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The Spirit

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    After describing Body and Soul in this first section of Theosophy, Steiner now describes the spirit. * * * In the course of his development as a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2002
      After describing Body and Soul in this first section of Theosophy, Steiner
      now describes the spirit.

      * * *

      In the course of his development as a child, there comes a moment in the life
      of a man when for the first time he feels himself to be an independent being
      distinct from all the rest of the world. For sensitive natures, it is a
      significant experience. The poet, Jean Paul, says in his autobiography, “I
      shall never forget the event that took place within me, hitherto narrated to
      no one and of which I can give place and time, when I stood present at the
      birth of my self-consciousness. As a small child I stood one morning at the
      door of the house looking towards the wood-pile on my left, when suddenly the
      inner vision, I am an I, came upon me like a flash of lightning from heaven
      and has remained shining ever since. In that moment my ego had seen itself
      for the first time and forever. Any deception of memory is hardly to be
      conceived as possible here, for no narrations by outsiders could have
      introduced additions to an occurrence that took place in the holy of holies
      of a human being, and of which the novelty alone gave permanence to such
      everyday surroundings.” It is known that little children say of themselves,
      “Charles is good.” “Mary wants to have this.” One feels it is to be right
      that they speak of themselves as if of others because they have not yet
      become conscious of their independent existence, and the consciousness of the
      self is not yet born in them.

      Through self-consciousness man describes himself as an independent being
      separate from all others, as “I.” In his “I” he brings together all that he
      experiences as a being with body and soul. Body and soul are the carriers of
      the ego or “I,” and in them it acts. Just as the physical body has its
      center in the brain, so has the soul its center in the ego. Man is aroused to
      sensations by impacts from without; feelings manifest themselves as effects
      of the outer world; the will relates itself to the outside world, realizing
      itself in external actions. The “I” as the particular and essential being of
      man remains quite invisible. With excellent judgment, therefore, does Jean
      Paul call a man's recognition of his ego an “occurrence taking place only in
      the veiled holy of holies of a human being,” for with his “I” man is quite
      alone. This “I” is the very man himself. That justifies him in regarding his
      ego as his true being. He may, therefore, describe his body and his soul as
      the sheaths or veils within which he lives, and he may describe them as
      bodily conditions through which he acts. In the course of his evolution he
      learns to regard these tools ever more as instruments of service to his ego.
      The little word “I” is a name which differs from all others. Anyone who
      reflects in an appropriate manner on the nature of this name will find that
      in so doing an avenue opens itself to the understanding of the human being in
      the deeper sense. Any other name can be applied to its corresponding object
      by all men in the same way. Anybody can call a table, table, or a chair,
      chair. This is not so with the name “I.” No one can use it in referring to
      another person. Each one can call only himself “I.” Never can the name “I”
      reach my ears from outside when it refers to me. Only from within, only
      through itself, can the soul refer to itself as “I.” When man therefore says
      “I” to himself, something begins to speak in him that has to do with none of
      the worlds from which the sheaths so far mentioned are taken. The “I”
      becomes increasingly the ruler of body and soul.

      This also expresses itself in the aura. The more the “I” is lord over body
      and soul, the more definitely organized, the more varied and the more richly
      colored is the aura. The effect of the “I” on the aura can be seen by the
      seer. The “I” itself is invisible even to him. This remains truly within the
      “veiled holy of holies of a human being.” The “I” absorbs into itself the
      rays of the light that flame forth in him as eternal light. As he gathers
      together the experiences of body and soul in the “I,” so too he causes the
      thoughts of truth and goodness to stream into the “I.” The phenomena of the
      senses reveal themselves to the “I” from the one side, the spirit reveals
      itself from the other. Body and soul yield themselves up to the “I” in order
      to serve it, but the “I” yields itself up to the spirit in order that the
      spirit may fill it to overflowing. The “I” lives in body and soul, but the
      spirit lives in the “I”. What there is of spirit in it is eternal, for the
      “I” receives its nature and significance from that with which it is bound
      up. In so far as it lives in the physical body, it is subject to the laws of
      the mineral world; through its ether body to the laws of propagation and
      growth; by virtue of the sentient and intellectual souls, to the laws of the
      soul world; in so far as it receives the spiritual into itself it is subject
      to the laws of the spirit. What the laws of mineral and of life construct,
      come into being and vanishes. The spirit has nothing to do with becoming and

      * * *
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