I continue to read Frank Smith’s translations of the esoteric lessons for the first class. I’ve come to lessons 7 and 8. Here’s a snippet from lesson 7:
If on seeing the head from the other side of the threshold one recognizes how will goes through the head and how the senses represent will, then he will realize how the heart contains the soul and how one can feel the soul within the heart just as he can will the head’s spirit when observing the head. And now we know that when thinking is not considered as a function of the head, but as a function of the heart, of the soul, we realize that thinking does not belong to an individual, but to the world; then one experiences cosmic-life, the music of the spheres.
Lesson 7 also contains an intriguing section on sleep, which I quoted back when I had only the german text to quote from. (The old blog post is here; they’re some fascinating quotes.) One might also ponder Steiner’s words about truth. If one is that way inclined.
In the most recent edition of Southern Cross Review you’ll find the 8th lesson. Steiner first talks, at some length, about the movement, membership (and the laborious task he has: signing membership cards! no, he doesn’t want to get a stamp instead, and says why), the Vorstand, the school of spiritual science, et c. It can be skipped, but it is quite interesting in its own way. (Most fascinatingly, he dismisses esoteric school members who think that it’s better to remain silent about anthroposophy and about being its representative. He says, also: ‘Those who continually claim that you can’t confront people with anthroposophy immediately, that you must somehow talk them into it gradually, may choose to exercise their opinion outside the School.’ I wonder about how to interpret this.) But to proceed to the actual lesson, where he teaches, among other things, that feeling is ‘a waking dream’. In the beginning of it, however, he says this:
My dear friends, my dear sisters and brothers, there exists no knowledge which is not closely tied to the spiritual world. Everything we call knowledge which is neither investigated in the spiritual world nor imparted by those who are able to investigate in the spiritual world, is not real knowledge. We must be clear about the fact that when we look around in the world, in the kingdoms of nature, see the colors and the radiance manifested, see what lives above in the shining stars, in the warming sun, what springs up from the depths of the earth – it is all sublime, grand, beautiful, full of wisdom. And we would be very mistaken to ignore this beauty, sublimity, this wisdom. If one wishes to become an esotericist, if he strives for real knowledge, then he must have a sense for the world around him – an open, free sense. For during the time between birth and death, during his earthly existence, he is obliged to absorb his strength from the forces of the earth, and to return the results of his work to the forces of the earth.