Anthroposophical Guidelines - intermezzo
On Understanding Spirit and Experiencing Destiny
To the communications and considerations which are imparted to the members, I would like now to add something which can be appropriate for enhanced understanding of the Guidelines.
Understanding of anthroposophical knowledge can be enhanced when the human soul is continually reminded of the relation between man and world.
When a person directs his attention to the world in which he is born and dies, he is initially surrounded by a plenitude of sense impressions. He thinks about these sense impressions.
When he is conscious of the following: "I have thoughts about what my senses reveal to me about the world", he is ready for self-knowledge. He can say to himself: "I" live in my thoughts. The world gives me the opportunity to experience myself in thought. I find myself in my thoughts when I contemplate the world.
Continuing in this contemplation of the world, he removes the world from consciousness; and the I enters into it. He ceases to think of the world; he begins to experience the self. When, conversely, he brings his attention to his inner life in which the world is mirrored, the events of his life related to destiny emerge in which the human self participates from the point in time he can remember. He experiences his own being in the sequence of this destiny-experience.
To the extent one is conscious of this: "I have lived a destiny with my Self", he can introduce contemplation of the world. He can say to himself: "I was not alone in my destiny; the world intervened in my experience. I wanted this or that; the world flowed into my will. I find the world in my will in that I experience this will in self-contemplation.
Thus living into his self, this self departs from consciousness and the world enters. He ceases to experience the self; he begins to be aware of the world with his feelings.
I extend thinking out into the world; I find myself there; I submerge in my self, I find the world there. When one senses this strongly enough, he stands within the riddles of world and human existence.
Then to feel: "I struggle to grasp the world by thinking, but it is merely me trapped in this thinking" which reveals the first world-riddle.
To feel in his self that he has been formed by destiny and in this forming to sense the world's happenings; this points him to the second world-riddle.
By experiencing this riddle of world and man, a state of mind germinates in which one can encounter anthroposophy in such a way that he receives an impression within that awakens his interest.
For anthroposophy maintains the following: A spiritual experience exists which does not ignore the world in thinking. One can also still live in thinking. It provides an inner experience in meditation in which one does not lose the sense-world, but wins the spirit-world. Instead of penetrating in the I in a way which makes one feel that the sense-world is disappearing, one penetrates into the spirit-world in which one feels the I strengthened.
Furthermore anthroposophy indicates: An experience of destiny exists in which one does not lose the self. In his destiny, one can also realize himself as active. In the un-egoistical contemplation of human destiny, anthroposophy provides the experience by which one does not only learn to love one's own existence, but also the world. Instead of staring at the world which carries the I on waves of happiness and despair, one finds the I that designs its own destiny through willing. Instead of ramming against the world by which the I is shattered, he pushes through to his Self and feels united with world events.
Man's destiny is prepared by the world which his senses reveal. If he finds his own activity in the events of destiny, his self does not only arise from his own inner being, but also from the sense-world.
If one can even vaguely feel how the world appears as spiritual in the self and how in the sense-world the self proves to be active, one is already on a sure path to understanding anthroposophy.
For then he will develop awareness that the spirit-world may be described by anthroposophy, which is then grasped by the self. And this awareness will also develop an understanding for the fact that in the sense-world the self can be found in a different way than that of sinking into one's interior. Anthroposophy finds the self by showing how not only sense perceptions are revealed by the sense-world, but also the consequences of previous existence and previous earth-lives.
One can gaze out into the sense world and say: "Here is not only color, sound, warmth; here the soul's experiences work which this soul has lived through during its present earthly existence." And he can look into himself and say: "Here is not only my I; here a spiritual world reveals itself."
By means of such understanding the person touched by the World-Man riddle can find himself together with an initiate who, according to his insights, speaks of the outer sense-world as where not only sense perceptions are made manifest, but also the impressions about what human souls have done in their previous existence and previous earth lives; and who must describe the inner Self-World as revealing spiritual relationships which are as extraordinary and effective as those of the sense-world.
The members who wish to be active should consciously synchronize what the questioning human soul feels as the World-Man riddle with what initiate knowledge has to say when it reveals a bygone world, and when it provides a perception of a spirit-world through the strengthening of the soul.
By working in this way, the members who wish to be active can make the Anthroposophical Society into a true pre-school of the initiates' school. The Christmas Conference wished to forcefully indicate this; and whoever correctly understands that Conference will continue to carry out this indication until a sufficient understanding can again give the Society new tasks.
The following Guidelines refer to this indication.