Three Wishes

for the future of anthroposophical work

by Joel A. Wendt

This essay is a further elaboration of material presented by me very briefly (five minutes at the most) at the closing plenum of the Being Awake anthroposophical conference, held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, August 11th to 14th, 2005.  Some comments made afterward, suggested that there were those who had not heard of or understood the relationship between the epistemologies (Steiner's books on the Science of Knowing - The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception and The Philosophy of Freedom) and Anthroposophy.  For purposes of the following material, it should be understood that these two books are a description and introduction to Rudolf Steiner's own path of development, which the author of this essay has, to the best of his abilities, made an effort to follow.  All the thinking below is grounded in the practices outlined in the above books.

As regards the relationship of this Path to that outlined in the Six Exercises and Knowledge of Higher Worlds, this can be said: The traditional Rosicrucian Path was updated by Steiner, using the new thinking clairvoyance, and became then the Six Exercises and Knowledge of Higher Worlds.  That is, the latter was created using the skills of the former, so that in a sense Steiner's Path of Cognition is the means by which a second, more traditional path was made available to human beings, for whom Steiner's own path seemed too difficult. 

The Path of Cognition, or the path of pure thinking, goes right through the inwardness of the soul, from the own spirit, directly and exactly to the Spirit in the Universe.  The Six Exercises and Knowledge of Higher Worlds, goes through the sense world to the spiritual living behind it, indirectly awakening the thinking to its deeper possibilities, but not entirely opening up the whole potential latent in thinking and made available on the Path of Cognition.

The major difference is that the Path of Cognition faces more directly and consciously the moral questions of existence, while the path of Knowledge of Higher Worlds, circles around this problem, not quite fully engaging it.  Both paths lead to what some want to call higher experiences, or the threshold, but only the Path of Cognition directly opens up the full nature of thinking itself.  Details can be found below in the section on Spiritual Research.

At the same time it would be false to compare these paths, in the same way it would be false to compare apples and oranges, as if one could be superior to the other.  Yet, they are different, and produce differences in the soul/spirit matrix (the mind) in terms of capacities.  To fully understand this, the reader would have to read and contrast the work product of myself in the Way of the Fool, with Dennis Klocek's The Seer's Handbook.  The former, produced by the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence (it thinks in me), illuminates the meaning of humanity's true social existence, in the process weaving together esoteric and exoteric Christianity, and providing in this way a means for ordinary people to come to terms with the Age of the Consciousness Soul and the Mystery of Evil; while the latter, a result of what is essentially Rosicrucian clairvoyance, unites the Path of Knowledge of Higher Worlds with a modern version of Alchemical Understanding in such a way as to illuminate in even deeper ways much of teachings of Rudolf Steiner given out as anthroposophical Spiritual Science

Two quite different results, created by two quite different means, out of two quite different moral intentions and with two distinctly different audiences in mind.  In this way, the higher worlds - in co-participation with their human friends - are able to reach many more people than what one book alone could reach.   A way of working that can be seen everywhere today, if we just open up the perceptual eye of thinking.  There is not just one Way to either knowledge of the Good or knowledge of the True. 

The First Wish

The First Wish was addressed to the Vorstand.  It basically requested that the Vorstand undertake a certain work, which was to look backward at the last one hundred years of anthroposophical activity with the same intention that a student of esoteric development takes when he or she gives over to a serious life review, in order to mine from that brutally honest self reflection, the necessary wisdom regarding what has worked, what has failed, and what changes and efforts needed to be sought in the present and the future.

In asking for this it was my hope that the Vorstand would not simply pass such a task off to a committee that would then deliver a report, but rather that each individual member would so reflect.  It is the individual voices that will provide the best understanding, for such an examination is on the one hand quite personal, and on the other it needs great creativity.

The process of thinking in this way is easy to describe but not easy to do.  The temptation would be to indulge in either an excess of antipathy or an excess of sympathy.  The former would lead to too much criticism, and the latter to too little.  Even in the idea of criticism we can miss the mark, and while the word objectivity is better, it too does not quite grasp the necessary nuances.

Let me take a side trip here to get a bit of new vocabulary.  The study of Steiner's epistemologies leads to an ability to recreate the whole within and out of the own soul (see lecture 12 of the 1908 John Gospel cycle).  For the American Soul this leads to understanding that there are three basic gestures in thinking: thinking about; thinking with; and, thinking within.  Thinking about has a kinship to what some call ordinary thinking, or quantitative thinking.  Thinking with has a kinship with organic thinking or qualitative characterizing picture thinking.  Thinking within is rooted in moral or spiritual thinking.

To overcome the tendencies to excessive antipathies and sympathies, we need to leave thinking about behind, and move onward to thinking with and thinking within.  It is the latter two forms of thinking that I hope the Vorstand will engage in when looking backward in review concerning the last one hundred years of our mutual work.  What anthroposophists need to hear from the Vorstand in this regard is redeemed pictures of the truth.

As a practical indication, derived from my own practice, I would start with just sketching out a conventional history, touching on the high points, and noting both the failures and the successes.  The more these can be rendered imaginatively (with qualitative characterizing picture thinking), the better.  Then this same picture form is looked at again, but this time the thinking is filled with the moral intention to love those whose failures and successes we are to describe.  This gesture moves us from the qualitative to the moral, and depending upon the carefulness out of which the facts were first gathered during the sketching phase, the richer will be the thought content produced in the last phase, when by the act of love (which involves a sacrifice of one's personal views) the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence (it thinks in me) is invited to participate.

[an aside: I passed out at the Conference a small example of such a way of thinking: The Crack in the Foundation of the Dragon's Castle.  In this work, I made grave errors in how I characterized S.O. Prokofieff, and for that I apologize to him and to all.  I have corrected those errors as best I am able, and the revised story can be found at:  Mainly I changed his "name" in the story, from the Unwounded Upstart, to the Earnest Seeker.  I changed this because during a conversation at the Conference, where he spoke generously and candidly with me about his reaction to the Gordienko book,  I came to realize that he was like all of us, just another struggling human being, except his karma and fate had placed him in a very special place as regards our movement.]

Now the point (or purpose) to be achieved by this Wish, is to cast the light of the wise intelligence of the Vorstand on the shadow side of the Anthroposophical Movement and Society.  The opposing forces enter the world, and influence even our activities, through the double-complex as exists in each member's soul (for an elaboration of the Mystery of Evil, see my book: the Way of the Fool: Christian Enlightenment (initiation), and the future* of Christianity - some thoughts on the nature of human becoming (the evolution of consciousness), and the wise relationship of moral grace, freedom and love).  The Vorstand, by illuminating this darkness, will help each of us to see how we ourselves co-participate in what injures our work.  Further, to the extent that the Vorstand personalizes this effort - that is speaks out of their own experience of their own shadow, such as by saying: "I failed this way" - this act of confession of confusion enables and invites all of us to join together in the work (thanks to Steve Burman for leading me to this insight).

This self reflection then becomes not just an act of a few, but becomes the personal responsibility of all.  We are all responsible, for example, for our teacher's early death.  But that problem we will come to more when I elaborate on the Third Wish.  For now, we just need to realize that in thinking back, either on our own life, or on the collective life of the Society, we need to root such thinking in impulses to love, to forgive, and to accept personal responsibility in order for the thinking to have the necessary preliminary moral gesture.

The Second Wish

The Second Wish was directed at the Councils in America, the General Council and the three regional councils (East, Center and West).  Basically this Wish was for the Councils to make it their primary activity to bring forward the Mystery of America.

Too long has Anthroposophy in America leaned on its European relations.  It is time for America to stand upright and on its own as a source of anthroposophical impulses and insight.   Our teacher made clear that there were remarkable distinctions between East, Center and West in the World, and that these quite different soul natures had to come into their own and learn to work together.  In spite of Steiner's emphasis on this, Anthroposophy in America remains quite Euro-centric in nature and basically ignores American Culture entirely.  Yes, there are pockets here or there where the reverse is true, but as long as the dominant approach is to ignore the Mystery of America and remain locked into a preference for things European, the whole world-wide Movement will suffer.

Not many know this, for example, but the Central Regional Council had planned for the AGM in Detroit in November of 2004 a conference directed just at this Mystery.  Unfortunately, a personality was included as a speaker that others in their antipathetic judgment deemed "inappropriate", and the planned conference was canceled and another substituted all at the last minute.  Something was feared, and the root of fear is often a double (or shadow being) representing in our own soul an Opposing Power, so we need to be careful when our leading personalities act on the basis of their fear of what might happen to their control, if speakers with whom they have issues might speak.

At this moment, there exists a stream of ideas using the terms: occult or spiritual discrimination.  Certain leading personalities would have us believe that we might be fooled into following someone who in "their" view is not speaking the truth.  This approach is not much different from what is happening elsewhere in America, where the claim of patriotism is used to put down views not agreed with by those who assert they are patriots.  It is a fundamentalist approach to matters, and the Society and Movement (in America and elsewhere) are not free of this confusion.

A terrible and evil power is evoked when someone says: fear this person, their thoughts are not worthy, for I know what is worthy, and their's are not.  Here is the problem of the mote and the beam of which Christ spoke with such eloquence in the Sermon on the Mount.

The reality is that if such personalities had made the acquaintance of The Philosophy of Freedom in a practical and pragmatic sense, they would know that first we must learn to apprehend the Good, before we can know how to properly apprehend the True.  And, given that all of us are seekers and incomplete, who can really claim to be able to judge another.  I have not desired to speak of this, but circumstances require it.  Let us then leave these problems and return to the Mystery of America.

It is not necessary for the Council members to be personally adept at speaking to this Mystery, unless perhaps it is their idea that only Council members should lecture and teach.  The fact is that since the time of the inspiration of Carl Stegmann during his visit to America (1970-1984), a number of American personalities have heeded his call for a deeper investigation of the Spiritual America, and much ripe work already exists.  All the Councils need to do is to create places where these skilled researchers can speak and write, and quite literally wonders will appear.

One of the prime and most important changes that will happen, is that the excessive reliance on lecturing will cease, for it is clear to those doing this research, that the American Soul needs circle-wise conversation to properly express itself.  It is how we think as a community of social beings that brings us closer to the Good and the True, which was the experience of the First Nations, the Transcendentalists and many many others.

The benefits should be obvious.  Americans have too long imitated European soul life and it is time for us to discover who we are out of our own considerable depths.   Once American Anthroposophy stands upright, then that distinctive voice will join with the already distinctive voice of the Center, and by this inspire the East to find is own way to anthroposophical identity.

Yet, there is another, more crucial, need.  Over the last couple of decades and especially since the year 2000, the Occult Brotherhoods have used their leverage and control over World Events, via the power they wield in British and American financial circles, to essentially crucify the Imagine of the Spirit of America.  This has been done to disable the coming America Culture - to make people doubt that America contains a universally human impulse at its core, one that was everywhere being recognized and with which people all over the world had begun to identify.  For details see my American Culture - a first look.

The Consciousness Soul is a natural gift of the American, and our expression of it was to be an example to the Consciousness Soul all over the world.  This had to be opposed, for not only would this make easier the incarnation of Ahriman, it would also make easier the long sought after world rule of the Occult Brotherhoods.  The American Spirit is a spirit of steadfast resistence against oppression - a spirit resolute in its pursuit of not only freedom, but more especially of sisterhood and brotherhood.  This Image needed to be darkened and even made unholy if such is possible.

If the Councils in America were to not only sponsor gatherings on the Mystery of America within our circles, but make possible the wider speaking, sharing and writing of these long prepared personalities, the needed counter-pole to the crucifixion of the Image of the America Spirit would be brought forth.  This Second Wish means a great deal to the whole world, not just to us.

The Third Wish

The Third Wish was directed at us all, members and friends and Councils and Vorstand.  It was this: please stop saying Rudolf Steiner said.

Just in the verb said we have the core of the why of it.  Said is past tense, and it reveals that in the moment of speaking our thinking has turned from present thinking and gone into memory.  We are no longer relying on our own insight, but instead leaning on our teacher.

I also spoke from the podium in the plenum about two other matters of import.   First was what has been seen in the
World of Imaginations, which is an image of Steiner standing weeping and in chains.  This needs to be elaborated upon so it can be better understood.

The chains are, of course, forged and reforged every time we fail to think for ourselves and instead become addictively dependent on what Steiner said.  He weeps not because he is in pain, but for us.  His condition he entered into freely in life, when he did that act we already know, where he joined his karma to ours.  This condition is one consequence of that free act.  Our spirit is also in chains when it is not spiritually free, but instead dependent upon the sayings of the teacher.  This Imagination reflects our mutual bondage in the joined karma.  Steiner as the Archetype of Michaelic, Sophanic and Christic Thinking is entombed, as we ourselves are entombed, through the co-dependent enabling of each other as addicts of the dead thoughts of our teacher.

The fact is that he is presently a living presence that can be sought in the spiritual world, should we make the effort.  Nor is it necessary to directly have such contact, for if the soul is ripe and open he will participate in the supersensible community of inspiration that already is available to us.  He is also presently incarnate, and these chains even effect him (her) presently, because his (her) karma is joined to ours.

By letting go our dependence and thinking for ourselves, we not only set free ourselves and his (her) cosmic Presence, but also his (her) current earthly incarnation.

Just to make clear what was hinted at in the First Wish, Steiner's early death was another consequence of this joined karma.  Not only did those who refused during his life to think for themselves drawn down his life forces, but we do the same, for truth to tell his true name is not Rudolf Steiner.  But when we idolize him, that is when we create a false adored picture of him in our souls, we also drawn on his etheric being, and weigh it down with our idol in violation of the deeper meaning of the 2nd Commandment (you ought not make a graven image).

The co-joined karma of he who was once named Rudolf Steiner, and those who follow his "indications", can only be unraveled by our seeking after our personal inner freedom and learning to stand on our own.

In the Age of the Consciousness Soul we can begin to learn how to free ourselves, which is why the other matter of import was as follows: Steiner did not follow the path so many follow today in Knowledge of Higher Worlds, but rather discovered and then followed the path laid out in the  epistemologies - the Path of Cognition.  If we wish to follow in our teacher's steps, we need to rekindle our interest in The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception, and The Philosophy of Freedom.

For those who seek for a further explication of this problem, they will find help in the ending chapters of Florin Lowndes book: Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart.

The most interesting question put to me after I spoke was one or another form of: can't we do both or do we have to sacrifice the one for the other, or aren't the exercises in Knowledge an aid to work on the Philosophy?

First, people are free to follow their own instincts, and should.  It is, after all, our path, and given our individual natures, we are the best judge of what is right for us, which is another reason why we need to stop leaning on Steiner.  Emerson puts it this way: In self trust all virtues are comprehended.

The basic problem we seek is to know what to do.  So we go to teachers,  when the tragic fact is that we have our own direct way to know, as Christ promised: ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

In the Age of the Consciousness Soul we have all been gifted with Moral Grace, that is the ability to know the Good via our own inner gesture in thinking, which is what is taught not only in The Philosophy of Freedom, but also in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and in Charles Sheldon's book In His Steps, upon which was based the What Would Jesus Do movement.  For details see the First Stanza of the Section on Freedom in my book the Way of the Fool.  Christ has not confined His modern revelations to just anthroposophists.

I suppose the real question concerning Knowledge of Higher Worlds is whether one is using the study of that work as a means of avoiding the encounter with The Philosophy of Freedom.  Certainly the Philosophy is hard work - it is after all about climbing a mountain in the mind.  If you want to do some preparatory exercises, then read Theory first (something I recommend in any event),  for that text will exercise the mental/soul muscles needed to face the Philosophy.  Steiner even said that he wrote the Philosophy in such a way that thinking had to more and more reach into the etheric itself in order to think the thoughts of the book.  The struggle is there for a purpose, and should never on the basis of assumed difficulty be avoided.

Now some might wonder what is the purpose of all this, and at the Conference I dealt with that problem in one of the informal groups, which few attended, but which nonetheless contained material we need to face, and which informal group was called:

Healing Materialism

Here we get to something which is both inside us and outside us.  Some think that merely by adopting, as a personal world view, the results of spiritual research, we have overcome materialism.  This is not so, for materialism is rooted in our souls far far deeper than many yet imagine.  Let us contrast two pictures in order to understand this.

Picture One: We are raised in a culture which teaches us, via the findings of natural science, that cosmic space is an almost endless three dimensional emptiness, punctuated with stars, planets, latent heat and various obscure speculations such as dark matter.  The science fiction genre in literature fills the imagination of its readers, as do the science fiction films of today, with pictures of human beings flying through hyperspace, jumping over great distances called light years, all in a moment.

Picture Two: In the book The Unvarnished Gospels, a rendition of the Gospels straight from the original Greek into idiomatic English, without adding later doctrinal nuances, provides this as the beginning of the Lord's Prayer: Our Father in the skies...  Why has Christ spoken this way?  The people he was speaking to were not materialists and further had a quite different form of consciousness.  For them the vault of the heavens was a place where the Gods lived, and this Sky, both in its day and night variations, was filled within by divine consciousness that looked down on them from above with concern and interest.

Is Picture One false?  Probably.  Steiner describes the starry sky as the left behind remnants of the divine world creative powers.  In projective geometry, we find the idea of the plane at infinity, a picture with which we need to become familiar.  Here is a help.

Imagine a circle, with the radius of a yard (or a meter).  Slowly expand this circle in the imagination, by lengthening the radius.  As we lengthen the radius, the curvature of the circle flattens at the point where the radius line intersects an arc of the circle.  If we lengthen the radius line to infinity, the circle become a straight line.  If we change our picture from that of a circle to a sphere, the sphere with an infinite radius line is no longer spherical at all, but has become a plane - the plane at infinity.

What this can tell us is that space itself is polar in nature - three dimensional at its Earthly pole, and two dimensional at its cosmic pole.  In going from one kind of space to the other we traverse something which is nothing less than a metamorphic middle - a threshold.  Hans Zimmerman actually described this process, from the point of view of expanding consciousness, in the last lecture of the Conference.

From the side of natural science there are several problems.  The basic cultural imagination of near endless three dimensional space is born in the ideas of red shift and parallax.  The idea of red shift, for example is based on an analogy made between sound phenomena and light phenomena.  The relevant sound phenomena is found in the change in tone we experience when a train bases by, which is called the Doppler shift.  Astronomers have likened some light phenomena as having the same nature, a thought which perhaps would fail Steiner's logic test.

In any event, the astronomer Halton Arp discovered a number of anomalous problems with red shift a few decades ago, for which violation of the standard dogma he was almost excommunicated from his community of peers.  Today there are any number of astronomers who have problems with the conventional view, although they still believe in the classic materialist view of three dimensional near endlessness.  Here is a link for those who might want to investigate further:

Let me suggest a hint of what lies potential in a thinking which has freed itself from the cultural icons of the Age of Materialism.  It is sunrise, and as the Gods in Nature speak to us through the sense world, the image/symbol of the Divine Mystery rises in the East.  As this Mystery rises, the Stars kneel before this Coming, fading out in sacrifice before their Creator, only to wait again for the setting of this Mystery in the West, after which they appear again, to carry out their work in the Night.  So our Days go forward, with Nature singing of the Divine Creator in the light of the Day, and singing of the angelic hierarchies in the depths of the Night.  The sense world is a speaking picture of all the secrets of Creation.

When we can, via our own artistry in thinking, replace the icons of materialism with the truth - only then will materialism be healed within.  And, this act must be the precedent act, to really aiding others - to healing materialism without, for Christ has told us that we must cure the beam in our own eye before we can help the Thou with the splinter in his.

Now perhaps we can see what really lies latent in the Waldorf School movement - support for a quite radical, self induced, change of consciousness in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.  At the same time we can see why in America a problem arose in California - the Waldorf School movement had not taught its teachers how to solve the problem of the beam, and so social conflict arose when Waldorf encountered secular humanists.  In any event, that is a whole other problem, far beyond the scope of this essay.

We also need to understand why materialism - the Ahrimanic Deception (in all its forms - such as religious fundamentalism), was visited upon humanity.

The Gods meant for us to be completely free.  The descent into materialism was meant to erase from human consciousness the last lingering aspects of what Owen Barfield calls, in Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry, original participation - the last remnants of which were instinctive apprehensions of the Divine.   This had to die out so that we would be entirely free to choose re-integration (final participation) out of our own I.  Whatever relationship we were to have to the Divine Mystery in the future was to be rooted in our own freedom.

So we have, in the 1950's, Time Magazine with the headline on its cover: God is dead.  So we have the desperate acts of rigid believers in religious fundamentalism - a dogmatic belief system, dry and arid and empty of living Faith.  And, so we have the deterministic theories in natural science with regard to genetics and evolution, which reduces the human being to a mere accidentally produced organic mechanism, without any self or I at all.

Anthroposophy is not the only Christ authored gift to humanity to help us heal materialism, but it is at the same time quite special, for in the epistemologies lies the path by which the natural scientist can heal him or herself.  If the Anthroposophical Society and Movement fail to revisit Theory of Knowledge and The Philosophy of Freedom, these may well be lost to world.  And to the extent that the Opposing Powers, via the double-complex in the human soul, has tempted and coerced us away from Steiner's Path of Cognition, little yet exists to halt an even deeper and more terrible descent into materialism.

Now there are natural scientists who are resisting this, without knowing anything about Anthroposophy.  I recently watched on C-Span, a program involving a dialog between the American neurophysioligist and cognitive scientist Dr. Michael Grazzanica, and the American novelist Tom Wolfe.  Grazzanica was not about to join his peers in the rush to replace the I with a mechanistic evolutionary and deterministic genetics.  He knew his own I, but he did not know Anthroposophy or what The Philosophy of Freedom could provide as an aide to his resistence to the tragic deepening of materialism.  The Consciousness Soul lived in him, but the knowledge he needed in support of his instincts did not.

The Anthroposophical Society, in the form of the Councils in America and the Vorstand, is responsible for his not knowing.  Even though Steiner told us The Philosophy of Freedom would be the book he would be remembered for, we have ignored it to our own detriment, and worse, to the detriment of future course of Civilization.

Spiritual Research

Spiritual Research has become a kind of idol or icon in the anthroposophical vocabulary.  Some have apparently taken to reducing it from the clear indications of Steiner, by suggesting that we do research when we spend enormous amounts of time with the lectures and books.  This is completely bogus, and perhaps even criminal in a moral-spiritual sense.  Steiner clearly meant by spiritual research the use of clairvoyant abilities applied to the study of reality across the threshold, and nothing else.

Again, such thinking arises because anthroposophists have not made a personal connection to the epistemologies, and therefore do not know how to think about, with or within, or how to place a self chosen moral impulse at the root of their thinking - all matters learned on the Path of Cognition.  Let's look a little more closely at this Path, and see if we can widen our understanding of its potential.

In Lowndes book, Enlivening the Chakra of the Heart, we have this quote which Lowndes took from the end of the fifth chapter of Steiner's Occult Science - an outline:

The path that leads to sense-free thinking by way of the communications of spiritual science is thoroughly reliable and sure.  There is however another that is even more sure, and above all more exact; at the same time, it is for many people more difficult.  The path in question is set forth in my books The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World-Conception and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.  These books tell what man's thinking can achieve when directed not to impressions that come from the outer world of the physical sense but solely upon itself.  When this is so, we have within us no longer the kind of thinking that concerns itself merely with memories of the things of the sense; we have instead pure thinking which is like a being that has life within itself.  In the above mentioned books you will find nothing at all that is derived from the communications of spiritual  science.  They testify to the fact that pure thinking, working within itself alone, can throw light on the great questions of life - questions concerning the universe and man.  The books thus occupy a significant intermediate position between knowledge of the sense-world and knowledge of the spiritual world.  What they offer is what thinking can attain when it rises above sense-observation, yet still holds back from entering upon the spiritual, supersensible research.  One who wholeheartedly pursues the train of thought indicated in these books is already in the spiritual world; only it makes itself known to him as a thought-world.  Whoever feels ready to enter upon this intermediate path of development will be taking a safe and sure road, and it will leave with him a feeling in regard to the higher world that will bear rich fruit in all time to come.

With this in the background, I would now like to share some thinking about this thought-world, based upon my own experiences.

We can have as the object of our thinking: anything at all.  Any subject can be the object of thinking, even thinking itself.  I, for example, spent 25 years thinking about the social-political world.  I also thought about how to think in this way, and began thereby to realize that: Thinking itself can be a Sacramental Rite.  I can become the active conscious priest of my own inwardness, which itself is connected to the spiritual world (First Leading Thought: Anthroposophy is a path of cognition from the spiritual in man to the Spiritual in the Universe).  Here is what I wrote, first in the 1980's and then revised somewhat in the 1990's regarding such work.

a) Preparation: these are exercises, such as those practices in control of thoughts, developing inner quiet (meditation practice plays a role here) and so forth. Its like the stretching one must do before beginning serious physical exercise.

b) Sacrifice of thoughts: letting go preconceptions; overcoming habitual patterns. Nothing will prevent new thoughts from arising, as easily as already believing one knows the answer.

c) Refining the question: the moral atmosphere, why do we want to know; fact gathering and picture forming. It is an artistic activity. What moral color do I paint my soul, what factual materials do I gather as I prepare to form an image - i.e. think in all that that act can imply.

d) Offering the question: acknowledging Presence, and not needing an answer. One practitioner (Valentin Tomberg) urges us to learn to think on our knees.

e) Thinking as a spiritual Eucharist: receiving and grace. We do not think alone. It thinks in and with me (Steiner).

f) Attitude: sobriety and play.

We have in the Mass, most other Christian Rites, and in the Rite of Consecration of Man, the model for this inner sacrament.

From the beginning, the Rite should be individual and as elaborate or brief as one wants.  The general transformation that occurs over time is that the soul (astral body) more and more becomes purified in the sense described in Lecture 12 of the Gospel of John lectures as: kartharsis.  We can begin to realize that the division, of Western Civilization into the sacred on the one hand and the profane on the other, is false.  All is sacred as America's First Nations Peoples well understood - even our darkness, our shadow.  Nothing lies outside the Creation or is truly unclean.

Most anthroposophists, having absorbed indiscriminately the lectures and books of Steiner, spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about percept-less concepts, or matters about which they have no experience but only the concepts and pictures they have generated in their own consciousness from reading.  If the mind is passive during this reading, and in the present or later does not actively think the imaginations Steiner is presenting, darkness instead of light is laid into the soul.  The point here is to recognize that knowledge is the union of percept and concept and the seeming created by reading is not knowledge, although it can be understanding.

Understanding is what Steiner gives us through his reports of spiritual research.  We acquire through this reading a more accurate understanding (generalized world view) of earthly and cosmic matters, but if we wish to have knowledge, we must go that path which increases our experiences, so that we then have the percept (experience) to go with the concept (thought).

To become a priest in one's own soul is to take a step that cannot otherwise be ignored, without consequences we may well not have desired.

Thinking in a sacramental way then can take up any subject/object, which is what a Goetheanist does.  They think with the subject/object, and Goetheanism need not be confined to Nature.  Barfield was a Goetheanist of language (read his Speaker's Meaning).  I have struggled to be a Goetheanist of the social-political.  We can be a Goetheanist of the history of our own anthroposophical Branch, and surprising insights can arise if we learn to think the biography of social forms, through building up a series of pictures, from the beginning, through the past and into the present.

Whatever the interest of our I, thinking can engage it on a deeper level through approaching it sacramentally.

One method I have found quite useful is to write, whether long hand or on a keyboard, at the same time as I think.  I think, then pause and record, and then think some more.  In this way, I begin to enter the thought-world and discover that it is a landscape all of its own.  The more I practice, the longer I can, with concentration of intention and attention, live in this landscape of the thought-world.  In the present, I can usually write an essay in one sitting, or if I become tired, I will rest and then return to thinking about the object/subject of my interest.  I have, on occasion, written for several hours in this way.

Sometimes, we will think for a moment, perhaps when driving a car, about some subject which interests us deeply, and have then a particular insight.  I have often just stopped the car, or even risen from bed, and written down what was thought, for here we begin to inwardly sense the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence.  It is the moral impulse behind the thinking which draws the wind: John 3:8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit

The roots of this essay, for example, were first found during the Conference, when I, on about the second day, began to let go of (sacrifice) the preconceptions that I had brought with me.  Thereafter, all I had to do was live out of my conscience in my interaction with others, and the deeper matters of the Conference began to unfold before my thinking I, sometimes in the morning as we all know, and other times in the moment.  The idea of the Three Wishes and of Healing Materialism came from the life of the Conference itself, and do not represent anything I brought with me.  I have in this essay fleshed out these intuitions, but otherwise they were born in the living spiritual atmosphere engendered by the whole community of those attending.  In a very real sense I would not have come to them otherwise than through the Conference and the special social atmosphere co-created by all who attended.

Let us now consider some other features of the thought-world.

As a general rule the thought-world responds to what we bring to it.  If we bring already-thought-knowing, then there is little it can add, for our attitude precludes the co-operative element, which is essential.  Further, the already-thought-knowing is dead, and its ability to participate in the living landscape of the thought-world is near impossible, because there is no natural harmony between our activity and the thought-world's own nature.  This is, of course, what happens when we go into the thought mode of Rudolf Steiner said.  We enter memory, and the living potential of our own activity is diminished in favor of the already dead thoughts.

So, again - what happens depends upon what we bring with us, for the thought-world is like a mirror - it reflects back to us what we are and what we bring, the most essential element of which is our moral nature.

The reason the analogy is made that gives rise to the use of the term landscape, is because the thought-world is very much a place.  In the modern projective geometry of dual polar-space - the co-joined earthly and cosmic spaces, the thought-world is the etheric, or a term which I prefer, after an indication of George Adams - the ethereal.  I prefer the term ethereal because the vowel sounds are more alive than in the term etheric, with its ending of a more material consonant nature.

This landscape then is the ethereal aspect of the thought-world.

When we record while thinking about the subject/object of our interest, we practice concentrated attention.  We follow what ordinary language calls a train of thought, but now we recognize it as a trail in the landscape.  This trail appears due to our moral intention, which we have prepared in the soul through our sacramental rite there.  Our ability to follow the trail in the thought-world then is the mirror of our attention and intention.

As Steiner describes elsewhere, everything here happens out of our own activity and appears to us in full consciousness - completely transparent to our I.

This landscape can be pictured, although many will in the beginning follow the trail as if they were going from one abstract concept to another.  The picture element again is produced by us, initially.  We, for example, following on Geothe's example of picturing the movement of the leaf forms, bring to the thought-world these pictures.  So we make pictures of what has become the subject/object of our interest, and we stay with the pictures as they unfold according to our already naive understanding of the subject/object.  What is the wonder, is that when we have more or less exhausted what we have brought, the thought-world responds with the new.

Now this can happen with a long meditative-like contemplation of a theme (as described in Kuhlewind), or it can happen in a moment.  We actively picture think, perhaps making a kind of speaking ending in a question, and the thought-world, being the Garment of the Divine Mystery, responds (ask and you shall be answered, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you).

In the first stage, with the abstract thinking trail, we seem (as near as I can tell) to begin the Michaelic gesture in thinking (I use such a name, because it is the only concept that seems to go with the percept - the experience).  Perhaps our moral intention is to more deeply know another human being, and our sacramental thinking first sacrifices what we have already assumed we know, to be more open to their real truth.  We are here mostly thinking in word-concepts, not pictures, but our moral intention has changed the nature of what can happen in our soul, and so now we are thinking Michaelically.  By this means we apprehend the thought-world's ethereal nature.

With the picture thinking we are thinking in a Sophianic manner (again the name-concept is used to be in harmony with the percept-experience).  This is, of course, the whole world of imagination, which while not the clairvoyant Imagination (which I have experienced, but here distinguish), nonetheless demonstrates a qualitative aspect of the landscape of the ethereal thought-world.

Now, when we travel in this landscape in the thought-world it appears as pictures.  And, with this apprehension of the thought-world as pictures we come to what seems to be its astral nature.  That is the ethereal landscape is penetrated by astral elements, which with our mutual picturing thinking (our thinking and the thinking of the community of inspiration) results in co-created mobile pictures.

Then we come to the final feature of the thought-world - its Logos Nature, or what Steiner tried to point our thinking toward in suggesting we keep awake to the logic of a thought.  The thought-world has a Michaelic ethereal aspect, a Sophianic astral aspect and a Christic I-AM aspect.  In apprehending the Christic or Logos Nature of the thought-world we come to its essential I nature.  In the natural logicality of thought we meet the Christ (e.g. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life etc.).

Our thinking can then become a kind of breathing, wherein we breath in and ascend through the abstract conceptual element, to the picture element and then to its logical organism or Logos Nature.  After which we breath out and return the same way, until we act in the world, either recording our experience in words by writing, or sharing through speaking, or in the case of a moral dilemma, through action.

This leads us to another ways of seeing the thought-world - as music.

It is possible to read something and to live in the connective element of the words, sentences and paragraphs - to think with the content the writer has produced.  Sometimes it will be fairly obvious that something strikes us as wrong or out of order, and we have then the problem of whether this reaction is taking place in that arena of the soul where sympathy and antipathy arise.  Here we have to have some self knowledge.

Once we have been able to make clear to ourselves that we are awake to our natural subjectivity, then it becomes possible to seek to feel with the thinking the musical structure of the concepts and their perhaps related ideas (the Garments of Beings).  Does one theme naturally lead over to the next?  Within a single sentence does it make its own whole?  Do the paragraphs develop the theme, or does the whole texture just jump around?

In feeling the structure of the flow of the themes, we have an experience of to what degree the Logos Nature of the thought-world has been incorporated.  Is there dissonance or harmony?  If we sense disharmony, then we can examine more carefully the logic itself.  We can trust ourselves to read in an awake fashion and only have to puzzle out the exact logic, if our thinking-feeling senses dissonance.

One of the more common dissonances will be the degree of ego presence.  If there has not been enough sacrifice of thoughts, then we get too much self reference, as in: I did this, and then I did that.  We are, by the way, not judging here, but just being awake to the degree to which the writing and speaking reflect the speakers experience.

Some have noticed, particularly in The Philosophy of Freedom, that Steiner's sentences seem to have a certain structural relationship to each other.  A paragraph might contain fifteen sentences, with the last seven being the mirror image of the first seven, with one transitional sentence in the middle.  I believe this is not so much conscious on Steiner's part, but rather represents what his thinking experienced in the thought-world while constructing the text.  The structure we perceive is the structure already present in the ethereal landscape as regards that theme due to the presence of the Logos Nature of the thought-world itself.  As thinkers we report what has been thought in us, and the accuracy of our reporting then reflects that which we have been experiencing.

There is some indication in the experiences of the thought-world that we encounter different communities of beings, depending upon the subject/object we seek to think about.  This again is a felt experience of the thinking.  It is as if there were different tastes or textures to the themes.  Our soul is itself not a unity but a diversity.  Depending upon the nature of the impulses we bring in our questions, the responses will accordingly vary.

Now because we often have before us questions regarding various lectures of Steiner, we might try to pose those questions in the thinking, for example: Was Mary Magdalene the apostle that Jesus loved?  The problem here is that we do not have the percepts (experiences) to go with such a question, so that pure thinking or clair-thinking cannot really answer this for us.

What this means is that we have to understand that this kind of thinking gesture is not about becoming another Steiner, another initiate researcher into spiritual realities.  Yet, at the same time, this thinking enables us to engage the world of our biography in a fully awake and free way, open to all manner of spiritual insight.

What this also means is that we cannot leave the shadow or double-complex outside of our inner observation and thinking perception.  The luciferic double will urge us to questions too grandiose and outside our real need, while the ahrimanic double will push us into a calculated analysis, with no heart in it.  All of which brings us to the core element of the new thinking - the clair-thinking: knowledge of the Good in the Age of the Consciousness Soul.

What exists for us as students of spiritual knowledge in this Age is the possibility to think the world of experience - to find the conceptual content to go with the perceptual content of the soul (thanks again to Steve Burman for lending some additional clarity here).  We have the experience and then think its meaning.

Above I have mentioned several times the need for a moral gesture to exist prior to thinking about a specific subject/object in which we have an interest.  Now this inner moral gesture is something like a cultivated mood of soul.  We self define the Good, which is the why we have decided to think sacramentally about the particularly subject/object.  At the same time, most of us are also involved in all manner of outer moral dilemmas.  So we have two kinds of moral actions - one inner and one outer.

With the outer one we confront our karma, fate and destiny.  This initiation by fire is the task of the biography in the Consciousness Soul Age.  We are confronted by moral questions, and no longer able to fall back on old textual rules.  Even where fundamentalism exists, many are confronted with agonizing life choices.  There is no hiding place, only the rock.

At the same time Moral Grace exists, which means that if we honestly frame the question (moral imagination), honestly listen to our higher selves - conscience - answer (moral intuition), and carefully act in outer or inner life upon the answer (moral technique), we have the promise fulfilled of moral certainty.  We can know the Good, and know we know the Good - that is the Eternal.

This knowledge of the Good is a threshold experience, which is part of why Steiner described the present time as involving everyone crossing the threshold, many unconsciously.  Because it is a threshold experience there is then a direct encounter with the double-complex in its role as the Lesser Guardian of the Threshold.  We will try to seek knowledge of the Good, but bring something with us (remember the mirror aspect of the thought-world) that cannot pass by the double-complex.  At the same time, if we again and again authentically seek to know the Good we will come to this knowledge, for Christ will not deny our need.

The principle defect we bring before the Lesser Guardian is the act of will to actually act upon the moral knowledge we seek.  Our seeking to know the Good is prefaced with a lack of trust in ourselves and our ability to act on the knowledge when we apprehend it.  All the same, it is quite like learning to ride a bicycle.  Much falling down and pain in the beginning, but after a time we start to get it right, and confidence builds in such a way that what was clumsy in the beginning becomes skill, then craft and finally art.

Now this does not mean - when we do know the Good - that we will be perfect, or always get it right, or that nothing ambiguous will remain even after we act.  Life is not to be that simple in this time.  But we can trust that we have this capacity, and if we start to exercise it, then all manner of other results began to unfold in the soul, because by this activity real purification begins to occur, which is why the Hopi Prophecy calls this time the Day of Purification, and has for centuries looked to the rising sun for their true white brother to come and inaugurate this Day.  For a deeper appreciation of the Hopi Prophecy, read: The Mystery of the True White Brother.  I have also written of these themes from another direction, again in the Way of the Fool.

In this way - by learning to know and act upon the Good, we become a light bridge between the spiritual world in its thought-world garment form, and the world of the senses in which we live in our biographies.  We stand in between, and freely relate one to the other.  In a very real sense we become the balance point between.  We think, and receive the gifts of meaning from within - through a co-creative art with spiritual communities, which we then share among each other through speech and writing, that is with incarnate communities of human beings.

One of the matters, toward which Steiner has pointed concerning active thinking, is suggested by the idea that human consciousness inserts itself in between the sense object (or the object of experience) and its idea.  In reality, he has stated, the two are united - the thing in itself and its inner being or idea.  When we wake up to the new cognition - to clair-thinking - we discover how to reunite what is only apparently divided.

Taking a sense object as a typical example, it is our senses that experience the outer aspect of the object, and our thinking that can potentially experience its inner nature - its fundamental reality and meaning.  This condition is itself the consequence of the long evolution leading to the Ahrimanic Deception, or what others call: the on-looker separation.  Only by taking up the new thinking, out of our own choice to seek re-integration (or final participation), can we bridge the gap between our I (as a spirit) and the true reality of existence in the inwardness of experience (the Spirit in the Universe).

Blessed are the poor in spirit (engaged in the sacrament of the sacrifice of thoughts), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (the presence of Fullness and the fullness of Presence).

a few final comments

We need then to distinguish between clairvoyant spiritual research and the newly born clair-thinking (Carl Stegmann's term for what Steiner called pure thinking) with its ability to experience the spiritual world as a thought-world.  In the former the object of our activity is to deepen the understanding of the spiritual, by acquiring direct experiences of the Divine Mystery.  Most of us realize that such is a rare gift, while the fruits of clair-thinking can begin to arrive once the Path of Cognition is fully entered as a personal sacrament.

In point of fact, it appears likely that the 20th Century was only meant to give us the return of just a few true initiates - the Kings (Steiner, Tomberg* and Ben-Aharon - see my book the Way of the Fool - the Fourth Stanza of the Section on Love), as a starting help.  They help us see the right Path and we start to travel it, each in our own individual Way.  With the new clair-thinking (as against needing to become a full initiate - a form of consciousness no longer really necessary) we can best go forward, for any subject/object of interest can be thought using this method of entering the ethereal landscape.  One can start thinking this new way right from the beginning, using the texts (Theory and the Philosophy) as a map to the territory now being explored through a disciplined (scientific, or "some results of introspection following the methods of natural science") introspection out of the impulses of our own I.

The best training for this is found in the study of projective geometry, which helps the thinking gesture to learn to follow qualitatively and exactly the living forms in the ethereal landscape.  My favorite book on this is Olive Whicher's Projective Geometry: Creative Polarities in Space and Time, a text which should never be out of print , but due to the lax nature of understanding in the higher circles of our movement, has been allowed to disappear.

Yet, what do anthroposophical publishers, reprint over and over again - Steiner lectures, while the truly helpful and essential texts waste away in Ahriman's "preserving jars".

*As to Tomberg:  The whole problem here begins with comparing apples (Steiner) to oranges (Tomberg), and assuming that Tomberg represents a danger to Anthroposophy.  Once we start there, thoughts will come that can be used to suggest a wrongness.  We need to start in the right place, which is to ask the question: Would the Christ only support one teacher to meet the varied needs of human beings in the Age of the Consciousness Soul?  The answer to that will always be no.  In which case then our thinking needs to sacrifice its assumptions and read in the script of the social-political world who Tomberg has served and why.  It is not about there being one pure and only Way to go into the future, that fits all human beings and all biographies.  It is about Christ's Love which speaks everywhere and to everyone, via those human resources that have offered themselves so as to be in His Service.

As to the Three Wishes: It is entirely possible the Vorstand and Councils in America, as well as most anthroposophists, will fail to understand the need and/or fail to act.  At the same time, where ever any individual decides to work in the way described above, materialism can be healed.  The main point to realize is that as individual seekers we need to not only free ourselves from dependence upon our teacher, but we also need to avoid transferring that dependence to Councils, Vorstands and even the writers of essays and books.  It is from out of our own I that the light of transformation will enter the next phase of human Civilization.  Such truths are captured everywhere, but most especially in this modern folk wisdom: think globally, act locally.  Have the deepest and widest understanding, but apply this knowledge directly to what appears within our own biographies - ourselves and the world of our immediate experience.

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