“This higher perceptive faculty can prove a blessing only if the opened soul-senses are in perfect order, just as the ordinary senses can only be used for a true observation of the world if their equipment is regular and normal. Now man himself forms these higher senses through the exercises indicated by spiritual science. The latter include concentrations, in which the attention is directed to certain definite ideas and concepts connected with the secrets of the universe; and meditation, which is a life in such ideas, a complete submersion in them, in the right way. … The student works upon his soul and develops within it the soul-organs or perception. … The effort required for concentration and meditation must therefore must therefore be carefully and accurately maintained.” ~Rudolf Steiner
Higher Perception Faculties
We all want to have higher perception, but what does Steiner mean by “higher perception faculties”? He is talking about the spirit and soul, of course. And not the mundane soul, which even animals have, but the Divine Soul that links us to God.
We need such faculties for the simple reason that our physical senses cannot sense the spiritual. Likewise, our rain-mind cannot understand the spiritual. Only the awakens Soul, the divine mind of the spirit, can comprehend the realm of spirit.
We sometimes wear tinted glasses to block out the glare of the sun. In doing so, we distort the color of the things we see through those glasses. But that is a limited kind of distortion. We distort what we see, hear, smell, etc. even more with the filters of beliefs and false assumptions that fill our minds.
In a sense, the same is true of those awakened higher perception faculties. It isn’t that the spirit and soul are full of false beliefs and filters, but that the filters of the body and mind prevent them from working properly.
If we are angry or depressed when we do our spiritual exercises, they will not be effective. Likewise, if we have a toothache or headache we can’t concentrate properly on the spiritual goals and we won’t move toward them. So we need to practice spiritual growth techniques when we are relaxed, happy, loving, and without pain for maximum effectiveness.
Concentration and Meditation
Mr. Steiner says that concentration and meditation are an important part of those spiritual exercises one must practice to awaken the spirit and divine soul. By concentration, He tells us, we must keep our attention on certain ideas. This can be done by visualizing certain ideas, or it can be done with images. In Cosolargy, we try to hold an image of our cross design in our mind at all times. Other cross designs will work as well. Or you can concentrate on your energy centers (chakras) and visualize them being filled with energy and light.
Steiner also describes a type of meditation that is quite different from that commonly practiced today. He describes it as a complete submersion in the spiritual ideas and concepts that we concentrate on. Very different from sitting with your eye closed and chanting meaningless sounds. Modern meditation does a good job of reducing stress, but does not aid spiritual growth. What Steiner is saying is that we should try to live as if we are already spiritually awakened and enlightened, as much as possible. The requirements of the modern world limit our ability to do that, but we should do as much as we can. Higher perception comes to those who prepare for it.
Mr. Steiner tells us that the student must develop these higher perception faculties. He makes it clear that being spiritual isn’t just a matter of declaring it to be so. It isn’t even just visualizing it. It requires action. And the best action one can take is to bring more spiritual light into the spirit and soul. Doing so will fully awaken them and allow them to develop. And this “nourishing” of the spirit and the soul must be done regularly, preferably daily. It doesn’t take hours. A few minutes a day is enough for taking in that spiritual light.