An opening thought:
Living under the cloud of “cutting edge ignorance”
by Rev. Richard Goodall
THE EASTER MORNING SUNRISE this year was a particularly dramatic spectacle. At first light there was just a thin layer of cloud above the Hottentots Holland Mountains but as the time of sunrise neared the clouds grew thicker and began to spread. They continued to build thicker and thicker banks of dark greyness so that it was 15 minutes after the actual sunrise that the sun eventually broke through and bathed us in warmth and light. The suspense and longing amongst those watching silently on the mountain slope during those 15 minutes was almost tangible.
The mood of those 15 minutes is one that, even if quite unrecognised by most, pervades the souls of people in our time. Humanity longs for a change which will lighten the darkness of mood in the world and reveal a path ahead which is new and different and healing on all fronts. The problem is that we are looking for this sunrise out there in the world in the form of new political leadership, economic policies, educational methods or social forms.
What we have at the moment, which leaves us so dissatisfied, is all informed by the thick bank of cloud that separates us from what could bring meaningful change. The reality is that a change for the better out there in the world will only ever come about as a consequence of an inner sunrise experienced within our own souls and in the souls of everybody else. And so we have to ask ourselves, “What constitutes such an inner sunrise experience?”
To answer this we need to grasp the fact that the whole of the coming into being of the world and of mankind is the consequence of a Will other than our own: in fact of a Divine, cosmic, creative will. It is this creative will which awakens in us a capacity for developing our own human will and human thinking. However, these soul strengths of will and thinking can only be fruitful if they remain aligned with that which brought them into being in the first place. The motto for the further path of the world is expressed in the Lord’s Prayer very clearly: “Thy will be done as above in the heavens, so also on the earth.” The darkness in the world is a consequence of us imposing our human will informed by a brilliant intellect on both the earth and the heavens in utter ignorance what we actually are as human beings. This darkness of ignorance about the reality of ourselves is a necessary stage in human development but not one in which we can linger for too long without becoming massively destructive.
Now is the time in which this ignorance needs urgently to be dispelled and with it the banks of dark cloud whichseparate us from reality. What constitutes an inner sunrise experience is an awakening to ourselves and to the essence of our true nature as an ‘I’ bearing spiritual being. Easter came about so that this awakening could be laid as a latent possibility – as a seed - in our souls. This ‘I’ nature is the element of “Christ in us”. Now is the time for this seed to germinate and it can only really do that when Easter becomes an inner personal reality for us. We need to realise that the Christ is united with and committed to every single human soul and that he has to die in us with every deed that we perform out of ignorance about our true nature. This he does freely so that he can also resurrect again in our thinking and in our whole being. His death in us can only lead to resurrection when we consciously engage with him in us as a living reality. As he says of himself “I am the resurrection and the life.” When I realise that I have an ‘I’ in me that is not of this world but for this world’s healing - when it is connected with the Christ in my thinking – then the clouds begin to disperse. I become aware of the fact that there is a place in me in which God’s creative will “as above” can work into the world “so below” – that the true source of life can work through me into the world – that death has no hold on me anymore but only on my body which is of this world.
If we return to the Easter morning sunrise and think for a moment of the all-permeating cosmic might of the sun which gives life to everything and will fill every space that is open to it – and compare that with the weakness of the clouds which only affect a very small, local patch of the earth but can block out the mighty sun, then we have a true picture of the might of the human ’I’ connected with Christ and all its possibilities - and on the other hand the puny weakness of selfhood steeped in worry, anxiety, self-indulgence and ignorance which prevents us from experiencing our own inner Easter sunrise and a life of healing newness.
Which of these we focus on is our choice and will determine our individual and collective future.
Spiritual outpouring into humanity and the earth
by Rev. Reingard Knausenberger
Rev. Reingard Knausenberger presents a picture of an hourglass to make visible the idea of a spiritual outpouring into humanity and the earth. As sand flows down from the top of the hourglass, through the narrow “eye of the needle”, so has the spiritual world poured out its substance, manifesting in matter. The first experience we have on leaving of the womb is the pull of gravity. It is not for nothing that we call this experience “The Fall”. That is why we sometimes need to “pull ourselves together” or “find our centre”. We need this earthly experience to develop the Self. The Holy Substance poured out of the heavens is now invested in us, in nature and in our destiny. When this outpouring was done, we lived in abundance, but there is now a growing awareness that the spiritual world is not an endless resource and that the gift is limited. The fact that the hourglass is empty can lead to anxiety and depression, but it can also be an initiation into deeper thinking. The youth is taking notice. Children across the world ask what we are doing to the planet. On international forums they stand up and demand that we take care of the earth. But how? What is needed? The last spiritual grain to fall through the hourglass marked the 'Turning Point of Time’ (R. Steiner). It happened at the Baptism of Jesus and was the outpouring from the Heart of God. That was the last most crucial investment: the Christ Impulse that poured out into humanity through the ‘the eye of the needle’ of a single human being. And now we all carry this Christ impulse in us. It is not of this world. It is not something we can give to ourselves. We can only ignite it. In the archetypal journey of the Christ, we can see how this impulse works into a human being bit by bit until it penetrates right into the physical bony structure where it transubstantiates matter into spirit. We can begin by transforming our way of being through our thinking and by changing our habits. That is why we need the altar, where the baptismal impulse can be taken in and strengthened every time. When we do this together, again and again, the impulse increases in potency, not for us alone, but also for the earth. And so we participate in ‘turning things around’ also for the powers that sustain our existence.
The link between the heavenly world and the earthly world
by Rev. Ulrich Becker
The heavens reach out to us.
Generously, they pour out over us their grace.
It is spiritual beings that offer their substance
So that the earth can continue to exist.
It is through their spirit-offering
That life can persist here on earth.
Can give rise to deep and joyful
Gratitude to the fact that
The angelic worlds care for us,
Accompany us in our attempts at
They give graciously.
Will find its fulfilment
Wherever they find an echo
Human hearts, and
Towards all beings of creation.
Spiritual beings know,
Is the most satisfactory deed one can do.
Every such deed
Accomplished out of our free will
Links existentially to
Beings of the divine worlds on the
Long way to become
The humanity of Christ.
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