Brunnen von Christus Group
Imagination and Inspiration
"...Spiritual science, as you are well aware, must be acquired with inner activity. We ourselves in our inner life must do something for it, we must be inwardly alert and quick. Even then, it will always happen that what we attain at first in spiritual Imagination is quickly lost. It is fleeting, it disappears quickly. It is not easily incorporated in our memory. After three days all that we have attained in this area - that is to say, only by the ordinary effort to bring it to Imagination - is certain to have disappeared. It is for the same reason that the memory in the etheric body after death disappears after three days. For it is the same activity after death, when we remember through the etheric body for about three days. The period varies; you can read about this in my Occult Science, but we remember for approximately three days... so long as we possess the etheric body. In the same manner he who has reached some discovery by etheric cognition knows that it will have flown away after about three days, if he does not make every effort to bring it down into ordinary concepts.
Formerly I always had recourse to the method of putting down at once, in writing or in little drawings, all that I attained in this way. For the head is called into play. It is not a question of mediumistic writing, nor does one write it down in order afterwards to read it. Indeed in my present way of life that would be immensely difficult. Recently when I was in Berlin I saw again what quantities of notebooks have accumulated there. If I wanted to read anything of it, I should not have it handy when I was in Stuttgart or in Dornach. No, it is not a question of reading it afterwards; the point is only to be engaged in this activity, which is an activity of the head. For then we unite the Imaginative thinking with the ordinary thinking. Then we can remember it, give lectures on it. If we did not make such efforts we could at most talk about it on the very next day. Afterwards it would have disappeared, just as the panorama of our life disappears three days after our death." - Rudolf Steiner, from Spiritual Relationships in the Human Organism - The Ear.
When we first come to Anthroposophy there are many profound experiences attending the change. Books are read, the spiritual world opens enough to let us know that we are on the right path, the only path for us. The most solemn resolves are made about the most intimate feelings and thoughts concerning Christ, the hierarchies, karmic insights and more. We then read what is written below (#1) and, with understanding, grow obediently silent about inner, spiritual experience. A protective wall or bias is formed, right for its time, but which then tends to rigidify as time passes. After many maturing years the danger then presents that we are unable or afraid to communicate about such things, still obeying the rule automatically, not noticing that things and times have changed, that we have changed, that the time is now ripe for talking, writing and communicating... for learning how to communicate our spiritual experience to others willing to listen.
By heeding the seemingly contradictory indications from Rudolf Steiner in Macrocosm and Microcosm, Chapter 9 (#2 below), we then come to understand why the wall requires dismantling, that a time does come for open sharing, cautiously, yet with courage. This represents the dawn of a new era, and we, in the Brunnen von Christus Group, stand at the beginning, hoping that others, too, are finding and traversing the same path.
#1. Control of thoughts and feelings from Knowledge of the Higher Worlds:
"Much depends on treating such spiritual experiences with great delicacy. The best thing is not to speak to anyone about them except to your teacher, if you have one. Attempted descriptions of such experiences in inappropriate words usually only lead to gross self-deception. Ordinary terms are employed which are not intended for such things, and are therefore too gross and clumsy. The consequence is that in the attempt to clothe the experience in words we are misled into blending the actual experience with all kinds of fantastic delusions. Here again is another important rule for the student: know how to observe silence concerning your spiritual experiences. Yes, observe silence even toward yourself. Do not attempt to clothe in words what you contemplate in the spirit, or to pore over it with clumsy intellect. Lend yourself freely and without reservation to these spiritual impressions, and do not disturb them by reflecting and pondering over them too much. For you must remember that your reasoning faculties are, to begin with, by no means equal to your new experience. You have acquired these reasoning faculties in a life hitherto confined to the physical world of the senses; the faculties you are now acquiring transcend this world. Do not try, therefore, to apply to the new and higher perceptions the standard of the old. Only he who has gained some certainty and steadiness in the observation of inner experiences can speak of them, and thereby stimulate his fellow-men." - Rudolf Steiner
#2. "The Thinking of the Heart," Chapter 9, Macrocosm and Microcosm:
"That is where the thinking of the heart differs from subjective mysticism. Anyone may experience the latter for himself but it is not communicable to another, nor does it concern anyone else. True and genuine mysticism springs from the capacity to have Imaginations, to receive impressions from the higher worlds and then to coordinate these impressions by means of the thinking of the heart, just as the things of the physical world are coordinated by the intellect.... ...Whatever can be communicated to mankind from the thinking of the heart must be able to be cast into clearly formulated thoughts. If this is not possible it is not ready to be communicated. The touchstone is whether the experiences can be translated into lucid words and clearly defined thoughts. Thus even when we hear the deepest truths of the heart stated in words, we must accustom ourselves to perceive behind them the thought-forms and their content. The student of Spiritual Science must acquire this faculty if he desires to help in spreading through mankind whatever can be revealed from the Spirit. It would be sheer egoism if anyone wished to have it for himself alone; mystical experiences, like intellectual experiences, must become the common heritage of mankind. Only by realising this can we understand the mission of Spiritual Science for mankind - a mission which must become more and more effective as time goes on." - Rudolf Steiner. Contribution by Mark Haberstroh.
Imagination and Maya
Many times I have heard and read that the "world is Maya or Illusion." Often this phrase is simply thrown out into the conversation as if it is patently obvious and an irrefutable fact. It leaves unsaid the assumption that the problem of Maya has been solved and now we must "move on to other more important matters."
In reflection upon things material I am inevitably led to a state of wonder, and phrases like "miraculous derivative," "condensate light," or "radiant particulate manifestation" crowd in to attempt to describe my feelings for this stuff. And with every step taken toward a greater awareness of things spiritual, so increases the appreciation of things material. With deepening understanding I realize that, looking from below upwards, the fall into Maya derives from the loss of spiritual perspective, such perspective being able to value Maya in its true light. Being able to reach up and through matter into the archetypal forces (or even sense them oh-so-faintly) results in a reverential seeing-feeling regarding even the smallest part of matter's final manifestation or most dense condensation, connecting the high and the low with all that is between in a light-irradiated sweeping vortex of spiral descent and ascent. And I realize that matter is spiritual and is real and not an illusion at all. It depends upon the perspective, on ones vantage point. This can only result in deep love for all things. How could Love exist if matter is not understood or cognized as real? Maya is real from the perspective of the spirit. - Mark Haberstroh
A Communication from a Friend...
"...an expanded understanding of nature, an exercise in seeing, something which is truly and tragically missing in anthroposophical circles, despite Rudolf Steiner's constant exhortations!... The intellectual leaning towards a rarified, object free realm, which I think many anthroposophists are caught in, is actually a denial of the spiritual content/potential of Creation, and thus a denial of the Creator, a sad remnant of an over-intellectualized era, which is kept artificially alive through over-reliance upon the printed word and crystallized, formerly living thought. You go through, you don't skip over!" - Submitted by James Gillen
From The Writing of the Heart
"If I want to spring over that which is an affair of the human soul and to take at once the highest step into the divine, humility may very easily vanish from me, and, in its place, pride step in; vanity may easily install itself. May the Anthroposophical Society also be a starting point in this higher sphere; above all, may it avoid all that has so easily crept into [another movement], in the way of pride, vanity, ambition and want of earnestness in receiving that which is the highest Wisdom. May the Anthroposophical Society avoid all this because from its very starting point it has already considered that the settlement with Maya is an affair for the human soul itself." - Rudolf Steiner, The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of Paul.
This is a very subtle and complex statement and touches upon deep problems within the Society, movement and individuals as a result of the unresolved tension between the soul and its personal elements and the direct work in the highest, most objective Michaelic Wisdom, a work that begins immediately, with ones first exposure to Anthroposophy. Rudolf Steiner warns here that many who come at once to this Wisdom will be shrouded in a kind of arrogance and egotism if they have not first worked with and given breath to vital elements within their souls, elements that require what the higher Wisdom refers to as Maya, that require the material world. Self-knowledge surely means not only understanding of the microcosm in the human being ("Know thyself") but knowledge of ones own individual soul and its needs or what it desires to experience in the Maya, in the outer world of God's Creation. This then should find healthy expression within the higher striving, continuously comparing itself with the exemplars, the great teachers. - Martha Keltz
"Transformation, not imitation." - Gotthard Killian
"Much wisdom often goes with brevity of speech." ~ Sophocles
"Too great length and too great brevity of discourse leads to obscurity." ~ Pascal
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." ~ John 15:5