Two Meditation Approaches by Rudolf Steiner
In many of his teachings, the founder of the Anthroposophic school, Rudolf Steiner, emphasized the need for meditation in order to develop a rich inner life that would eventually lead to the blossom of organs of perceptions with which one can study higher worlds. This Gnostic approach to study of the higher worlds and higher knowledge, Mr. Steiner, called the spiritual science. For the purposes of his research, he mostly taught some simple but effective concentration practices. In today’s article, I would like to share two of his approaches to meditation which I believe can be useful to increase the sense of our true self.
During the conference in Berlin in 1904, he has said the following:
“When peace has been produced in the soul, when the time, race, nationality, and century we are embedded in have been overcome, and inner silence has descended for a time, then the soul begins to speak of its own accord.
This does not happen immediately. First, we must bring the soul to the point of speaking. There are ways and means of doing so.
One method is to submit to thoughts, images, and sensations that originate in eternity rather than in passing time. It is not enough that such thoughts or images were true a hundred years ago, or that they are true today, yesterday or tomorrow. They must be true forever. You will find such thoughts in the various religious books of all peoples – in the Bhagavad Gita (The Song of Human Perfection), for example, and in the New and Old Testaments, especially the Gospel of John from chapter thirteen on. Thoughts that are particularly effective for the people who belong to the Theosophical movement are provided in Mabel Collin’s book Light on the Path, especially in the first four sentences.
Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears.
Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness.
Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters, it must have lost the power to wound.
Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters, its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.
These four sentences, which are engraved on the interior walls of every temple of initiation, are independent of time and space. They do not belong to an individual, a family, a century, or a generation; they extend throughout evolution. They were true thousands of years ago and will be true for thousands of years to come. They awaken forces that sleep within us and draw them up.
This must be done in the right way. It is not enough to think that we understand such a sentence. We must let it come alive within us. We must submit to it totally, allowing all its power to radiate within us. We must learn to love the sentence. When we believe we have understood it, that simply means the time has come to allow it to shine within us again and again. Our intellectual understanding of the sentence is not the point, the point is to love its spiritual truth. The more we love such inner truths and feel this love streaming through us, the more the power of inner sight awaken in us. If we remain involved with such a sentence not only for a day or two but for weeks, months, and years, it will awaken soul forces within us. This is followed by another illumination at a very specific moment.”
When we use a sentence from a sacred text, or a sentence that has come from a sacred part of an individual, we can indeed do more with it than meditate on its meaning, and in the above excerpt from the conference, Rudolf Steiner explains that well. This can be done as a stand-alone exercise, or it can be part of the meditation that he developed and has recommended doing each morning before breakfast and before doing anything else (in other words, when we are still very fresh from any daily impressions), like in the step two of the practice that will be described below. Here is the formula for that meditation approach:
“1. You should become completely awake, inwardly perfectly at peace and collected. Allow no outer impressions to enter you. Suppress all memories of everyday experience. Once you have established complete “inner stillness”, pass into your Higher Self. For this, concentrate your thoughts on the following formula for about five minutes.
More radiant than the Sun,
Purer than the Snow,
Subtler than the Ether,
Is the Self,
The Spirit within my heart.
I am that Self,
That Self am I.
2. Then reflect in silent absorption for another five minutes on a sentence from an inspired text. For instance, during this part of meditation, immerse yourself reflectively in the sentence:
Steadfastness stands higher than any success.
3. Then, after five minutes on that sentence, spend a final five minutes in prayer-like surrender (dedication and reverence) oriented to whatever is highest or most divine for you.
With this, the threefold morning meditation, which lasted about fifteen minutes, is finished.”
The time limit he gave was mostly because of people’s busy schedule, but if you wish, you can meditate for longer than 15 minutes. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, the purpose of this meditation is to strengthen the feeling of the true self, and perhaps even glimpse into the higher self, the Spirit. There are also many other benefits that can come from this meditation, such as having the essence more active and present in daily life; making us go through the day as much awake as possible. This is of course not a replacement for our Gnostic work, but it can aid us in self-remembrance and some other practices as well.