criticism

Criticism and its Influence on Spiritual Growth

“The student is impervious to all influences which would divert him from the goal he has set himself, as long as he can regard it as the right goal. For him, obstacles contain a challenge that impels him to surmount them, but never a reason for giving up. …
“The student suppresses all superfluous criticism of everything that is imperfect, evil and bad, and seeks rather to understand everything that comes under his notice. Even as the sun does not withdraw its light from the bad and evil, so he, to, does not refuse them an intelligent sympathy. … He does not consider the opinions of others merely from his own standpoint, but seeks to put himself into the others position.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Impervious to Influences

To be honest, I think that very few students and adepts reach a stage of development where they are entirely impervious to those influences which would turn him away from the path of spiritual growth. After all, Satan made an attempt to influence Jesus, which indicates it was possible. Satan failed with Jesus, but has succeeded with others.

We live in a time when there are many influences that can pull us off the Path. Satan and his demons are certainly one of the greatest of them. There is also, in this materialistic world, the need to have a job, the need to have a place to live, and so on. Then there are the diseases and other health problems caused in large part by our diet and lifestyle that tends to limit physical activity. Beyond those are the natural forces that control this dimension. Without getting too detailed, there is a force that encourages us to grow and to develop our spiritual self. There is also a force that tends to pull us deeper and deeper into matter.

So we are never truly impervious, but we can get close. We can remind ourselves regularly of our spiritual goals. We can remind ourselves why those goals are important. Also, we can join a spiritual community so that we can protect and encourage each other. Continue reading “Criticism and its Influence on Spiritual Growth”

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impervious student

Impervious Student in an Imperfect World

“The student is impervious to all influences which would divert him from the goal he has set himself, as long as he can regard it as the right goal. For him, obstacles contain a challenge that impels him to surmount them, but never a reason for giving up. …
“The student suppresses all superfluous criticism of everything that is imperfect, evil, and bad, and seeks rather to understand everything that comes under his notice. Even as the sun does not withdraw its light from the bad and the evil, so he, too, does not refuse them an intelligent empathy. Should some trouble befall him he does not proceed to condemn and criticize, but accepts the inevitable, and endeavors to the best of his ability to give the matter a turn for the best.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Impervious student

While much of what Rudolf Steiner wrote is great, I think this claim is a bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps his intention was to avoid students having fears and doubts, so he told them this. It is true that having a goal you truly believe in makes it much more difficult for the dark ones to turn you away from that goal, but it is not impossible. To believe that you are truly an impervious student is as bad as believing that evil and dark beings and forces don’t exist.   They love when we believe that, as it makes it much easier for them to control us. Only the most advances students who no longer have a physical body are truly impervious. Continue reading “Impervious Student in an Imperfect World”

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afterthought, manifest, twofold constitution, Creation

Creative Forces of Truth and Wisdom

“The student must, from time to time, glance introspectively into himself, sink back into himself, take counsel with himself, form and test the fundamental principles of his life, run over in his thoughts the sum total of his knowledge, weigh his duties, and reflect upon the content and aim of his life. … By means of these exercises the student will become ever more and more perfect. … Whoever speaks what is contrary to the truth destroys something in the germ of his sixteen-petaled lotus. Truthfulness, uprightness, and honesty are in this connection creative forces, while mendacity, deceitfulness, and dishonesty are destructive forces. The student must realize, however, that actual deeds are needed, and not merely good intentions.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Looking Inside

There are many spiritual and mystical schools that teach students to look within themselves. In our time, this has resulted in many being mislead into believing that all truth lies within, God lies within, and so on. That is not the purpose of looking within.

We look within ourselves to find our what is holding us back, what is limiting our progress. That is true for anyone, not just spiritual students.

This past summer, I noticed that during the Olympics, Michael Phelps was shown watching his own performance between events. This was not vanity or ego. He was studying himself in an effort to improve. That is the mark of the champion. That is the path to success in any field. No matter where you are now, always try to improve. Even Michael Phelps knows there is always a possibility of improvement. Continue reading “Creative Forces of Truth and Wisdom”

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Spiritual Student: The Duties and Responsibilities

“The student endeavors to live in conformity with both nature and spirit. Never overhasty, he is also never indolent. Excessive activity and laziness are equally alien to him. … He attempts nothing beyond his powers, yet seems to omit nothing within their scope. On the other hand, he sets himself aims that have to do with the ideals and the great duties of a human being. …
“Nothing passes before the student without giving him occasion to accumulate experience which is of value to him for life. If he has performed anything wrongly or imperfectly, he lets this be an incentive for meeting the same contingency later on rightly and perfectly. … He tries to gather a rich store of experiences.
“Finally, … the student must from time to time, glance introspectively into himself, sink back into himself, take council with himself, … and reflect upon the content and aim of life.” ~Rudolf Steiner

The Spiritual Student

The spiritual student does have many duties and responsibilities. It is not a game, or a hobby, or a leisure activity to kill time; it’s a lifestyle. Many popular churches give the impression that you can do whatever you want most of the week, as long as you attend a church service once a week. Serious spiritual students and spiritual schools do not agree with that. The student must practice here spiritual growth techniques regularly, but that is not all. The spiritual student must also live a life that is conducive to spiritual growth.

Conform with Nature and Spirit

The first thing of note with this statement from Steiner is that nature and spirit are two different things. While they are related and connected, they are different. Nature is all on the third dimension, the dimension of matter. Spirit is in the higher dimensions, especially the fifth and above.

The spiritual student must conform with, and work with, natural law if he is to make progress. This does not mean nature worship, as the spiritual student must also recognize the higher dimensions of spirit. He must also recognize that the higher laws of spirit (God’s Law) takes precedence over natural law when there is a conflict. There seldom is, however, since nature itself conforms to those higher laws. Continue reading “Spiritual Student: The Duties and Responsibilities”

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