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Inner Development by Valentin Tomberg

LECTURE TWO: Meditation Its Being and Effect


We have spoken of Platonists who are disposed towards revelation and who use their clairvoyance to experience karma, and Aristotelians who are disposed towards research and and who use their clairvoyance to learn through nature. Although they are inwardly different, the same path of spiritual practice is valid for both.

This path is based upon the principle of spiritual practice. this principle has two fundamental aspects:

First Aspect: Openness

One should meditate for a short, chosen time each day, a time in which one is completely conscious, while following the ordinary current of life with natural openness during the rest of the day. One's body and soul will become fond of the clarity and brightness experienced during meditaion.

drawing 1

This process may be shown with the help of a drawing. If (a) represents the ordinary level of life, this is raised by spiritual exercise (b) to a new level (c). And the process continues, although the steps may be small.

Meditation indirectly results in definite powers pouring forth into life, and in the fact that a person learns to appreciate self-control by the exercise of free will. This is one of the principal aspects of spiritual training.

Second Aspect: Constant Repetition

Steiner once coined the formula: "Rhythm replaces strength." This is valid for both physical and spiritual life. Slow, gradual efforts can bring a person genuinely forward in such a way that no disorders will set in, as might well happen when an attempt is made to acheive a great deal in a short time.

One's breath always repeats itself rhythmically and harmonious breathing is the foundation for human health and life. The soul, when it acquires a kind of "breathing" of its own, acheives for the inner life a similarly ordered existence.

Our Angel, Lucifer and Ahriman


If you picture a person standing in front of you, then the person's angel will be there above. A human being's so-called higher I is something that the angel envelops, just as a mother envelops her child in her womb. When the higher I is born, the angel is freed from human duty and is no longer that person's guardian angel - hovering, guarding, protecting him or her. Instead, the angel becomes a friend - one who walks with the person or even departs, if entrusted with other tasks. The realm of the angel is found beyond the threshold of human consciousness.

Our thoughts beam out in four directions: right and left relate to the senses; upward and downward relate to active, independent thinking. The beam pointing downward reaches the sphere of the so-called subconscious. Here there are not only unconscious instincts, wishes andpassions, but also different beings.

Here one meets the Luciferic angel, who is bound up with the human astral body. The Luciferic double "fell" in the middle of the Lemurian period; since then this angel's longing is to not exist at all. Instead of being bound up with the human astral body where, in our inner being, it repeatedly causes us to lie, this angel longs to be dissolved into the world's astrality.

Valentin Tomberg
Carving of Ahriman
by Rudolph Steiner

Deeper still we find the sphere of the Ahrimanic double. Thus the subconscious is Luciferic and Ahrimanic. Therefore we have a threefoldness: superconsciousness, consciousness, and subconsciousness.

Ahriman strives to gain control of the human I. Just as our angel, above us, represents our archetype, so the Ahrimanic double is our caricature. This caricature is very intelligent. He does not manifest through arousing wild passions, but instead manifests particularly whenever subordination to an aim works strongly in a person. Those individuals, who are highly respectable (from the external, bourgeois point of view), can be tools of this Ahrimanic double.

The Effects of Meditation


First Effect

When one gives oneself over to meditation, a stream of light flows upwards to the higher I and to the angel. Then from this superconsciousness a stream of light flows downward illuminating and purifying the subconscious. Thus Lucifer is gradually freed by the angel that stands above. The subjective Prometheus bound to our astral body, to the cliffs of our being, is freed of his fetters. This freeing takes place through the growing inner love of truthfulness. When we radiate light into our unconscious with our consciousness, we discover our inner untruthfulness. Everyone has an inclination towards lying - lying not so much in word, but lying in deed. Lying is inwardly destroyed and is replaced by a yearning for truth. Lucifer frees himself from our astral body, becoming a being that can freely move around us, in our destiny. Thereby he becomes a servant of our guardian angel.

Snake shedding its skin
Snake shedding its skin

Second Effect

A second effect of purification through meditation is that both Luciferic and Ahrimanic elements are expelled from our subconscious and become conscious. They become revealed. Just as a snake discards its skin and the skin lies before it and can be seen by it, so a person sheds the lower I, the astral subconscious, which then becomes a sort of perceptible "double."

One becomes conscious of the sources from which one's mistakes arise, conscious of how one can commit actions that do not correspond to one's intentions. With individuals whose I is weak, this double can act and speak with them. A person can utter seven sentences of which one has oneself formed only four, while three derive from the double.

In learning to be mindful of this "companion," who would like to slip into every utterance, into every inner judgment, and into the happenings of the outer world, one acquires self-knowledge; one learns to have exact knowledge of one's own being.

Third Effect

A third effect of meditation is the driving out of the Ahrimanic double. This double cannot be transformed within us, but must be driven out, so that the human being loses all connection with it. We must give this double no sustenance, so that it is forced to retreat before the descending light of meditation, to retreat in the literal sense of the word, as far as our feet. There it clings, as it were, and is dragged in the horizontal dimension through life. Then there comes a moment when it breaks off like a brittle twig. One's gait becomes lighter. One is freed from an inner burden.

Two Kinds of Meditation


Until now we have spoken of meditation as spiritual exercise. Another kind of meditation has the task of acquiring knowledge with the purpose of penetrating certain mysteries. This kind of meditation also can be represented diagramatically. The I poses a question, placing it as high as possible, so that it must rise still higher. In order to raise the question upward, one brings forth from within oneself higher and higher energy. As the question rises, it meets oertain beings of the spiritual hierarchies and becomes filled with their inward radiations. Then it returns to the human being where it lights up as knowledge. We have understood something.

One can go further to experience the full value and content of both question and answer. Then the stream descends into the depths of the subconscious; from there, the feeling and the will of this thought return and may be cognized. Deeper penetration is achieved by posing ever higher questions and receiving ever higher answers. Then the question reaches one's will. The form of this activity is a figure eight, a lemniscate. This process of cognitive meditation is carried out to understand something not only with one's head, but also with one's heart, and finally with one's whole being.

A meditation carried out for the sake of knowledge is in accord with the words: "I am the way, the truth, and the life." These words are likewise the stages of meditation - that is to say, a thorough cognition, experienced right into the human blood. All this takes place by means of meditation.

LECTURE THREE: Indian Yoga in Relation to the Christian-Rosicrucian Path - to be written


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