Who is Rudolf Steiner?
Philosopher of the Evolution of Consciousness
Scientist of the Spirit
Seer of Cosmic Realities
Shaper of a New Understanding of Being Human
Designer of New Forms and New Practices that are active today in
Education, Medicine, Agriculture, Architecture, Social Life, Economic Life, Meditative Life, The Arts.
Author of over 30 books and 6000 transcribed lectures
In My Words…RUDOLF STEINER
A man of extraordinary wisdom, heart and strength, Rudolf Steiner brought forth a new understanding of human consciousness and its evolving relationship to all the forms and functions of earthly and spiritual existence and reality. He had the capacity to connect all the metaphysical, spiritual dots to all the practical dots, answering deep questions of moral development and giving directions for the manifestation of love and freedom within the individual and the universal community of humankind.
He took all the threads of human history, the natural world and spiritual experience and wove a tapestry of exquisite design with few flaws.
Yes, he was not perfect nor did he complete the tapestry, but he left a legacy of profound and comprehensive significance for the future that no human being should ignore. Not mere theory and not simply spiritual practice, he gave the foundations for new forms of art, economics, education, medicine, agriculture, medicine, socio-political transformation and much, much more. This worldview underlies thousands of initiatives all around the world.
He articulated his methodology of spiritual research so that each individual could enter spiritual realms and discover spiritual truths on their own, not dependent on a guru or a dogma.
He brought esoteric imaginations and creative understandings of the great streams of Western and Eastern traditions and teachers. His descriptions of the deeds of the Christ, the Buddha and the Sophia, the gods and spiritual hierarchies, elemental beings and so forth vibrate with new meaning and significance. His understanding of the counter forces opposing the evolving creative balance between spirit and matter and the evolution of human consciousness gives strength and direction to to personal development and the social life.
I can say wholeheartedly, that if you seek to know yourself and know the worlds of spirit and matter, you best begin with knowing Rudolf Steiner, his anthroposophy and his science of the spirit.
Some Challenges in Meeting Steiner
Steiner was/is not simple. He takes us to cosmic, social, practical and personal heights, depths and breadths. To study his work is challenging as its multilayered complexity and the brilliance of its interweaving means it is almost impossible to simply focus on a part without engaging the whole of anthroposophy. To embody the wisdom he offered in our own daily life takes extraordinary devotion, courage and grace. We can easily doubt our ability to comprehend and/or apply it.
Steiner covers vast territory and takes us way beyond the familiar perspectives, traditions and boundaries of religion and science. Steiner teaches us to think and then asks us to think in new ways. He invites us into an active, free and truly intimate relationship with all the great cosmic mysteries. He asks us to walk the path of moral development with a stable inner balance between spirit and matter. He awakens an awareness of the archetypes of Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Freedom and Love that brings great joy but also brings a new suffering in our souls when we witness their absence or their distortion in our modern lives. He asks us to pay equal attention to life before birth as to life after death, to the deeds of the Seraphim and the deeds of the bees, to the rhythm of the stars and the rhythm of our digestion. For some, his science of the spirit feels too strange and too demanding and they are unable to relate to it.
Steiner is not very user friendly to the 21st century consciousness. Steiner worked in the first quarter of the 20th Century. His life took place in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Both time and place shape his style of speaking and writing. Beyond the challenge of grasping the scope of his clairvoyant intelligence, his writing/speaking style and the idiosyncrasies of translation make it difficult for most seekers to feel at ease in the articulation of his wisdom. Many people who recognize the singular importance of his thoughts, reject the style of his language and presentation and consequently, regretfully, give up their studies of anthroposophy.
Interpreters and followers of Steiner have great difficulty finding a warm and sensitive approach to sharing his insights in a way that is inviting, meaningful and applicable to the whole experience of the individual. The presentation of Anthroposophy is often cool, dry and intellectual. Though understandable, this is very tragic. Those hungry for the spiritual and practical nourishment of anthroposophy and meeting it in lectures, study groups, and workshops often wonder how they can find an intimate and personal connection to the content and to anthropsophists.
My Relationship to Anthroposophy
By some karmic blessing and in spite of the above mentioned difficulties, I quickly grew to love reading Steiner and found his thoughts inspiring clear imaginations in my soul. Yes, it was so difficult in the beginning, like holding a yoga posture for an impossibly long minute. My mind would scream at me, “Don’t make me work so hard!” My heart would say “Persevere! Go, girl!”
I persevered and soon I could see, hear and feel this warm, juicy, sensitive and ennobling being he called Anthroposophia.
She is beautiful, comforting, encouraging and a loving friend to all. She is all encompassing wisdom without any dogma, doctrine, prejudice or demand. She is the wisdom that sets you free, asks you to be open to all perspectives, and guides you to the love in the world. At the same time, Anthroposophia, will not tolerate lies, imbalances, selfishness or hubris.
Steiner, his books, lectures, his followers and their initiatives (for me Waldorf education) held open the gate and welcomed me to a creative knowledge of myself, the world, and the realities of the spirit. He invited me and guided me to cross its threshold and to join Anthroposophia on the journey to Selfhood, a deep love of the World, and the evolving fullness of my individuality and my humanity.
When I crossed this threshold I suddenly found myself having moments of my own direct experience – no longer was my experience “Steiner says!” it was “I know.” After spending a number years working with Rudolf Steiner’s insights and following his methods, I began having my own insights into the manifold needs of the human soul in our times.
People began to ask me questions. I would wonder why they were asking me as I could not possibly know how to answer. Then surprising myself, I would answer. I began to teach, speak and counsel (befriend is a better word).
Let me make a distinction here: you can study cosmic wisdom, you can feel the significance of cosmic wisdom, and you can work with cosmic wisdom. Nothing changed in my life until I began to work with cosmic wisdom. Working is applying, experimenting, dancing with cosmic wisdom.
I dance with my whole heart and my awkward feet and I let Cosmic Wisdom, the Sophia, choose the music and lead me across the dance floor of the mysteries of being human and becoming I. She never chastises or shames, often laughs with compassion or delight, and always encourages.
Anyone who has taken dancing lessons, ballet, jazz, or ballroom knows it is work, discipline and practice, bruises and sprains, and you never stop with the training and the joy of movement never fades. The work of Cosmic Wisdom is cosmic dance class.
Many individuals who have been studying Steiner meet my work and find their dancing shoes – the shoes that fit their feet and their imagination.
The qualities I strive for in my Expression of Anthroposophy:
Vitality and Intimacy: Many times I have been told “You make anthroposophy come alive.” This happens because I am able to bring the cosmic vastness of anthroposophy into a creative, illuminating relationship with the intimate realities of your personal life of thoughts, feelings, behaviors and deeds. I make intimate connections between the archetypes and you.
Encouragement and Transparency: I show you why anthroposophy and you are worth the stretch of attention. I encourage patience and perseverance. And I remain transparent and vulnerable as I am stretching, too.
Delight: I also have a gift for making anthroposophy delightful. I present it in the mood of “How cool is this!” Anthroposophy is like the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders — sometimes we must work and climb ladders and sometimes its an easy slide to get to the wisdom. But you must play the game with enthusiasm.
Comfort and Challenge: I introduce Anthroposophia as the compassionate and tender source of self-love and self-empowerment even in the darkest nights of the soul and in the darkest days of the world. I also make it clear that there is this amazing challenge Anthroposophia declares: Know Yourself! Know the World! Face Evil! Experience Spiritual and Earthly Realities with equal Enthusiasm! Be Fully Human and Do Good!
Almost a century beyond Steiner’s times, we are now in the days of internet, neuroscience and MRI’s, globalization, constant entertainment, sexual freedoms, drugs, facebook, 9/11, ecological threats, billionaires and starvation and more. Looking at all of this through the lens Steiner polished so beautifully reveals the reasons behind and opportunities beyond it all. These modern dramas and dilemmas are ours to comprehend and resolve. But first we must understand ourselves and the most integrated way I know to understand ourselves is anthroposophy.
I am so grateful for Rudolf Steiner. Pay attention to him.