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An Outline of Occult Science by Rudolf Steiner

The student must go still further


Thought,

combined with will, attains to a certain maturity if we strive never to allow what we have already experienced or learned to rob us of our unbiased receptiveness for new experiences. Such a thought as: "I have never heard that before; I don't believe it!" should lose all significance where the occult student is concerned; indeed, he should endeavour, for a fixed period of time, to allow every thing and every creature to convey something new to his mind. Every breath of air, every leaf on the tree, the prattling of a child,--each and all will teach him something, provided he be willing to bring a different point of view to bear upon it from the one he has hitherto held.

It may, of course, be possible to go too far in this particular, and we must not at any time lose sight of the experiences we have previously had. Indeed, what we experience in the present should be judged in accordance with the sum of our past experiences. These must be laid on one side of the scale, while on the other the occult student should place an inclination for ever gathering new knowledge. Above all, a belief in the possibility that new experiences may contradict the old.

Thus we have enumerated those five qualities of the soul which the occult student in regular training, should acquire; control of the trend of his thoughts; control of the impulses of his will; equanimity in sorrow and joy; positiveness in his judgment of the world;

and impartiality in his view of life. After giving consecutive periods of time to the acquiring of these qualities through continued practice, the student must go still further, and bring all these qualities into a harmonious whole within the soul, to achieve which, he will have to practice the exercises in twos and twos together, or three and one, simultaneously, so as to bring about the harmony desired.

The exercises indicated above are thus given out by occult teaching because if faithfully carried out, they not only produce in the occult student what we have called above direct results, but they lead indirectly to much else that is needed on the path to the higher worlds. He who practices these exercises sufficiently will, while doing so, become aware of many a lack and many a failing in his own soul-life, and he will at the same time find in them the very means necessary to give strength and security to the intellect, to the emotional tendencies and to the character as well. He will assuredly need many additional exercises, according to his capacities, temperament, and character; these, however, will present themselves if the above be frequently carried out. Indeed, one will notice that the already indicated exercises, indirectly, gradually yield that which at first does not seem to be in them. A person endowed with but little self-confidence, for instance, finds in the course of time, that by persistent practice the needed confidence in himself has come about. And it is the same with many other soul qualities.(28)


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