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Eight Exercises (Days of the Week)

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Eight Exercises (Days of the Week)
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<h5>Eight Exercises (Days of the Week)</h5> <strong><a href="http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/RSPC1947/GA010_index.html" target="_blank">GA 10</a> - <a href="http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/RSPC1947/GA010_c05.html" target="_blank">Knowledge of the Higher Worlds - Chapter V.</a></strong> <em>In this fundamental work, eight exercises are described in connection with the development of the sixteen-petaled lotus flower, the organ situated in the throat/larynx region of the astral body. Here the exercises' correlation to the qualities found in the "Eight Fold Path" of Gautama Buddha, but also the fact that they stand on their own, universal ground, is mentioned. (Rudolf Steiner never referred to the practice of these exercises as "the eight-fold path," just as he never referred to the practice of the six basic exercises associated with the twelve-petaled lotus flower as the six-fold path, or the Virtues as the "twelve...", etc.)</em> <blockquote>[...] Thanks to the spiritual organ situated in the vicinity of the larynx, it becomes possible to survey clairvoyantly the thoughts and mentality of other beings, and to obtain a deeper insight into the true laws of natural phenomena. […] The organ in the vicinity of the larynx has sixteen petals or spokes;[…] The organ in the vicinity of the larynx has sixteen petals or spokes; the one in the region of the heart twelve, and the one in the pit of the stomach ten. Now certain activities of the soul are connected with the development of these organs, and anyone devoting himself to them in a certain definite way contributes something to the development of the corresponding organs. In the sixteen-petalled lotus, eight of its sixteen petals were developed in the remote past during an earlier stage of human evolution. Man himself contributed nothing to this development; he received them as a gift from nature, at a time when his consciousness was in a dull, dreamy condition. At that stage of human evolution they were in active use, but the manner of their activity was only compatible with that dull state of consciousness. As consciousness became clearer and brighter, the petals became obscured and ceased their activity. Man himself can now develop the remaining eight petals by means of conscious exercises, and thereby the whole lotus flower becomes luminous and mobile. The acquisition of certain faculties depends on the development of each one of the sixteen petals. Yet, as already shown, only eight can be consciously developed; the remainder then appear of their own accord. The development proceeds in the following manner. The student must first apply himself with care and attention to certain functions of the soul hitherto exercised by him in a careless and inattentive manner. <i>There are eight such functions. The first is the way in which ideas and conceptions are acquired</i>. In this respect people usually allow themselves to be led by chance alone. They see or hear one thing or another and form their ideas accordingly. As long as this is the case the sixteen petals of the lotus flower remain ineffective. It is only when the student begins to take his self-education in hand, in this respect, that the petals become effective. His ideas and conceptions must be guarded; each single idea should acquire significance fore him; he should see it in a definite message instructing him concerning the things of the outer world, and he should derive no satisfaction from ideas devoid of such significance. He must govern his mental life so that it becomes a true mirror of the outer world, and direct his effort to the exclusion of incorrect ideas from his soul. <i>The second of these functions is concerned with the control of resolutions.</i> The student must not resolve upon even the most trifling act without well-founded and thorough consideration. Thoughtless and meaningless actions should be foreign to his nature. He should have well-considered grounds for everything he does, and abstain from everything to which no significant motive urges him. <i>The third function concerns speech.</i> The student should utter no word that is devoid of sense and meaning; all talking for the sake of talking draws him away from his path. He must avoid the usual kind of conversation, with its promiscuous discussion of indiscriminately varied topics. This does not imply his preclusion from intercourse with his fellows. It is precisely in such intercourse that his conversation should develop to significance. He is ready to converse with everyone, but he does so thoughtfully and with thorough deliberation. He never speaks without grounds for what he says. He seeks to use neither too many nor too few words. <i>The fourth is the regulation of outward action</i>. The student tries to adjust his actions in such a way that they harmonize with the actions of his fellow-men and with the events in his environment. He refrains from actions which are disturbing to others and in conflict with his surroundings. He seeks to adjust his actions so that they combine harmoniously with his surroundings and with his position in life. When an external motive causes him to act he considers how he can best respond. When the impulse proceeds from himself he weighs with minute care the effects of his activity. <i>The fifth function includes the management of the whole of life</i>. 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 looks upon life as a means for work and disposes it accordingly. He regulates his habits and the care of his health in such a way that a harmonious whole is the outcome. <i>The sixth is concerned with human endeavor</i>. The student tests his capacities and proficiency, and conducts himself in the light of such self- knowledge. 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. He does not mechanically regard himself as a wheel in the vast machinery of mankind but seeks to comprehend the tasks of his life, and to look out beyond the limit of the daily and trivial. He endeavors to fulfill his obligations ever better and more perfectly. <i>The seventh deals with the effort to learn as much from life as possible.</i> 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. When others act he observes them with the same end in view. He tries to gather a rich store of experience, ever returning to it for counsel; nor indeed will he ever do anything without looking back on experiences from which he can derive help in his decisions and affairs. <i>Finally, the eighth is as follows: 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 life</i>. All these things have been mentioned in the preceding chapters; here they are merely recapitulated in connection with the development of the sixteen-petalled lotus. By means of these exercises the latter will become ever more and more perfect, for it is upon such exercises that the development of clairvoyance depends. The better the student's thoughts and speech harmonize with the processes in the outer world, the more quickly will he develop this faculty. Whoever thinks and speaks what is contrary to truth destroys something in the germ of his sixteen-petalled 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. If I think or say anything that does not conform with reality, I kill something in my spiritual organs, even though I believe my intentions to be ever so good. It is here as with the child which needs must burn itself when it touches fire, even though it did so out of ignorance. The regulation of the above activities of the soul in the manner described causes the sixteen-petalled lotus to shine in glorious hues, and imparts to it a definite movement. Yet it must be noted that the faculty of clairvoyance cannot make its appearance before a definite degree of development of the soul has been reached. It cannot appear as long as it is irksome for the student to regulate his life in this manner. He is still unfit as long as the activities described above are a matter of special pre-occupation for him The first traces of clairvoyance only appear when he has reached the point of being able to live in the specified way, as a person habitually lives. These things must then no longer be laborious, but must have become a matter of course. There must be no need for him to be continually watching himself and urging himself on to live in this way. It must all have become a matter of habit. Now this lotus flower may be made to develop in another way by following certain other instructions. But all such methods are rejected by true spiritual science, for they lead to the destruction of physical health and to moral ruin. They are easier to follow than those here described. The latter, though protracted and difficult, lead to the true goal and cannot but strengthen morally. The distorted development of a lotus flower results not only in illusions and fantastic conceptions, should a certain degree of clairvoyance be acquired, but also in errors and instability in ordinary life. Such a development may be the cause of timidity, envy, vanity, haughtiness, willfulness and so on in a person who hitherto was free from these defects. It has already been explained that eight of the sixteen petals of this lotus flower were developed in a remote past, and that these will re-appear of themselves in the course of esoteric development. All the effort and attention of the student must be devoted to the remaining eight. Faulty training may easily result in the re-appearance of the earlier petals alone, while the new petals remain stunted. This will ensue especially if too little logical, rational thinking is employed in the training. It is of supreme importance that the student should be a rational and clear-thinking person, and of further importance that he should practice the greatest clarity of speech. People who begin to have some presentiment of supersensible things are apt to wax talkative on this subject, thereby retarding their normal development. The less one talks about these matters the better. Only someone who has achieved a certain degree of clarity should speak about them. At the beginning of their instruction, students are as a rule astonishes at the teacher's lack of curiosity concerning their own experiences. It would be much better for them to remain entirely silent on this subject, and to content themselves with mentioning only whether they have been successful or unsuccessful in performing the exercises and observing the instructions given them. For the teacher has quite other means of estimating their progress than the students' own statements. The eight petals now under consideration always become a little hardened through such statements, whereas they should be kept soft and supple. The following example taken, for the sake of clarity, not from the supersensible world but from ordinary life, will illustrate this point. Suppose I hear a piece of news and thereupon immediately form an opinion. Shortly afterwards I receive some further news which does not tally with the previous information. I am thereby obliged to reverse my previous judgment. The result is an unfavorable influence upon my sixteen-petalled lotus. Quite the contrary would have been the case had I, in the first place, suspended judgment, and remained silent both inwardly in thought and outwardly in word concerning the whole affair, until I had acquired reliable grounds for forming my judgment. Caution in the formation and pronouncement of judgments becomes, by degrees, the special characteristic of the student. On the other hand his receptivity for impressions and experiences increases; he lets them pass over him silently, so as to collect and have the largest possible number of facts at his disposal when the time comes to form his opinions. Bluish-red and reddish-pink shades color the lotus flower as the result of such circumspection, whereas in the opposite case dark red and orange shades appear. (Students will recognize in the conditions attached to the development of the sixteen-petalled lotus the instructions given by the Buddha to his disciples for the Path. Yet there is no question here of teaching Buddhism, but of describing conditions governing development which are the natural outcome of spiritual science. The fact that these conditions correspond with certain teachings of the Buddha is no reason for not finding them true in themselves.) The twelve-petalled lotus situated in the region of the heart is developed in a similar way. Half its petals, too, were already existent and in active use in a remote stage of human evolution. Hence these six petals need not now be especially developed in esoteric training; they appear of themselves and begin to revolve when the student sets to work on the other six. Here again he learns to promote this development by consciously controlling and directing certain inner activities in a special way. It must be clearly understood that the perceptions of each single organ of soul or sprit bear a different character. The twelve and sixteen-petalled lotus flowers transmit quite different perceptions. The latter perceives forms. The thoughts and mentality of other beings and the laws governing natural phenomena become manifest, through the sixteen-petalled lotus, as figures, not rigid motionless figures but mobile forms filled with life. The clairvoyant in whom this sense is developed can describe, for every mode of thought and for every law of nature, a form which expresses them. A revengeful thought, for example, assumes an arrow-like, pronged form, while a kindly thought is often formed like an opening flower, and so on. Clear-cut, significant thoughts are regular and symmetrical in form, while confused thoughts have wavy outlines. Quite different perceptions are received through the twelve-petalled lotus. These perceptions may, in a sense, be likened to warmth and cold, as applied to the soul. A clairvoyant equipped with this faculty feels this warmth and cold streaming out from the forms discerned by the sixteen-petalled lotus. Had he developed the sixteen and not the twelve-petalled lotus he would only perceive, in the kindly thought, for instance, the figure described above, while a clairvoyant in whom both senses were developed would also notice what can only be described as soul-warmth, flowing from the thought. It would be noted in passing that esoteric training never develops one organ without the other, so that the above-mentioned example may be regarded as a hypothetical case in behalf of clarity. The twelve-petalled lotus, when developed, reveals to the clairvoyant a deep understanding of the processes of nature. Rays of soul-warmth issue from every manifestation of growth and development, while everything in the process of decay, destruction, ruin, gives an impression of cold. The development of this sense may be furthered in the following manner. <i>To begin with, the student endeavors to regulate his sequence of thought (control of thought).</i> Just as the sixteen-petalled lotus is developed by cultivating thoughts that conform with truth and are significant, so, too, the twelve-petalled lotus is developed by inwardly controlling the trains of thought. Thoughts that dart to and fro like will-o'-the-wisps and follow each other in no logical or rational sequence, but merely by pure chance, destroy its form. The closer thought is made to follow upon thought, and the more strictly everything of illogical nature is avoided, the more suitable will be the form this sense organ develops. If the student hears illogical thoughts he immediately lets the right thoughts pass through his mind. He should not, however, withdraw in a loveless way from what is perhaps an illogical environment in order to further his own development. Neither should he feel himself impelled to correct all the illogical thoughts expressed around him. He should rather silently co-ordinate the thoughts as they pour in upon him, and make them conform to logic and sense, and at the same time endeavor in every case to retain this same method in his own thinking. […] A completely new life opens out before the student when the development of his etheric body begins in the way described above, and at the proper time, in the course of his training, he must receive that enlightenment which enables him to adapt himself to this new existence. The sixteen-petalled lotus, for instance, enables him to perceive spiritual figures of a higher world. He must learn now how different these figures can be when caused by different objects or beings. In the first place, he must notice that his own thoughts and feelings exert a powerful influence on certain of these figures, on others little or no influence. One kind of figure alters immediately if the observer, upon seeing it, says to himself: “that is beautiful,” and then in the course of his observation changes this thought to: “that is useful.” It is characteristic of the forms proceeding from minerals or from artificial objects that they change under the influence of every thought and every feeling directed upon them by the observer. This applies in a lesser degree to the forms belonging to plants, and still less to those corresponding to animals. These figures, too, are full of life and motion, but this motion is only partially due to the influence of human thoughts and feelings; in other respects it is produced by causes which are beyond human influence. Now, there appears within this whole world a species of form which remains almost entirely unaffected by human influence. The student can convince himself that these forms proceed neither from minerals nor from artificial objects, nor, again, from plants or animals. To gain complete understanding, he must study those forms which he can realize to have proceeded from the feelings, instincts, and passions of human beings. Yet he can find that these forms too are influenced by his own thoughts and feelings, if only to a relatively small extent. But there always remains a residuum of forms in this world upon which such influences are negligible. Indeed, at the outset of this career the student can perceive little beyond this residuum. He can only discover its nature by observing himself. He then learns what forms he himself produces, for his will, his wishes, and so on, are expressed in these forms. An instinct that dwells in him, a desire that fills him, an intention that he harbors, and so forth, are all manifested in these forms: his whole character displays itself in this world of forms. Thus by his conscious thoughts and feelings a person can exercise an influence on all forms which do not proceed from himself; but over those which he brings about in the higher world, once he has created them. Now, it follows from what has been said that on this higher plan man's inner life of instincts, desires, ideas displays itself outwardly in definite forms, just like all the other beings and objects. To higher knowledge, the inner world appears as part of the outer world. In a higher world man's inner being confronts him as a reflected image, just as though in the physical world he were surrounded by mirrors and could observe his physical body in that way. At this stage of development the student has reached the point where he can free himself from the illusion resulting from the initiation of his personal self. He can now observe that inner self as outer world, just as he hitherto regarded as outer world everything that affected his senses. Thus he learns by gradual experience to deal with himself as hitherto he dealt with the beings around him. <p style="text-align: right;"><strong><a href="http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/RSPC1947/GA010_c05.html" target="_blank">Chapter V</a></strong></p> </blockquote> <strong><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5em;">GA 245 - now </span><a style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5em;" href="http://www.steinerverlag.com/warenkorb/detailansicht/procat/produkte/prod/seelenuebungen-i.html?tx_commerce_pi1%5BbasketHashValue%5D=&amp;cHash=3106db87e7a6c69f9710ef6382e597d0" target="_blank">267</a><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5em;"> - </span><a style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5em;" href="http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=20909" target="_blank">Guidance in Esoteric Training</a><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5em;">, </span><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5em; color: #000000;">Section I.</span></strong> <em>Here, the explicit instructions for the eight exercises in accordance with the days of the week are to be found.</em> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>For the Days Of The Week</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The pupil must pay careful attention to certain activities in the life of soul which in the ordinary way are carried on carelessly and inattentively. There are eight such activities.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It is naturally best to undertake only one exercise at a time, throughout a week or a fortnight, for example, then the second, and so on, then beginning over again. Meanwhile it is best for the eighth exercise to be carried out every day. True self-knowledge is then gradually achieved and any progress made is perceived. Then later on - beginning with Saturday - one exercise lasting for about five minutes may perhaps be added daily to the eighth so that the relevant exercise will occasionally fall on the same day. Thus: Saturday - Thoughts; Sunday - Resolves; Monday - Talking; Tuesday - Actions; Wednesday - Behaviour, and so on.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Saturday</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To pay attention to one's <i>ideas</i>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To think only significant thoughts. To learn little by little to separate in one's thoughts the essential from the nonessential, the eternal from the transitory, truth from mere opinion.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In listening to the talk of one's fellow-men, to try and become quite still inwardly, foregoing all assent, and still more all unfavourable judgments (criticism, rejection), even in one's thoughts and feelings.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This may be called:<i> 'Right Opinion'.</i></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Sunday</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To determine on even the most insignificant matter only after fully reasoned deliberation. All unthinking behaviour, all meaningless actions, should be kept far away from the soul. One should always have well-weighed reasons for everything. And one should definitely abstain from doing anything for which there is no significant reason.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Once one is convinced of the rightness of a decision, one must hold fast to it, with inner steadfastness.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This may be called:<i> 'Right Judgment'.</i></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">having been formed independently of sympathies and antipathies.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Monday</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Talking</i>. Only what has sense and meaning should come from the lips of one striving for higher development. All talking for the sake of talking -to kill time - is in this sense harmful.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The usual kind of conversation, a disjointed medley of remarks, should be avoided. This does not mean shutting oneself off from intercourse with one's fellows; it is precisely then that talk should gradually be led to significance. One adopts a thoughtful attitude to every speech and answer taking all aspects into account. Never talk without cause - be gladly silent. One tries not to talk too much or too little. First listen quietly; then reflect on what has been said.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This exercise may be called:<i> 'Right Word'.</i></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Tuesday</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><i>External actions</i>. These should not be disturbing for our fellow-men. Where an occasion calls for action out of one's inner being, deliberate carefully how one can best meet the occasion - for the good of the whole, the lasting happiness of man, the eternal.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Where one does things of one's own accord, out of one's own initiative: consider most thoroughly beforehand the effect of one's actions.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This is called:<i> 'Right Deed'.</i></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Wednesday</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><i>The ordering of life.</i> To live in accordance with Nature and Spirit. Not to be swamped by the external trivialities of life. To avoid all that brings unrest and haste into life. To hurry over nothing, but also not to be indolent. To look on life as a means for working towards higher development and to behave accordingly.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">One speaks in this connection of:<i> 'Right Standpoint'.</i></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Thursday</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Human Endeavour.</i> One should take care to do nothing that lies beyond one's powers - but also to leave nothing undone which lies within them.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To look beyond the everyday, the momentary, and to set oneself aims and ideals connected with the highest duties of a human being. For instance, in the sense of the prescribed exercises, to try to develop oneself so that afterwards one may be able all the more to help and advise one's fellow-men - though perhaps not in the immediate future.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This can be summed up as:<i> 'To Let All the Foregoing Exercises Become a Habit'.</i></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Friday</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The endeavour to <i>learn as much as possible from life</i>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Nothing goes by us without giving us a chance to gain experiences that are useful for life. If one has done something wrongly or imperfectly, that becomes a motive for doing it rightly or more perfectly, later on.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">If one sees others doing something, one observes them with the like end in view (yet not coldly or heartlessly). And one does nothing without looking back to past experiences which can be of assistance in one's decisions and achievements.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">One can learn from everyone - even from children if one is attentive.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This exercise is called:<i> 'Right Memory'. </i>(Remembering what has been learnt from experiences).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Summary</b></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To turn one's gaze inwards from time to time, even if only for five minutes daily at the same time. In so doing one should sink down into oneself, carefully take counsel with oneself, test and form one's principles of life, run through in thought one's knowledge - or lack of it -weigh up one's duties, think over the contents and true purpose of life, feel genuinely pained by one's own errors and imperfections. In a word: labour to discover the essential, the enduring, and earnestly aim at goals in accord with it: for instance, virtues to be acquired. (Not to fall into the mistake of thinking that one has done something well, but to strive ever further towards the highest standards.)</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This exercise is called: <i>'Right Examination'.</i></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><a href="http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=20909" target="_blank">Guidance in Esoteric Training</a></p> </blockquote> <hr /> <b>GA Volumes Referenced – English and German Editions:</b> GA 10 English edition: <a href="http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA010/English/RSPC1947/GA010_index.html" target="_blank">Knowledge of the Higher Worlds</a>, Anthroposophic Press, 1947. German: <a href="http://www.steinerverlag.com/warenkorb/detailansicht/procat/produkte/prod/wie-erlangt-man-erkenntnisse-der-hoeheren-welten.html?tx_commerce_pi1%5BbasketHashValue%5D=&amp;cHash=a905c28cfd7dd6bb0d693354301ee626" target="_blank">Wie erlangt man Erkenntnisse der höheren Welten?</a> GA 267 (old edition 245) English edition: <a href="http://www.steinerbooks.org/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=20909" target="_blank">Guidance in Esoteric Training</a>, Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999. German: <a href="http://www.steinerverlag.com/warenkorb/detailansicht/procat/produkte/prod/seelenuebungen-i.html?tx_commerce_pi1%5BbasketHashValue%5D=&amp;cHash=3106db87e7a6c69f9710ef6382e597d0" target="_blank">Seelenübungen I</a>
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