the middle way
- Dear Friends,
Recent themes on the Ark, and elsewhere, raised
within me certain questions.
Our normal "thinking" (as well as the "thinking" of
the vast majority of our contemporaries) is not the
anthroposophical ideal: "living thinking". It also
seems clear that very few individuals have succeeded in
achieving this ideal, and further, that many people who
are aware of it (the ideal) may consider it to be an
impossible goal for them as individuals. Even so, I
find it difficult to consider this less than ideal
"thinking" as lacking something.
Somehow to do so is a "this glass is half empty"
attitude - one which fails to really appreciate what is
actually present within us, as well as our companions
who travel with us on this seemingly fated cruise.
Also, within anthroposophical circles are
additional terms, namely "luciferic" and "ahrimanic" -
words used to once more denote a somehow less than
perfect soul gesture. Again, the glass is half empty.
In addition we have the questionable dualism -
initiate and non-initiate. I suggest it is
questionable because it immediately divides the human
community into individuals of higher or lower spiritual
If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him - this
is part of the wisdom of the East. In our terms it
would read - if you find within you the impulse to
higher or better than your companions, kill it.
When the mind searches within itself for a Steiner
quote to meet a question that has been asked, such a
mind is seeing itself as a glass half empty.
Yet, is the attitude- the glass is half full - any
Bruno has given us two very important clues.
First, he points to a certain kind of discipline, which
is to recognize when one does not know, and cannot know
(the percept - the experience - is yet beyond us). In
such a case one must understand not to pretend to
answer the question at all (certainly seek it, but know
when you don't yet have it). Second, he suggests that
in concentration and meditation "practice" the focus
needs to be quite narrow - that is to build up the
"force" aspect of the ego to be able to stay only on
the theme and not to wander toward extraneous matters
or expectations of the reward of spiritual experience.
The "I" is to stand on its own when it enters the
Even so, both these disciplines can be matters of
the immediate moment in the day as well. We don't just
discipline the mind during "practice", do we?
All of this, however, can miss what is to me the
essential point. Let me wander off to the side for a
moment, to give some context.
In this age of the so-called Consciousness Soul, we
are accompanied by a certain bright spirit, who it is
claimed will achieve something remarable - the flesh
become Word. I do not write of this to raise the
question of who the Maitreya Buddha might be in her or
his current bodhisattva incarnation (if this is
unfamiliar to you, don't worry, the point is otherwise
than these details). This individuality is on a Path
which involves raising up the "human" within. It is
not the divine without which is so crucial, but the
It is this gesture, to me, which is the central
element of the anthroposophical path. On this path I
do not become something other than I am. Rather, I
become more of what I already am. I grow and
metamorphose, but I don't change into something else.
The catapillar was always the butterfly - past is
In truth, "I" am neither luciferic or ahrimanic,
initiate or non-initiate, perfect or not perfect,
possessed of living thinking or not possessed of living
thinking, glass half empty or half full. Rather "I"
am. Christ - the middle way. As are we all.