How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation
This is the classic account of the modern Western esoteric path of initiation made public by Steiner in 1904. He begins with the premise that "the capacities by which we can gain insights into the higher worlds lie dormant within each one of us." Steiner carefully and precisely leads the reader from the cultivation of the fundamental soul attitudes of reverence and inner tranquility to the development of inner life through the stages of preparation, illumination, and initiation.
Steiner provides practical exercises of inner and outer observation and moral development. By patiently and persistently following his guidelines, new "organs" of soul and spirit begin to form, which reveal the contours of the higher worlds thus far concealed from us.
Steiner in this important work becomes a teacher, a counselor, and a friend whose advice is practical, clear, and effective. The challenges we face in life require increasingly deeper levels of understanding, and Steiner's text helps readers to cultivate the capacities for such insights and places them at the service of humanity.
This is Steiner's most essential guide to the modern path of initiation he advocated throughout his life. It has been translated into many languages and has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. How to Know Higher Worlds has been admired by some of the most brilliant minds of our time.
"A true classic of spiritual literature. It is one of the best ways I know for opening up one's life to the spiritual realms in a manner that is balanced, integrated, and loving. It is the product of a great soul who pointed out new routes into the interior." --David Spangler, author of Blessing: The Art and the Practice
"It is not only a personal guide to the spirit, but also a path through self-knowledge to compassionate action in the world."--Arthur Zajonc, author of Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind
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This is one of Steiner's best books for the beginner, and it should be read in conjunction with "Theosophy." Whereas "Theosophy" is mostly theory, "How to Know Higher Worlds"' gives the individual some concrete practices that will enable him or her to begin to liberate the soul from its attachment to the sensory world and train it to begin to perceive the spirit world.
How is this done? According to Steiner, there are three primary faculties that can be awakened for spiritual training and initiation. These are Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. He gives an example of a concrete practice that will enable the individual to awaken Imagination. He says that you can imagine how the pure green sap of a plant is purified into the red petals of the rose as an analogy to the process of imagining how the red blood in the human being can likewise be purified of the desires and passions of the astral body. He says that you should picture in your mind the image of a black cross that gives birth to a circle of seven red roses. The black cross corresponds to the base elements that are to be purified, whereas the red roses correspond to the purified blood. This is the first stage of liberating the soul from its imprisonment in matter, since the symbols used for this exercise have no connection to the external world. This allows the soul to withdraw its attention entirely from the outer world by focussing on a purely visionary image.
In the case of Inspiration, the image that is imagined in the mind is gradually blinked out,and one is to focus on the corresponding process that is going in the soul. Here the mind begins to transcend images and moves into the etheric realm whereby one begins to perceive spirit beings. Intuition,however, goes further in that it confers knowledge of the inner nature of higher beings through a process of identifying with them, becoming one with them. Only Intuition can confer knowledge about karma or past lives. Thus, whereas Imagination awakens the chakras in the astral body, Inspiration awakens a new center at the level of the heart in the etheric body, and this etheric extension begins in the head and is gradually expanded over time with spiritual exercises until it covers the larynx and then encompasses the heart, like a halo. The more highly developed a person's capacity for perceiving the spirit world is, the larger will this invisible etheric halo become. Intuition, furthermore, affects the physical body, though not in a way that is visible to the senses. Breathing exercises, for example, are involved.
Thus Steiner provides the initiate with exercises that will enable him to use the tools of his ego in order to construct what he calls the Spirit Self, or the higher spiritual capacities of the human being. Eventually, if one follows the practices that he outlines on a daily basis, one will develop not only the lost human capacity for perceiving into the spirit world, but one will also begin to perceive and remember one's past lives.
This is the sort of material covered in this wonderful book by Steiner.
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--John David Ebert, author of Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons: Film as the Mythology of Electronic Society