A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

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AshvinP
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by AshvinP »

Martin_ wrote: Sat Oct 22, 2022 1:30 am Interesting. I've been looking for some practical specific instructions on how to perform meditation in this manner. (Apart from Clerics texts) Does this book have such instruction, and if so, would you be able to share an example?

Martin,

Yes it is filled with such instruction. I haven't finished it yet, but I have come across quite a bit already. Below is the entire intro chapter on 'meditation':

Meditation distinguishes itself from concentration for the fact that, while concentration takes up an object, or a theme—independently of its meaning—as a means for the dynamic synthesis of thinking, “meditating” is thinking that moves directly according to the spiritual meaning of an object or a theme. In concentration, the content of thinking is of no importance. Rather, one makes sure that it is unrelated to the interests of the spirit. In meditation, however, the content, insofar as it is spiritual, arouses in its pure immediacy the movement of thinking, namely, the imagining, which simultaneously connects feeling and willing to thinking.

One turns to a content that can be immediately had as an image. Such an image must correspond to an inner objective experience. Therefore, it must be drawn from a text of Spiritual Science or one of traditional wisdom, or else suggested by a spiritual instructor. For example, “Terrestrial gold is the mineral trace of the Sun.” It is not a matter of analyzing the concept of “gold” or of “Sun,” nor of rationally analyzing the relationship between them but, rather, of assuming the image as it directly manifests in the words, that is, of receiving the immediate resounding of these words within the soul. The three forces of the soul—thinking, feeling, and willing—in their pure state, are simultaneously recalled in this immediate resounding.

To meditate is to nourish, contemplatively, the element of life by which the image initially arises in consciousness. Meditation does not demand any reflection; like concentration, it, too, is essentially a simple operation. It is not to argue. It is not to analyze by means of thoughts, or to investigate in order to discover hidden meanings but, rather, to contemplate by imagining or to imagine by contemplating the assumed content, until arriving at the calm perception of the image-synthesis or the feeling that corresponds to it. Nothing more. Since the image-synthesis and the corresponding feeling usually rise up immediately, there is no other task but to let them live within the soul. As soon as they die down, the art of the spiritual practitioner is to renew again its rising moment for a given number of minutes, so as to impregnate the soul with it. Such a technique is also valid for meditations that require the connection of different systems of images—like, for example, the Rosicrucian exercise—and are actualized by means of mental images that leave out sensory reality, as deliberately arbitrary constructions, united in the depths by a precise suprasensory content (see “The Power of Imagination”).

In essence, to meditate is not to intuitively elaborate spiritual themes. This, if anything, is a cognitive operation later possible by means of forces drawn from meditating. Least of all, it is a dialectical or logical analysis. The exercise of the dialectical-logical intellect, in the majority of cases, is a preliminary training for the concentration exercise.

On the contrary, to meditate is to directly arouse the soul forces by means of a spiritual content. That which rises up spontaneously from its engagement, is received and nourished. Since the inner force matters more than its dialectics, the task of the spiritual practitioner that meditates is—when all is said and done—to render continuous and objective, for a certain number of minutes, the initial moment of the lighting up of inner forces according to a given theme of the spirit—namely, an image, a phrase or a symbol, which winds up being capable of resounding by way of its own force within the soul.

Scaligero, Massimo. A Practical Manual of Meditation . Lindisfarne. Kindle Edition.
"Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And struggle there for undivided reign.
One, to the earth with passionate desire,
And closely clinging organs still adheres;
Above the mists the other doth aspire
With sacred ardor unto purer spheres.”
-Goethe, Faust
Federica
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by Federica »

I had some fun today translating the beginning of another of Scaligero’s books, “Methods of inner concentration” (the entire book is freely available here untranslated). Needless to say this won’t be better written in English than my average post. The influence of Steiner seems very clear, including in the proposed concentration exercise, still there could be some value in reading the same ideas expressed in slightly different language.



Chapter I - The unknown identity

Through thinking, man knows and somehow masters the world. The contradiction is that he neither knows nor masters thinking. Thinking remains a mystery to itself. Philosophy and psychology draw nourishment from it, however, throughout their existence, they don’t seem to have grasped the meaning of its activity, the ultimate content of the logical process, of which they take advantage for the purposes of their dialectical structures. They consider thinking to be dialectics, that it coincides with dialectics, that it arises and ends with dialectics.
For the purposes of Knowledge, outer objectivity arises as value system in human knowledge, but the latter overlooks to establish the foundation of the former, and to determine objectivity as concept, before the dialectical awareness of the concept itself.
Logically, man knows what a concept is, but he ignores what it is as a force, and how it is born, and what its power of accomplishment in reality is, which is more than its dialectical and logical appearing, that is to say, the power of Life itself.
Even if Materialism did not exist, as metaphysics of the present times, the materialistic attitude, as inability of thinking to know itself, could not but be the measure of present-day knowledge, which, through the act of knowing, proclaims the external world as real, while it nevertheless believes it exists outside that knowing. On the contrary, it is the world that arises from the presence of the I in the act of perceiving, and from the simultaneous correlation with thinking.

One of the first experiences of the Supersensible opens the way to discover that, if the I were not ex-pressing itself corporeally, until it “touches” the physical, through sense organs, neither perceptions nor I-consciousness would arise. The perception would present itself as in the animal, as a sentient, impersonal reaction, transcendent, pertaining to a group-I, and not as the reaction of an individual, immanent I. Individuality, as the presence of the I in the act of perception, is the secret of thinking, as well as it is the secret of the overcoming of the human-animal nature.
The physical world stands before the observer as a thick reality, a reality that indeed appears as pre-existing observation and inquiry, to the one who contemplates it. The physical world appears powerful in its be-ing, but such power is truly granted to it by the deep essence of consciousness, in which thinking is a correlating force, and as such, one with the essence of the world. “Existence is” is the assent of an alienated thinking, which simultaneously assumes reality and leaves it dominant, as symbol of an unpossessed dominion, a lost dominion, of the I.

Surely, one cannot pass through a wall, or walk on air, however such material pre-existence and its thick otherness are a correlation due to the fact that man is integrated in a physicality unmastered by the original thinking. A phisicality made of the same substance as the thick otherness which summons the concept of the correlation, but the alienated concept. In truth, Matter arises as objective reality, as a consequence of an alienation of Spirit, but one that is secretly dominated by the Spirit. Such dominion and such alienation equally co-exist in the human mind. If the original force were active in thinking, the body wouldn’t constitute otherness from thinking. It would be its manifestation. Identity - which is realized in the original instant of thinking - would come true, with its unlimited power, at every degree of consciousness, that is to say, at every degree of the “manifestation”.

The concept, alienated from its own original content, yet lacking the duality-surmounting identity, cannot but have as its opposite its own corporeal support, symbol of alienation, and nevertheless necessary to the initial overcoming of that alienation. Going through the wall with the corporeal being, or walking the Earth without resting on its surface, cannot be conceived, only imagined as a non-reality. And still, this imagination is the embryonic beginning of surmounting duality.

The correlation with the thick reality of the world would change if the concept of the correlation ceased to be alienated. The observer could not go through physical matter - the wall, the rock - with his body, but he would intuit such possibility, in relation to an original power of Thinking that could be won back. The current correlation, as concept, is not dictated to him by the world, but it happens solely in himself. The being-ness that appears to him is already the correlation underway.

The whole effort of ancient Yoga consisted of seizing that correlation as supra-mental force. Modern, rational man accesses the immanent unconsciously, in the mathematical experience of the physical world. The correlation happens in him, according to an inner act of constructing the world according to the “laws of nature”, which are not nature, but indeed, the correlation of thinking, alienated from the world. Limits appear external, but they belong to thinking correlated with perceiving. Limits belong to an inner relation with thinking, estranged from its own intuitive magnitude. In that original magnitude is realized an identity with being, of which the modern investigator, despite his empiricism, does not seem to discern the existence. It’s an identity from which no otherness could exist.

The conscious conquest of this identity is the ultimate meaning of the experience of man on Earth, because once the awareness of the earthly condition is realized, the direction of the “fall” can be inverted and the re-ascent can start. Ancient Yoga has secretly prepared such possibility, which is achievable for a man who has come to the point of full identification with the physical, that is to say, modern man, whose self-consciousness wakes up once the I-identification with the sensible is complete.
The I finds expression in this identity, from which arise perceiving and thinking. From it, the ego is simultaneously born, as the reflected force of the I, averse to the Spirit. The same identity is simultaneously the profound and organic act of the I, through corporeity, and the ego-force, unaware of its own metaphysical root.
In order to recover the I, the modern ascetic must go to the root of this identity, and be that I whose name he never ceases to pronounce.



Chapter II - Concentration

Of the three faculties - thinking, feeling, willing - only possessed by modern man as reflection of the physical, only one - thinking - can be traced back to its metaphysical root. Feeling and willing, when traced back, lead to a physical root, not because their essence is not metaphysical, but because such essence gets expelled from the resonance of feeling and willing in the soul, in keeping with the connection of thinking consciousness to physicality. This fastening of the soul to ‘cerebrality’ and to physicality pertains to thinking, not to feeling and willing, which simply suffer the consequences of such necessity of thinking, that is, the fall of thinking into ‘cerebrality’ instrumental to the formation of individual consciousness and to the lower process of freedom.
Thinking can trace back its own process. In this way, it realizes its authentic activity, its pure activity, independent from ‘cerebrality’. In this way, it gives back to feeling and willing their respective, legitimate, metaphysical connections. In the supra-mental sphere, thinking-feeling-willing constitute a unity that is lost at mental level. Through the conversion of thinking, such unity is restored.
Insofar as it is concentrated on a simple, easy-to-command theme, thinking wins back the power of self-motion. Rather than the theme, what is important is the thinking engaged in it. Thinking is always identical to itself, no matter if it is thinking of a chair or the Apocalypse. Initially the theme should be a man-made object, or a mathematical content, because the impersonal thought lying at its basis, once re-lived, has the power of freeing the conscious principle from the subjective psyche, linked to corporeity. Such thought secures against drifting into the subconscious, the medianic, or the mystical. This thought is the concept, independent of the object itself. At the conclusion of the exercise, the concept, once restored, becomes an object of contemplation.

Concentration. The pupil concentrates on an object, of which he considers form, substance, color, use, etc. - the whole series of representations that constitute its physical structure - until, in their place, the thought content remains. This operation should not occupy the conscious attention any shorter than five minutes. At its end, the object should stand before his consciousness as a symbol, or a sign, or a synthesis, containing in itself, in a non-dialectical way, the whole elaborated thought content.

This is the typical exercise of concentration. Its process requires the cooperation - although momentary cooperation - of the man’s constitutive principles: the I, the soul, the subtle body, the physical body, according to the original hierarchy. Therefore this exercise is fundamental for the modern investigator. In its quality of typical exercise, it is complete. If rigorously practiced, it can alone lead to inner equilibrium, and subsequently to super-sensitive experience.
The importance of this exercise resides in its simplicity, that allows maximum intensity of conscious thinking. The material that enters into its formation - representations, memories, notions, discursive form, etc. - are not thinking power, but only the clothes thinking power is dressed in, in order to express itself, while always remaining elusive. The exercise seeks to surface this elusive thinking-power in consciousness.
One should transport himself entirely within the object, considering the object in itself, according to its contained determinations, correlated to a unity that thinking already possesses in itself - a unity that, for this reason, thinking can restore. Whoever decides to execute a more elevated exercise, by means of thinking of a sacred symbol, a deity, a mantram, or a “mystery”, does not realize that he is not escaping his own personal nature, because he is already tied to the evoked theme, through subconscious feeling. Conversely, he can become independent of nature, insofar as the thoughts he activates are not dictated by nature, but by the impersonal objectivity of the theme.

By realizing that there’s no man-made object that is not, at its origin, a thought, the pupil cultivates the idea that, at the level of earthly appearances, the invisible continually becomes visible. This idea is the initial principle of overthrowing appearances. Any man-made object sends back to a moment when the object was not in existence, it was a thought that later became sensible concreteness. The invisible became visible.
There is no human production or creation that does not bring us back to a time of inexistence, in other words, to an original void, in which the idea can be recovered. Nobody who sees a machine or a building thinks that they came to existence by themselves. It has happened, however, that aboriginal people, at first contact with mechanistic devices, believed in prodigious natural creations, not as if the objects were self-created, but as if they belonged to the creative process of the Universe. Whoever believes that a compass created itself would be considered mentally impaired. But the naive realist, despite his analytical logic, does not behave that differently with respect to created nature. He is not better than the aboriginal before the unknown world of mechanistic devices.

If there is no man-made object that does not send back to an aware thought able to conceive it and produce it, then it is possible to intuit how the invisible becomes visible. That which has not been made by man, and nonetheless expresses a creative impulse, sends back to a Thought that man is not able to think, at least in the present time. Indeed, the task of the elevation of thinking is to awaken the capacity for such Thought in the soul. The naive stance of whoever thinks that a perfect organ like the human ear, or the tree, or the arrowhead, have created themselves cannot elude a concrete logical reasoning. It is necessary to discover that, as a clock sends back to the thought that has ideated it, and technically produced it - a thought that can be restored by penetrating the clock structure - in the same way, the seed of a plant sends back to a thought that man is able to imagine, but not to possess as a structural process. He does not possess such a structural process as he possesses the clock’s. His thinking lacks the possibility to identify the force that, in a plant, works as archetypal, organizing principle of the mineral substances. While he can reproduce such archetypal process of thinking with reference to the clock, he cannot do it for the plant. The most talented scientists on Earth all together would not know how to reproduce a blade of grass.

Man can only operate on that which he can perceive. He can translate that perception in terms of thought. Through such thought, he can reproduce what has been perceived. Of Nature’s four realms, the mineral, the vegetal, the animal and the human, he can only really perceive the mineral. The substantial forces of the other three escape him. With different elaborations, these forces use the mineral element to create their own sensible form, respectively, the vital force in the plant, the vital-sentient force in the animal, the vital-sentient-mental force in man. In plant, animal, and man, he only perceives the mineral appearance, elaborated at different degrees.

In essence, man imagines the world, animated by itself, living, but he does not perceive it. He only perceives the mineral, the inanimate. Thus he can only build inanimate machines. He can build a planetary missile, but he cannot build a plant seed. His production stops at the sensible inorganic limit, because his perception does not cross that limit. He supposes the life of every living being, but he does not perceive it. Of life, he only perceives its sensible manifestations, at the mineral level, but not its causal, non-sensible element, which operates through the mineral substance. In truth, man only sees the mineral appearance of the realms of nature. He does not see the forces that use minerality to specifically build such realms.

By the means of chemistry and physics, a scientist today can exactly reproduce a plant seed, composing it with every substance comprised in the authentic one, until a material and formal identity is achieved. He will have before him the two seeds, the authentic one and the chemically reproduced, indistinguishable from one another. The difference will emerge when planting the seeds: the artificial one will decompose, the authentic one will give rise to a new life.

Just as the clock did not make itself, so the seed, generator of new life. It too, presents itself as a realized thought, which realization does not stop at sensible appearance - because it is not identified with the form in which it appears, as the clock is. Instead, it continues in the process from which it arises, and by virtue of which a new life can be born.
Normally, the fluid process of life in the plant is thought, conceived, or imagined by man, but it is not perceived by man. He can only perceive the sensible effects of the life process, which in itself is non sensible, and based on those effects, he can conceive the process. As he can, from the sensible data of the clock, reproduce the concept of the clock, in the same way, from the sensible phenomenology of the seed, he can reproduce the idea of Life. But, while in the first case his knowing faces the sameness of concept and object - which he can possess entirely and use to reproduce the clock - in the second case he faces an idea that does originate in him, but contains a kernel that refers to an imperceptible transcendence. Hence the task is to discover that, because it is in the idea, it is immanent.

Concentration accomplishes this immanence. The transcendence of the immanent kernel of the Life-idea escapes the materialist, because he identifies the Life process with the process of Matter, to which he lends the same ideal foundation. He unwittingly falls in the same naive realism of the one who sees a clock for the first time, and thinks that the clock made itself. The idealist, on the other hand, believes in a spiritual process of Matter, however he thinks he holds it by the only fact that he thinks it. He does not realize that he thinks the kernel of the idea in a reflected way. He does not intuit the decisive task, empirically and idealistically, which would change the course of his life, allowing him to go from inert philosophizing to inner act, or ascetic act. The act of experiencing that which - by virtue of its immanence in the idea - is the transcending kernel of thinking, intuitable as organizing force of the Life of the living, just as the concept of the physical object is intutitable as its abstract principle.


based on: Scaligero, M. (1975). Tecniche di concentrazione interiore. Edizioni Mediterranee, Roma

“If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change. In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” (Carl Gustav Jung)
Anthony66
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by Anthony66 »

I bought the Kindle version of Scaligero's meditation book. What confronts me his his continuing references to dialectical thought. I'm struggling to understand why he seems fixated on this. He opens up in the preface with the "dogmatism of dialectics and science". By this, do we understand that he views there are two streams of thought in our age, the post-modern both/and the rationalist science, or does he see both of these as the same animal?
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by Federica »

Anthony66 wrote: Sun Oct 23, 2022 3:13 am I bought the Kindle version of Scaligero's meditation book. What confronts me his his continuing references to dialectical thought. I'm struggling to understand why he seems fixated on this. He opens up in the preface with the "dogmatism of dialectics and science". By this, do we understand that he views there are two streams of thought in our age, the post-modern both/and the rationalist science, or does he see both of these as the same animal?

Anthony,

I will give you my ‘two cents’, with the disclaimer that my opinion is only based on uneducated impressions.
Scaligero was educated in Humanities the old way, so I can imagine he had a broad and articulated understanding of Greek philosophy and literature. I think he refers to dialectics in that context. In short, and as rough approximation, dialectical thought is intellectual, rationalizing thought.


In general sense, grounded in the Greek tradition, dialectical skill is dialogical skill, the art of using reason and language to present viewpoints in persuasive and striking fashion. In the Socratic context in particular, dialectical thinking is thinking that allows the philosopher to successfully conduct a dialogue through short, compelling, back and forth questions and answers, as opposed to long, uninterrupted argumentations. So dialectics is agile, brilliant, and, to an extent, utilitarian leverage of thinking skills. With reference to Cleric's Central Topic, dialectical skill is thinking engulfed in object at its best. You will notice, in the exercise instructions in the post above yours, Scaligero says:

the object should stand before his consciousness as a symbol, or a sign, or a synthesis, containing in itself, in a non-dialectical way, the whole elaborated thought content.

I think one can approximate the non-dialectical way in which the object will stand before us with the word ‘pictorial’. The object should stand before us as an unbound, expansive image. We should be confronted by an image that does not stimulate any active thought gymnastics anymore, where we would use the object as material for dialectical thinking operations. In other words, the object should not be food for thoughts anymore. That would be dialectics. It should only pictorially stand in front of our mind’s eye, so fully, vividly, and expansively - but not in any awesome or admirable way that would invite devotion - that we are enabled to finally put at rest our unrelenting, hyperactive intellectual little hands, and finally notice the force (as Scaligero calls it) of the vehicle on which we are traveling, not its shipment, not its passengers. The tremendous propelling force of the Thinking vehicle, or vector, can finally enter our perceptual spectrum.


If I am allowed to conclude on an even more arbitrary thought - are you not dissecting it too much, Anthony? This can certainly be done, and I have just jotted down my thoughts on what’s the best dissecting technique for dialectics. At the same time I have a feeling that, if we engage in that head-on, once we have disjointed the dialectical thighs, unraveled the thought vessels, and set all the various organs in proper alignment on the table, we are only just left with a dead frog, with our dead frog. Now nothing will stream in its veins anymore, and it won’t jump anywhere anymore. As Scaligero suggests, we cannot make our deep understanding of thinking more acute by trying to grasp and reproduce all the various ‘chemical’ ingredients or components of thought, then set them into function as in a machine (dialectic skill). One can explore that, but knowing that the most important task is left to come, that is trying to perceive the force of thinking within us. Not its object, not its shipment, passengers, and connections therewith, but its pure essence, for example by engaging in the exercise.

“If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change. In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” (Carl Gustav Jung)
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

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Anthony66 wrote: Sun Oct 23, 2022 3:13 am I bought the Kindle version of Scaligero's meditation book. What confronts me his his continuing references to dialectical thought. I'm struggling to understand why he seems fixated on this. He opens up in the preface with the "dogmatism of dialectics and science". By this, do we understand that he views there are two streams of thought in our age, the post-modern both/and the rationalist science, or does he see both of these as the same animal?

Federica gave an excellent answer and there is little to add. As she said, we should also pay attention to our dialectical limitations when reading through these sorts of texts. They are not only meant to be expositions on the nature of thinking meditation, but reading itself should become an exercise in such holistic concentration, contemplation, meditation, etc. Our dialectical consciousness cannot help but lack a certain trust in the flow of our underlying thinking force which weaves together the content into a holistic tapestry. I still have this issue when reading certain lectures of Steiner - stopping every paragraph to try and figure out the full meaning of what was spoken before continuing. Without fail, though, I find that the meaning is better revealed when I put trust in my thinking force and the author's own knowledge of how our thinking force best proceeds - often they are writing each part with the Whole in mind (or in Steiner's lectures, speaking each part). Most of the questions I had earlier are naturally resolved simply by reading through more sections.
"Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And struggle there for undivided reign.
One, to the earth with passionate desire,
And closely clinging organs still adheres;
Above the mists the other doth aspire
With sacred ardor unto purer spheres.”
-Goethe, Faust
Anthony66
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by Anthony66 »

Thanks Federica, I agree with Ashvin that you gave an excellent answer.

I just found it disconcerting when I couldn't understand the first paragraph of the book. It certainly has got easier as I've progressed although I've experienced on numerous occasions a feeling of intuiting what is being said but then thinking that I could not put what was spoken in my own words.
Federica
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by Federica »

Anthony66 wrote: Sun Oct 23, 2022 12:17 pm Thanks Federica, I agree with Ashvin that you gave an excellent answer.

I just found it disconcerting when I couldn't understand the first paragraph of the book. It certainly has got easier as I've progressed although I've experienced on numerous occasions a feeling of intuiting what is being said but then thinking that I could not put what was spoken in my own words.
I can clearly relate to the feeling you are describing, and - speaking for myself - to the discomfort of being able to intuit ideas, but not to rationalize them, or put them in my own words, often unable to apply what Ashvin describes about 'trusting the navigator'. I also have to make amends for the know-it-all style of my previous post, that I realize now on re-reading! I have to be more on the alert for the attitude that produces such style... But I am glad that you still found it useful, and above all, that you had the interest to get the book, tackle the path of living thinking from yet another perspective, and share some of your thoughts on this thread, thanks for that!

“If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change. In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” (Carl Gustav Jung)
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

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Federica wrote: Sat Oct 22, 2022 9:48 pm ...
Thanks for sharing this! I continue to be impressed by how clearly and concisely he distills these spiritual scientific ideas.
Scaligero wrote:By the means of chemistry and physics, a scientist today can exactly reproduce a plant seed, composing it with every substance comprised in the authentic one, until a material and formal identity is achieved. He will have before him the two seeds, the authentic one and the chemically reproduced, indistinguishable from one another. The difference will emerge when planting the seeds: the artificial one will decompose, the authentic one will give rise to a new life.

This reminded me of Steiner's seed exercise in HTKHW, which I found helpful and capable of giving motivational results after imaginative work on concentration and meditation.

Steiner wrote:Let the student place before himself the small seed of a plant, and while contemplating this insignificant object, form with intensity the right kind of thoughts, and through these thoughts develop certain feelings. In the first place let him clearly grasp what he really sees with his eyes. Let him describe to himself the shape, color and all other qualities of the seed. Then let his mind dwell upon the following train of thought: “Out of the seed, if planted in the soil, a plant of complex structure will grow.” Let him build up this plant in his imagination, and reflect as follows: “What I am now picturing to myself in my imagination will later on be enticed from the seed by the forces of earth and light. If I had before me an artificial object which imitated the seed to such a deceptive degree that my eyes could not distinguish it from a real seed, no forces of earth or light could avail to produce from it a plant.” If the student thoroughly grasps this thought so that it becomes an inward experience, he will also be able to form the following thought and couple it with the right feeling: “All that will ultimately grow out of the seed is now secretly enfolded within it as the force of the whole plant. In the artificial imitation of the seed there is no such force present. And yet both appear alike to my eyes. The real seed, therefore, contains something invisible which is not present in the imitation.” It is on this invisible something that thought and feeling are to be concentrated. (Anyone objecting that a microscopical examination would reveal the difference between the real seed and the imitation would only show that he had failed to grasp the point. The intention is not to investigate the physical nature of the object, but to use it for the development of psycho-spiritual forces.)

Let the student fully realize that this invisible something will transmute itself later on into a visible plant, which he will have before him in its shape and color. Let him ponder on the thought: “The invisible will become visible. If I could not think, then that which will only become visible later on could not already make its presence felt to me.” Particular stress must be laid on the following point: what the student thinks he must also feel with intensity. In inner tranquility, the thought mentioned above must become a conscious inner experience, to the exclusion of all other thoughts and disturbances. And sufficient time must be taken to allow the thought and the feeling which is coupled with it to bore themselves into the soul, as it were. If this be accomplished in the right way, then after a time — possibly not until after numerous attempts — an inner force will make itself felt. This force will create new powers of perception. The grain of seed will appear as if enveloped in a small luminous cloud. In a sensible-supersensible way, it will be felt as a kind of flame. The center of this flame evokes the same feeling that one has when under the impression of the color lilac, and the edges as when under the impression of a bluish tone. What was formerly invisible now becomes visible, for it is created by the power of the thoughts and feelings we have stirred to life within ourselves. The plant itself will not become visible until later, so that the physically invisible now reveals itself in a spiritually visible way.
"Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And struggle there for undivided reign.
One, to the earth with passionate desire,
And closely clinging organs still adheres;
Above the mists the other doth aspire
With sacred ardor unto purer spheres.”
-Goethe, Faust
Federica
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Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by Federica »

AshvinP wrote: Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:37 am (...)
This reminded me of Steiner's seed exercise in HTKHW, which I found helpful and capable of giving motivational results after imaginative work on concentration and meditation.
(...)
Thanks Ashvin, that's exactly where I've reached in the book! I very much look forward to that exercise, but as you say, there is some work ahead with concentration first. I have been doing it with a pencil now, for a few days.
But the secret of plant life has always been particularly fascinating to me, and it has often happened, before I knew anything about idealism and Advaita, that I paused for a moment in front of a plant, trying the divest the look from the uderlying usual mind comment that a plant is trivial, a simple thing, and to realize how incredible the simplest plant is, as a phenomenon. I haven't achieved anything particular with that, but the intention has been there for long. For a few years, I've had a vine in my living room, and I was recently intrigued to read, somewhere in the Steiner archive, that the vine is different from any other plant - something I always felt, looking at this vine, without being able to put such a feeling in words. This is just to say that I look forward to better grasp plant life, and I don't see myself falling short of motivation until I will be able to get there. But the help and encouragement you offer mean a lot to me - Thank-you!

“If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change. In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.” (Carl Gustav Jung)
Anthony66
Posts: 137
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2021 12:43 pm

Re: A Great Summary of Modern Initiation

Post by Anthony66 »

Federica wrote: Sun Oct 23, 2022 12:49 pm
Anthony66 wrote: Sun Oct 23, 2022 12:17 pm Thanks Federica, I agree with Ashvin that you gave an excellent answer.

I just found it disconcerting when I couldn't understand the first paragraph of the book. It certainly has got easier as I've progressed although I've experienced on numerous occasions a feeling of intuiting what is being said but then thinking that I could not put what was spoken in my own words.
I can clearly relate to the feeling you are describing, and - speaking for myself - to the discomfort of being able to intuit ideas, but not to rationalize them, or put them in my own words, often unable to apply what Ashvin describes about 'trusting the navigator'. I also have to make amends for the know-it-all style of my previous post, that I realize now on re-reading! I have to be more on the alert for the attitude that produces such style... But I am glad that you still found it useful, and above all, that you had the interest to get the book, tackle the path of living thinking from yet another perspective, and share some of your thoughts on this thread, thanks for that!
I thought I might share a little bit about my meditation life.

I've been meditating for over 4 years now and until this year, that has consisted of oriental forms. I started doing Cleric's circling dot exercise earlier this year and at first discovered I had aphantasia - the inability to voluntarily create mental images in one's mind. I persisted and at first just tried to focus my mental energies. But about 3 months ago my aphantasia was gone. Some days it still takes considerable effort, but I can now consistently modulate the imagery in my mind.

In recent weeks I'm starting to feel the ability to really invest a lot of energy into my dot (on a good day). I feel like my thinking gives full existence to the dot. That said, there is the continual battle not the weaken the focus where I become aware that the dot has taken on a life of its own, under the control of something else.
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