STEINERBOOKS

September 22 , 2019

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” - William Blake

This week I have the pleasure of sharing an excerpt from a new essay by Christopher Bamford about a lived life. The vocation shared by writers is never extinguished and we benefit from the wisdom of their biographical journey.

Our dear friend Chris has shared an insightful essay into what it means to live a life ‘by gratitude and trust, in soul and spirit, in how we think, feel, love, know, and act’ against the forces of the modern world.

Until next time,

Kathy Donchak

 

Life

an excerpt of an essay by Christopher Bamford


“Life—you lift and bear me; you make sure I move forward”

 -Rudolf Steiner


“Life … is blessedness…for Life is Love, “

J.G. Fichte, The Way Towards the Blessed Life



“Everything that lives is holy.” - William Blake


Whatever life brings us, good things or bad, tragedies or comedies, Rudolf Steiner counsels us—no matter what life brings—to practice universal gratitude, trust, and confidence. In a similar vein, he also advises us always to acknowledge the wisdom of life: the reality that life is the bearer, even the teacher, of cosmic wisdom, which, if we receive it without judgment, will open us, soul and spirit, to the spiritual world. 

In other words, Rudolf Steiner calls us before all else to welcome life in all its forms and to heed what it might be saying—to shape life and be shaped by life—as life itself flows perpetually toward and through us. 


At first glance, this counsel is clear enough. Examined more closely in the light of other, related statements, however, the being of life becomes more complex. Quite often, for instance, Rudolf Steiner seems to be talking, not of life in general or life as such—“objective life”—but of “lived life,” individualized life: for example, when he voices his hope that Anthroposophy (or Spiritual Science, or Spiritual Knowledge) will never be practiced as a theory, but always lived as “a Way of Life.” 


What this suggests is that life is an action, a way of living, something we do. In this sense, living is one with other things we do: like loving, thinking, and knowing. Life—living a life—while received as a gift, comes as it were with responsibilities. In short: Life is determined by ethics: by what we do, and how, and to what end. In other words, life asks us:


For whom do you live? 


Or as William Blake affirms: 

Everything that lives

Lives not alone, nor for itself.

Christopher Bamford is the author of Start Now! A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises, The Voice of the Eagle: The Heart of Celtic Christianity (1990) and An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pursuit of Wisdom in the West (2003). He has also translated and edited numerous books, including Celtic Christianity: Ecology and Holiness (1982); Homage to Pythagoras: Rediscovering Sacred Science; and The Noble Traveller: The Life and Writings of O. V. de L. Milosz (all published by Lindisfarne Books). See all books by Christopher Bamford

 

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Staff Picks of the Week

 

Rudolf Steiner understood that human social, ethical, and moral development lagged far behind what had been achieved in knowledge, science, and technology; and that what human beings had achieved in these fields rested on what caused social and moral life to be untenable for so many, namely, the universal rule of egoism and self-interest.

In 1905, a historic year of political and economic crises, Rudolf Steiner formulated what he called the basic "social axiom” or “the cosmic law of work": The well-being of an entire group of individuals who work together is the greater, the less individuals claim the income resulting from their own accomplishments for themselves, that is, the more they contribute this income to their fellow workers and the more their own needs are met not through their own efforts but through the efforts of others.

Underlying this "fundamental social law" is the seminal realization that human social reality pivots on the question of work and compensation. Does one work for oneself, for one’s salary? Or does one work for others, the community or larger society? For Rudolf Steiner, it was critical to understand that work should be a free deed. In other words, work and income should be completely separated.

In this profound work, Peter Selg traces how, at the end of the Great War, with Steiner’s tireless efforts for the threefold movement, this fundamental social-spiritual insight moved into the center of his activities as an overriding practical and spiritual concern, rephrased as the "motto of social ethics," and deepened and filled with the full reality of Christ’s teachings and life. Learn more

Download and read chapter 1

The 2020 North American Maria Thun Biodynamic Almanac, with Eastern Standard Time dates and times, is now in its 58th year of helping biodynamic farmers and gardeners get the most out of their farms and gardens.

This useful guide shows the optimum days for sowing, pruning, and harvesting various plants and crops, as well as working with bees. It includes Thun's unique insights, which go above and beyond the standard information presented in some other lunar calendars. It is presented in color with clear symbols and explanations. Learn more

“Thought that does not manage to penetrate itself does not penetrate Matter.”
The Divine becomes human; the human reconnects with the Divine, within Christ. Whoever treads the path of Initiation—whoever recognizes or fails to recognize the Christ—knows, at a given moment on the path, that there is no Initiation without such a teacher. It is not the recognition of the name that matters, but the recognition of the force. The spiritual practitioner must overcome the interminable series of esoteric mirages to realize that Initiation has only one source, the Christ—certainly not the mystical or gnostic Christ or that of religion, but the cosmic Christ, the metaphysical principle of absolute individuality and freedom. In the living moment of thinking, the “I” (true self) begins to experience the Light of the World, which has overcome the separation. This is the act of freedom—the ultimate sense of dialectical freedom. Learn more

“Fifteen years ago it happened—on the street [in St. Petersburg, in Russia] amid many passers-by—that I experienced an awakening of deep soul forces. I felt the awakening. I became conscious of a powerful will force within me that I united in the depths of my heart with a holy vow to dedicate my whole life to the cultivation of spiritual knowledge and its manifestation to the world. I have never forgotten this vow—others may say and think of it what they will. I can only say, before my conscience and my angel, that I have remained true to it in all decisions and questions of life. It shines in me like a radiant sun that irradiates and illumines all.” —Valentin Tomberg (1933 letter to Marie Steiner)

In these astounding meditations on the true Christian nature of the scriptures, Tomberg shows how the central story of entire Bible is really a history of the Christ being. He describes the cosmic and earthly preparations for the Mystery of Golgotha, its significance and results for humanity and the world as a whole, and the central role of the Sophia being and her relationship to the Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Disciples and Pentecost, and all of humanity. He also imagines the Grail nature of the Christ's involvement in earthly history.

All of Valentin Tomberg's profound studies are finally available in a single volume! Drawn from four difficult-to-find and out-of-print editions, this completely revised and updated text includes Tomberg's anthroposophic meditations on the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Apocalypse, while the appendix contains his final, unfinished work, "The Four Sacrifices of Christ."

Christ and Sophia contains all of Valentin Tomberg's essential anthroposophic works on the scriptures, providing an invaluable resource for anyone who wishes to gain a deeper understanding of Rudolf Steiner's spiritual scientific approach to esoteric Christianity, as revealed by a close, meditative reading of the Bible—from Genesis to John's Revelation. Learn more

Download and read the introduction by Christopher Bamford.

 

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