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Re: [anthroposophy] questions on anthroposophy

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  • Joel Wendt
    Dear Jarett, Anthroposophy and Theosophy are very different. Neophytes to Anthroposophy can become confused, however, because the Anthroposophical Society and
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 15 7:28 AM
      Dear Jarett,

      Anthroposophy and Theosophy are very different. Neophytes to
      Anthroposophy can become confused, however, because the Anthroposophical
      Society and Movement have lost a true connection to what Steiner taught
      - on multiple levels. As a consequence, there are not a lot of good
      examples of what it means to be an "anthroposophist".

      Much of the confusion within the Society and Movement comes from
      failing to distinguish the method from the content. Anthroposophy is
      not the content of the Steiner's lecture cycles, as if it was a set of
      beliefs or understandings. Anthroposophy is "a path of cognition from
      the spirit in man to the Spirit in the Universe".

      What this last means is that with the arrival of the present stage of
      the evolution of consciousness (what Steiner called the Epoch of the
      Consciousness Soul), a certain potential arose in the soul for a new
      kind of clairvoyance, using "thinking" as the means. This requires deep
      introspection and much else. Here is something I wrote recently on
      another list as regards the new clairvoyance latent in thinking:

      "As you know "mind", or the human inwardness, is a difficult matter to
      discuss, yet from Steiner we are advised to come to knowledge of "mind",
      especially thinking, before any other activity. His view is that
      without understanding the act of thinking, we will remain stuck (in our
      thinking) in its most rudimentary forms.

      "For example: Thinking always has within it, at its deepest
      levels, the quality: perception. In ordinary mind we sleep through this
      perceptual element, and live only in the after effect - the flow of
      words (or concepts). Thinking is always perceiving, but our i-AM often
      only is awake to the secondary effect, which is the stream of words (our
      spirit speaks, our soul hears). To the perceiving aspect we are most
      frequently unconscious.

      "Thinking in words then can become a kind of interesting play,
      although the concepts being played with are dead, when compared with the
      unconscious perceptual element which is living. So when you write a
      term such as "infinitely infinite" I detect, not perception but a play
      with words. You seem here to be "idealizing" the Divine Mystery, by
      attributing to it the most grandiose concepts you can find. God must be
      Great, is the logic, and so if I (you) use concepts which suggest that
      which is beyond any limits, then I (you) am finding true concepts which
      can be applied to God.

      "Lots of people do this, and there is no shame in it. I would
      guess that there is a sense of wonder and awe behind this. The
      unconscious perception you have when you try to think God, leads to this
      oh so awesome qualitative sense of His Being and Mystery, and only such
      terms as point in that direction can justly be applied.

      "Something similar exists (it appears to me) in the discussions
      concerning the Divine Feminine and the two Trinities. God is being
      "idealized", but the different posters to that thread, live in different
      assumptions (and experiences), with the consequence that they can not
      but seem to disagree, given these different assumptions and experiences.

      "For Steiner, he wished for us to find a way beyond being only
      awake in the play of concepts (play of words and terms), which is the
      natural gift of ordinary mind. He had discovered that thinking could go
      further, were we to learn more about thinking through the application of
      a scientifically based (as in method) practice of introspection. He
      wanted us to look within at thinking itself, and through this process of
      self discovery (know thyself) there involved, we would slowly unfold the
      hidden potential of thinking.

      "The essence of this work is the application of will. We are
      ultimately training the will through this practice of introspection. In
      this sense the will can be divided into two kinds of preliminary acts:
      intention and attention.

      "The "intention" works best when it is rooted in a moral impulse
      (thus Steiner's comments in Knowledge of Higher Worlds about taking
      three steps in moral development for every one step in the development
      of higher knowledge).

      "Second to a moral intention, we have to train our ability to
      focus the inner attention. Normally this aspect of mind (the attention)
      wanders all over the place, which is why all the various exercises -
      they all share in common this training of the attention.

      "One of the most important moral acts is sacrifice of thoughts.
      If we already believe we know, there is no progress, because that lack
      of humility toward the inwardness casts a shadow. Nothing new can be
      brought to us by the participation of the Spirit (which seeks to come
      toward us when we learn properly to "think"), when we already know. In
      the Sermon on the Mount, Christ spoke of this, in this way: "Blessed are
      the poor in spirit, for their's is the Kingdom of Heaven" [or, "The poor
      in spirit are in luck: the kingdom of the skies is theirs" - see the
      Unvarnished Gospels]

      "Only when my consciousness is empty of content (sacrifice of
      thoughts), and I am humble in my thinking ("learn to think on your
      knees" - V. Tomberg), can "it think in me" (Steiner) - that is can the
      Spirit co-participate in the act of thinking and bring me that which I
      yet do not know.

      "So we have intention (moral) and attention (open and focused -
      that is: expectant), which then will ride the true essential part that
      is the cultivation of feeling. It is the willed qualitative nature and
      intensity of feeling that is the essential matter. This is why Steiner
      has us (again in Knowledge of Higher Worlds) spend so much time on
      exercises of the subtle inner feelings.

      "In a sense, we place the center of our "self" in the middle of
      our feelings, as if in a bath of subtle living movement. We "cultivate"
      (will) a certain mood of soul, and this mood makes possible
      "intercourse" with the Spirit.

      "Through these activities we are deepening our sense of what
      truly lives in potential in thinking. We move from the superficial play
      of words into that which has been always latent there - perception. But
      the "perception" is only analogous to sense experience. We haven't yet
      the language, so we borrow from sense experience.

      "Thus, Imagination (Steiner's first level of clairvoyance) is
      picture like - this is it is analogous to seeing, only it is an inner
      seeing - our questing feeling attention has discovered knowledge in the
      sense of seeing a picture. Inspiration (Steiner's second level of
      clairvoyance) is analogous to hearing (we have a "conversation" with the
      Invisible world), so the Beings "tell" us answers to our heartfelt
      questions. With Intuition (Steiner's third and deepest level of
      clairvoyance), we "join" (inter-penetrate) the Being, so that our
      essence and their Essence meet. Knowledge then is neither "seen" or
      "heard", but we are changed - we become the knowledge - it (the
      knowledge) is now part of our will.

      "In this way (method - path - anthroposophy), we come to "know"
      the Divine Mystery.

      "So we know as we are known, as St Paul has explained in 1
      Corinthians 12-13: "We see now through a mirror in an obscure manner
      (ordinary mind), but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I
      shall know even as I have been known (Intuition)"."

      I hope Jarett, this is not too much, but these are serious matters and
      I did want to at least point you in the right direction.

      warm regards,
      Outlaw Anthroposophy: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/otlwa.html

      On Mon, 2004-12-13 at 22:08, jarett richardson wrote:
      > is anthroposophy considered a form of esotericism?
      > what-if any-beliefs do theosophy and anthroposophy
      > hold in common?
      > can a person be a theosophist and an anthroposophist
      > at the same time?
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