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"Easy is hard"


On 15 December 1904 Dr. Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture called "The Inner Development Of Man (Vom inneren Leben)" in Berlin. In Gesammelte Arbeiten (GA) [Collected Works] of Steiner, it is given the number 53; that is what GA 53 stands for.

Quotations and extracts from the Steiner lecture follows. The lecture contains broad suggestions as to how inner development is had. Steiner teaches there is a spiritual world that is comprehensible to pure thought [aware mind is into it too].

Where nothing is added to a statement, it is a Steiner abstract, more seldom a quotation. Some design keynotes and rendering markers are explained on a separate page.


Dr Steiner knew about Indian tantra. In earlier years he had lectured on Theosophy as a head of the German part of the Theosophical Society, until he broke out and in 1912 started his Anthroposophic movement.

As for Theosophy, the richest and most profound source of its views is Indian thought, which can be traced from the earliest scriptural Vedas through the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita to modern times. Elements of Buddhism and Taoism are in Theosophy too. The influence of the Theosophical Society has been rather significant, says Encyclopaedia Britannica (EB).

Many of Steiner's central, coined terms, like "sense organs of the soul", can be compared with yoga teachings. In the case of "soul-sense-organs", to chakras, and/or inner sense organs that are described in the ancient Indian Samkhya Philosophy.


Steiner Quotations and Extracts

Man is surrounded by a triune world: the physical world, the soul world and the spirit world. [With]

Being told about subtleties and perceiving some of them oneself is rather different.

Elementary development follows from following an experienced teacher's statements. Advanced development ties in with personal experiences in soul and spirit realm and relates to clairvoyance.

The training that the human soul and spirit must undergo for attaining deep inner certainty can be extensive — Most people need the aid of a personal teacher in this field.

Advice may be freely given in accordance with human freedom against humiliations. It is up to the single individual to what extent, if at all, he intends to follow such advice. It is left up to the individual what task he sets before his soul and spirit.*

Inner schooling is very little dependent on external measures.

Transforming oneself is often hard work, even though nobody, not even your closest friend, need notice anything different.

He who is of the opinion that a special amount of time must be spent on his inner training and consequently neglects his ordinary duties and by his attempts at insight into spiritual worlds becomes an anti-social, inferior member of human society. By these means least is achieved. [Abr]

Let the inner training quietly progress without undue haste in great inner tranquility — Great endurance can be called for.

Advanced individuals need less training and get results in a short time.

Directions for the road to enlightenment vary with each individual.

As a result of inner development certain definite qualities will appear in the personality, and they reflect or point to the level of inner development and call for concern.

A birth is not without consequences. And the teaching of karma, of compensatory justice, is the big question - "Though it is easy, the easy is hard." [Goethe] [Abr]

Few are those who resolve to call forth the will-power, endurance and patience necessary for achieving certain definite conditions of soul and spirit essential for comprehending reincarnation and karma.

A quality that someone develops within himself, a thought that he imprints in himself by constantly holding it in his mind, can become permanent in his soul.

You may acquire new inclinations by constantly holding the thought of such inclinations, virtues or characteristics in your mind. Affirmations and judo-linked visualisations are for that. [Mod]

An intimate path the soul must tread.

Emerge in due time with brand new habits, for example neat and relevant - not through any external pressure but by unswerving mental focus that gets "set" as it is best. [Mod]

It often helps to be able to objectively observe a gesture, a facial expression or some other insignificant habit, after becoming aware of it. Remain detached, as if observing another person, and then work with attention to incorporate soemthing helpful in its stead. [With]

In pangs of sorrow or right after accidents, there may be better things to do than speculating about causes. [With]

He who suppresses his anger when something annoying happens to him, may eventually comprehend laws of karma insofar as he leaves it open whether or not ideas of karmic retribution are really true. He must have neither doubt nor superstition because these two are the worst obstacles. [Abr]

Keep an open mind. However, do not instruct a person who is filled with superstition or common prejudice, or one who is prone to senseless judgment or apt to fall prey to any illusion. An aspirant for spiritual enlightenment must be a person of common sense. [Abr]

One who easily leans to fantasies, superstitions and illusions is unfit to enter into the schooling prerequisite for spiritual teaching. It is easy to deceive oneself here. [Abr]

It must be remembered to what extent most people tend to sloppy, careless thinking and are unable to control their thought-life.

In pondering the demands everyday life makes it becomes clear that it is an impossibility to completely free one's mind from outside impressions. To do so, it becomes necessary to set aside a short period of time every day. For this brief period, a person must be able to tear himself away from all sense impressions, and great inner calm must take its place. Thoughts that connect us with finiteness and transitory matters must be silenced. [Abr]

Let the soul adjust of its own accord. *

Great concepts and sentiments originate in the eternal. They are found as an example in the Bhagavad Gita. [Abr]

What was true thousands of years ago and will be true thousands of years from now could be worth listening to . . . One must allow such sentences to quicken and get on the march in one's inner self.*

The intellectual comprehension of a great truth may not count for much, but keeping one's attention on such a spiritual truth is.

Get familiar with your contemplative inner life . . . refresh your soul anew every morning. The path of waking up properly leads to clarity. Speak and express yourself accordingly. [Mod]

Human individuality and that of cosmic beings is profound. These are forces which, like electricity in the external world, are powerful in the internal world. They are not only moral forces but forces of cognition. [Abr]

Get proficient in handling subtle truths thus: Be thankful for them and let them dwell in you by keeping attention to them. [Mod]

There comes a moment when a soul begins to speak, and also when it begins to perceive eternal truths. *

Much light and radiance (stuff inside) can pour from the soul realm. [Mod]

It is characteristic of the soul world that one "sees" it. It is equally characteristic of the spirit world that one "hears" it.

A description of sound principles for inner development are found in Dr Steiner's Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment [Helpful maxims are on-site]. The book contains specific instructions for treading an inward-going path. [Mod]

It is not expedient to be introduced to matters that refer to an actual alteration of the soul, that relate to the most profoundly important aspects of soul life, through commercial channels.

Occult training methods are not only worthless but can be dangerous under certain circumstances. [Abr]

The rules that are put down in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment stem from ancient traditions.

Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment is harmless. Its guidelines can do no harm even if a person practices them improperly.

In order to awaken in the soul world, one must have sense organs for this soul world just as one has sense organs for the material world.

A person . . . who is clairvoyant, can actually perceive the process of development of . . . soul organs in a person engaged in inner training. They are perceived in his aura enveloped in a cloud of light. The aura of a spiritually undeveloped person is seen like a nebulous cloud formation.

When a person undertakes occult training, his aura becomes increasingly definable. The aura's appearance is that of two entwined spirals like rings of mist. They wind around one another and disappear in continuous spirals into indefinable realms.

When a person undertakes occult training, the two entwined spiral formations [it may be the ida and pingala nadis so referred to] of his aura become clearly organized. Certain organs appear in the aura that are called chakras. They are sensors or "sense organs" of the soul on their levels of correspondence. Their structure is delicate and in order to come into bloom they must be cared for and guarded. Under no other circumstances can they develop. [With]

One should nurture the essential soul eyes [chakras]. Equanimity must be preserved, patience must be practiced. Nervousness and haste will not permit its development. [Mod]

Do not become engrossed in the news, merely. [Abr]

As to judging your fellowmen, dear understanding must take the place of criticism. [Mod]

Careful listening is advocated, also in a dire conflict. [Mod]

Train yourself to look straightway or understandingly into somebody's being. [Mod]

With Steiner, sound empathy is called occult "listening." [Mod]

You may refrain from evaluating your fellowman according to personal judgment, opinion and prejudice and instead let emphatic understanding work for you in silence. [Mod]

A wise man can learn from a child . . . listen to the stammering of a babe till baby-attunded power or understanding wells forth from deep inside. [Mod]

Do not expect the soul eyes to open at once. [Abr]

Kind and responsive utterances can help the spiritual organ [vishuddhi chakra] in the larynx area to become essentially responsive and not drooping. Patience or regularity is needed for such things to develop. [Mod]

There are three virtues that nearly turn man into a clairvoyant. They must he practiced with the necessary intensity and emphasis: (1) Self-confidence paired with humility, (2) self-control paired with gentleness, and (3) presence of mind coupled with perseverance . . .

Levels toward spiritual awakening: (a) preparation, (b) enlightenment and (c) initiation.

  1. During the first stage or level, man's being is prepared in such a manner as to allow the delicate structures of the soul to emerge.
  2. On the level of enlightenment man gains the means of perceiving in the soul realm.
  3. Through initiation he attains the faculty of expressing himself in the spirit realm. [Abr]

The Way homeward - to a person's own inner being - is not directly closed to anybody.

Grand truths can appear or come to us in intimate ways.

The greatest sages of mankind found truths because they found the path leading into their inner being - and note it well. [Mod].

When a person reaches down to the depth of his being, and arises to the thoughts belonging to eternity, he kindles the flame [so to speak].

Cater to equanimity, inner calm and peace the day you can.

Keep silent when it matters and utter only significant, lofty thoughts.

Today we have reached a stage in evolution of humanity in which spiritual scientific knowledge must become far more widely disseminated . . . It must be placed within reach of everyone to a quite different extent from what was the case in older times.


Rudolf Steiner easy-hard inner development, Rudolf Steiner quotations, Literature  

Steiner, Rudolf. "The Inner Development Of Man (Vom inneren Leben)". Lecture given in Berlin, December 15, 1904. (GA 53). Tr. Maria St. Goar. (Hudson, NY?:) The Anthroposophic Press, 1970.

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