morality

How Do We Find Our True North?

At SteinerBooks, we have the same questions as many publishing houses. How many books have we sold? What was the cost of producing that book? How do we sell more books? But we have another, more important question to answer as we choose what books to publish and share.

How do we stay open towards new ideas that meet us in our mission of sharing Steiner's intentions with the world? We must, as Steiner indicated, 'stay alert to the possibility of learning something new...We must continually develop the ability to listen because it enables us to encounter matters with the greatest possible openness.'

We have a worthy goal that requires that we try to bring ideas into the culture that can help it heal, grow, and evolve. Each of us must consider our work to be of the highest importance, not self-importance, but the honor to share ideas with our fellow humans that will bring them through what Steiner called the six essential exercises.

This week, I asked the question ‘does Steiner talk about finding your true north’ to my friend Christopher Bamford. He answered, in his transformation of the Eightfold Path. "True North" perhaps invoking “right action."

"Right interest, right understanding, calls forth from the soul the right moral action" Rudolf Steiner, Spiritual Foundations of Morality.

In Start Now: A book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises by Rudolf Steiner we learn that to find our way to our true north, or right moral action, we must develop a series of qualities. We begin by training our thoughts, exercising control over our actions, and finding our way back to equilibrium and develop steadiness to avoid the swings of emotions that can take us over in modern life.

"To preach morality is easy, to establish morality is difficult." Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860

Steiner thought of these six qualities as essential elements in a healthy meditative practice, and I consider them to be crucial to those of us who have taken up the task of sharing the contemporary ideas of authors and teachers working out of Anthroposophy.

This week I celebrate my mother, Connie. I am grateful to be the daughter of a remarkable woman, grandmother, and great grandmother. I celebrate the gift of motherhood I received more than ten years ago. I am forever changed by these two amazing souls that came to me, call me mom, and made me whole.

Motherhood is a remarkable privilege and gift.

Blessings to all mothers who read the Sunday Letter. You are the heartbeat of the lives of so many, near and far. Take time to celebrate yourself today.

It is time to choose books for those stolen moments of connecting with ourselves in the pages of a book on the summer days that lie ahead. Please enjoy a 25% discount + free shipping on any of our books with the code: READ19 through May 31, 2019.

Summer Reading for Children

Education and the Moral Life

Today we have anthropology and we have psychology.

Anthropology’s main concern is the abstract observation of the

physical aspect of the human being, while that of psychology

is the abstract observation of the human soul and spirit as

entities separate from the physical body. What is missing is the

anthroposophical perspective, which observes the human

being—body, soul, and spirit—as a unity; a point of view that

shows everywhere how and where spirit is flowing into matter,

sending its forces into material counterparts.

- Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy Part 2


Education and the Moral Life

Rudolf Steiner

STUTTGART — MARCH 26, 1923

Everyone involved to any degree at all in social life will certainly feel that the moral aspect is one of the most important aspects in the entire field of education. At the same time, one realizes that it is precisely this aspect that is the most subtle and difficult one to handle, for it relates to the most intimate area of education.

I have already emphasized that educational practice needs to be built on real knowledge of, and insight into, the human being. The comprehension, perception and observation that I tried to characterize last night will give the knowledge necessary to train the child’s cognitional capacities. Practically speaking, knowledge of the human being, supported by the science of the spirit, will enable one to reach, more or less easily, the child’s powers of cognition. One will be able to find one’s way to the child. If, on the other hand, one wishes to appeal to a child’s artistic receptivity as described yesterday, which is equally important, it is necessary to find a way to each child individually, to have a sense for the way various children express themselves from an artistic comprehension of the world. When it comes to moral education, all of one’s skill for sensitive observation and all of one’s intimate psychological interest must be kept in mind, so that all the teacher’s knowledge of the human being and of nature can be put at the service of what each child brings forth individually. To reach children in a moral way, the only choice is to approach each child on an individual basis. However, with regard to moral education, yet another difficulty has to be overcome—that is, an individual’s sense of morality can only be appealed to through full inner freedom and with full inner cooperation.

This requires that educators approach moral teaching so that, when later in life the students have passed the age of formal education, they can feel free as individuals in every respect. What teachers must never do is to pass on to developing students the relics of their own brand of morality or anything derived from personal sympathies or antipathies in the moral realm. We must not be tempted to give our own ethical codes to young people as they make their way into life, since these will leave them unfree when it becomes necessary that they find their own moral impulses. We must respect and acknowledge the young person’s complete inner freedom, particularly in the realm of moral education. Such respect and tolerance truly demand a great deal of selflessness from educators, and a renunciation of any self-interest. Nor is there, as is the case in all other subject matters, the opportunity of treating morality as a subject in its own right; as such, it would be very unfruitful. The moral element must be allowed to pervade all of one’s teaching.