“This life of the soul in thought, which gradually widens into a life in spiritual being, is called by Gnosis, and by Spiritual Science, Meditation (contemplative reflection). This meditation is the means to supersensible knowledge. But the student in such moments must not merely indulge in feelings; he must not have indefinite sensations in his soul. That would only hinder him from researching true spiritual knowledge. His thoughts must be clear, sharp and definite, and he will be helped in this if he does not cling blindly to the thoughts that rise within him. Rather must he permeate himself with the lofty thoughts by which men already advanced and possessed of the spirit were inspired at such moments. He should start with the writings which themselves had their origin in just such revelation.” ~Rudolf Steiner
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am not a big fan of meditation. But the type of meditation that involves repeating some Sanskrit word, the meaning f which you don’t even know, until you sink into a low vibration stupor is not at all what Steiner is talking about here. That is why we prefer to call it “spiritual practices” or “spiritual techniques” to avoid confusion with that type of meditation. I will use the term “practices” in the rest of this article to avoid confusion with the type of meditation which only serves to turn people into sheep.
Steiner tells us that when we engage in these spiritual practices we should have a clear goal in mind. We should not be simply opening ourselves up to whatever chooses to enter. Doing that is how people get taken over, or at least controlled to various degrees, by demons. But what should we think about? Steiner says that we must seek spiritual knowledge and that truly is the goal, or one of them anyway. So the goal, in that case, should be to connect with that universal knowledge, that Gnosis that educated (spiritually) and inspired all great mystics and prophets. You could visualize some source of this gnosis off in a spiritual dimension and seek to connect with it. But even before doing that, the spiritual student must concentrate on awakening his own soul, his own spiritual faculties. If he doesn’t do that, he will have no means of understanding the gnosis if he somehow did manage to connect to it. Only our spiritual faculties can truly understand spiritual knowledge and wisdom, so the first goal is to awaken those faculties which are in a state similar to a coma in most of us.
Steiner also advises that we read the writing of those individuals who were themselves the recipients of such enlightenment, such gnosis, and that is certainly a good idea. But he doesn’t specify what to read, or who. So allow me to make a few suggestions.
- Read the poetry of Rumi
- The books on Gnosticism by Elaine Pagels
- The Gnostic Bible
- The books by Evelyn Underhill
- Books written by Penney Peirce
- Any of the books by Gene Savoy
- The Kolbrin Bible
- The books by Rudolf Steiner
- The works of H. P. Blavatsky
This is not an exhaustive list, but I think that is a good starting one. Note that I don’t necessarily agree with everything some of these authors say, yet I find their books useful and inspiring. You may note that I have left off of the list several very popular spiritual writers of today. That is because the books of theirs that I have read (admittedly, only a few) I found very limited, like trying to get a nourishing meal at McDonald’s. I also recommend the movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon about the early life of St. Francis.
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