meditations

Soul Exercises: Word and Symbol Meditations

"The whole world stands facing the human soul—dark, unknown as the blue of the sky. But what is unknown comes. The human soul must feel this coming as its own extinguishing. Sensing this self-extinguishing is followed by the right to re-create oneself anew from the outer world that has been absorbed.... "I am 'I.'" - Rudolf Steiner, Soul Exercises, 1903–1924 (CW 267)

Rudolf Steiner made it his task to teach nothing that he had not experienced himself and always encouraged others to make individual spiritual-meditative research the basis of their spiritual lives. Therefore he gave many spiritual exercises to his pupils who asked for them. This was especially the case during the period of the Esoteric School (1904-1914), which closed with the outbreak of World War I, which made a certain kind of esoteric work impossible. Steiner, however, continued to give individuals exercises and meditations in private conversations until 1924, when his health no longer allowed it. Usually he would write all instructions out by hand. A few were communicated verbally. Although every exercise originated in a particular context, he believed that because the same conditions apply to all who take up this path of training, in principle the exercises should be available in “the widest possible context.” 

Beginning with general rules and conditions (the so-called supplementary exercises), meditations for the days of the week, and morning and evening exercises, Soul Exercises collects all of the word and symbol meditation exercises Steiner gave. This includes nine groups of exercises based on Mabel Collins’ “Light on the Path” and a multitude of exercises with individually composed meditative verses. 

The book concludes with explanations and contextual commentary relating to the exercises, including notes on the value of symbolic ideas on the path of spiritual schooling; the Rose Cross meditation; the verse “More radiant than the Sun”; the backward review (Rückshau); contemplation of one’s own divine ideal; and alcohol and diet.

Soul Exercises is an essential help to all who take up the anthroposophic path of inner work.

This volume is a translation from German of Seelenübungen: Band I. Übungen mit Wort- und Sinnbild-Meditationen zur methodischen Entwicklung höherer Erkenntniskräfte, 1904–1924 (GA 267). 

Hearts are the Windows into the Spiritual World

Spirits ever watchful, Guardians of their souls!
May your vibrations waft
To the Earth-men committed to your charge
Our souls' petitioning love:
That, united with your power,
Our prayer may helpfully radiate
To the souls it lovingly seeks. - Rudolf Steiner

Berlin, 16th November, 1915

“After a long absence I am able to be again in your midst, and I should like especially to devote the three lectures of this week to directing our gaze to a knowledge of the spiritual world, which stands more or less in close connection with those significant and deeply incisive events of our time which touch us so deeply. Our attention should not be turned immediately to the events themselves, but to what perhaps in everyone, in the feeling of us all, is connected with these events, like riddles, like uneasy questions concerning the destiny of man and the Cosmos. Our attention must be turned to this: to that wider destiny of the human soul, to which it is subject in that region of Cosmic existence to which the gaze of Spiritual Science is also directed, and which is not limited to earthly material existence. We are very much tempted at this time to knock at the door through which the human being passes when he forsakes this earthly body. We are urged towards that to which the human being can look up when he needs higher consolation, a deeper source of strength than can be obtained from material life. In how many ways does the voice of the spiritual world cry in these times to our hearts, even to those who do not wish to penetrate into the spiritual world, but whose hearts are nevertheless the windows into the spiritual world. How clearly and in how manifold a way does the spiritual world knock at these windows in our days. It is therefore fitting that we should once again bring together, from a special point of view, many things which we are able to know concerning this spiritual world. “