Sunday, December 17, 2017

Love and Its Meaning in the World

"To disseminate love over the Earth in the greatest measure possible, to promote love on the Earth — that and that alone is wisdom."

Ex Deo Nascimur       In Christo Morimur       Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus

Rudolf Steiner, December 17, 1912:

When we say that at the present point of time in his evolution man must learn to understand the Christ Impulse, the thought may well occur: What, then, is the position of one who has never heard of the Christ Impulse, may perhaps never even have heard the name of Christ? Will such a man be deprived of the Christ Impulse because he has not heard the name of Christ? Is it necessary to have some theoretical knowledge of the Christ Impulse in order that Christ's power may flow into the soul? We will clarify our minds about these questions by the following thoughts concerning human life from birth until death.

The human being comes into the world and lives through early childhood in a half-sleeping state. He has gradually to learn to feel himself as an “I”, to find his bearings as an “I”, and his life of soul is constantly enriched by what is received through the “I”. By the time death is approaching, this life of soul is at its richest and ripest. Hence the vital question arises: What of our life of soul when the body falls away? It is a peculiarity of our physical life and of our life of soul that the wealth of our experience and knowledge increases in significance the nearer we approach death; but at the same time certain attributes are lost and replaced by others of an entirely different character. In youth we gather knowledge, pass through experiences, cherish hopes which as a rule can only later be fulfilled. The older we grow, the more do we begin to love the wisdom revealed by life. Love of wisdom is not egoistic, for this love increases in the measure in which we draw near to death; it increases in the measure in which the expectation of gaining something from our wisdom decreases. Our love for this content of our soul steadily increases.

In this respect Spiritual Science may actually become a source of temptation, inasmuch as a man may be led to believe that his next life will depend upon the acquisition of wisdom in this present life. The effect of Spiritual Science may be an extension of egoism beyond the bounds of this present life, and therein lies danger. Thus if wrongly understood, Spiritual Science may act as a tempter — this lies in its very nature.

Love of the wisdom acquired from life may be compared with the flowering of a plant when the necessary stage of maturity has been reached. Love arises for something that is contained within ourselves. Men have often made the attempt to sublimate the impulse of love for what is within themselves. In the mystics, for example, we find evidence of how they strove to transmute the urge of self-love into love of wisdom, and to let this love ray out in beauty. By sinking in contemplation into the depths of their own soul-life they strove to become aware of the Divine Spark within them. But the truth is that the wisdom which man acquires in life is only the means whereby the seed of his next life is unfolded. When a plant has completed its growth through the year, the seed remains. So it is with the wisdom acquired from life. Man passes through the Gate of Death and the spiritual core of being in its process of ripening is the seed of the next life. A man who feels this may become a mystic and mistake what is only the seed of the next life to be the Divine Spark, the Absolute. This is his interpretation of it, because it goes against the grain for a man to acknowledge that this spirit-seed is nothing but his own self. Meister Eckhart, John Tauler, and others spoke of it as the “God within”, because they knew nothing of reincarnation. If we grasp the meaning of the law of reincarnation we recognize the significance of love in the world, both in a particular and in a general sense. When we speak of karma, we mean that which as cause in the one life has its effect in the next.

In terms of cause and effect we cannot, however, speak truly of love; we cannot speak of a deed of love and its eventual compensation. True, if there is a deed, there will be compensation, but this has nothing to do with love. Deeds of love do not look for compensation in the next life.

Suppose, for example, that we work and our work brings gain. It may also be that our work gives us no joy because we do it simply in order to pay off debts, not for actual reward. We can imagine that in this way a man has already spent what he is now earning through his work. He would prefer to have no debts, but as things are, he is obliged to work in order to pay them. Now let us apply this example to our actions in general. By everything we do out of love we pay off debts. From an occult point of view, what is done out of love brings no reward but makes amends for profit already expended. The only actions from which we have nothing in the future are those we perform out of true, genuine love. 

This truth may well be disquieting and men are lucky in that they know nothing of it in their upper consciousness. But in their subconsciousness all of them know it, and that is why deeds of love are done so unwillingly, why there is so little love in the world. Men feel instinctively that they may expect nothing for their “I” in the future from deeds of love. An advanced stage of development must have been reached before the soul can experience joy in performing deeds of love from which there is nothing to be gained for itself. The impulse for this is not strong in humanity. But occultism can be a source of powerful incentives to deeds of love.

Our egoism gains nothing from deeds of love — but the world all the more. Occultism says: Love is for the world what the Sun is for external life. No soul could thrive if love departed from the world. Love is the moral Sun of the world. Would it not be absurd if a man who delights in the flowers growing in a meadow were to wish that the Sun would vanish from the world? Translated into terms of the moral life, this means: Our deep concern must be that an impulse for sound, healthy development shall find its way into the affairs of humanity. To disseminate love over the Earth in the greatest measure possible, to promote love on the Earth — that and that alone is wisdom.

What do we learn from Spiritual Science? We learn facts concerning the evolution of the Earth, we hear of the Spirit of the Earth, of the Earth's surface and its changing conditions, of the development of the human body and so forth; we learn to understand the nature of the forces working and weaving in the evolutionary process. What does this mean? What does it mean when people do not want to know anything about Spiritual Science? It means that they have no interest for what is reality. For if a man has no desire to know anything about the nature of Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, then he can know nothing about the Earth. Lack of interest in the world is egoism in its grossest form. Interest in all existence is man's bounden duty. Let us therefore long for and love the Sun with its creative power, its love for the well-being of the Earth and the souls of men! This interest in the Earth's evolution should be the spiritual seed of love for the world. A Spiritual Science without love would be a danger to mankind. But love should not be a matter for preaching; love must and indeed will come into the world through the spreading of knowledge of spiritual truths. Deeds of love and Spiritual Science should be inseparably united.

Love mediated by way of the senses is the wellspring of creative power, of that which is coming into being. Without sense-born love, nothing material would exist in the world; without spiritual love, nothing spiritual can arise in evolution. When we practice love, cultivate love, creative forces pour into the world.

Can the intellect be expected to offer reasons for this? The creative forces poured into the world before we ourselves and our intellect came into being. True, as egoists, we can deprive the future of creative forces; but we cannot obliterate the deeds of love and the creative forces of the past. We owe our existence to deeds of love wrought in the past. The strength with which we have been endowed by these deeds of love is the measure of our deep debt to the past, and whatever love we may at any time be able to bring forth is payment of debts owed for our existence.

In the light of this knowledge we shall be able to understand the deeds of a man who has reached a high stage of development, for he has still greater debts to pay to the past. He pays his debts through deeds of love, and herein lies his wisdom. The higher the stage of development reached by a man, the more does the impulse of love in him increase in strength; wisdom alone does not suffice.

Let us think of the meaning and effect of love in the world in the following way. Love is always a reminder of debts owed to life in the past, and because we gain nothing for the future by paying off these debts, no profit for ourselves accrues from our deeds of love. We have to leave our deeds of love behind in the world; but they are then a spiritual factor in the how of world-happenings. It is not through our deeds of love but through deeds of a different character that we perfect ourselves; yet the world is richer for our deeds of love. Love is the creative force in the world.

Besides love there are two other powers in the world. How do they compare with love? The one is strength, might; the second is wisdom. In regard to strength or might we can speak of degrees: weaker, stronger, or absolute might — omnipotence. The same applies to wisdom, for there are stages on the path to omniscience. It will not do to speak in the same way of degrees of love. What is universal love, love for all beings? In the case of love we cannot speak of enhancement as we can speak of enhancement of knowledge into omniscience or of might into omnipotence, by virtue of which we attain greater perfection of our own being. Love for a few or for many beings has nothing to do with our own perfecting. Love for everything that lives cannot be compared with omnipotence; the concept of magnitude, or of enhancement, cannot rightly be applied to love. Can the attribute of omnipotence be ascribed to the Divine Being who lives and weaves through the world? Contentions born of feeling must here be silent: were God omnipotent, he would be responsible for everything that happens and there could be no human freedom. If man can be free, then certainly there can be no Divine omnipotence.

Is the Godhead omniscient? As man's highest goal is likeness to God, our striving must be in the direction of omniscience. Is omniscience, then, the supreme treasure? If it is, a vast chasm must forever yawn between man and God. At every moment man would have to be aware of this chasm if God possessed the supreme treasure of omniscience for himself and withheld it from man.

The all-encompassing attribute of the Godhead is not omnipotence, neither is is omniscience, but it is love — the attribute in respect of which no enhancement is possible. God is uttermost love, unalloyed love, is born as it were out of love, is the very substance and essence of love. God is pure love, not supreme wisdom, not supreme might. God has retained love for himself but has shared wisdom and might with Lucifer and Ahriman. He has shared wisdom with Lucifer and might with Ahriman, in order that man may become free, in order that under the influence of wisdom he may make progress.

If we try to discover the source of whatever is creative we come to love; love is the ground, the foundation, of everything that lives. It is by a different impulse in evolution that beings are led to become wiser and more powerful. Progress is attained through wisdom and strength. Study of the course taken by the evolution of humanity shows us how the development of wisdom and strength is subject to change: there is progressive evolution  — and then the Christ Impulse, which once poured into mankind through the Mystery of Golgotha. Love did not, therefore, come into the world by degrees; love streamed into mankind as a gift of the Godhead, in complete, perfect wholeness. But man can receive the Impulse into himself gradually. The Divine Impulse of love as we need it in earthly life is an Impulse that came once and forever.

True love is not capable of diminution or amplification. Its nature is quite different from that of wisdom and might. Love wakens no expectations for the future; it is payment of debts incurred in the past.

And such was the Mystery of Golgotha in the world's evolution. Did the Godhead, then, owe any debt to humanity?

Lucifer's influence brought into humanity a certain element in consequence of which something that man had previously possessed was withdrawn from him. This new element led to a descent, a descent countered by the Mystery of Golgotha, which made possible the payment of all debts. The Impulse of Golgotha was not given in order that the sins we have committed in evolution may be removed from us, but in order that what crept into humanity through Lucifer should be given its counterweight.

Let us imagine that there is a man who knows nothing of the name of Christ Jesus, nothing of what is communicated in the Gospels, but that he understands the radical difference between the nature of wisdom and might and that of love. Such a man, even though he knows nothing of the Mystery of Golgotha, is a Christian in the truest sense. A man who knows that love is there for the paying of debts and brings no profit for the future, is a true Christian. To understand the nature of love — that is to be a Christian!

Theosophy alone, Spiritual Science alone, with its teachings of karma and reincarnation, can make us into great egoists unless the impulse of love, the Christ Impulse, is added; only so can we acquire the power to overcome the egoism that may be generated by Spiritual Science. The balance is established by an understanding of the Christ Impulse. Spiritual Science is given to the world today because it is a necessity for humanity; but in it lies the great danger that — if it is cultivated without the Christ Impulse, without the Impulse of love — men will only increase their egoism, will actually breed egoism that lasts even beyond death. From this the conclusion must not be drawn that we should not cultivate Spiritual Science; rather we must learn to realize that understanding of the essential nature of love is an integral part of it.

What actually came to pass at the Mystery of Golgotha? Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived on as related by the Gospels, and when He was thirty years old the Baptism in the Jordan took place. Thereafter the Christ lived for three years in the body of Jesus of Nazareth and fulfilled the Mystery of Golgotha. Many people think that the Mystery of Golgotha should be regarded in an entirely human aspect, believing as they do that it was an earthly deed, a deed belonging to the realm of the Earth. But that is not so. Only from the vantage-point of the higher worlds is it possible to see the Mystery of Golgotha in its true light and how it came to pass on the Earth.

Let us think again of the beginning of the evolution of the Earth and of man. Man was endowed with certain spiritual powers — and then Lucifer approached him. At this point we can say: The Gods who further the progress of evolution surrendered their omnipotence to Lucifer in order that man might became free. But man sank into matter more deeply than was intended; he slipped away from the Gods of progress, fell more deeply than had been wished. How, then, can the Gods of progress draw man to themselves again? To understand this we must think not of the Earth but of Gods taking counsel together. It is for the Gods that Christ performs the Deed by which men are drawn back to the Gods. Lucifer's deed was enacted in the supersensible world; Christ's Deed, too, was enacted in the supersensible but also in the physical world. This was an achievement beyond the power of any human being. Lucifer's deed was a deed belonging to the supersensible world. But Christ came down to the Earth to perform His Deed here, and men are the onlookers at this Deed. The Mystery of Golgotha is a Deed of the Gods, a concern of the Gods at which men are the onlookers. The door of heaven opens and a Deed of the Gods shines through. This is the one and only Deed on Earth that is entirely supersensible.

No wonder, therefore, that those who do not believe in the supersensible have no belief in the Deed of Christ. The Deed of Christ is a Deed of the Gods, a Deed which they themselves enact. Herein lies the glory and the unique significance of the Mystery of Golgotha, and men are invited to be its witnesses. Historical evidence is not to be found. Men have seen the event in its external aspect only; but the Gospels were written from vision of the supersensible and are therefore easily disavowed by those who have no feeling for supersensible reality.

The Mystery of Golgotha as an accomplished fact is one of the most sublime of all experiences in the spiritual world. Lucifer's deed belongs to a time when man was still aware of his own participation in the supersensible world; Christ's Deed was performed in material existence itself — it is both a physical and a spiritual Deed. We can understand the deed of Lucifer through wisdom; understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha is beyond the reach of wisdom alone. Even if all the wisdom of this world is ours, the Deed of Christ may still be beyond our comprehension. Love is essential for any understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Only when love streams into wisdom and then again wisdom flows into love will it be possible to grasp the nature and meaning of the Mystery of Golgotha — only when, as he lives on towards death, man unfolds love of wisdom. Love united with wisdom — that is what we need when we pass through the Gate of Death, because without wisdom that is united with love we die in very truth. Philo-sophia, philosophy, is love of wisdom. The ancient wisdom was not philosophy, for it was not born through love but through revelation. There is not such a thing as philosophy of the East — but wisdom of the East, yes. Philosophy as love of wisdom came into the world with Christ; there we have the entry of wisdom emanating from the impulse of love which came into the world as the Christ Impulse. The impulse of love must now be carried into effect in wisdom itself.

The ancient wisdom, acquired by the seer through revelation, comes to expression in the sublime words from the original prayer of mankind: Ex Deo Nascimur — Out of God we are born. That is ancient wisdom. Christ who came forth from the realms of spirit has united wisdom with love and this love will overcome egoism. Such is its aim. But it must be offered independently and freely from one being to the other. Hence the beginning of the era of love coincided with that of the era of egoism. The cosmos has its source and origin in love; egoism was the natural and inevitable offshoot of love. Yet with time the Christ Impulse, the impulse of love, will overcome the element of separation that has crept into the world, and man can gradually become a participant in this force of love. In monumental words of Christ we feel love pouring into the hearts of men:

“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

In like manner does the ancient Rosicrucian saying resound into the love that is wedded with wisdom: In Christo Morimur — In Christ we die.

Through Jehovah, man was predestined for a group-soul existence; love was to penetrate into him gradually by way of blood-relationship; it is through Lucifer that he lives as a personality. Originally, therefore, men were in a state of union, then of separateness as a consequence of the Luciferic principle which promotes selfishness, independence. Together with selfishness, evil came into the world. It had to be so, because without the evil man could not lay hold of the good. When a man gains victory over himself, the unfolding of love is possible. To man in the clutches of increasing egoism Christ brought the impulse for this victory over himself and thereby the power to conquer the evil. The Deeds of Christ bring together again those human beings who were separated through egoism and selfishness. True in the very deepest sense are the words of Christ concerning deeds of love:

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

The Divine Deed of Love flowed back upon the earthly world; as time goes on, in spite of the forces of physical decay and death, the evolution of mankind will be permeated and imbued with new spiritual life through this Deed — a Deed performed not out of egoism but solely out of the spirit of love. Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus — Through the Holy Spirit we live again.

Yet the future of humanity will consist of something besides love. Spiritual perfecting will be for earthly man the goal most worthy of aspiration — (this is described at the beginning of my second Mystery Play, The Soul's Probation) — but nobody who understands what deeds of love truly are will say that his own striving for perfection is selfless. Striving for perfection imparts strength to our being and to our personality. But our value for the world must be seen to lie wholly in deeds of love, not in deeds done for the sake of self-perfecting. Let us be under no illusion about this. When a man is endeavoring to follow Christ by way of love of wisdom, of the wisdom he dedicates to the service of the world only so much takes real effect as is filled with love.

Wisdom steeped in love, which at once furthers the world and leads the world to Christ — this love of wisdom also excludes the lie. For the lie is the direct opposite of the actual facts, and those who yield themselves lovingly to the facts are incapable of lying. The lie has its roots in egoism — always and without exception. When, through love, we have found the path to wisdom, we reach wisdom through the increasing power of self-conquest, through selfless love. Thus does man become a free personality. The evil was the sub-soil into which the light of love was able to shine; but it is love that enables us to grasp the meaning and place of evil in the world. The darkness has enabled the light to come into our ken. Only a man who is free in the real sense can become a true Christian.


Every Sunday morning at 9 o'clock

Rudolf Steiner: "Wherever we are gathered together we are gathered in the name of the search for wisdom and the search for love."

Rudolf Steiner [June 7, 1912]:

Why is it that you're here? From where does your urge for esoteric development come? About 4000 years ago, and so before the Event of Golgotha, the etheric body enlivened the physical body in such a way that not all of the etheric body's forces were used to permeate the physical body, and it was to these forces that an esotericist turned, with these he turned to spiritual worlds. Then about 3000 years ago, all etheric bodies had sunk into the physical bodies, especially in Greece, and those who developed the greatest things in the physical realm felt that the spiritual world was a realm of shades. But now the physical body no longer absorbs all of the etheric body's forces, it rejects them, it is withering, for we are past the middle of Earth evolution, and it's only through these forces, which the physical body can no longer take in, that we can live in the spiritual world. And you who felt this urge for esoteric development, who were not satisfied with mere physical life and knowledge, you sensed these unused forces in you; they drove you to seek an esoteric life.
What's the difference between esoteric and exoteric? In exoteric life we get communications that are taken from esoteric life as food for our souls. In esoteric life we ourselves try to look into the worlds from which esoteric communications are taken.
What's given here is not just communications — it's advice that flows from spiritual inspiration. It's not just words, concepts, ideals — it's words, concepts, and ideals that are permeated with life, life germs that are sunk into our etheric forces and that should blossom there — they're realities. They've been tested repeatedly by those whom we call the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings.
Esotericism is a source of life and of forces that flow through the world and that should also stream through us. And so every Sunday morning at 9 o'clock you should meditate on: In the Spirit of Mankind I feel united with all esotericists. When we begin our exercises it's of great importance that we first create inner quiet. It can be attained through patience. The only thing we have to combat is the thought: I won't attain it. We should reject this as a temptation. And even if it takes ever so long, the time will come when our thought horizon will become clear, if we just push away the sense impressions and thought that distract us with all the willpower that we muster. We should let the formulas and symbols live in us vigorously and energizingly, shouldn't form thoughts about them but should experience them and feel them to be like an inner light. They must take hold of us strongly, for they are drawn from the unspeakable word that has creative power. This is the Indians' mahavach; it's inspirations from words that sound through spiritual worlds; it's supposed to radiate in us like an inner sun.
Then we must create an inner void by erasing and suppressing everything that arises from memory, including theosophical contents, and just wait for what can rise in our soul — either something entirely new that we've never heard or had a inkling of, or a lively vision of occult facts that we received in exoteric life. Much more strength is needed for independent discoveries than for an intelligent understanding of the Pythagorean theorem or some other already found fact. What's communicated to us now we can also find ourselves, but probably only after 25 incarnations. We have the duty to work along with the present state of evolution by shortening the path as much as possible.

Godly Light!

Christ Sun!

Warm our hearts!

enlighten our heads!

that good may come

from what we cradle in our hearts,

what we direct from our heads

with true-to-the-mark, consecrated willing!

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27


Washed in the Blood of the Lamb are We
Awash in a Sonburst Sea
You—Love—and I—Love—and Love Divine:
We are the Trinity

You—Love—and I—We are One-Two-Three
Twining Eternally
Two—Yes—and One—Yes—and also Three:
One Dual Trinity
Radiant Calvary
Ultimate Mystery

Human Blood as Manifestation and Instrument of the Ego

Occult Physiology. Lecture 6 of 8.

Rudolf Steiner, Prague, March 25, 1911:

From the last lecture we were able to gather that man, as a physical organisation, separates himself from the outside world, to a certain extent, by means of his skin. When we conceive the human organism entirely in the light in which we have had to do during the preceding lectures, it becomes necessary to say that it is this human organism itself, with its various force-systems, which provides itself with a definite external boundary by means of the skin. In other words, we must understand clearly that the human organism is a system of forces of a nature so self-determined that it gives itself the exact outline of form which appears in the contours of our skin. We shall have to say, therefore, that in connection with the life-process of man there is the interesting fact that in the outer border of the form we have, expressed in a picture, as it were, the combined activity of all the force-systems of the organism. If, on the other hand, the skin itself is to be such an expression for the organism, then we should have to presuppose that it must actually be possible in some way to find the whole man, in a certain sense, in the skin. For, if man as he exists is so to construct himself that the outer skin, as the boundary of his form, expresses what he is, it must in that case be possible to find in the skin everything belonging to his total organisation. As a matter of fact, if we look into what belongs to this total organisation of man, we shall find out how true it is that everything is present in the skin, inside the skin itself, which is present as a tendency in the force-systems of the entire organism.
In all the preceding we have seen that the whole man, in his appearance as earth-man, has in his blood-system the instrument of the ego, so that he actually is man by reason of the fact that he harbours within himself an ego, and that this ego can create an expression of itself as far as the physical system, can work with the blood as its instrument. And now, if the surface of the body, the boundary of the form, is an essential member of the whole organisation, we must conclude that this whole organisation must be active by means of the blood as far as the skin, in order that an expression of the whole human being in so far as he is physical can exist. If we observe the skin — and we must understand it as consisting of several layers stretched over the entire surface of the body — we find that, as a matter of fact, fine blood vessels do extend into this skin, and we are therefore obliged to conclude that it is by means of these fine blood vessels which extend into the skin that the ego is able to send out its forces and create for itself, through the blood, an expression of the human being extending as far as the skin. We know, furthermore, that the nervous system is the physical instrument for everything which we may characterise as consciousness. And, inasmuch as the boundary of the bodily surface is an expression of the plan of the human being as a whole, the nerves must also reach out into the skin-boundary in order that man may express himself adequately in this skin-boundary. We see, therefore, spreading out close to the fine blood vessels lying within the layers of the skin, the nerve-terminations, commonly although not quite correctly called tactile corpuscles, because it is believed that with the help of these man perceives the external world through the sense of touch, just as he perceives light and sound through the eye and the ear. Such is not the case, however, and we shall see later what the facts really are.
Thus we find present in the skin what constitutes the expression, or the bodily organ, of the human ego; and we find also what constitutes the expression of human consciousness reaching out into the skin in the form of fine nerves and their projections. Then we must look around for the expression of what we may consider as the instrument of the life-process. We have already in our last lecture directed attention to this instrument of the life-process, in our discussion of the function of secretion. In this function, in which we have seen that a sort of hindering takes place, as it were, we may recognise the expression of the life-process, to the extent that a living being which wills to exist in the world is compelled to shut itself off from the outside world. This self-enclosing can take place only by its experiencing a hindering within itself. This living through a hindrance in itself is brought about by means of the organs of secretion, which may be described in the broadest sense as glands. Glands are organs of secretion; and, in so far as they are such, there takes place in them that sort of hindrance which calls forth inner resistance, in order that a being may shut itself off within itself. We must presuppose, therefore, that such organs of secretion, similar to those we have everywhere else in the organism, belong also to the skin. And they do belong to the skin; for we find, in the skin organs of secretion, glands of the greatest possible variety, which carry on this function of secretion, in other words, a life-process, within the skin.
Now, if we ask finally what underlies this life-process, we shall find there something we may call a purely material process, that is, the conveying of substances from one organ to another. At this point we must differentiate carefully between a process such as has to do with life and is a process of secretion, which creates an inner hindrance, and that process which transports substances quite externally, which causes a transference of substances from one organ to another. These are not the same. To a materialistic conception it might seem as if they were, but to a living grasp of reality they are not so. As long as we are alive we are not dealing, in a single member of the human organisation, with a mere transportation of substances from one organ to another. In the very moment, rather, when the substances of nutrition are taken in by the life-process, we have to do with occurrences such as those of the inner secretive processes. Thus we come down a step from the real life-process to the process of the physical body when we say that this process of secretion, looked at physically, is such that the substances of nutrition which are taken in are transported to all the different parts of the physical body; whereas in its other aspect it is a living activity, a becoming aware of itself, as it were, on the part of the organism in its own inner being, through the setting up of hindrances. Through the life-processes there takes place at the same time a transporting of substances, and we find this in the skin just as in the other parts of the organism. The nutritive substances are continually being secreted, carried outwards in the skin, and there also excreted through the process of perspiration, so that here also what we may call a transporting in the physical sense, a changing of the substances in the organism, is physically present.
We have thus set forth in its essence the fact that even in the external organ of the skin are present both the blood-system, as the expression of the ego, and the nervous system as the expression of the consciousness. And now I wish little by little to direct you to the fact that we have a right to bring together all phenomena of consciousness under the expression “astral body,” that is, to conceive the nervous system comprehensively as an expression of the astral body; that we have what we may call the glandular system as an expression of the ether-body, or life-body; and the actual process of nutrition and depositing of substances as an expression of the physical body. To this extent all the separate members of the human organism are actually present in the skin-system, through which man shuts himself off from the outside world. Now, we must take into account the fact that all such divisions of the human organisation as the blood-system, the nervous system, the nutritive system, etc., form in their mutual relations a whole; and that when we observe these four systems of the human organisation and have them before us in the physical body, we are viewing the human organism in two aspects, as it were. We actually have it before us in two aspects and in such a way, indeed, that we may say that the human organism has meaning within our earth-existence only if, as an entire organism, it is the instrument of the ego. It can be this, however, only if the most immediate instrument which the human ego can employ, the blood-system, is present in it.
We can state thus that the blood-system is the most immediate instrument of the human ego. Yet the blood-system is possible only if all the other systems are first existent. The blood is not only, according to the meaning of the poet's words, “a very special fluid”; it is also obvious that it cannot exist as it is except by finding a place for itself in the entire remaining organism; its existence must necessarily be prepared for by all the rest of the human organism. The blood, as it exists in man, cannot be found anywhere else than in the human organism. We shall refer, further on, to the relation of the human blood to the blood of the animal; and this will be a very important consideration, since external science to-day takes little notice of it. To-day we are dealing with blood as the expression of the human ego, taking account, at the same time, of a remark which was made in the first lecture: namely, that what is here said concerning man cannot, without further thought, be applied to any other kind of earth-being whatever. We may say then that, when once the entire remaining organism of man is constructed as it is, it is then capable of receiving into itself the circulatory course of the blood, is capable, that is, of carrying the blood, of having within itself that instrument which is the tool of our ego. The whole human organism, however, must first be built up for this purpose.
As you know, there are other beings on the earth which seem to have a certain kinship with man, but which are not in a position to bring to expression a human ego. In their case it is obvious that what appears similar in these other systems to human potentialities is built up otherwise than in the human being. To put it somewhat differently: in all of these systems which precede the blood-system there must first be present everything, in a preparatory plan, which is capable of receiving the blood. This means that we must have a nervous system exactly fitted to receive a blood-system such as that of man; we must have a glandular system which is perfectly prepared for the circulation of human blood; and the system of nutrition must likewise be thoroughly prepared for the human blood-system. This signifies in turn, however, that even from the other aspect of man's organism, for example, the whole nutritional system, which we have described as expressing the actual physical body of man, there must be present the potentiality of the ego. The entire process of nutrition must, as it were, be so directed and guided through the organism that the blood can finally move in the courses which are right for it. What does that mean?
Diagram 19
Diagram 19
Let us assume, since everything is absolutely determined in its formation and its particular kind of activity by the quality of man's being, that we had to draw the course of the blood (in a mere diagram, of course) in this fashion. We should then have to say that this circulation of the blood must now be received by the rest of the organism, which must fit itself into this. This means that all the other systems of organs must be directed to the very place, or to the neighbourhood, where the blood has to be. We could not have the whole texture of the blood-vessels, as this exists in our head for example, or in some other part of our organism, if what is necessary to it were not in each case directed just where the blood is to circulate. That is, the force-systems (which I here indicate by a second line) must act in the human organism, beginning with the nutritive system, in such a way that they carry all the nutritive matter to the proper places, and at the same time so form it beforehand that in these places, by means of such preparation of the nutritive matter, the blood-system can hold exactly to the form of the course it now takes, and thereby be an expression of the ego. There must, accordingly, be contained in all the impulses of our nutritive apparatus, that is, our lowest organ-system, just that thing which makes of man an ego. In other words, the entire form which man finally presents to us must be incorporated in what we call the various methods of nutrition. Here we are looking down from the blood into the organ-systems which prepare the circulatory course of the blood, far, far down, from our ego to those processes which go on in the darkness of our organism. Although our blood is the expression of our ego-activity, the most conscious activity in us, it is at the same time necessary to look down into the obscure depths of our organism and say that the way in which our organism down there is built up and formed through other processes, concerning which we do not know at all how the different substances are carried to those places where they ought to be, in order that our organism may be constructed by the several force-systems just as the ego desires to have it — this shows us that, beginning with the nutritive processes, there are present in man's organism all the laws which lead ultimately to the formation of the course of the blood.
Now, the blood presents to us the most mobile, the most active, of all our systems. We know, indeed, that even if we interfere only very slightly with the course of the blood, it follows at once another direction from the one it takes in the normal course. We need only prick ourselves and the blood at once takes another direction from its usual one. This is of infinite importance; for we can see from it that the blood is the most easily controlled element in the human body; that it has a good foundation in the other organic systems while at the same time it is the most controllable of them all, has the least stability within itself, and is more determined than any other system by the experiences of the conscious ego. I shall not now go into the fantastic theories of external science concerning blushing or turning pale from feelings of shame or anxiety; I shall merely point to the purely external fact that, underlying such experiences as fear or anxiety, or the feeling of shame, are ego-experiences which are recognisable in their effect upon the blood. With the feeling of fear or anxiety it is as if we wanted to guard ourselves, so to speak, against something which we believe will have an influence upon us: we draw back with our ego. With the feeling of shame we would best of all like to hide ourselves, to obliterate our ego. In both cases, referring only to the external facts, the blood, as an external physical instrument, follows physically what the ego lives through in itself. In the case of feelings of fear and anxiety, where a man would like to draw back into himself completely, from something which he feels to be threatening him, he becomes pale; the blood draws back to its centre, draws inward. When a man would like to hide himself because of his sense of shame, would like to obliterate his ego, or best of all not to exist, or to slink away somewhere, the blood, under the influence of what the ego may here live through, spreads out as far as the periphery. And so you see from this that the blood is the most easily controllable system in man, and that it can follow in a definite way the experiences of the ego.
Now, the further we go down into the organic systems, the less are they regulated so as to follow our ego in this way, the less inclined to adapt themselves wholly to the inner experiences of the ego. Whatever especially affects the nervous system is regulated as we know along certain definite nerve-courses, and these nerve-courses show us something relatively fixed, in their functioning, in contrast to the blood. Whereas the blood is mobile, and can be guided under the influence of ego-experiences from one part of the body to another, as happens in the case of shame and fear, we must say, with regard to the nerve- courses, that the forces which are active here must be the forces of consciousness, and that these forces cannot carry the nerve-substance from one place to another as can be done with the blood-substance. This substance of the nervous system is, indeed, more fixed than the substance of the blood.
And this is still more true in the case of the glandular system, which shows us glands that have certain definite tasks to perform in definite places within the organism. If a gland has to be brought into activity by some means or other to some definite purpose, it cannot be aroused by means of some such cord as the nerve-cord; rather it must be stimulated at the very place where it is situated. That which is contained in the glandular system, therefore, is even more fixed than the nerves; we must excite the glands where they are. Whereas we can guide the activity of the nerves along the nerve-cords (we have in this system connecting fibres also, which unite the separate ganglions), the gland must be looked for where it is located.
Still more striking, however, is this process of fixation, this process of being inwardly determined (not “being determinable”) in everything that has to do with the system of nutrition, by means of which man incorporates substances directly into himself in order to be a physical, sensuous being. For this incorporating of substances there must, nevertheless, be available a thorough preparation for the instrument of the ego as well as for the other instruments.
Thus, when we observe the human organism primarily with reference to its lowest system, the nutritive system, in its broadest sense, by means of which the substances within the organism are conveyed to all its various members, we may say that these substances must be so regulated that the formation, the external structure, of the man may proceed in a manner which finally renders possible the manifestation of the ego within this human organisation. To this end much is necessary. It is necessary not only that the substances of nutrition be conveyed in the most diverse ways, that they be deposited in all the different parts of the organism; but also that all possible provision be made to determine the outer form of the human organism.
Now, it is important that we should be clear as regards the following: in what we have called the skin are represented indeed, as we have found, all the systems of the human organism, so that we have been able to come even to the lowest system itself, the nutritive system, and to say that everything which in the strictest sense belongs to the physical system of man, considered as the system of nutrition, is poured into the skin. Yet you can easily understand that this skin as such, in spite of the fact that it has all these other systems in it, has one great defect. It does, to be sure, correspond to the form of the human organism; yet, of itself alone, it would not have this form. In spite of the fact that it has all the organ-systems in itself, it would not of itself be capable of giving to man the outline of his form. If that alone were present which is present in the skin, man would collapse, through it alone he could not maintain his upright form. From this we see that not only are there necessary those nutritive processes which make the skin a physical system, but that there must also be possible other manifold nutritive processes which determine the form of the human organism as a whole. At this point, therefore, it will not be difficult to grasp the fact that we must consider those nutritive processes which go on in the cartilage and the bones as such transformed nutritive processes. What sort of processes are they?
When the matter contained in our nutritive substances is conducted to a cartilage or a bone, it is really transported only as physical matter; and what we ultimately find in the cartilage or the bone is nothing else than the transformed nutritive substances. Here, however, they are transformed otherwise than in the skin. We must, therefore, conclude that we have, in the skin, transformed nutritive substances which are deposited in the outermost boundary of our body, following the outline of its form, for the purpose of making us into physical man; yet, on the other hand, through the way in which the nutritive matter is deposited in the bones, we must also see that there we have to do with a nutritive process which rounds out the human form but which, in comparison with that expressed in the skin, is a different transformation of the nutritive process. And now, if we follow the method of observation we used earlier in connection with the nervous system, it will not any longer be hard for us also to understand that this entire nutritive process is our transportation system for the supply of food.
When we look at the skin, which finally shuts man off from the outside world, and when we observe the nutritive substances that bring about that external enclosure which in itself certainly provides man with his surface structure, but which could not of itself produce the human form, it then becomes clear that this sort of nutritive process which is active in the skin is the most recent one in the human organism. In the manner of providing nourishment to the bones we see a process which bears a similar relation to the process of nourishment in the skin to that which we attributed to the process of the formation of the brain, as compared with that of the formation of the spinal cord. Just as the brain appeared to us to be the older organ, and the spinal cord the younger, and the brain appeared to be a metamorphosed spinal cord, so here we have a right to say: if that same thing which we see as the latest, external process of skin-formation is imagined at a maturer stage metamorphosed, we can then recognise this in the firmer, self-solidifying process of nourishment which appears in the building up of the cartilage and the shaping of the bones.
This observation of the human organism might, therefore, point us to the following conception, namely, that what to-day appears before us as the bony system, in which the process of nourishment shows us a quality of inner stability, an earthy quality, so to speak, this bony system actually did, at an earlier stage, also develop in a softer substance; and only later did it become hard and take on the form of the firm bony system. This can be indicated even by external science, which teaches us that certain forms which in later life are quite clearly bones in the human organism are in the early years of childhood still soft, have the quality of cartilage. This means, therefore, that out of a softer, cartilaginous mass the bones are formed, as a result of the depositing of a different sort of nutritive matter from that which is deposited in the mass of cartilage. Here we have, indeed, a transition from a softer to a firmer form, as this process still goes on to-day in the individual human life. If we see, then, in the cartilage an earlier stage of the bone, we may say that the whole depositing of the bony system in the organism appears to us as something representing a last result, as it were, of those processes appearing in the nourishing of the skin. First, the substances must in the simplest way be metamorphosed to the softest possible substance and driven toward the organs of the body; and, when this preparation has taken place, the nutritive process then can go on, and certain parts can be hardened into bony matter, in order that the form of the human organism as a whole may be the final result.
The nature of the bones as we see them, on the other hand, gives us the right to conclude from direct evidence that really we can find no further progress in the nutritive process beyond that in the bony formation, in so far as the human being, up to the present stage of his evolution, is concerned. Whereas we have in the content of the blood the most determinable substance in man, we have in the bony substance, in that which appears before us in the form of the bones, something which is not determinable, which has arrived at a stage of maximum fixity of form. Indeed, if we continue our previous observations, that the blood is man's most easily controlled instrument whereas the nerves are less subject to his influence, we must then consider that in the bony system, which is the foundation of the entire human organization, we have something that has arrived at the ultimate stage in its evolution so far as man of to-day is concerned, something which represents the product of a final metamorphosis. For this reason, moreover, everything which has to do with forming the bony system, in spite of the fact that this must be wholly directed toward the ego, must take place in such a way that the bones may be ultimately the carriers and supporters of an organism like this, in order that the courses of the blood may take such directions as they should, and this in turn in order that in these courses of the blood the human ego may have a proper instrument.
I should like to ask who would not look upon the human organism with the greatest admiration, and say: “I have here before me that which must have gone through the greatest number of transformations, the greatest number of stages, which must have begun with the lowest stage of a process of nutrition and finally have ascended, through countless epochs, as far as the bony system, which at length has been so constructed that it can be the firm bearer, the firm supporter of the ego!” Once we become aware of how the tendency of the ego works even in the forming of the separate bones, so that man can ultimately become an ego-bearer, who of us would not be filled with admiration before this edifice of the human organism and say: “When we observe this human being we find we have two poles, as it were, of physical existence represented in the blood-system, which is the most subject to outside influence, and the bony system, which is in itself the most solid of all, the one which has gone farthest in the state of impermeability to influence.” In this bony system of man the physical organisation has found the final expression of itself, an ultimate conclusion, whereas in the blood-system the human physical organisation has, in a certain sense and at its present stage of existence, made a new beginning.
When we look at our bony system, we can truly say that we revere it as an ultimate conclusion of the human physical organisation. And, when we look at our blood-system, we can say that we see in it a beginning, something which could begin only after all the other systems of the organisation were there first. We may say with regard to the bony system: “Its first beginning must already have been present, as a soft substance, before the glands could be given a place; for the glands had, indeed, to be supported at their appropriate places by the bone-forces; and such was the case likewise with the courses of the nerves and the blood. The bony system is the oldest of the force-systems belonging to the human organism; consequently it is the foundation of our organisation.”
If, therefore, we observe these two extremes in the human organisation, we find we have in the blood-system the most mobile element, the element which is so active within us that to a certain extent it follows every inner stirring of the ego; and in the bony system we have something almost entirely withdrawn from that over which our ego still has any influence, we can no longer reach it with our ego; yet in spite of this, the whole organisation of the ego is contained within its form. Hence, even to purely external observation, the blood-system and the bony system in man are like a beginning and a conclusion in contrast to each other. And, if we thus look at ourselves, having a blood-system which continually obeys all the stirrings of the ego, we must conclude that human life really expresses itself in this active blood. And when we look at our bony system we say: “It really is somewhat isolated; it is that which draws aloof from our human life, and serves it only as a support.” Or, to express it differently: “Our pulsating blood is our life; our bony system is that which has already withdrawn from a direct connection with our life, because of its ancient origin; has already eliminated itself, and continues merely to serve as a support, to give us form.” Whereas in our blood we are alive, we are in truth already dead in our bony system. And I urge you to look upon this expression as a leitmotiv for the lectures which follow, for it will help us to certain important physiological conclusions: “Whereas in our blood we are alive, we are in our bony system, strictly speaking, already dead!” Our bony system is like a scaffolding, the thing in us that is least of all alive, only a scaffolding to support us.
We have seen in man from the first a duality. And here this duality confronts us in yet another form: we have, on the one hand, in our blood that which is the most vitally active, the most living thing in man; and, on the other, we have in our bony system something which draws aloof from this vital activity of ours, something which really already bears death in itself. Moreover it is, in a certain sense, our bony system which is least subordinated in its form to the life of the ego. For this reason the bony system has already arrived, in its form, at a certain final conclusion, even though it still continues to grow, at that stage in a human life when the ego-experiences first begin to stir inwardly. By the time of the change of teeth the bony system has taken its form in the main; it then merely continues to develop by growth those forms which it has produced. In the forming of the new teeth, somewhere about the seventh year, we have the last productive activity of which the bony system is capable. During that very time when we ourselves still remain withdrawn from our inner vital activity, the chief development of our bony system is proceeding.
It is then, moreover, that most mistakes are made in the giving of nutrition, when the bony system is building itself out of the dark foundations and forces of the organism. The way is prepared in these years for bone-diseases such as rickets and the like, if the processes of nourishment are not properly directed. Thus we see that what is withheld from the ego works into our bony system.
It is entirely different in the case of the blood-system, which follows in active response the life of the individual human being and is more dependent than any other system upon the processes of our conscious inner life. It is a fallacy on the part of external science to believe that the nervous system is more susceptible to inner experiences than is the blood-system. I shall here point only to the fact that in a phenomenon such as blushing, where a shifting of the blood takes place, we have the very simplest form of the influencing of the blood-system by way of the ego-experiences; likewise, when we become pale from anxiety and fear, we have transitory expressions of ego-experiences clearly manifested in the instrument of the ego. The way the ego feels in fear or shame is expressed through its instrument, the blood. You can understand, therefore, if such expressions occur even in the merely transitory processes, that the more lasting, habitual experiences of the ego must certainly manifest themselves in the easily excitable element of the blood. There is no passion, no instinct, no emotion, whether we experience these habitually or whether they come to expression in an explosive way, which does not pass over, as inner experience, to the blood as the instrument of the ego, which does not there express itself externally. All the unwholesome elements of the inner life of the ego express themselves primarily in the blood-system. And so, wherever we wish to understand anything that goes on in the blood-system, it is important not merely to inquire as to the nutritive process but even more to look into the soul-processes in so far as they are inner ego-experiences, such as moods, habitual passions, emotions and the like. Only the materialist will direct his attention chiefly to the nutrition in connection with disturbances in the blood-system. For the nourishment of the blood is dependent upon that of the physical system, the glandular system, the nervous system, and the rest; and, as a matter of fact, the nutritive matter is already thoroughly filtered when it comes into the blood. If therefore the blood is to be affected from without, the organism must be already in a seriously diseased state. On the other hand all soul-processes, all processes of the ego, react directly upon what is occurring in the circulation of the blood.
Thus our bony system is the one which most of all draws aloof from the processes of our ego, while our blood-system accommodates itself more than any other to these ego-processes. Indeed this bony system is by nature, we might say, quite independent of the human ego, and yet adapted to its purpose, with the exception of one single portion which, just because it presents an exception to the characteristic of the bony system of not being determinable by the ego, has given cause for all sorts of mischief.
You know that there is such a thing as “Phrenology,” an investigation of the skull. This bone-investigation, in spite of the fact that, from a certain materialistic point of view, it is looked upon as superstition, has gradually, even where loyally fostered, taken on a materialistic colouring in accordance with the general fashion of our time. If we were disposed to characterise it somewhat crudely we might say: Phrenology is carried on in general in such a way that the expression of the inner nature of the ego is sought for in the forms in which the skull is moulded. Thereby certain general principles are set up, that one prominence in the skull signifies this, another that, and so forth. The human qualities are sought for in the light of these prominences, so that phrenology seeks in the bony system of the skull for a kind of plastic expression of the ego. And yet, if it is carried on in this way, even though it seems to look for spiritual expressions in the structure pf the single bones, it is harmful. For anyone who is a truly keen observer knows that no single human skull is like another, and that no one could ever account for this or that by way of generic elevations or depressions. Every separate skull is so different from every other that in each we find different forms.
Now, we have stated that whereas the blood in its vital activity is the system that most of all follows the ego, the bony structure withdraws from it, follows it least of any. And yet, although the bones in general appear to be designed according to type, the skull-bones and also the bones of the face seem in a certain way to correspond to the human ego. Anyone who observes the structure of the skull knows, at the same time, that although man himself is an individual and his skull-structure is also individual, yet this wonderful configuration of the skull has been designed from the beginning in accordance with the particular human individuality and must develop just as the other bones do only in a different form for each man. How does this come about? It comes about for the same reason that underlies the development of the individual qualities of man in general; for the entire life of the individual human being does not run its course only from a birth to a death, but continues throughout many incarnations. Whereas our ego has no influence, therefore, over the skull-structure in our present incarnation, it has developed during the intervening period between the last death and the last birth in accordance with the experiences of the preceding incarnation, the forces which determine the skull-structure; and it is these forces which determine the form of the skull in this incarnation. What the ego was in the preceding incarnation determines the form of the skull in this one; so that in the structure of our skull we have an external plastic expression of the way in which we, every single one of us, again however as individuals, have lived and acted in the preceding incarnation. Whereas all the other bones we have in us express something which is common to man, the skull in its external form expresses that which we were in an earlier incarnation.
Thus the element of the blood, which is the most vitally active of all, can be determined by the ego in this incarnation; our bones, on the other hand, have already entirely withdrawn during this incarnation from the influence of the ego, with the exception of the last remaining case of the skull-bone which also, however, no longer follows the ego in this incarnation, except only as the ego carries over its own evolution from the one incarnation into the next, and so develops the formative forces in the interval between the two that it can manifest in these very bones what was our nature and character in the preceding incarnation. There is no such thing as a general phrenology; but, to sum up, we must judge every man according to what he himself is; and the structure of our skull we must look upon as a work of art. Of course we are compelled to recognise something individual in the skull-structure; yet at the same time an individual something that is an expression of the ego of a preceding incarnation.
Thus we see that even this form of bone-structure, as it appears in the structure of the skull, is withdrawn from the blood to such an extent that the ego has no more influence over it excepting only during the passing between death and a new birth, when the ego receives, after death, still stronger forces with which to overcome and shape for itself those forces that have already completely withdrawn from the vital activity in the man. When, therefore, anyone speaks about the idea of reincarnation and says: “That is something which, speaking generally, is beyond our judgment or reason,” one may answer: “You can, if you will, convince yourself by tangible evidence that the human ego was present in a previous incarnation. When you take hold of a human head you have before you the tangible proof of reincarnation!” And anyone who does not admit this, who sees something paradoxical in the fact that, because of the way in which a thing is formed externally, the way a thing appears in its outward form, one is forced to infer something living that formed this exterior shape out of its own inner life, such a person has no right to deduce in any other case a living something when he comes across a plastic structure. He who cannot admit as strictly logical the conclusion that in the form of our individual skull is expressed the configuration of our ego of preceding incarnations has also no right, if he finds a shell, for example, to conclude from its form that at one time there was a living being in it! And anyone who does so conclude dare not dismiss the logical and absolutely equivalent conclusion that, in the individual plastic formation of a man's cranium, direct proof is given of the influence of an earlier life on the present one.
Thus you see that we have here one of the means by which to throw light by means of physiology upon the idea of reincarnation. We must only give ourselves time. If we are patient and wait, we shall discover where proofs may be procured, and how to procure them. And anyone who might be disposed to deny that there is logic in what has just been stated would have to disown all palaeontology; for it rests on the same inference. Thus we see how, by penetration into the forms of the human organisation, we can trace it back to its spiritual foundations.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Stand Your Ground

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rudolf Steiner:  "What matters is the strength to stand firmly on the ground of what we recognize as right.... For what appears now are the last convulsions of a dying world. But even if it is in its last throes of death, this world can still strike out like a raving maniac, and one can lose one's life due to this frantic lashing out."

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The stalks of grain wither and produce nothing to eat.  —Hosea 8:7

Joan of Arc and the Archangel Michael

Virginia Woolf's mother

Judith von Halle

Frederick Douglass

The Goetheanum

On a Columnar Self—
How ample to rely
In Tumult—or Extremity—
How good the Certainty

That Lever cannot pry—
And Wedge cannot divide
Conviction—That Granitic Base—
Though None be on our Side—

Suffice Us—for a Crowd—
Ourself—and Rectitude—
And that Assembly—not far off
From furthest Spirit—God—

— Emily Dickinson

"It would be better for me...that multitudes of men should disagree with me rather than that I, being one, should be out of harmony with myself."  — Socrates, as quoted in "Gorgias" by Plato

Not I, but Christ in me

"In the beholding of God we do not fall;
in the beholding of ourselves we may not stand."
                          — Julian of Norwich

Psalm 19

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

    Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
    Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

The Altar of Humanity
 The Solar Plexus
The Manipura Chakra
The Stronghold of Manu

Rudolf Steiner, from his final lecture, given September 28, 1923:

"This ability to rise to the point at which thoughts about spirit can grip us as powerfully as can anything in the physical world, this is Michael power. It is confidence in the ideas of spirit — given the capacity for receiving them at all — leading to the conviction: I have received a spiritual impulse, I give myself up to it, I become the instrument for its execution. First failure — never mind! Second failure — never mind! A hundred failures are of no consequence, for no failure is ever a decisive factor in judging the truth of a spiritual impulse whose effect has been inwardly understood and grasped. We have full confidence in a spiritual impulse, grasped at a certain point of time, only when we can say to ourself: My hundred failures can at most prove that the conditions for realizing the impulse are not given me in this incarnation; but that this impulse is right I can know from its own nature. And if I must wait a hundred incarnations for the power to realize this impulse, nothing but its own nature can convince me of the efficacy or impotence of any spiritual impulse. 

If you will imagine this thought developed in the human heart and soul as great confidence in spirit, if you will consider that man can cling firm as a rock to something he has seen to be spiritually victorious, something he refuses to relinquish in spite of all outer opposition, then you will have a conception of what the Michael power, the Michael being, really demands of us; for only then will you comprehend the nature of the great confidence in spirit. We may leave in abeyance some spiritual impulse or other, even for a whole incarnation; but once we have grasped it we must never waver in cherishing it within us, for only thus can we save it up for subsequent incarnations. And when confidence in spirit will in this way have established a frame of mind to which this spiritual substance appears as real as the ground under our feet — the ground without which we could not stand — then we shall have in our heart and soul a feeling of what Michael really expects of us."

"He must increase; I must decrease."  — John 3:30

"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."  — Galatians 2:19-21