epoch, the veil of darkness unfurled by Lucifer continued to obscure their view of the higher realms of the spiritual world, allowing the lower realms of the mineral, plant, and animal kingdom to become visible to human beings. Humans were the highest realm of Earth, the lowest realm of the Spiritual Kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Tenth Hierarchy of the Angelic Kingdom, but by the end of the Atlantean Epoch humans had lost sight of their spiritual origins and gained sight of the physical world(3), a condition we remain in to this day, but the tide is turning and we are entering a phase of regaining our spiritual sight in addition to our physical sight. Rudolf Steiner was a forerunner, a harbinger of the good news of this regaining of our spiritual sight, a capability he was born with and could attest to its possibility, its previous existence as a human capability in Atlantean times, and its coming existence in future times.
What was the evil that humans were doing during Atlantean times which led to their destruction in the Great Flood? They had access to the use of seed potencies which they could draw forth as we draw power from gasoline to drive our machines today.
[page 132] And I have said that if such powers are extracted or drawn out, then they have a mysterious relationship to the natural forces in wind, weather, and so forth; and if human beings use these powers in a way opposed to divine intentions, then these forces of nature can be unleashed against them.
This led to the great flood of Atlantis, and the devastating natural forces responsible for the downfall and submergence of the whole Atlantean continent.
The use of these forces continued in black magic (which means simply against divine intent) into the post-Atlantean times, headed by the being named by Zarathustra as Ahriman who opposed the great Sun Spirit Christ. A veil of darkness was falling on humankind again, this time in their passage between death and a rebirth. The Greeks knew this to be the case and famously claimed, "It is better to be a slave on Earth than a King in the realm of the shades." They lionized the human being in physical form on Earth because they knew that only darkness awaited them after this lifetime on Earth.
[page 133] In the world we pass through between death and a new birth humankind would gradually have become shrouded in darkness in what the Greeks rightly felt to be the realm of shades or shadows. And infinite isolation and accentuation of human egotism would have developed in the life between death and a new birth. On being reincarnated, we would have been born into our lives in a way that would have made us crass and terrible egotists.
The gift of Lucifer which led to human freedom also lead to humanity's downfall, and only a Spiritual Being of the level of Lucifer could undo the ill-effects of Lucifer's action. Zarathustra saw this Spiritual Being and called him Ahura Mazdao and prophesized that He was coming to Earth to pay for the deed of Lucifer, to redeem humanity. In Mystery Schools found by Zarathustra (about 3,000 B.C.), students or initiates were taught about the approach of this Sun Being, who came to be called Christ. These initiates were various called Magi or Kings when they graduated, and three of them approached the Jesus baby who was eventually to provide the purified human body to receive the Christ Being and redeem humanity from Lucifer's gift by becoming the first Great Spirit to experience life and death as a human being in the event Steiner later called the Mystery of Golgotha.
[page 133] It is therefore more than merely metaphorical to say that after the event of Golgotha, at the moment when blood ran from Christ's wounds, Christ appeared in the world beyond, in the realm of shades, and laid Ahriman in chains. While Ahriman's influence remained, and though all materialistic thinking is basically attributable to him and can only be paralyzed if we fully absorb the event of Golgotha, this event nevertheless became the source of strength we draw on to gain entry once more to the divine world of spirit.
How can there be a connection between the thoughts and deeds of human beings and the natural events which occur in the world. Two hundred years ago Joseph Joubert wrote, "All cries and all complaints exhale a vapor, and from this vapor a cloud is formed, and from these heaped-up clouds come thunder, storms, the inclemencies that destroy everything."(4) Seth, a spirit never incarnated, spoke through Jane Roberts about how the true steering mechanisms of hurricanes are the psyches of human beings in a region exuding those "cries and complaints" and wanting things to change for the better. (See footnote 4)
[page 143] Once humanity has come to discern, through spiritual science, the possibility of a connection between human deeds and natural events, then, precisely through this insight, the time will also arrive when humanity comes to see how such questions can receive an appropriate reply. This time will come, for spiritual science can pass through various destinies of its own. Its influence may even come to a standstill, restricted to the narrowest circles. But it will nevertheless make its way through humanity and find its way into the karma of humanity. And then it will become possible for humanity itself to act upon and influence its own karma.
Our I has a natural cycle of 24 hours or one day, our astral body has a cycle of 7 days or one week, and our etheric body a cycle of 28 days (about one month). In one day we go through our normal cycle of waking and sleeping. We recover from jet lag, something Steiner never got to experience, in about one week, the time our astral body needs to go through a cycle and return to normal in a new location. A woman's body goes through its menstrual cycle in about 28 days. The physical body has a cycle of 10 times 28 days, which is equivalent to 9 of our normal months, and the length of time for a new human physical body to gestate in its mother's body. These cycles are important to be aware of, but Steiner cautions against using them literally in some misguided "back-to-earth" Luddite cults which were apparently around a hundred years ago in his time and are still sprouting every year in some new form of food cultism, such as the anti-gluten, anti-TV, anti-cellphones, and anti-genetically modified plants, etc., today. Plants are genetically modifying themselves in every generation(5), and even the back-to-nature folks are eating such plants today. Even more so today, we must use our own I and decide whether something is good for us on an individual basis, remaining ever-aware that luciferian forces are inspiring these mass anti-movements. When we sift the nourishing wheat from the useless chaff, we do best for ourselves and our family; we find our own rhythm.
[page 154, 155] Now please don't imagine that I have said all this to propound a world-view that seeks to reintegrate human beings into a rhythm of this kind. We had to emerge from the ancient rhythm of existence, and progress depends on this. When "back-to-nature" prophets preach today, they want to push life back to where it started rather than advance it. Dabbling like this in vague ideas about going back to nature shows a failure to understand evolution. A movement urging people today to eat certain foods only at certain seasons, since nature itself indicates this by growing particular foods at specific times of year, represents a completely abstract kind of amateurism. Evolution consists precisely in increasing human independence from an external rhythm. But we should not lose the ground under our feet either. Our true, salutary progress is not furthered by returning to the old rhythm of life — asking, say, how one can live in harmony with the four quarters of the moon. This is a throwback to ancient times when it was necessary for us to be a kind of seal or imprint of the cosmos. On the other hand, though, it is also important not to think that we can live without rhythm. In the same way that we became internalized from without, we must now reconfigure ourselves rhythmically from within. This is the important thing. Rhythm must imbue our inner life.
Earlier I mentioned how our papacy of medicine today is filled with "Wish Doctors" who are at times no better than old-fashioned Medicine Men who guessed at what drug to use and wished for the best, applying a mishmash of thoughts about how to cure some diseases based on some verifiable fact about what a certain drug can do.
[page 154] Only disciplines still based on solid old traditions still retain something of their old regularity. In new fields we still need to create a new regularity. This is why, despite ascertaining facts such as the drop of temperature in a pneumonia patient on day seven of the disease, the reasons thought up to explain this are simply chaotic. When someone thinks about such things, instead of thinking in a regular, ordered way he piles a whole mish-mash of thoughts on top of one other. In all scientific disciplines researchers take a verifiable fact and then stir up a pile of thoughts about it, without any inner regularity. People today have no inner lines of thought or rhythm of thinking; and humanity would lapse into complete decadence if it did not, in fact, absorb an inner rhythm.
In spiritual science we can find and use for our benefit our inner line of thought, our rhythm of thinking; the numerical relations will remain the same, but will evolve at a higher level along with humankind’s evolution.
[page 156] The future, as human beings create it, will show the same great numerical relationships as in the cosmos's past, but at a higher level. This is why human beings will give birth to the future out of themselves, out of number, just as the gods once formed the cosmos out of number.
In Lecture 14 Steiner tackles the question of the karmic causes of disease. First he gives us a beautiful interpretation of a New Testament saying of Christ Jesus which explains why reviewing our life backwards during the post-death process of kamaloca is necessary to enter the spiritual world (devachan) where we spend our time between death and a new birth:
[page 160, 161] One passes through ones life backwards to the moment of ones birth. On this is based the beautiful Christian saying referring to the moment when human beings re-enter the world of spirit or the kingdom of heaven, "Except ye become as little children, ye shall no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." In other words, we live our way back to the time of childhood, and re-experience it; and having completed this reverse journey, we enter devachan or the kingdom of heaven, and there spend the rest of our time in the spiritual world.
Evil exists in this world. Many question why God allows evil to exist, even going so far as to claim it is a bad god who would create evil in the world. A stone in one's path might be a stumbling block or a stepping stone that is beneficial, may it not? To recognize the benefit of evil actions, one must understand that often the counter-balancing acts for good are not observed in one lifetime but sprout in the next lifetime. The stone one stumbles over in this lifetime becomes a stepping stone to good in the next lifetime. This, rightly understood, is the divine plan of God for humanity.
[page 162] From the very beginning, the wise guidance of the world sought to enable human beings to place obstacles in their own path so that they might remove them again and thus develop the great strength for what would come later in the world. One might even say that this wise guidance allowed the human being to be evil, gave him the opportunity to be so, to do harm, so that, by redressing the harm, overcoming the evil, he would grow into a stronger being during karmic evolution than he otherwise would have become if had effortlessly attained his goal. This is how we must regard the meaning and justification of such obstacles and hindrances.
What is our subjective experience during this backwards review during kamaloca?
[page 162] In retracing our experience afer death we register in our own astral body what it felt like to be on the receiving end of what we did. And we also register how in doing this we placed a stone in the path of our own further development. The stone must be removed! Otherwise we cannot advance beyond it. At this moment we form the intention, the tendency, to remove the stone. And so when we have passed through the kamaloca period we actually arrive in the period of our childhood with pure intentions — that is, with the intention of removing all the hindrances we ourselves created in life. The fact that we bear these intentions within us leads to the unique configuration of each person's future biography.
Steiner gives an example of a man with a brain disease which results because some karmic intention from a previous lifetime was being thwarted and the brain needed a healing process to occur to re-direct the man's life(6). If he died because the disease had spread too far, his intentions would come in his next lifetime. Remember when you read, "karmic obligations", that they are stone we place in our own path, which will appear at first as a blocking stone, but will later be seen as a stepping stone. A favorite cartoon of mine from the 1960s showed a man walking over stepping stones to the middle of a stream where he found a sign saying, "Coming Soon, Another Stone". That is our karmic destiny, we know a new stepping stone will come, whether in this life or the next.
[page 166] Thus illness can endow us in one life with the strength and capacity to realize our karmic obligations in a next. . . . The capacities we have today result from our illnesses in former lives.
The law of karma is like a balance sheet for our individual lives, holding our assets and liabilities. It has nothing to do with some pre-destined future that we are randomly stuck with. It is exactly the opposite of that. It simply explains that the spiritual reality of living as a human being requires us to counter-balance previous acts and thereby turn a previous liability into a present asset.
[page 169] We misunderstand illness and karma entirely if we always consider the past, thereby making karma a more or less completely random law of destiny. Karma becomes a law of action, of life's fruitfulness, however, if we are able to look through the lens of present karma into the future.
Since many people have life-threatening illnesses which they overcome and in the process change their lives for the better, we should not discount that those who die from such illnesses also change their lives for the better in their next lifetime.
The three so-called evil spirits are Luciferic spirits, Ahrimanic spirits, and Asuric spirits. Lucifer is rooted in the sentient soul of the physical body, Ahriman in the intellectual soul (aka mind soul) of the etheric body, and the Asuras are the most recent ones, rooted in the consciousness soul of the human I.
[page 194] The Asuras will develop evil with an intensity far greater than did the satanic (ahrimanic) powers of the Atlantean age, or the luciferic spirits of the Lemurian times.
In a recent movie, Idiocracy, a certified average person of today, as established by an Army placement test, is sent forward in time several hundred years to arrive as the smartest person in the world! People have reduced themselves to animal passions and past-times and the entire world's food supply is dying in the fields, in spite of being carefully watered. Even a dummy today knows better than to use Gator-Ade to water plants, but when a character in the movie is told to use water instead, he replied, "UGH! You mean that stuff which is used in the toilet?" When our hero goes to Costco to buy a product, the clerk tells him it's located at Mile 17. This movie shows the ultimate result of a world shaped by the Asuric spirits.
[page 195] One portion of the I after another will be torn from it and, as the asuric spirits increasingly settle and take root in the consciousness soul, we will increasingly be obliged to leave parts of our existence behind on the earth. What succumbs to the asuric powers will be irretrievably lost. This does not mean that our whole being must succumb to them, but the asuric spirits will excise portions of the human spirit. In our age these Asuras are announcing themselves in the prevailing outlook we can call that of merely sensual life, the forgetfulness of all true spiritual beings, realities and worlds. We can say that so far the asuric temptation remains more theoretical. So far their deception is a widespread suggestion that the I is merely an outcome of the physical world alone, and their seduction one which leads people to a kind of theoretical materialism. But as things continue — and this is becoming increasingly apparent in the wasteland of sensory passions that rain down more and more upon earth — they will darken the gaze of humankind for spiritual beings and spiritual powers. People will know nothing and will not wish to know anything about a world of spirit. More than just subscribing to the doctrine that the loftiest ethical ideas are just highly developed animal drives, that human thinking is merely a transformation of animal senses, that in form we are closely related to animals and that our whole nature derives directly from them, human beings will come to live according to this view, will see themselves in this way and act accordingly.
Today, after all, no one actually lives as if their nature derives from animals. But this world-view will certainly come, and will result in people also really starting to live like animals, descending into merely animal instincts, drives and passions. And in some of the phenomena we need not describe further here, manifesting particularly as empty orgies of pointless sensuality that occur in large cities, we can see already the grotesque hell-fire of the spirits we call the Asuras.
One cannot watch the horrendous gladiator scene at the end of Idiocracy without noticing the asuric influences rampant everywhere. Bestial instincts are displayed which portray men as no more than ferocious animals attacking each other while the crowd cheers them on.
"Christ is the guiding light who leads us out of error and sin, and enables us to the find the path of ascent." (Page 198) Christ helped Lucifer, redeemed him, and left him behind with us as the Holy Spirit. If Christ can do that for Lucifer, he can redeem any of us, no matter how far we have fallen.
[page 199] These [luciferic] beings, who brought us freedom, also enable us to freely use this freedom to understand Christ. Then the luciferic spirits are purged and purified in the fire of Christianity, and the sin the luciferic spirits afflicted earth with is transformed from a sin into a boon, a benevolent deed. Freedom is achieved but is taken into the spiritual sphere as a deed of benevolence. That we are able to do this, are capable of perceiving and understanding Christ and that Lucifer is resurrected in a new form and can unite as the holy spirit with Christ is something Christ himself prophesied to those around him when he said, "You can be illumined with the new spirit, with the holy spirit!" This holy spirit is none other than the one through whom we can also come to understand the real nature of Christ's deed. Christ did not wish merely to work and act, but also desired to be understood. It is therefore integral to Christianity that the spirit who inspires us, the holy spirit, is sent to humankind.
This gift of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and to us came about on Whitsun or Penecost Sunday as we know it and infuses the spiritual-scientific movement of anthroposophy in our current time.
[page 199] Whitsun is spiritually connected with Easter, and cannot be seen apart from it. This holy spirit is none other than the resurrected luciferic spirit, reborn now in purer, higher glory — the spirit of independent, wisdom-imbued insight. Christ himself prophesied the advent of this spirit after him, and our further work must accord with it. What furthers this spirit? The world stream of spiritual science does so, when properly understood! What is this world stream? It is the wisdom of the spirit, which raises to full consciousness what would otherwise remain unconscious in Christianity.
Lucifer resurrected, and transformed into good, precedes Christ with the flaming torch. He bears Christ himself. He is the bearer of light, and Christ is the light. The name Lucifer means "light-bearer". That is precisely what the spiritual-scientific movement is to be, and what it signifies.
Spiritual science is not a world-view as someone would have us believe, but it is a movement, something in action, a power which allows every one of us to know our own existence, where we came from, how we came to be today, and where we are heading as immortal spirits currently in a human body. How do we know we are immortal spirits? If you are unconscious of being immortal, it's not too late. It is something we have to acquire. You never know until you find out.
[page 202] We must acquire our immortality, for unconscious immortality is not yet immortality. Master Eckhart put this very beautifully when he said: "What use to man to be a king, if knowing not he is this thing?" By this he meant: What use is the spiritual world to us if we do not know what the world of spirit is? You can acquire the capacity to perceive the spiritual world only in the physical world. Let that give heart to those who ask why human beings ever descended to the physical world in the first place. The human being descended so that he can come to perceive the spiritual world here. He would remain blind to it if he had not descended to earth, acquiring here the self-aware nature with which he can return to the spiritual world, so that it lies open and radiant before him.
Spiritual science, therefore, is not merely a world-view but something without which the immortal part of us cannot know anything of the immortal worlds. It is a real power, and it flows as reality into our soul. As you sit here, engaging with and studying spiritual science, you not only gain knowledge but grow into being something that you would not otherwise become. That is the difference between spiritual science and other world-views. All other world-views relate to knowledge, while anthroposophy relates to human existence.
Some people wonder why Steiner recognizes the place Christ plays as crucial in the evolution of our cosmos, but eastern religions see Christ only as Jesus, just another human prophet. Basically Steiner is in the same position with eastern religions as he is with respect to western sciences: he recognizes their validity in themselves, but shows us parts that are obscured and ignored by their specialized beliefs, up until now.
[page 202, 203] There are not two types of esotericism, nor any antagonism between western and eastern spiritual science. There is only one truth. And if someone asks us why, if eastern and western esotericism are one and the same, eastern schools do not acknowledge Christ, we can reply that it is not up to us to give an answer. We have no obligation to reply to this, for we acknowledge the full scope of eastern esotericism. If they ask us whether we acknowledge what eastern esotericism says about Brahma and Buddha, we will reply that we certainly do! We understand what is meant when eastern schools tell us that Buddha rose to his lofty eminence by a particular path. We do not negate a single one of all the eastern truths and, in so far as they are positive, we fully acknowledge each and every one. But should that deter us from acknowledging something that exceeds their scope? Certainly not! We acknowledge what eastern esotericism says, but this does not prevent us from also, at the same time, acknowledging western truths.
Since the middle of Atlantean times, humans have begun to bring forth three higher realities from their I. (Paraphrased from Page 229, 230)
1. Lawful or Logical Thinking — we observe, but like a detective, we formulate logical thoughts which allow us to catch a thief. (A prime example of this appears in The Innocence of Father Brown)
2. Pleasure and Displeasure — we learn to enjoy things humans produce that are beautiful, elevated, humorous, funny, and to dislike things that are ugly, mundane, or useless.
3. An Urge to Act — something within causes us to act to make some situation better.
These three together provide nourishment for the Spirits of Personality (Archai) who have helped form us in the course of our evolution.
[page 231] These Spirits of Personality undergo an evolution in the supersensible realm, in the same way the human race evolves in the sensory domain. But what we, the human race, unfold into the supersensible realm is food and drink for these Spirits of Personality — they relish it. If human beings lived without developing a rich life of thinking, without pleasure or displeasure, without a sense of duty that goes beyond merely karmic dictates, the Spirits of Personality would have nothing to "eat" and would grow gaunt. Thus our life stands in relation to such beings, who invisibly interweave with our life, live through and in it.
In Lecture 18, Steiner explains for us the difference between the spirit and the Holy Spirit. It is an important difference which everyone should note. Creating in the spirit means creating something new from given conditions while creating in the Holy Spirit means beautiful and virtuous conditions created from what is right and true. Only with the coming of Christ who fully entered our evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha can we as human beings create out of the Holy Spirit and provide what is right, beautiful and good in harmony with the further course of evolution. (Page 232)
If you have been reading this material and allowing it to sit in your heart as unanswered questions you are indeed providing sustenance to the great Spirits of Personality who welcome you into the great task of evolving our cosmos in freedom and light.
---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
Footnote 1. About 30 years ago, it occurred to me that people have wide-ranging abilities that they use completely out of their awareness, often in ways which are not productive, exactly because they are unaware of their own power. I called this Matherne's Hypothesis: If there is a process any living human was ever able to do, we can all do it, and are doing it all the time, often out of our awareness. See: http://www.doyletics.com/mrules.shtml#mhypo.Return to text directly before Footnote 1.
Footnote 2.Return to text directly before Footnote 2.
In the 1970s and 80s, I studied neurolinguistic programming before it was given a name, and was amazed at how quickly one could help someone remove a phobia. It was only later in advanced workshops with Richard Bandler that he revealed how one could run the process of the phobia cure backwards to install a phobia. Like with hypnosis, he said, the real expert at installing phobias is the average person on the street. They install them in others, not understanding what they are doing, and thus open themselves to easy phobia installation by others. Take note: anyone who mentions a news item is likely installing a phobia in you. “I hate to scare you, but this is true.” is usually how they preface their phobia installations.
Footnote 3.Return to text directly before Footnote 3.
The Atlantean Epoch was filled with a heavy mist covering the Earth, which was mostly invisible to Atlantean people who saw each other's spiritual realities shining through the mist as if it didn't exist. The end of Atlantis came in a Great Flood, and the signal event of the end of the world-covering mist was the first-ever appearance of a rainbow in the sky. Rainbows cannot exist in heavy mists, only when a portion of the sky has raindrops falling which the Sun shines upon and is reflected back to our physical eyes. The appearance of the rainbow to Noah is recorded in the Bible to indicate the end of the Atlantean Epoch.
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Exactly such a brain disease occurred to a woman appearing on Hour of Power recently, which she recovered from and changed her life dramatically for the better afterward. One could discern in the new path her life took after recovery the karmic intention which had been released by the disease. Unfortunately, when the disease kills a person, one is not able to see the karmic intention play out in this lifetime.
Summary of Medical Courses and Review Links
Latest editions as of 2014 (From Editor's Preface of GA314)
Publisher: RS = Rudolf Steiner Press, SB = SteinerBooks
Bobby Matherne Review Link
Click to Read Link, if underlined as shown in brackets at right: [active].
GA/CW Course Name (Publisher Year) [Link]
27 Extending Practical Medicine, GA# 27 (RS 1996) [epmrvw]
107 Disease, Karma and Healing (RS 2013) [diskarhe]
230 Essentials for the Healing of Civilization (RS 2001) [harmonyo]
312 Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine (SB 2010) [amedic12]
313 Illness and Therapy (RS 2013) [illnessa]
314 Physiology and Healing (RS 2013) [physheal]
315 Eurythmy Therapy (RS 2009)
316 Understanding Healing (RS Press 2013) [underhea]
317 Education for Special Needs (RS 1998)
318 Broken Vessels (SB 2003) [brokenve]
319 The Healing Process (SB 2000) [healing]
~^~ List of Steiner Reviews: Click Here!
Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne
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