Facing Karma – A lecture by Rudolf Steiner.

Vienna, February 8, 1912. Bn 130, GA 130, CW 130

At the end of the two public lectures I have given in this city, I emphasized that anthroposophy should not be considered a theory or mere science, nor as knowledge in the ordinary sense. It is rather something that grows in our souls from mere knowledge and theory into immediate life, into an elixir of life. In this way, anthroposophy not only provides us with knowledge, but we receive forces that help us in our ordinary lives during physical existence as well as in the total life that we spend during physical existence and the non-physical existence between death and a new birth. The more we experience anthroposophy as bringing to us strength, support and life renewing energies, the more do we understand it.

Upon hearing this, some may ask, “If anthroposophy is to bring us a strengthening of life, why do we have to acquire so much of what appears to be theoretical knowledge? Why are we virtually pestered at our branch meetings with descriptions about the preceding planetary evolutions of our earth? Why do we have to learn about things that took place long ago? Why do we have to acquaint ourselves with the intimate and subtle laws of reincarnation, karma and so on?”

Some people may believe that they are being offered just another science. This problem, which forces itself upon us, demands that we eliminate all easy and simplistic approaches toward answering it. We must carefully ask ourselves whether, in raising this question, we are not introducing into it some of the easy-going ways of life that become manifest when we are reluctant to learn and to acquire something in a spiritual way. This is an uncomfortable experience for us and we are forced to wonder whether something of this attitude of discomfort does not find expression in the question that is being asked. As it is, we are led to believe that the highest goal that anthroposophy may offer us can be attained on easier roads than on that taken by us through our own literature.

It is often said, almost nonchalantly, that man has only to know himself, that all he has to do in order to be an anthroposophist is to be good. Yes, it is profound wisdom to know that to be a good person is one of the most difficult tasks, and that nothing in life demands more in the way of preparation than the realization of this ideal to be good. The problem of self-knowledge, however, cannot be solved with a quick answer, as many are inclined to believe. Therefore, today, we will shed light on some of these questions that have been raised. We then will come to see how anthroposophy meets us, even if only by appearance, as a teaching or as a science, but that it also offers in an eminent sense a path toward self- knowledge and what may be called the pilgrimage toward becoming a good person. To accomplish this we must consider from different points of view how anthroposophy can be fruitful in life.

Let us take a specific question that does not concern scientific research, but everyday life — a question known to all of us. How can we find comfort in life when we have to suffer in one way or another, when we fail to find satisfaction in life? In other words, let us ask ourselves how anthroposophy can offer comfort and consolation when it is really needed. Obviously, what can be said here only in general terms must always be applied to one’s own individual case. If one lectures to many people, one can only speak in generalities.

Why do we need comfort, consolation in life? Because we may be sad about a number of events, or because we suffer as a result of pains that afflict us. It is natural that, at first, man reacts to pain as though he is rebelling inwardly against it. He wonders why he has to stand pain. “Why am I afflicted by this pain? Why is life not arranged for me in such a way that I don’t suffer pain, that I am content?” These questions can only be answered satisfactorily on the basis of true knowledge concerning the nature of human karma, of human destiny. Why do we suffer in the world? We refer here to outer as well as to inner sufferings that arise in our psychic organization and leave us unfulfilled. Why are we met by such experiences that leave us unsatisfied?

Read the full lecture at the Rudolf Steiner Archive here

Listen to the lecture by Rudolf Steiner audio here

In thy thinking cosmic thoughts are living;
Lose thyself in cosmic thoughts.
In thy feeling cosmic forces are weaving;
Feel thyself through cosmic forces.
In thy willing cosmic beings are working;
Create thyself through beings of will.

A Healthy Emotional Diet

with thanks to Mary Heard of simplicityparenting.com

Long after our children are weaned they continue to feed off our emotions. That is why it is so important right now to stay out of our ‘fight or flight’ response as much as possible, to be a safe harbour for our children and to prevent anxiety from polluting their childhood. ‘Simplicity Parenting’ author Kim John Payne explains how children’s learning and development functions can be ‘hijacked’ by stress. As parents our task is to create filters to protect our children from the deluge of adult information, pressures and concerns and to allow them to grow up with a sense of confidence and trust in the world.

We protect our children by regulating our own internal world as well as by being conscious of the adult conversation our children are exposed to. Children do not have the mental faculties to process a lot of adult information. For a young child this information does not prepare them for the adult world, indeed it is the gentle experience of a protected childhood that provides them with the resilience and strength of character that allows them to deal with the harsh realities of life as they grow up. The words of the adult world can be experienced by children as emotional and verbal clutter, what they mainly hear is the emotion running through the words and if this emotion is fear, our children will feel afraid.

So we need to be very careful right now. Just as we would not expose our children to physical dangers, we need to use the same vigilance around emotional dangers. We need to create boundaries around the adult world, taking care of these concerns ourselves and meeting our responsibilities as adults while honouring the sanctity and freedom of childhood. Children need to relax knowing that we are capable of taking care of the adult world for them. We need to be careful that the adult information they receive is processed so as not to cause them any alarm and that they are not privy to any inappropriate adult conversation.

It is so easy in these turbulent times to forget about what is most important, like our children’s emotional wellbeing and development. We do not want worry and fear to pervade the atmosphere of our family lives. We need to be the strong foundation for our children and to move through the world in a way that sets a good example because when they are young it is our actions that really count.

So it is important as parents that we exercise discipline. Simplicity Parenting recommends that we limit our exposure to media that informs rather than alarms. This will help us to navigate this territory calmly and to stay grounded for our children. It is so tempting to get caught up in conversations and media that reinforce our views about what is going on right now but as parents of young children that is a luxury we can’t really afford. We need to put our children first in this situation, to be there for them as much as we can and to be a ‘lighthouse’ for them in turbulent seas.

Discipline And The Four Pillars Of Simplicity

An excerpt from The Soul of Discipline, by Kim John Payne, M. Ed

How to Dial Back the Outside Pressures

“Before simplifying our family life, whatever I said to my kids seemed to set them off and make them goofy or defiant. After calming down the pace of our days and giving more down time, everything became easier. What I especially noticed was that when I had to give a direction or make a transition, my kids would come along in a much better way.” With the growth of the Simplicity Parenting community and practices, like this mother who made this comment, countless parents have experienced a direct relationship between dialing back the pace and pressure of daily life with improvements in their kids’ behavior.

There are four key ways you can immediately reduce these pressures and prevent a child from becoming disoriented and pushing back against your directions. If you’ve read my book, Simplicity Parenting, some of these concepts will be familiar to you, but it’s important to revisit them in the context of discipline:

1. Balance and simplify the amount of stuff your child or teen has (i.e. books, toys, clothes)

2. Strengthen rhythm and predictability

3. Balance and simplify the amount of scheduled activities

4. Filter out the amount of adult conversation

In a follow-up article, we will take this one step further by looking at the huge behavioral benefits of filtering out the adult world by going low-screen or noscreen.

One: Simplifying the Amount of Stuff

A great starting point for dialing it down is to clear out the clutter. Reduce the number of books, toys, clothes, gadgets and other extraneous items in a kid’s room and around the house in general. Countless parents have reported that, when they reduce physical clutter, their child’s or teen’s behavior improves. This makes sense if you consider what happens in the mental and emotional life of a child when she has less. When you have fewer things, what you do have becomes precious. And if you are playing with other kids, you learn how to share what little you have. The more a child’s imagination becomes fired up by one little object—that blanket they’re putting over a frame, those two cars they drive along the living room rug, that plank of wood that becomes a roof—whatever it is, it’s very likely they will find multiple uses for it, since there aren’t that many other options. When this happens, the limbic system and the frontal lobe of your child’s brain, which stimulate collaboration and cooperation, are encouraged to develop. The limbic system is critical for emotional processing and behavior and has also been connected to the development of emotional health, social cooperation and empathy.

Parents who have adopted the Simplicity approach say things like, “When I’ve got less stuff around, my three kids actually fight less. Isn’t that strange?” It may seem counterintuitive. But, in fact, when there are fewer things to play with, kids have to collaborate more. They can’t dart about from one toy or digital device to another, a behavior pattern that stimulates the amygdala, which in turn triggers our primal flight-or-fight response. A child with too many toys and gadgets is likely to develop unhealthy play, rather than good, creative interaction. The area of brain that develops as a child learns to find multiple uses for a single toy is also related to the building up of social cooperation. The positive changes in behavior and cooperation you see when you simplify your child’s or teen’s home environment may appear magical, but they are grounded in developmental fact.

Having your children play in a cooperative way means a parent needs to arbitrate much less to sort out conflicts. Why wait until there is fighting over toys to be forced to intervene remove them? Do it proactively and enjoy the giggles and long moments of quiet play with the few simple toys you thoughtfully provide.

Read the full article at simplicityparenting.com

This link will take you to The Simplicity Parenting Podcast with Kim John Payne 

Inner Gardening – Food Garden Consciousness Raising Tips

with thanks to Peter Kearney myfoodgarden.com.au

Inner gardening is a pathway to improving your well being and one of the best places to start this journey is in your food garden.

Successful food growing in urban environments is a juggling act. There are so many factors to manage and its easy to think that growing food is purely about the materials you use and grow. How you are in the garden, not just what you do, has a profound affect on its success.

Why not devote some of your valuable time to cultivate a more beneficial state of mind when your are in the food garden, some inner gardening. In my experience, mastery of this inner gardening will not only reveal a green thumb, but also create a flow in the rest of your life.

The garden will then present you with a twofold opportunity: to grow healthy food and to raise your consciousness (inner gardening). There is a very subtle interplay between using the garden for inner gardening and what you receive back from the garden in healthy soil and plants and a beautiful energy that makes you want to give your time in exchange for its gifts.

Here are some tips on doing inner gardening and achieving a better outer garden at the same time:

  • Observation –  Develop the discipline to check in on the garden each day and walk slowly around it, as if you were greeting friends. Look at what is changing, what needs help and attempt to appreciate the state of the whole garden environment before jumping to conclusions on specific issues. Move what you have observed in the garden around in your thinking without getting too emotional and then decide to act.
  • Attitude – Be very careful with your attitude when you are working in the garden. A deep concentration on the beauty of the garden and the purpose of your physical work, rather than what you weren’t happy with at the office that day, will help you see things in the garden that you would not normally notice and act in more appropriate way
  • Quiet time – Select a time in the day when you sit in the garden and either concentrate on its beauty or meditate. Try to maintain a very concentrated and quiet state of mind. You will be surprised at how energised you feel after this.
  • Focus on purpose – Be clear on your purpose when entering the garden and concentrate your intentions on that purpose.

I am sure you will see from each of these tips that they could apply to virtually anything you do in life that is complex.

Its interesting in working with biodynamic food growing methods in the context of inner gardening. The impact of biodynamic (BD) soil and plant preparations (preps) is enhanced with a strong intention on their positive purpose when you are preparing and applying the preparations. This intention flows energetically into the BD preps. This series of articles from the 2018 International biodynamics conference has some very interesting research on the impact of the gardener or farmer intention when using BD preps.

Happy inner gardening: Peter Kearney www.myfoodgarden.com.au

It’s Time to Talk About Angels: A Matter of the Heart

By DEBORAH CRAYDON – Certified Flower Essence Practitioner

Angels are real and many children experience them. We’re moving into a time when closer contact with Angels is happening so it’s good to talk about them.

Rudolf Steiner said that by the end of the 20th century, a new stream of children coming to Earth would have what he called ‘the fifth chamber of the heart’ in seed form. This new heart chamber is etheric in nature, not physical. It’s been present since the 1980s in children and before that in many adults. It’s that place in the heart where you know everything. And more and more children know everything. In particular, they know what you’re thinking and if what you say is true or not. Unless they become damaged, this faculty is there because they are using the heart, not the head, as their organ of cognition. This new etheric chamber in the heart contains an opening into the spiritual world. When this gateway opens, the Angels are there on the other side.

The color of this opening is Indigo and leads to the inner spiritual world of Violet. In Violet you connect with the inner altar of the Earth; the Earth becomes a living being for you. This is the threshold that humanity is passing through at this time. Indigo-dyed blue jeans are the most popular clothing and children are sometimes called Indigo. This is why.

This doorway that’s opening between here and there is transparent for many children. Young people into their late twenties and thirties are also keeping this doorway open, although it’s taking an effort due to media interference. There’s resistance as well. Little children happily speak about their experiences with their Angels and invisible companions. Later, young people often recoil from this type of talk. Why is this? What’s wrong with talking about Angels?

The one piece of information that comes easily to the question of why we’re here is that we have free will. We learn right away that we get to decide. If your heart tells you what’s right, and your head or will aren’t interested, you might create what you want, because you have the right to do so. There’s a right and wrong thing to do at any given moment. When listening with your heart, the Angels will tell you what’s right for you at the moment. Fear that this may impede your own personal will or thoughts is part of the resistance to Angels, especially from young people.

It’s very important that this door to the heart stays open. There’s something happening, and with special intensity since 1999, that comes from the Angels. They are seeding humanity with thoughts of universal brotherhood. And they are whispering secrets about who we truly are. This is having the effect for each one of us to begin having real interest in the other person, no matter who they are. Sensing that who we are is beyond what we imagined, this interest in the other is a seed that can take root and grow, when the heart door remains open.

It’s hard not to talk about Angels without mentioning Rudolf Steiner, since he said so much about them. The main thing he said is that we now have to ask for help from the Angelic hierarchies. They can’t help us anymore until we ask. We’re required to become co-creators with the spiritual world. Geoffrey Hodson wrote about this development in his classic book The Brotherhood of Angels and Men.

Lorna Byrne, who has seen Angels since she was a baby, has written two books about them recently: Angels in My Hair, and Stairways to Heaven. She says that she has never seen a single human being who wasn’t accompanied by their guardian Angel. Here’s how you can see them too: Gaze softly about two feet behind a person and you’ll have the impression of what looks like a sword of light about a yard tall, standing from about the mid-back up over the head. This is the guardian Angel in closed form.

One of the greatest tools a parent has is to pray for help to the guardian Angel of their children. When your child gets older, rather than communicating directly; silently asking that your combined Angels bring harmony between you works well, even in seemingly impossible situations. Parents have the right and the obligation to envision the highest good for their children. Unless you have an intuition that something is wrong, striving to envision a perfect outcome for them is more helpful than worry.

Flower essences are natural remedies that are over-lighted by Angels, or Devas of the plant world. They are wonderful tools to help children and young people keep this new door open in the heart. When young people doubt and experience pain, they may become open to this modality. While they may not understand that it will be connecting them to the Angels of flowers, they are grateful when they receive heart-based answers to difficult questions, through their influence.

Read the full article at waldorftoday.com