We are what we think

As explained by Rudolf Steiner
From the Lecture: “Behind the Scenes of External Events, part 2”

“In their souls, human beings more and more come to resemble the thought, to resemble that which they regard as knowledge. This will seem a strange truth to the modern mind, but it is so, nevertheless. (…)

For example; to regard Darwinism as the one and only valid conception of the world, believing the only possible truth to be that man descends from the animals–that I descend entirely from forces which also produce the animals… such thoughts, in our age, tend to make the soul resemble its own conceptions of itself.

When the body is discarded, the soul is then confronted with the sorry fate of having to perceive its resemblance with its own thought! A man who lives in the physical body believing that animal forces alone were at work in his evolution, fashions for himself a kind of consciousness in which he will perceive his own likeness to animal nature.

It is ordained that in times to come, what the human considers himself to BE, that he will BECOME.”

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“What man thinks himself to BE, that he is obliged to BECOME… This is a truth that was destined, after the great changes in the nineteenth century, to find its way to men. The human being must be voluntarily anything that he can be really; he must be able to think about his own being if he is to be truly himself in his life of soul.”

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“Spirits of darkness, who oppose Man’s destiny, inspired human beings to announce the following: ‘Man is what he eats’. And although this is not, in theory, widely acknowledged, the practical conduct of life amounts very nearly to being an acknowledgement of the principle that man is what he eats–that and nothing else.”

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“If it is true that in yonder world man becomes what he has pictured himself to be, then something else is also true. For example: A man dies, leaving relatives behind him. Although thought may not be entirely lacking in these relatives, they may be materialistically minded, and then, quite inevitably, they will think either that the dead man is decaying in the grave or that what exists of him is preserved in the urn.

THIS THOUGHT IS A REAL POWER. It is an untruth. When those left behind think that the dead man is no longer there; this thought is real and actual in the souls of those who form it. And the dead man is aware of this thought-reality, is aware of its significance for him.

It is therefore a matter of fundamental importance whether those left behind cherish in their souls the thought of The Dead living on in the spiritual world, or whether they instead succumb to the woeful idea that the dead man… well, he is dead; he lies there decaying in the grave.”

– Zurich, 13 November, 1917

Anger from the perspective of Spiritual Science

anger

‘Spiritual science’ is a term coined originally by Rudolf Steiner to mean the systematic way to approach/understand the spiritual universe with the same integrity and coherence, as one would approach the natural universe through natural science.

This post is a reflection on the emotion of anger, from the perspective of spiritual science.

Let’s start with Google’s definition of the word anger:

“Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life.”

Google is being very avant-garde and modern by stating that anger is a completely normal and usually healthy human emotion. Certain spiritual circles hold the belief that anger is a completely negative emotion and should be banished from human souls.

In all truth, Google’s definition resonates more with the perspective of spiritual science on anger, than the belief that anger should be banished from our souls entirely.

Angry people are, deep down, people who care very much about justice and about things being fair. This is part of their coloring as human beings, part of the personality that makes them unique. To banish anger completely from their soul would be like cutting off a metaphorical limb from their personality, or making themselves more bland on purpose; less in tune with their present soul expression.

People who suffer from anger or are more prone to angry reactions should view it as an opportunity to perfect themselves, should view their anger as a teacher, rather than something entirely negative or something to be feared or feel guilty about.

There are different types of anger: Righteous and unrighteous. Righteous anger is born out of Love, and unrighteous anger is born out of selfishness.

Righteous anger manifests within us whenever we are rightfully angry about something, as the name indicates. If we grow angry over someone treating another person cruelly, about the state of affairs of our world, about exploitation of others, about torture, about injustice towards the weak and the poor… this anger, in reality, is born out of the Love we feel towards others and towards the world.

If we were to be indifferent to all these things, we would also be limiting the Love our hearts are capable of feeling. In a way, we would grow distant and disinterested in the suffering of others.

So how do we cultivate righteous anger?

First, we have to observe ourselves when we react in anger, and learn to differentiate righteous from unrighteous anger. Sometimes we grow angry because somebody does something we dislike. This anger is born out of our emotional sympathies and antipathies, and should be disregarded.

Any reaction born out of the nature of our sympathies and antipathies anchors us to ourselves and turns us more egoistic, or egocentric: I am angry because I dislike him. I am pleased because she amuses me. It’s all about me, and how I feel, and how other people make me feel… me me me.

This feeds the negative parts of our ego, and these types of reaction should in reality be evaluated as selfish and unrighteous, and treated as such. The way to overcome this type of reaction is not to fight against them, but to become overall more selfless, more interested in the welfare of others, more attentive on how I can serve others rather on how they can amuse me. This growing selflessness will keep negative reactions in check, and soon they will disappear on its own.

Indeed, unrighteous anger is cured by selflessness.

Besides learning to identify unrighteous anger and work on transforming it into selflessness, we can also train ourselves on how best to express the righteous anger that is born out of Love.

In our communications towards others, we should always seek to cultivate at least two things: Tact and gentleness. This is a way of not only honoring and serving others, but also of honoring and serving ourselves.

This also goes for the expression of righteous anger. When we feel angry about something unfair or unjust, we should by all means express it, but with tact and gentleness. This is possible when we place the feeling of Love at the center of our being, rather than the feeling of anger. We can feel angry, but we can choose to focus on Love and express ourselves through Love.

Through these two exercises, the increase of selflessness and the expression of Love, our angry reactions will become transformed into something more noble than it previously was.

This way, we do not lose part of our personality, but transform it into something Higher.

Thus, anger can become the teacher for the transformation into true Gentility of Soul, instead of something to be feared, avoided, or banished from our personalities.

Sympathetic Vibration & Vibrational Frequencies

vibration

Sympathetic vibration is a naturally occurring phenomena. An example of it is when you sound a tuning fork and bring it close to, but not touching, another fork of the same frequency. The second fork will then begin to vibrate sympathetically.

The scientific String Theory asserts that reality is made up of tiny strings that vibrate at different frequencies. Everything in existence is in a state of constant vibration, whether we realize it or not.

Including ourselves as human beings.

To learn how to affect, and even control, our vibrational frequency, we have to ask ourselves the following question: What are human beings essentially made of?

Well, as human beings, we can observe that we have a physical body, we have an energetic body, we have emotions, and we have thoughts.

These four bodies (physical, energetic, emotional, and mental) are what make us who we are.

The most important of these four bodies is The Mind, because it effectively controls the other three bodies.

For example… When we start paying attention to our thoughts, we realize the degree of influence they have over our emotions, over how we feel.

Just imagine how easy it is for a person of choleric nature to get carried away by a thought that makes him angry, and how it affects his whole mood. Also notice how difficult it is to undertake a task that we find extremely boring. We seem to have no energy for it… but when it’s something that we like, suddenly we can’t contain our energy.

Everything starts with the thoughts in The Mind.

And just like the vibrational frequency of our thoughts influences our feelings and energy, they also influence our actions and our relationship to ourselves, the people that we choose to surround ourselves with, and our circumstances. In essence, our thoughts determine our reality.

So when we consciously choose to entertain The Mind with thoughts that generate a high vibrational frequency, we’re like the tuning fork that is resonating at a certain pitch. We will resonate with those people whom we share a sympathetic vibration with, those people who are also vibrating at a high frequency.

Inversely, thoughts with a low vibrational frequency will negatively impact not only our emotional, energetic and physical bodies, but also our relationship to the world and to others.

This leads us to the question…

What types of thoughts generate a high vibrational frequency?

Initiates & The Esoteric School

esoteric school

The capacities by which we can reach an elevated state of spirituality lie dormant within each one of us. The path of spiritual development is traced out in indelible symbols in what is known in occult circles as The Akashic Records, and only those masters who can understand these symbols can give us precise direction and guidance as to how properly come into a relationship with these mysteries.

These masters are known as Initiates, and the school by which they impart their knowledge is called The Esoteric School. There is only one school, as there is only one Truth. This school has existed throughout mankind’s entire known and unknown history, and will continue to exist well into the foreseeable future.

Anyone can become a pupil of the Esoteric School by developing certain faculties of soul. The aspirant pupil must develop these faculties to a certain degree of excellence, seeing as there are two laws that bond all Initiates of The Esoteric School together:

1. Knowledge may not be imparted upon anyone not qualified to receive it
2. Knowledge due a seeker cannot be withheld

The more perfect the initiate, the more perfectly these two laws are kept.

One’s quality is measured by the extent to which certain faculties of soul are developed in one’s soul. Spiritual masters have a way of observing these faculties by themselves, without us needing to say anything.

We can be sure that when the time is right and if the student is willing, the master shall appear and initiation into the mysteries will reach us whatever the circumstances.

But until then, an aspirant pupil to The Esoteric School must dutifully work on his own self to continue developing these faculties of soul to a more perfect degree each day.

The aspirant must aim to nurture within him a sincere and unwavering pursuit for virtue and truth that in every way will prepare him to receive secret knowledge.

The Acceleration of Karma through Online life.

online

You know what I’ve been thinking lately? You know what thought struck me like a week ago that has stayed with me?

I THINK that this whole Internet Phenomenon serves to Accelerate Karma between individuals.

I am the only Anthroposophist (that I know of) in my country, and yet here I am, having discussions and conversations with other Anthroposophists (or people interested in the philosophy) from around the world. Perhaps if the Internet had not existed during my lifetime I would not have had contact with any of you. Nay, not perhaps. I am sure we would not have had contact, save for some miscellaneous stroke of fate. If it weren’t for these Facebook Groups whose existence is facilitated by the World Wide Web none of these human interactions would have taken place.

Maybe we were all originally destined to meet in a Future Life, when Anthroposophists and other philosophers will have a role to play in the destiny of the world. In a Future Life circumstances will be different. We will need each other in the coming dark times, we will need the knowledge and wisdom that we are cultivating (or trying to cultivate) right now.

But we met in this life thanks to the Internet, and thus we are accelerating events that would have happened in the Future. We are having soul-to-soul interactions that would not have occurred were it not for the internet.

We, all of us, are starting our relationship with each other EARLY.

We are drawing the Future towards us when it comes to these relationships, we are inter-mingling the future with the present.

We are Accelerating Karma.

The Esoteric Tradition and the Reality of Spiritual Worlds

worlds

Before I read Steiner, I read a-lot of Blavatsky. Before I read Blavatsky, I read a-lot of Plato. Before I read Plato, I read a bunch of myths, thousand-year-old myths. All of this information that I read and assimilated pointed to one particular fact:

The existence of a Spiritual World that cannot be perceived by the senses. This Spiritual World is superimposed into the Material World, the world of Matter, and the reason we can’t see it in our daily lives is because the Senses are so powerful that they overwhelm us.

On a side note, I would like to state that I am learning that we can enter these spiritual worlds specifically through dreams. When we dream, our senses shut down. Our patterns of thoughts and feelings then emerge in symbolic form. Because most people (including me) have muddled thought-patterns, dreams are also usually muddled and incoherent. The degree to which we train our thoughts and feelings in a single direction is the same degree that our dreams become organized and meaningful.

Coming back to my main point. The Esoteric Tradition is a Millenary Tradition–it has existed for thousands of years. This Tradition includes the findings and wisdom of ancient masters such as Buddha, Zoroaster, Manú, and the 7 Holy Rishis of Ancient India, and many, many more. The wisdom that was communicated by these masters is–essentially–the same wisdom communicated by Steiner in his ‘Spiritual Science’.

In reality, nothing Steiner proposes is new. A-lot of it is his own construction, his own phenomenological explanations and such. On some level, it is subjective. But on another level, it is inspired by and connected to this ancient Millenary Wisdom which The Esoteric Tradition has guarded and maintained throughout the Ages.

Let’s take the concept Guardian of the Threshold as an example.

Chinese mystics speak of Guardians between the physical realm and the etheric realm, between the etheric and the astral, between the astral and the ego.

It’s not a new concept.

When Buddha speaks of Nirvana, he is talking of a state that is reachable by surpassing the Greater Guardian of the Threshold–a state of consciousness where it is no longer necessary to reincarnate because all Karma has been cleansed.

As another example, the 7 Holy Rishis of ancient India speak of the Godhead (the Trinity), a symbol that is repeated throughout many cultures and religions.

Plato speaks of the Logos (extensively), the Disciple John speaks of the ‘Word’–which would be the same.

What all of these Masters of Wisdom are pointing to is an actual Spiritual Reality–independent of us, yet also IN us, because in the spiritual world we become what we think and what we feel.

There is subjectivity. There is bias. The Guardian of the Threshold is a psychological phenomenon that may manifest differently to different individuals (hence the 3 lower guardians as described by Steiner in ‘Esoteric Lessons for the First Class’, as opposed to the single lower Guardian also described by Steiner in ‘Higher Worlds’)–that much is true.

But it is also the manifestation of an actual spiritual reality, more specifically; the reality of an individual confronting their own Karma.

Steiner–for all his possible spiritual scientific subjectivity, and Blavatsky (who also spoke of the Guardian), for all her theosophical bias, and Buddha, for all his eastern modes of expression–were all looking at the same reality, ONE spiritual reality, through their different lens.

We become what we think. That is true! But what we THINK is already real, already there, and what we are doing is merely assimilating it and getting to know it through our own personal individualities and colorings. The Esoteric Tradition, although very colorful, points to a single reality… the reality of the Spiritual Worlds.

Good vs. Evil in Harry Potter

potter

The most perverse and ugly type of evil arises from a lust for power. There is no greater example in modern literature of this than Lord Voldemort. He sacrificed his soul in order to become immortal and severed the ties to his humanity by becoming a merciless killer. And yet a boy with no extraordinary magical talent defeated him. How, and why?

In JK Rowling’s famous fantasy novels, the main villain is driven by an insatiable lust for power; a desire to have it all; to rule over everyone and to become master of everything, even death.

What can we do against such ruthlessness? How to fight against someone with such an enormously fierce desire for power that it towers over everyone and crushes everything on its way?

In reality, there is nothing different between the fictional Voldemort and the people that control the masses in our ‘muggle’ world. Politicians, corporations, pharmaceuticals, newspapers, the military-industrial complex, the food industry, bankers, and others with obscene amounts of money at their disposition. They seek to control and desire power, even at the cost of the lives and wellbeing of others.

In a sense, the people running these organizations have also sacrificed their humanity. They have stepped over and hurt others in order to benefit themselves. And to continue benefiting, they have also sought to control. They are the real-life characterization of the greatest Dark Wizard in the wizarding world.

I ask again–What can we do? By we I mean us ordinary folk, the people who wake up every day and fight for our dreams and for a better world? What can we–the people with no power and no desire for it–do in the face of such odds?

In Rowling’s story, there was a prophecy that stated that a boy named Harry Potter would either defeat Lord Voldemort or be killed by his hand. This boy happened to be just an ordinary wizard. Granted, one who survived great personal tragedy, but ordinary nonetheless.

He was quick on his feet and thought fast, which made him outstanding in Defense Against the Dark Arts, but even with this he was no match against Voldemort.

Nevertheless, he won.

There were a couple of things that made Harry different. He was noble. He was selfless. He was brave. He thought of the well being of others before his own. He cared about people, which made him kind. He was determined. He never gave up, even when it seemed there was no hope and nothing to be done.

In the end, he faced death, and he faced it alone. He sacrificed himself in the hope, and only the hope, that it would save others even if it meant he would be destroyed.

All of these qualities stem from one ruling principle, and that is Love.

Love is what enabled Harry to finally take out Voldemort (with the help of a hundred others who stood by his side). How can this help us fight against our very own Dark Lords? The truth is, there is no easy answer. There wasn’t an easy answer in Rowling’s books, either, and they had a prophecy going for them, at least.

Before he died, Dumbledore had speculated Harry would survive his confrontation with Voldemort, but it was only speculation. He wasn’t sure. In these types of battles, one can never be sure.

But in the end, what nurtured Voldemort’s power was fear. What nurtured Harry’s power, on the other hand, was Love. And if there is one certain thing in this world is that Love is greater than Fear.

So what can we do in the face of such overwhelming evil?

Well, we can Love. We can think of others, act for others, seek to understand people and help them rather than judge and condemn. We can be noble. We can be selfless. We can be brave.

If we all started acting this way, the world would be a different place. It may not solve all problems, not right away at least. But it’s a good place to start.