Is There A Method For Studying Anthroposophy?

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Today many professionals have to have credits for Continuing Education in order to maintain licensure. Such is the case for physicians, and because of this, the author of this article had to do just this, get the needed credits To this end my colleagues and I in the medical practice of the Fellowship Community Associates purchased a home study course. A good sized check was sent in. Two weeks later each physician received three large compendia weighing 32 pounds. In addition, we all received 41 tapes to share. We all for certain felt we had a weighty task at hand. But then I paused to think further that I was at the moment involved with a little booklet with three lectures by Rudolf Steiner entitled the “Spiritual Relations in the Human Organism” (October 20, 22 and 23, 1922 – Mercury Press, 1984) This little booklet weighed 4 ounces, 128th the weight of the compendia. The 32 pounds of written materials would be used once and the compendia would be thrown away for recycling. In contrast, I noted to myself, that I had been busy with the little booklet for a period of thirty years, and if I would live another thirty years, I would continue to be busy with it as before. Though the content of the 32 pounds of compendia was important in order to be recognized by our legal-medical system, and perhaps somewhat helpful for a few patients, the content of the little booklet was important for my life’s work and my very existence as a physician. Assuredly this was weightier than the content of the compendia.

In taking up the first tape, I met a method of studying the compendia in order to take a test and pass. The method was given immediately, but there was more. The more had to do with the way in which the student of the compendia should manage his soul, his mind-set so that he could take in the material, know the way testing was undertaken and how to take the test so that one would be comfortable and not suffer at the hand of the test. Thus not only was a study method given, but psychological counseling as well, so that the welfare of the student was assured. Comfort and ease was of the greatest import according to the author of the first tape.

My thoughts turned to work with Anthroposophy. Should there be a study method in taking up Anthroposophy? What is the psychology of studying a spiritual science?. Is psychological counseling necessary with the study of Anthroposophy? Is there a test or are there tests involved in studying Anthroposophy? Is there a method of coming to know, that is not based on study? These questions stepped to the fore as I contemplated this subject. The juxtaposition of the content given by the well-intentioned author of the first tape and my own questions prompted me to make this effort to deal with a possible, or possible methods for studying the Spiritual Science of Anthroposophy. The other questions should be dealt with but this will have to come later.

If one asks the question in this way, then it seems essential to note that the study method would have to do with a gaining of knowledge, and or wisdom, and in turn becoming able to serve mankind better. So a method of study has not only to do with an acquisition of knowledge as a goal, but an acquisition of a moral dimension as well, so that action can be an outcome, not a mere acquisition of facts and wisdoms. In this way KNOWLEDGE OR WISDOM FOR ACTION needs to be a part of the method, needs to be built into the method. The assumption is that the quest is not for the sake of acquiring knowledge for knowledge sake alone or merely for the sake of self-satisfaction, but knowledge is needed for good deeds, for moral action, or serving action.

There can follow the question, “Are there not many methods”? The answer in the case of this essay is that five methods will be considered, suggesting that there are more. The last method to be considered, however, will not be so much a study method, but a potential method for actions, so that learning can take place, that wisdom can surface out of actions, so that deeds become a kind of study method as a way to learn. With this latter method it is ACTION FROM WHICH KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM CAN ARISE that is essential. It can be argued that to become a painter, a violinist, a farmer, a doctor, or any skilled worker or professional, it is necessary to go a path of study and practice, but study is only a small part of a practicing profession. Much has to be learned from actual practice. With this essay it is not the study for professions that is of great concern, but for those individuals who have to learn from work or are learning handicapped. They need to learn in general, but they may also be interested in studying and learning about a spiritual science as well.

As an interjection, a few words might be mentioned to distinguish a profession from a vocation as it pertains to learning from work itself. Let us consider that a profession is born for the individual when the study-learning and the needed practices are undertaken, so that the outcome is that an individual fits into a group of similarly active individuals. This constitutes a profession, which means there is some common activity dealing with a need existing in the social domain. With the vocational process, one can contemplate that an individual learns from his actions and by this means individualizes the profession. Such an individual becomes wedded with his profession, and his actions permit such a one to transform a particular profession out of his own knowledge gained at the hand of work and out of his own insights. (An extensive study in regard to the practice of medicine has shown just this. The study was undertaken by a socio­scientific method.) The actions of an individual engaged in a vocation are progressively future oriented and are at the same time an expression of the individual and help change the individual I in the process. It can be said that the professional professes his knowledges and skills, while the vocationalist acts. The vocationalist can let actions speak for themselves while the individual finds a real future for himself, one to which he can devote himself. Without devotion one might say vocation does not exist. One can think that a profession supports the impersonal, has to find a common ground, while the vocation arises out of the person and supports the personal as the person evolves with the vocation by dint of devotion. Another vista can be that a profession outfits an individual for the economic domain, while a vocation prepares a person for an individual path of devotion and even a sense of religious service to mankind. It is apparent that both profession and vocation are needed in our day. The professional serves as has been determined out of the past, while the vocationalist continually strives to the future and helps that new professions are born to meet social needs.

Thus one might consider that THE STUDY AND LEARNING FOR THE PROFESSION IS MORE THAT OF KNOWLEDGE TO ACTION oriented, with study quite essential. FOR VOCATION IT IS MORE FROM ACTION TO LEARNING AND KNOWELDGE that is the essential ingredient. For the non-intellectual and for the semi-learning disabled, it is more the latter that may be of the greatest import. (We even in current day educational fields distinguish “vocational schools” from “professional schools”.) The professional starts with study. The so called “non-learner” often starts with action and much less study. For the “non-learner” or for the one who learns in a different way, it is often the action which has to serve as a foundation and as an essential ingredient for learning. (With the percent of non-learners growing, vocational learning and training becomes highly important.) It might be said that “action-study” is the method for the non-learner, or the action oriented individual. An attempt will be made to unfold this as a fifth method of studying Anthroposophy.

Now if we turn to the study of and learning about Anthroposophy, coming to a method of study, it can be helpful to ask for a simple definition of Anthroposophy. Those busy with this spiritual science, and it is a spiritual science, not a philosophy or a religion, know that a simple definition is not really possible, but none-the-less Rudolf Steiner has given just such a direct and apparently simple definition. This is notable since he did not like definitions for the most part. What is his definition? It is that “Anthroposophy can lead the individual human spirit to the spirit of the universe.” It is not so difficult to consider that Rudolf Steiner is giving an activity demanding definition. This spiritual science can lead the human spirit, but it is not said that the human spirit is dragged along. One might say that the active human spirit is led. In contrast, let us take an opposite view which he gave to teachers. This opposite view is that he hoped that men could be so educated that “the little toe could become a teacher”. He noted this to be a lofty ideal. Here one might say that the spirit of the toe can lead the human spirit to spiritual heights. For many this can be a startling perspective and quite a new form of learning. Such a view might even seem far fetched, but for those who have spent time working with their hands or have been very active with their feet, this apparent far-fetched perspective can give way. For example, to master a new technique of bowing in playing a violin, all the wisdom of the world, all the knowledge of great violin players will not give the skill to bow differently. The bow arm and the hand with fingers has to become a learner and teacher. Practice methods are needed for the teaching and learning to occur even if one has a violin teacher. The violinist needs to have to arrive at a study method with practice and learn from what is experienced. The teacher then serves as an awakener.

Now before taking up a first method of study let us make a second interjection, the first having to do with vocation and action learning. Let us consider that a human spirit is actually led to the spirit of the universe in a directed and responsible fashion. Here we might consider the practice of a religion where there is a communion process. With communion there is a union of the individual spirit with a specific form of spirituality. With a religious practice, an individual can be as active or as passive as desired, but a leader is necessary. With a religious practice and an active participation by individuals, a congregation, a ritual, a sacrament and a leader is needed. This is the case in religious practice where substance (bread and wine) is used as a means for the individual to come to experience the spirit. Here a priest or religious leader is needed as just noted. This is not really a study path, it is more an experiential path where the individual can find his way as a result of his experiences. Again it is to be considered that this type of spiritual union is a RELIGIOUS AND PHYSICAL COMMUNION process where physical substance is essential for the union in spirit. Essential is an officiating leader, often called a pastor or priest and a ritual, a sacramental ritual, given for a religious community.

Though this is not generally considered to be a method, for our contemplations here, it can be, and can be considered to be involved with the very sacred and complex process of “tran­substantiation”. Participation is this form of communion, of the human spirit with the spirit in the world, can be a point of departure for learning and personal growth.

With this essay it is possible to make another distinction. We have just noted that the use of substance can make a union, a communion possible. Specific circumstances are needed for this to take place. It is now possible to pose the thought that a purely “SPIRITUAL COMMUNION”, a spiritual union is possible, can take place. With this latter form of communion the IDEA serves instead of substance. It is on the basis of this assumption that this essay is based and serves to underpin the circumstance where the individual spirit can be led or helped to make his way to the spirit of the world or the universe.

For a moment let us stay with the communion process. Next, it is possible to speak of “SOUL COMMUNION”. This can be considered to be meeting in the social domain, and here communion of a very different nature can take place. Meetings and communions can take place in the three spheres of social life, that is in the domain of spiritual life, human rights seeking, and in the process of human association. Here we can speak of communing in spirit with our fellow man, communing as an equal and as a brother in the economic activities of our times. These three unions, communions, may well be the true basis for communalism which has been distorted by political machinations. As best as I can see, this is a threefold communing process and asks that the social dimensions of existence be taken to heart and true “social forms” be incarnated. The third study method which will be presented in what follows is the methodic which can be used as a foundation for approaching this type of union, communion. The third method of study can be considered to lead over to this type of communing.

If one seeks for a path where study is noted as essential, in fact the first step, we come to the path as given by Christian Rosenkreutz. It is through Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual researches that we have come to be able to speak of this path and the steps that are connected therewith.

This spiritual path given by Christian Rosenkreutz has seven steps. These are outlined in a series of lectures entitled “At the Gates of Spiritual Science” (Anthroposophical Press, 1985, Page-80). They are:

  • 1. Study — the unfolding of human thinking which can embrace the whole of humanity and the world, including cosmos, so that an inner purification of the soul takes place. Self-knowledge is gained at the hand of the world, and the world gradually becomes revealed in the human being himself. This is a first step on what is called an occult path, which means that a student is on a path that takes the world into consideration.
    It stands in contrast to the mystical path where it is solely the inner experiences of the striver which are essential and almost eliminative of the outer world. For the occult path of our day, it means taking up what one can gain from an active sense life, and what science has to give, and then taking up (studying) what an anthroposophical spiritual science has to say.
  • 2. Gaining Imaginative knowledge — is the next step and brings into a knowing mode whatever is met by the physical senses in the outer world and the human being. The outer world and sense visible man can become like a book to reveal their depth in imaginative pictures which are not yet knowledge penetrated and meaningful. The imaginative pictures are of a very different order than the usual imaginations that the human being has. For the science of our day, this would be the capacity to work with the physical and sense perceptible man so that relations can be gained between phenomena in the form of images, which in turn can be led to a higher form of knowing.
  • 3. Learning the occult script — means that the striver can begin to read nature and the human being and his activities so that the imaginations as given at the second stage become progressively filled with meaning and wisdom. For the sciences of our day this step means taking what is perceived, gaining images and leading this over to meanings. Reading of the occult script is of a higher order than gaining the capacity for imaginations.
  • 4. Acquiring a rhythmical breathing capacity — is not known to the science of our day and at the moment, it is those familiar with Yoga practices that this stage is becoming a part of our culture. That there are rhythmic breathing, observational and thinking poetic-like experiences which belong on a thinking, observing spiritual path, this is quite new. This new breathing capacity helps illuminate the images gained with the second step. This capacity of rhythmic breathing, this has to be arrived at through careful thinking, observing and permitting the symbols created by the individual to be corrected by what is being observed. Here one can begin to speak of being inspired, but this inspiration is of a much higher order than the usual inspiration.
  • 5. Sensing and forming a relation with the world — (experiencing Macrocosmic and Microcosmic correspondences) — this stage helps that the individual can find the world in his own make up, and his make up stands in a different form in the world. Micro and macrocosms stand in relation to one another, mirroring, corresponding, dualizing existence. At this stage the individual can live in true self knowing and can begin to prepare for a union with the larger world as a knowing and communing activity. The import of this step is to come to the eternal of each (the ego) and in making the next step not lose this eternal individuality in the greater dimensions of existence. This is a further step in knowing, that is knowing oneself as an individual, as a bodily, soul and spiritual being and a cosmic thinking, feeling and willing being.
  • 6. Overcoming of the correspondences — is a further progress on this path. This step involves the individual being able to move into the larger world, the world where spirit reigns and spiritual beings are active and at work and become our cosmic soul life of thinking, feeling and willing. As a spiritual being, the individual must have gained the capacity to balance thinking, feeling and willing while holding consciousness of one’s true being. One’s own being becomes revealed, and knowledge of one’s own spirit is gained by the relation that comes to exist between the individual and the spiritual beings which are perceived. One can only perceive what one is oneself at this stage. One’s own being is defined by ones company as it were. This is a higher stage of knowing oneself. Here it is possible to live sensing how one lives in creative relation with the spiritual world creating one’s own organism.
  • 7. The final step — is that one is able to be taken into the bosom of the spiritual beings one is perceiving and come to rest in their being, as it were. One becomes an angel and archangel, rising into the domain of God as it were. One comes to rest in God. Now one becomes the spiritual beings with whom one communes and lives in a blissful relation with them as one’s own inner being, with the potential to know them from within, from within one’s own being. This is experienced as blessed existence, but here the spiritual striver becomes familiar with the inner most make up and activity of the spiritual beings by whom he is taken in. Here one might say that one is intuited by the spiritual beings of the spiritual world. One rises to the spiritual world and finds communion with God. Here one is not petitioning for the spiritual world to appear to one as with a religious ritual, rather one has striven so that one becomes the inner being of those spiritual beings who permit entry into their holy of holies.

Notable with this Rosicrucian path is that it begins with STUDY. This path is well suited to our day, our time, asking for a spiritualization of the intellect. Those who seek today, who seek to lead one’s own spirit to the spirit of the universe, for the most part have had an intellectual training. Each in his own way has had to gain a method of study. However, this is for the most part based on being able to read, write and manage arithmetic, the famous three Rs. This coupled with the cultivation of the abstract intellect is a sign of the times, though it is becoming obvious that more and more individuals cannot manage the abstraction demanded by the current educational practices. Many who ply the Rosicrucian path are those who have had some form of intellectual training which has prepared each for a work in life. It is only the “non­learner” who is not grounded in the intellect and needs to be led so that a path of knowing can become a reality. As noted before, the “study method” for the latter will be addressed with the final method delineated here in this essay. Let us now turn to a number of methods of study where the intellect is more alive and then turn to a potential non-intellectual (apparent non­intellectual) study method.

It is possible to use Rudolf Steiner himself as the example to elaborate this method. It is a method to be found in the book “The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity” (Anthroposophical Press, 1961. There are, of course, many ways that this book can be used to unfold a method, though there is a basic method inherent in the book itself. The subtitle of the book is “Results of Introspective Observation According to the Method of Natural Science”. This subtitle begs the fact that there is methodic inherent in work with this book. It is a book that challenges those with intellectual capacities to think so strenuously that the thinking activity becomes conscious and is used to move, intuiting the thoughts of well known philosophers of Rudolf Steiner’s time. This thinking activity fostered by Rudolf Steiner can be used to take in the thinking activity of modern thinkers as well. By this method thinking becomes an activity and as well a very mobile activity. A mobile capacity is needed to intuit the manifold thinking activities of specialists in thinking, that is philosophers.

By this thinking method of Rudolf Steiner, the self emerges as a thinker, first as a thinker of the thoughts of others and then as an active being. By this route the self becomes able to mirror itself in the very skeletal make up of the human organization. At the same time the self as thinker is able to distinguish how this thinking self, the active, pure thinking self is able to be transformed for the sake of willing, so that deeds can take place. This is a method that leads to “pure thinking” and an activity which can be defined as “pure spiritual activity” and then finds a basis for action, moral action. Here the moral is a creative activity and one that can be differentiated from the immoral. Moral intuition is the term that is used in the book, and the individual able to manage this creativity is called the “ethical individual”. This method then leads the individual spirit as thinker to a pure spiritual activity which can commune with the idea as spiritual revelation, as spiritual manifestation. This method then qualifies as method which leads to “spiritual communion” in the form of idea. The added qualification is that the method also leads to a potential for action, when the idea can serve as a basis for moral action.

This method is quite well detailed in a set of four lectures entitled “Human and Cosmic Thinking” (Rudolf Steiner Press, London, January 20-24, 1914) This set of lectures points to the different philosophical views, the thinking activity, but as well the new mobility in thinking that is possible.

This is a very difficult and strenuous method, to think the thoughts of Rudolf Steiner as he presented them in the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity and as well the lectures on Human and Cosmic Thought. He has said himself, there will be a limited number who can go this spiritual path, the path of the pure thinker, though on any path where knowing is involved, the striver has to master thinking to a certain degree and the path is hard work, is strenuous. Much depends on a person’s ability and the willingness to work. With this method the unable can become able, but real work is needed.

In order to have confidence in any path, a degree of knowledge or wisdom has to become part of the process. It appears that many, if not most, are not aware that a method is actually needed no matter what path is taken. In this essay it is taken for granted that all seek knowledge, as it is knowledge which is needed for freedom. Without freedom few today want to take a path of action. The sense for a free will haunts all.

This is a method which can be found in a little booklet now out of print for years. The booklet is entitled “Steiner’s Theosophy” by Carl Unger (The Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co, London, circa 1932). Archivist Note – Back in Print – Steiner Books. Here the author shares a method he has used to work with the content of the book “Theosophy” (Anthroposophic Press, Hudson New York, 1946). His method is to help a student to come to a mastery of the content of the book as a result of his own effort. The method is one of working with the content and in mastering the content and in the process permits the student come to experience truths that arise out of strenuous thinking. Carl Unger demonstrates his method by taking the introduction to the book Theosophy and abstracting the same introduction five times. The first abstraction is done with ten sentences, the second with five sentences, the third with three sentences, the fourth with one sentence and the fifth with one concept. This is a five step method, demonstrated and shared. It can be taken up by anyone willing to make such an effort with content of any nature, but here we are concerned with the content derived from spiritual scientific research. The single concept that Carl Unger comes to out of the introduction in the book is that the relation between the teacher and the spiritually striving pupil is that of absolute freedom.

Carl Unger was a very careful thinker, and in the early years when individuals came to Rudolf Steiner seeking a spiritual path, with the need to strengthen their thinking capacities, he sent such an individual to his friend, Carl Unger. Carl Unger was a thorough student of spiritual science and was able to take the philosophical method of Rudolf Steiner and apply the thinking skill developed to bear on other aspects of spiritual science. He unfolded his own method, which Rudolf Steiner later noted to have mathematical qualities and disciplines involved.

This method is carefully laid out by Rudolf Steiner in the book “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds an its Attainment” (Anthroposophic Press, 1947). Exercises which help the student, any student with or without intellectual capacities, are very carefully described. The exercises are such that nearly every person is able to take up this method. The catch is, however, that real effort, real work is necessary. This democratic potential is present because the method asks the student to begin by what can be observed by all in the realm of nature. The perceptions from the domain of nature is the focus at the outset and not pure intellectual content, as with the first two methods. Because these perceptions can be made by all, it can be said to be a most DEMOCRATIC METHOD, available to most human beings with few excluded. The exercises are described in detail, the results as well, and steps that lead from the given sense world to the world of the spirit are carefully laid out. Slowly it is revealed that this is a path that leads to enlightenment. Thoughtful content is given along the way so that the pupil can develop a thinking capacity even if at the outset this capacity is not a given for the pupil. Enlightenment is not possible without a capacity to think, though the thinking is a thinking in picture form.

With this work book certain thoughtful content is given but the role of the intellect is subordinate to the practice of exercises given. It is a major exercise book. Through the exercises the student is led so that his spirit can enter the spiritual world. He arrives in the spirit with intellectual content transformed but without the intellect having been the starting point. New thinking capacities are arrived at, but by exercises and practice. One might say the heart is the focus of this method and a heart thinking is involved. A kind of feeling thinking is an outcome.

Once the half way mark of the book is reached the trials and knowledge acquisitions are given. Further stages of knowledge are detailed and potential further experiences of the student are furnished. All that is described becomes known through exercises and practice and the intellectual demands of the first two methods play a very minor role. Those that actually take up the exercises come to realize what an intellect the non-intellectual actually has without being aware of it. This intellectuality is taken in by most human beings today without realization by dint of the fact that we all live at this time in the world. Intellectuality and intellectual content is breathed in as it were, and the so-called non-intellectual is usually unaware of this unless a spiritual path is taken up. It, however, is not the conscious use and transformation of the intellect by dint of new thinking capacities that is worked at with this democratic method. This method, like the other two, does not seek to lead directly to moral action, but accepts the actions as they are and by dint of the exercises, transforms them for the sake of moral life and a moral path. This book has been typified by some who have worked with it as a book of social etiquette. The moral is strengthened so that it is possible to say that this is a moral path to higher states of consciousness where the spirit of the human individual is led to the spirit in the world.

This method was given to Ehrenfried Pfeiffer by Rudolf Steiner. It has been called the BOOK-KEEPING METHOD. It is from Pfeiffer that I first heard about it. He begged me to make use of it as Rudolf Steiner made a plea to evolve a deeper view of man and the social order by this means. Some years later I heard about the same method from Dr. M van Deventer, the well known physician active for years at the Ita Wegman Clinic in Switzerland. She told of this method being given to a young doctor, Dr. Elizabeth v Grunelius, who felt that she needed an assist with the “will to heal” and with “the courage” to take up a very serious meditative life. It is a method which takes the trained intellect as a starting point and seeks to lead this intellect to other provinces of existence, while ultimately activating the will for action. For Ehrenfried Pfeiffer it was a method to help that he could take hold of biochemistry in a new way and lead his knowledge over to deeds which helped found and ground the Biodynamic method of agriculture. Later I discovered that Rudolf Steiner had actually given the same method to others but not in such an obvious way.

The method can also be called a COMPARATIVE METHOD as well as a BOOK-KEEPING METHOD. Comparing forms, comparing organs, comparing languages and the like is a bit similar to the book-keeping method, but the book-keeping method is one of the best ways to describe this method since it is directly connected with the exactness of working with numbers
and the processes of arithmetic. Further it was the name of the method as it was given to me, and I take it described by Rudolf Steiner. For forty years I have used the method so many first hand experiences can or could be shared at the hand of this method, but this is not the purpose of this essay. As noted and to emphasize, THE METHOD WAS GIVEN BY RUDOLF STEINER TO HELP TRANSFORM ANTHROPOLOGICAL KNOWEDGE OF THE HUMAN ORGANISM TO ANTHROPSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE. The goal is to come to a living knowledge of the threefold make up of the human organism, and the threefold potential for social forms. Thus the method supports the transformation of the intellect, helps develop the courage to meditate, furthers the will to heal, helps lead the usual knowledge of the human organism to the threefold make up, and anticipates the potential for the discovery of social forms for the threefolding of the social organism.

The method appears simple. In trying to use it in a worthwhile manner, I can share that it took me at least fifteen years to find my way, and have used my version of the method in a satisfactory way for twenty-five years. This should not discourage others, but it does indicate the potential care and effort that may have to be put forth by some. Of course, others may find their way much more rapidly, but the simple method will undoubtedly not turn out to be so simple, which is often the case with any method.

The method is to open a notebook. On the left page enter quotes taken from spiritual science, quotes that need enlightening, and about which one has heartfelt questions. Next, on the opposite page place what one can find from other sources. Let the two stand and ask how what has been place on one page from spiritual science is equal or is not equal with what is gained from modern sources, be it science or other sources. A sense for the balancing can follow. A kind of search for a balancing, as with a mathematical problem can surface in the soul in quest for truth. It will be found that it takes time and real effort to find the relationship, as equals between what spiritual science has to say and what the science of the day can reveal. A sense for the firmness of an equation may evolve in one’s search for a “balancing of the books”. In fact, it can take years to work with some of the quotes and find some counterpart in the world at large.

It takes will to deal with this method. It takes persistence. It takes courage, especially when ten to fifteen years may be needed for a quote from spiritual science to gain sufficient meaning that what stands in the intellectual world can serve as an apparent equivalent. It can also be that one starts with intellectual content as given by the world (science, art, history, botany, psychology, etc.) and then one seeks a quote by Rudolf Steiner, a quote that can balance the books as it were. What seems to take place is that the intellect seems to catch a quote by Rudolf Steiner, but what is more a reality is that a question lies buried in one’s heart and rises when one appears to be intellectually involved with an interest in a given revelation from researches of spiritual science. Ones heart and ones deeper searches become revealed as questions which may at first appear to be an intellectual interest are better revealed in their deeper nature. The balancing of the books becomes not an intellectual quest but a heartfelt task. Slowly it can be found that not only is ones heart actually revealed in its deeper quest but one’s own innermost being stands behind this. One can say that the method reveals much about the current spirituality or lack of spirituality in the world but ones own uniqueness surfaces as well. Impressive is that when others work with this method, each chooses different quotes and passages from spiritual science. Though this is a method each is left very independent and free. A great sense of independence can be gained from this method, and the balancing quest leads to a great sense of creativity. It is little wonder that courage, the will to heal, the potential to meditate, the quest for the true makeup of the human being, and the search for social forms are all supported by this method. It is a method for the doer, the one who wants to serve.

This is a method which is quite new and is not firmly based in directed indications from spiritual science or others concerned with methodological quests. This is a method in evolution, one that arises out of work and the working together with others. It can be said to be a derivative of the practices of work and a life style that supports work as one aspect of human social life. The other two domains of a life style which belong to this work orientation are those that are concerned with spiritual life and with human rights. This method is one aspect of a life style that seeks to bring to life the threefolding of a social circumstance, as a basis for activities which can give a full and rich life to those involved. It can be considered to be a method which can serve to serve the non-intellectual and even the non-learner. This is the fifth and last method. It was pointed to early on where ACTIONS are the starting point and not ideas or perceptions.

This is a method to try to deal with a very delicate activity in soul life of those who work, in the life of the worker. Rudolf Steiner pointed to the PRIMAL IDEA in his work with the threefold social order. This is the tender area of the soul of he who works with his limbs. In his book “The Threefold Commonwealth” (Anthroposophic Press, 1922 now variously named as “The Threefold Social Order” or “Towards Social Renewal” ) Rudolf Steiner makes note of this domain of ideation. The primal idea can be thought of as polar to the pure idea. THE PURE IDEA IS GAINED BY THE PURIFICATION OF ORDINARY THINKING, AND ORDINARY SOUL LIFE. THE PRIMAL IDEA ARISES FROM WORK AND THE COOPERATIVE WORKING OF HUMAN SOULS BUSY IN INSTITUTIONS. The goal is for the human being to be able to deal with this province of existence, that is the idea, knowledge and wisdom that lies in the limbs of those who work in civilization and serve out of the more or less unconscious surfacing of these primal ideas.

Those who work with the non-learner, the non-intellectual and the worker who carries the intellectual content of the day unawares, can easily discover an inherent knowledge and wisdom that can surface from the worker, if it is permitted to arise. It is the worker who has to be able to have a method which can take up the spirituality that lies inherent in the primal idea which needs to become conscious via study, knowledge and wisdom. Here a method is offered, a method for making what is unconscious, conscious. The method is called the DAY PLANNING METHOD. The method is based on practices that have been in operation in the Fellowship Community, an intentional, inter-generational, work-based, long-term care community and that have evolved over the last twenty years. Many in the community live with and along side this method, however, it has not always been used to its full potential. Since such efforts are seldom written about the method will be detailed here in a brief fashion.

The FIRST aspect of this method is to PLAN the next day at the end of the day just past. The method is that at the end of the day, the work for the following day is unfolded by a day-planner, (or several) for the work of the coming day. It is done in cooperation and exchange with those who will work together, in many different types of activity (from caring for the ill,to caring for the land, to caring for the social processes of the community). All ages are involved, co-workers, volunteers, employees and the older persons who live in the community. The planners, as all others, by this method of working together, have to look over the day gone by and then look ahead to what are the needs that have to be served. In this community, with nine work areas, the needs are extensive. Much oversight is exercised to meet the needs of all the nine work areas, with a focus on human care. Many have to carry the consciousness of a number of work areas. A continual cultivation of selflessness and a degree of altruism can thereby surface. We are concerned with the involvement of nearly sixty to eighty individuals of all ages with each day.

As a SECOND aspect of the method is that the day planner(s) and others who will work together have to cooperate in a active and living way to CREATE the future day of work out of the past. The plan has to be created and be creative. In a way, a new day has to dawn, not only with the rise of the sun, but in the souls who will participate in the coming work. By this means, the intent is to bring a value and preciousness for the work of the coming day, taking into consideration what might have arisen in the souls of those who have spent a day at work. By this method work becomes something quite new. A kind of redemption of work begins. Interests can be stirred and a quest to grow and master the area of work comes to include a mastery of knowing as well. How to learn and how to teach becomes quite important as creative planning helps that the will of those who work become enlivened.

A THIRD component to this method is up to each who participates in such a process, and this is to strive to BRING A HOLINESS TO SLEEP. An effort can be made and is made to ask what happens during sleep. It can be considered, and is considered by some, that one enters the spiritual world in sleep. There each will meet with those with whom he or she will work. Such a consideration can bring totally new impulses into human souls and thereby to ones work. A kind of devoutness of soul is needed to take this in with seriousness and sincerity. This does not necessarily come by itself and real contemplation of sleep is needed. From what one can gain from spiritual science, sleep can be viewed as that time when one is out of the body in the spiritual world as a soul with many other souls. Included are those with whom one may work with the coming day and spiritual beings as well. The help that sleep can offer to souls who are having difficulties in working together might be considered. At night, the difficulties might take another turn and then souls can meet and see each other in a new light with the coming day. (In a community with any degree of intimacy, it is the interpersonal problems that often loom the greatest.)

For the holiness of sleep, a meditative prayer that Rudolf Steiner gave to a devoted pharmacist can be a support for this step in the unfolding of this method. The meditative prayer is as follows:

  • Take counsel with the angel at night
  • He shows us spiritually the path of the day
  • Pray to the Christ in the holy night
  • He shows us spiritually the year’s sense of destiny

(A quote from Rudolf Steiner – “This mystery of life is that man, constituted as he is today as body, soul and spirit, every night looks, to a certain extent, at the events of the coming day, but without always carrying that vision over into full day-consciousness. It is his “Angel” who has that clear consciousness”.)

The FOURTH component lies in the hands of each individual as does the seeking for the holiness of sleep. Here a basic exercise can be used. The exercise is called the REVIEW OF THE DAY. (the Ruckshau in German) Here the day can be reviewed going backwards so that a real effort has to be made. There are many ways to carry out this exercise, and it is complex enough that an essay can be written about just this single exercise. For the sincere and striving soul it is essential, and requires no written book but only the script of the soul and how the soul has gone through the day. This review can evolve to be a kind of self mediation where one can appear as an individual in action seeking a vista of the past day and a view to the future. This view is given in imaginative form. What can also surface is a delicate voice of conscience which is very real and helps with a capacity to make a judgment about oneself. Out of this exercise can arise a totally new conscience in relation to the day, one’s actions and one’s relation with other human beings and the world. One can become more and more conscious of the sufferings of others. It is with this exercise that it is possible to study what can arise as PRIMAL IDEAS out of one’s will, one’s deeds. Day planning and pursuing the holiness of sleep can help to recover these creative ideas from the depth of the will for the future, while conscience points to the past day as a basis for moral actions for the day to come.

A FIFTH support for the surfacing of the primal idea is to work for a learning based in what can be called DEMONSTRATIONS. Here what is presented for learning is performed by a teacher, with little or no intellectual content, but the ideas and knowledge have to be grasped by the student by beholding the demonstration itself. The demonstration has to be enacted, and perhaps the closest to the demonstration, known by all, is the mime. With the mime there are activities and gestures, sounds and the like which have to be read by the beholder. The same pertains to the demonstration, but its preparation and presentation has to be so carefully done that what can be seen, heard and grasped in gesture carries meaning which has to be met actively by the participating beholder. One might say that the demonstration has to be for the adult who seeks a new method of study and learning, what is grasped by the young child in imitation.

These five components are offered as parts of a new method for study, a WORK-STUDY METHOD, or a METHOD OF LEARNING AND LABOR or LABOR AND LEARNING. The term, “learning and labor”, was placed before the world by John Fredrick Oberlin in the 19th century. In our day, this method of study and learning is the motto of Oberlin College. It would appear that this motto might serve and help point a possible way to help lead the spirit of man to the spirit of the universe. Oberlin sought to teach those who were workers, non-learners, who needed skills and knowledge for their well being and for work for mankind. A successful educational work was done by Oberlin among a people in south-eastern France. The work was a presage of the industrial revolution but was human through and through at the time. Oberlin was the father of the kindergarten movement and a kind of apocalyptic soul. From spiritual scientific research we can learn that he had contact with his wife for nine years after her death. His wife, among the living dead, gave him the needed instructions to help educate the ignorant, ill and poor people he was working with. Charts of the spiritual spheres where he had communion with his wife can be seen to this day in the museum in his village. His insights might be considered by those who approach what can live as primal idea in the will of those he taught. It is to the uncovering of the primal idea, alive in the will, that this latter method is dedicated.

Paul W. Scharff, M.D.