The Foundation Stone -3
- In rhythmic alternation between Spirit-Recollection and Spirit-Contemplation the truth can develop its power within the human soul. Out of purified soul-forces it forms spirit-eyes and spirit-ears which can mediate spiritual impressions to Spirit-Awareness. In the realization of spiritual impulses the true man is born. Thinking surrendered to the Spirit of Truth develops into an eye of the spirit; feeling as love of truth becomes an ear of the spirit."Every idea which does not become your ideal (whose urgent impulses you repel) kills a force in your soul (the force of inner freedom); but every idea that becomes your ideal (whose impulses you accept) creates within you life-forces (necessary for the realization of spiritual impulses in the earthly world).
The student of Spiritual Science who daily meditates the Foundation Stone mantram will feel a question put to him: "So you wish to live in Truth? Do you wish to feel the Truth? Do you wish to think the Truth?" And the certainty grows that he will be able to follow the path of spiritual training only when in answer to these daily recurring questions he solemnly promises: I do wish to live in Truth, I do wish to feel the Truth, I do wish to think the Truth. In response he will experience the challenge: Practice Spirit-Recollection in depths of soul, where in the power of World-creator Beings Thy self takes origin from Self Divine, and thou shalt live in Truth in Human Cosmic Being!" "Practice Self-Contemplation within Soul’s even balance, where the world-evolving deeds upsurging unite they very Self with Cosmic Selfhood, and thou shalt feel the Truth in human Soul-Endeavor!" "Practice Spirit-Awareness when thy thoughts are stilled, where eternal aims divine grant Cosmic Being’s Light to the very Self to use as it wills, and thou shalt think the Truth in depths of Human Spirit!"
The student may feel himself summoned by this advice to utmost wakefulness, to self-observation and he will not be content merely to meditate over and over again upon this challenge but will accept it and practice Spirit-Recollection, Spirit-Contemplation and Spirit-Awareness and observe the effect. "Soul of man, thou livest in the limbs which bear thee through the space expanses into the ocean of Spirit-Being." "Soul of man, thou livest in the pulse of heart and lungs, which leads thee through the rhythm of Time, into the feeling of thine own soul-being." "Soul of man, thou livest in the resting head, which from eternal sources unlocks world thoughts to thee."If the student immerses himself in the spirit-content of these words and if he allows them to become effective within his soul, the questions may arise: Do I live in my limbs? Am I active within them? Am I active in the pulse of heart and lungs? Am I active in it? Do I live in the resting head? Am I active in it?" And he will come to the realization: My limbs bear me from birth to death to the tasks I have to fulfill on earth. Looking back on the path of my life, I can see my ego with its every-day purposes as a small, weak being, compared with a will which, though frequently against my own will, seems to mould my life in wisdom, conscious of a goal. The farther back I retrace the path of my life the less conscious of my tasks do I find myself. Only by means of retrospect do I learn little by little to recognize them, and to walk more consciously step by step on life’s pathway. So long as I am unable to recognize my tasks, I can only subordinate my own will to the will which wisely shapes my life. This will is not I, but I am able to discover its identity because my life-path is a symbolic picture of its will. Only to the degree to which I am able to bring my own will into harmony with this wisely moulding will, can I live in Truth.
If the student of Spiritual Science asks himself" "Do I live in the pulse of heart and lungs? Am I active in it?" he will know: My life is intimately connected with the rhythm of my heart and lungs, which at each moment is arbiter of my life and death. I can experience in this rhythm a will that goes with me throughout my life; with this will however I can unite. It is at each moment ready to be my Guide to truth and goodness and I can acknowledge this Guidance; but I am free any moment to turn aside from truth and goodness. In turning aside I cause a disturbance in my soul-balance and also in the rhythm of my heart and lungs. In this disturbed rhythm I recognize the effect of my own ego’s opposition to the will that would guide me to truth and goodness. If I actually am willing to acknowledge this will, I must purge my feeling of self-love. Purified feeling, as love of truth, is in harmony with the will that would give directing impulses to my thinking and willing and thus lead me beyond my every day egotistic self. Through this directive authority the united soul-forces form a self-sustaining trinity directed toward a single spiritual goal—Soul’s even balance. Up-borne by this supporting power I am united with the guiding activity within the pulse of heart and lungs.To the degree to which I abandon my egotistic self, I can feel the Truth and to the same degree, can the guiding will be effective through me in the stream of earthly events.
When the student asks himself: "Do I live in the resting head? Am I active in it?" He will come to this realization: In my active head there lives the outer world. If I close the door of my senses, I go to sleep and am without consciousness in the resting head. But I can also close the doors of my senses and live in a condition between waking and sleeping, conscious within my Self. Into this state of consciousness I can, through my conceptual life transmit impressions from the world of truth. If I allow spiritual thoughts to enter this consciousness, then these thoughts live within my resting head and, surrendered to them, I live in fully conscious spiritual activity. Thinking the Truth I live in pure Spirit as pure Spirit lives in me.If I unite love-borne thinking with sense perceptions then I receive more and truer impressions, than when I elaborate them by means of thinking dominated by sympathy and antipathy. I have the power to decide whether the sense-world or the world of truth shall live in my active head, when I have acquired this power by methodical training. With this proviso it is also given into my power to decide whether I shall live in my resting head without or with full consciousness—at least at times. My thinking is true to the degree to which I can in fully conscious activity live in the world of truth. When the student thus lives contemplatively in the first lines of the Foundation Stone mantram, then he reaches a stage of self knowledge where he learns to know the threefold nature of his own being; he experiences a spiritual threefoldness active within him and he can see the path that leads to a union with this spiritual Threefoldness.
We can thus experience a spiritual-physical will active in our limbs, a freedom-bestowing soul-spiritual activity in the pulse of heart and lungs and pure spirit within the resting head.Experiencing in wonder and awe the wisdom and power of the spiritual-physical will the student realizes his own weakness, his nothingness; he knows that he can approach this will only when he learns to decipher the meaning of his past life, when he understands and acknowledges the tasks of his life ahead—when he is able to say "yes" to his destiny.The soul-spiritual guide does not intervene in our lives to determine our destiny, disregarding our own will. If we freely acknowledge its directing guidance for our thinking and willing, when in soul’s even balance, we accept it as our higher Self then we become aware of its ever present inspiring power.
With the pure Spirit the student can unite himself when he devotes his pure thinking to truth-bearing thoughts; they carry him into the spiritual spheres in which the Spirit of Truth can live within him as Spirit-Self. Following His impulses the student shapes his future life.
Through a very definite cultivation of the life of thought and feeling as described in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment the student of Spiritual Science gains control over his egotistical sympathies and antipathies and over his deeply rooted prejudices. He learns to distinguish the essential from the non-essential and as a result of such practice the balanced soul forces unite themselves around a powerful center hidden in the depths of the human soul. Here the student can feel his Ego supported by the united soul-forces and invigorated by the ever present spiritual guide. In this center of his innermost being the Ego finds the spiritual relationship to itself and to the spiritual world; and out of this center the student can bring to realization spiritual impulses within the earthly world.
The student who would unite himself with the spiritual Threefoldness must reach this center of his innermost being yet, unaware of its nearness, he cannot immediately reach it.
Accustomed to direct our entire attention, our thinking, feeling, willing and doing completely to the outer world we have so far separated ourselves from this center that we are in danger of losing ourselves to the outer world. The student must free himself from this one-sided attachment. In studying he accomplishes this at first unconsciously. He directs his attention not to the book visible before him nor to the letters conveying the words in which truth-bearing thoughts are contained but reading, thinking these thoughts, he is surrendered in devotion to their sense-free content. To this devotional mood alone can the truth reveal itself.
Practicing Spirit-Recollection the student, surrendered to truth-bearing thoughts, is united with pure Spirit. Practicing Spirit-Contemplation he devotes himself to the guiding inspirations of the soul-spiritual higher Self which may resound within him; and practicing Spirit-Awareness he makes it possible for the Spirit of Truth to reveal Himself in true communion. Feeling the Truth and thinking the Truth the student can, in creative activity, realize spiritual impulses. In creative activity the student connects himself in inner freedom with that spiritual power which in all wisdom directs the course of his earthly life towards its goal.
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment described first of all that part of the path of knowledge which leads the Ego, lost to the outer world, back to itself, to the point of balance in the center of the human soul. The student who wishes to attain knowledge of higher worlds must come face to face in thoughtful observation with the worlds he desires to know. Hence he must first free himself from all one-sided attachment to any one of these worlds. The exercises which enable him to master his egotistical soul forces free the student’s feeling from the entanglement within itself and his thinking from prejudice and one-sided attachment to conceptions connected with the outer world. In performing the exercises, the student activates his good will, directed by love of truth toward a spiritual goal.Knowledge of the higher worlds can be attained by anyone who, free from sympathy, antipathy and prejudice, can meet face to face the phenomena of the outer world, the phenomena of the soul world and the phenomena of the spiritual world in order to unite himself with them in thoughtful observation.Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment leads step by step to the point of balance within the human soul. When the student has struggled through to this center, then, in soul’s even balance, he finds himself united with the Threefoldness active within him. In this union he experiences not only his own point of balance, but the effective center of all humanity, of earth and Cosmos.The chapter which leads to this center is entitled "Control of Thoughts and Feelings." It contains extraordinarily significant points. "Above all it is imperative to root out the idea that any extraordinary mysterious practices are required for the attainment of higher knowledge. It must be clearly realized that a start has to be made with thoughts and feelings with which we continually live, and that these feelings and thoughts must merely be given a new direction. Everyone must say to himself: "In my own world of thought and feeling the deepest mysteries lie hidden, only hitherto I have been unable to perceive them." In the end it all resolves itself into the fact that man ordinarily carries body, soul and spirit about with him, and yet is conscious in a true sense only of his body and not of his soul and spirit. The student becomes conscious of soul and spirit, just as the ordinary person is conscious of his body. Hence it is highly important to give the proper direction to thoughts and feelings, for then only can develop an organ for which is invisible in ordinary life." And a few pages farther on we find one of those enigmatic statements which the student must not leave unnoticed, if he wishes to advance on to the deepest secrets which lie hidden in his world of thought and feeling—the "Golden Rule of true spiritual science," as Rudolf Steiner calls it. "When you seek to take one step forward in the pursuit of occult truths, then at the same time take three steps forward in the perfecting of your character."The challenge uttered in these words seems to the man of our times impossible of fulfillment and he may set it aside with the usual hasty judgment "impossible!" He knows only the acquisition of knowledge by memory, as demanded by outer science. Such memorized appropriation, based on belief in authority, is not enough for the attainment of knowledge of higher worlds. Spiritual science demands that the student surrender himself to each single truth in such a way that it can become his individual experience; but this can come about only within the soul’s even balance when the student has patience to wait in inner quiet, in spirit-preparedness, for the revelation of the Spirit of Truth.
No one is qualified to judge whether or not the Golden Rule can be obeyed unless he has tried with good will to take the three steps forward in the perfecting of his character. The student of spiritual science will feel called not to judgment, but to self-examination: Do I fulfill this requirement? What are these three steps? If he has perseveringly carried out the exercises mentioned in the very first chapters, then he knows that in practicing true living, true feeling, and true thinking the three steps are taken and that these steps must be taken over and over again, in meditation also, before a truth can be experienced as truth. The Golden Rule is mentioned only after the student has learned to obey it.
He who passes judgment without having carried out the preceding instructions lacks the preliminary requirements for spiritual scientific training and likewise for scientific investigation: Impartiality and reverence for truth and knowledge. Whoever has merely read or even studied the chapters in question without practicing the described exercises which will enable him to judge what is said later, lacks the good will for spirit discipleship. He may learn by memory ever so much about the results of Spiritual Science, but he will not attain to individual experience of a single truth.
In the three stanzas of the Foundation Stone mantram the demand of the Golden Rule is expressed in the words following the first subject for meditation which brings to mind the forgotten knowledge of the threefold human being. "Practice Spirit-Recollection in depths of soul….and thou shalt live in Truth." "Practice Spirit-Contemplation within Soul’s even balance….and thou shalt feel the Truth"…."Practice Spirit-Awareness in stillness of thought….and thou shalt think the Truth." These words challenge the student to meditate the content of the preceding lines, which means to practice threefold devotion, the three steps of meditation. These three steps lead to true living , true feeling and true thinking, they perfect his character.If in meditation a spiritual content finds quiet, room and time for unfolding, then it is able to reveal itself to the human soul. As a creation out of nothing the truth flashes up in spiritual presence and its power, uniting itself with the student’s love of truth, presses toward realization. Spiritual organs woven out of his own soul-substance mediate manifestations of the truth in true communion. This experience becomes an active spiritual element; as flowing life it moulds the Spirit-Self.
The quality and power of man’s experiences form his essential being. The quality and power of his experiences bring forth his earthly deeds. Thus truth, experienced by man, takes effect right down into the earthly world.The content of Spiritual Science is spiritual nourishment, moulded by Rudolf Steiner out of the living substance of the world of truth. It has received its soul from his love for truth, and for mankind, it presses for realization within earthly life, it activates human souls; when warming human hearts and enlightening human heads it can live as impelling power in earthly events. It would live and be active in the ever moving stream of time which, borne by human souls, flows from eternity to eternity.
Another meaning hides within my words
Than that of the ideas they convey;
They guide the natural forces of the soul
To spirit-verities; their inward sense
Cannot be understood until the day
On which they waken vision in the soul
That yields itself to their compelling power.
They are not fruitage of my own research;
But spirits have entrusted them to me,
Spirits well skilled to read the signs in which
The Karma of the world doth stand revealed.
The special virtue of these words is this,
Unto the source of knowledge they can guide.
Yet none the less it must be each man’s task
Who understands them in their truest sense,
To drink the spirit-waters from that source.
Words of Benedictus, "The Soul’s Probation."
******I had the honor to play Benedictus and speak those lines onstage once.
To Be Continued....