To build the world in the I, to behold the I in the world, is breathing of the soul.
To sense the universal all in feeling of one’s inner self is wisdom’s pulse.
To trace the paths of the Spirit in one’s own aims of life is inner speech of Truth.
So let the Soul’s breath penetrate into the pulse of wisdom
Calling forth from inmost depths the speech of Truth
Through all the rhythms of the years of life.
Today I’d like to bring a little bit of a closure to our work on spiritual physiology. The work that Rudolf Steiner did in spiritual physiology is immense, and if you are interested in undertaking it, it can consume a lot of study time in your life. But every minute spent studying it is well worth the effort, because it has a great deal to do with what we could call turning the soul, a higher level of spiritual work. Today I’m going to talk about turning the heart, which is the basis for turning the soul. The great mystery of the universal transcendent experience called dying to self, centers on a biological fact in embryology having to do with the formation of the heart.
Embryologically the heart begins in the first week, outside the organism as four vortexial streams in the amniotic fluid of the fetus, and those streams are all going towards a common center. But somewhere in the very beginning, in the first two weeks or so, these vortexial heart streams begin to move into the embryo; these four streams in the amniotic fluid around the embryonic disc are sometimes called the four rivers, like in the Bible, the four rivers in Paradise. The vortex comes in from the top through an opening where the mouth will form. Down below and coming up within the actual body of the embryo there are two veins which come into the gut area from the yolk sac which is outside of the embryo but attached to it at the umbilical cord. These veins are called the yolk veins. At this early date the yolk sac is shrinking to be replaced by the placenta, but the yolk veins penetrate the embryo and serve as the formative source of the liver, which emerges as a bud of the yolk veins in the third week. The liver is attached to the body wall by a ligament. Further up towards the head from the liver, another bud of the yolk veins is forming into the lungs. In between the lungs near to the head and the liver buds in the gut area, the yolk veins form twin tubes stretching from the liver to the lungs. These two parallel tubes are surrounded by what is known as cardiac jelly, a formation of the creative layer of the mesoderm. The vortex coming down from the head meets the two tubes coming up from below and the two tubes from the yolk veins begin to wrap around each other. The ligament which anchors the liver serves as a fulcrum for the spinning of the two tubes as the bottom of the tubes moves up towards the head and the top of the tubes moves down towards the tail end of the embryo. In the spinning the two tubes get folded into four chambers and the original two-chambered heart now has magically become a complex heart capable of an advanced circulation. There are two upper chambers (the atria) and two lower chambers (the ventricles).
Atrium is Latin for the little porch that you go into before you go into a house or into the temple. That’s the atrium. It’s the hallway. A little porch. So that is the place in the heart where the blood comes into the house, in the atrium. And the ventricle has in it the word vent. So the ventricle is where the blood goes out of the vent. So you have two atria and two ventricles. But how they’re arranged is very ingenious.
This is fundamentally the heart organization for the higher animals. All the invertebrates and some of the vertebrates (fish and whatever) until you get up into the reptiles have simple multiple chambered hearts composed of series of tubes. In the higher animals and the human being the chambers are arranged to be reciprocating and are not simply a series of tubes. The reptiles have features which reveal a transitional pattern between the lower heart forms and the higher heart forms. In a crocodile heart there are little fingers between one ventricle and the other ventricle, which upon opening allow the old blood to mix with the new blood. When the crocodile heart fingers are open the flow of blood to the lungs is reduced, and the blood flow from the right ventricle, which is receiving blood from the liver, is shunted off into the left ventricle for circulation through the body. In this mode the heart is, in effect, a single tube.
This is the arrangement that you have in the higher embryo before birth. The lung circulation is not needed because the placenta brings oxygenated blood from the mother. In the crocodile this capacity is useful when the animal is submerged for a long period of time. A crocodile hunts by grabbing its prey and heading for the bottom. It stays down long enough to drown the prey and bury it in a lair on the bottom. While submerged the fingers of the heart are open and the flow runs from liver to right ventricle to left ventricle just as in a human fetus. On land the crocodile closes the fingers between the ventricles and the blood then moves through the lungs. This is similar to the condition in the embryo that begins to happen at term when the blood needs to flow into the lungs. At birth a flap of skin closes a hole between the ventricles as the pressure on the left ventricle gets greater because of the increased flow from the lungs into the left side of the heart. The crocodile does this depending on outer conditions of temperature and water pressure and whether it gets enough oxygen, all of the variables, which need to be dealt with when a higher animal leaves its watery life in the womb and is born onto dry land. The crocodiles develop a special organ in their heart as a prophecy of what is to come.
So we see in the two-chambered heart of the early mammalian embryo a recapitulation of the plan of the heart of all of the lower animals, and then in the higher animal that two-chambered heart around the third or fourth week goes through an inversion. We could say there’s a change of heart. There’s already been a change of heart from the paradisiacal heart, the vortex in the amniotic fluid, into the heart of all the lower animals. Now there’s a change of heart into the heart of the higher animals. This is in the third week. And in order for that to happen, there needs to be a reversal of the two-chambered heart that fundamentally has blood just flowing through it and mingling. In most lower animals the red blood and the blue blood mingles and circulates throughout the body. There is often little differentiation that happens in the flow patterns in those two channels.
In the very early embryo of a higher animal, the simple two-chambered heart is really only formed into two chambers by the most tenuous of separations. In this heart, the septum is just a mesodermal jelly. It’s not really a membrane until much later. It’s just a jelly. So the blood goes in and out in the circulation of the vortex and the blood beats on the mesodermal jelly. In this jelly walls form, sort of like sand in a current of water. The septum forms in the currents of the vortex, like a sand bar made of pericardial jelly. So the septum of the heart, the division, just forms as a mesodermal jelly that gets hit by the impact of the currents shaping it, and eventually those impulses cause bulges to happen. Then in the third week a dramatic gesture grips the entire embryo. The potential being bends its head from the cervical vertebrae at the level of the future pineal gland and the whole upper spinal development is altered. Suddenly this whole apparatus of nerve and blood turns upside down and parts of it actually gets tied in a knot.
When that happens, you get something that looks like this. (See diagram above.) This blue one is the vein, the blue blood moves through the vein. The big vein coming into the top of the heart comes up from the liver, and then goes into the heart into the venous or right atrium. In a fully developed heart, the blue blood goes into the right atrium from the liver, then goes down into the right ventricle and from there it moves up into the lungs where it becomes red blood. The red blood then comes out of the lungs and down into the left atrium where it descends into the right ventricle and then on into the aorta which emerges in a whole ring of arteries at the top of the heart which resembles a crown.
And when one chamber at the top is going flub and filling with blood, the other chamber at the bottom is going dub and emptying. It goes flub-dub, flub-dub, flub-dub. When one fills, the one across from it empties, and then the other one fills, the other one empties. There is an action that goes crosswise across the heart. From below, and in at the top, from the top down to the bottom and then up. Flub-dub.
So as an organ, the “becoming” of the heart is a series of reversals. That’s its evolutionary path. Whereas the kidneys had to fall and come back up again, and the liver gets pushed up from below only to run into the ceiling of the diaphragm, and the lung gets pushed up from below and then opened up from above — the heart keeps going OK I can do that, OK I can do that also. And each time it replicates a motif from another life organ, it gets more complex with each inversion. That’s a picture which points out the best way in which to educate the heart to see. But we’ll go there a little later.
So we see in the heart the motif of “As above so below: as below so above” There is a crossing from right to left and from above to below. The circulation goes from the right atrium down to the right ventricle and from there to the lungs and then from the lungs to the left atrium and then down into the left ventricle and back up again into the aorta and the brain or kidneys. There is a crossing point right between the two atria and right between the two atria, there sits what is known as the sinuatrial node, which is really the brain in the heart, that’s central control. In the books they call it the SAN. The movement of the blood is crossing in the heart. Above-below, below-above. And both of those flows have to perfectly balance. The right and the left have to be balanced. The blue blood and the red blood, the nerve principle and the blood principle, the enthusiasm and the discipline — the dreaming and the awakeness have to be balanced.
And it’s the heart that is the organ of the balancing both of the physiological polarities and the polar states of awareness. So that’s why the esoteric work on ourselves is so paradoxical. It is a great paradox that if we want to be creative, we have to commit to an intense discipline. It’s because of all these reversals in the great sense organ of the heart. And it’s only the human heart that can really understand paradox. The brain can’t understand paradox. It’s hard wired. This is this and that is that. And what goes in goes through a database and comes out again should be logical, and that’s just as things should be. But logic does not always rule life.
But the heart understands the upper right to the lower left, and the lower right to the upper left, and the above to the below, and I once thought this way but now I’m thinking that way. The heart understands those kinds of reversals. The brain is just making layers of data. Now I put another layer on, I get more functions. All you’re doing is buying memory chips fundamentally in the brain. You’re just getting more RAM (random access memory). But more RAM is not going to solve the problems of your life — more random access memory. More memory in the brain is not going to solve your problems. In fact, Rudolf Steiner says the neocortex (it’s the biggest layer with all the gray matter which most people associate with being really human and cool). Rudolf Steiner says that this part of the brain is really just the digestive organ of the brain. But the real thinking we really need to transform is the thinking that goes between the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere, between the word-like analytical thinking and the music-like geometric thinking of the two hemispheres. This fluctuation gets integrated into the emotional life in the middle or limbic brain. Esoteric development can also transform patterns imbedded even more deeply in the sensory integration areas of the midbrain in the area of the primitive cortices. These are laid down in prenatal times and are imprinted with karmic patterns. That’s the brain that really needs to get transformed by esoteric work, the more primitive stimulus / response type of brain. But more about that later. That’s where I’m trying to eventually steer this Consciousness Studies course.
The primitive cortices of the mid brain are stimulated by the way you move your eyes with your ocular motor muscles among other inputs. So that’s why I keep talking to you about ratio and proportion, and being aware of the way in which you respond to visual perceptions. It is the midbrain we are working on when we’re doing exercises in transforming the gaze while looking at artwork. In the exercise of observing the Rembrandt 100 Guilder print, we pay attention to the movements we make with our eyes when we look at the images, because those movements in the ocular motor muscles are training the midbrain and the limbic pathways in the brain towards feelings of emotional integrity. To make these motions conscious is actually feeding your limbic structure lawful impulses where normally the limbic structure simply wants to emote and dream desirous dreams. When you work with consciously altering the ways in which you gaze at something, you’re feeding your emotional centers in the brain disciplined, rigorous, harmonious intervals in a conscious way. And when your eyes look and track the movements depicted in the forms of the artwork, it’s the equivalent of being in a REM state in a dream, in a rapid eye movement state, because it’s in the rapid eye movement that your limbic structure working through the midbrain is trying to integrate the dream nature between the higher centers in the brain and the more emotional, movement perceptions in the body. Fundamentally that is why we are given dreams in the first place, to heal ourselves emotionally. And your rapid eye movement in dreams is a foundation upon which the conscious esoteric work of entering the dream pole is consciously set. Through aesthetic experience we become aware of the moral forces available to the soul by moving our eyes in the right way. I’m sorry if this seems too abstract, but I’m going to cover this in detail through the year. I’m bringing a lot of threads together in this lecture and I’m saying that this is where we’re going with the Consciousness Studies work, into the dream pole consciously.
The heart is the place where the pictures are actually thought out in terms of whether or not they are in balance. So if we wish to be creative, we have to discipline the way in which the mental images arise and the way in which the soul postures with them. We have to discipline the way in which we recognize inner pictures or else there will be no way to become creative safely. This is because unrecognized inner pictures automatically start to stimulate the limbic structure in the emotional brain to self feeling, which is the great danger of the inner work. The danger is that we mistake self feeling for the feelings of the world soul. There’s a great temptation to do that. If we mistake our own self feelings for the feelings of the world soul, the heart loses it’s vision of our destiny and can only see our passions or our inclinations; and what it’s looking for is insights into our destiny through the development of the Ego, which lives in our blood. That was a lot but it is a useful sequence.
These are all coherent pictures somewhere in the universe, and the heart is the organ that perceives all this through movement. The heart perceives whether or not the movement in a perception is leading to illness or to health. But to train the heart to do that, we need to pay attention to the movement motifs of balancing and reversal and reciprocation, you could say. We need to pay attention to exactly how one thing turns into another thing. How the form of one thing can reveal both of the poles of its existence simultaneously; each changing into the other at the same time. And the more we can put ourselves in the conditions where our thinking can follow the whole metamorphosis of things simultaneously from one transformation to the next, when our thinking can do that and you can see the whole in each little part, then the heart begins to participate in the imaginative work in the blood in a conscious way. The heart begins to think, and it thinks in pictures that move lawfully, which means pictures in which each part is a mirror of the whole. Both of the two polar opposite states mirror each other, they must contain each other or else they are not true polarities. If we can see that reality clearly with our hearts, then the mysteries of nature and the whole elemental world begin to speak to us inwardly, not as visions or voices, but as inner perception. The elemental world becomes a rigorous cognitive experience filled with feelings. It’s the same experience as if you were figuring out an algebraic formula or doing a geometry problem. Exactly the same kind of rigorousness, but it arises in the soul as a feeling of knowing.
[Question]: Can you say more again about how you know when a picture is lawful?
That’s a great question because that’s the big problem: How do you know when a picture is lawful? The only way I can actually describe it is that you have to practice looking with your heart at pictures again and again until one day, through grace, your discipline allows you to say to yourself, “I can see that this inner picture is not moving lawfully. I’m sure of it. There’s something wrong with the way I have understood that picture as a becoming.” The best way I can say it in a short way is, develop a practice where you can prove yourself wrong, where you, yourself, through dint of your own grinding (the grain), can prove to yourself, “I thought that things were this way, but now I see that things are the other way.” When you do that, your heart goes, “Great, finally there is somebody at the controls here who is awake and is willing to go through the tough process of discrimination, Whew! I guess that now I can relax a little bit, and I don’t have to be just waiting for it all to hit the fan all of the time.” Because until you discipline your thinking, your heart is going, “Holy cow, is this going to be how it will be for this whole incarnation, either down in the bottom of the barrel or off with the fairies in la-la world?” But as soon as you start disciplining the thinking, the heart goes, “Okay, now maybe I can participate in this process in a little more graceful way. Maybe I can actually enter consciously into these pictures which are forming inside of me, instead of having the whole organism just flow along with whatever seems to demand my attention at odd moments.” The heart wants to say, “Do I really know this? Really?” Because if the heart can’t know something in a real way then it experiences alienation. If the heart can’t say I really, really know this then there is no chance for love to enter into it.
So the brain can help the heart start the process of knowing by providing the soul the tools for analysis. This is the function of the intellect. But through analysis the heart never actually can reach an answer. So the women that are sitting at the breakfast table when their husband is analyzing the logic in the heated conversation last night, those women are correct. This guy is heart dead. He has a heart of stone. All he sees is logic. But the guy is also correct that the woman who is following her personal feelings is not thinking clearly — just to use male and female as principles, not specifically a woman and a man, but whatever your role is at the time in a conflict. We could also say logical (male principle) and intuitive (female principle). And that drama goes on in each one of us all the time between our head and our heart. The head says, logically the answer should be this — and the heart says, yes, I know what is logical but I don’t care what the answer should logically be, my intuition tells me that there are other things in this conflict that need attention. I don’t care about all of your proof, and I can’t understand how you don’t intuit these other aspects? And then the head says, Aspects? I’ve got proof! [raising his voice] Well, don’t raise your voice at me. Boo Hoo. You never listen! And that’s the drama between these two, between the nerve and the blood, the head and the heart.
The way in which the nerve knows is [speaking the following in bold voice] “It has to be this way because here is the proof that it is this way!” And that approach to the conflict is accurate, because that’s the way the nerve knows. The nerve either has proof or it doesn’t have any basis for knowing. The problem is that when some more data comes in, the absolute certainty with which the last point of view was held often has to change. When things change like this the nerve thinker will restructure the proofs and say again. “It has to be this way because here is the proof that it is this way!”
But the heart never says “It has to be only this way.” The heart says “In one way it is like this and in another way it is like that, and both of these positions are very clear to me, but I can’t really decide which one right now, because I haven’t worked it through enough. But when I do work it through I will really know! And I will know it for a long time” That’s what the heart says. But it often takes a long time to know with the heart.
But if the heart is trained to perceive the way in which the problem is moving, that is, the forming of the sequencing of the gestalt in the problem, by continually asking,” is this the right process in the problem?” — then the heart, which has been through many processes of reversal, in its ontogeny, (remember? — It’s a specialist in reversal), can flow when the logical nerve thinking reverses. The heart goes, okay, I can do that. I can reverse my thinking. Reversal of thinking is the gift of the heart and it’s also the wound of the heart. So in all of the reversals needed to think through some emotional problem, if we don’t give the heart consciously formed pictures that reverse lawfully, then the heart will say, okay, it’s reversed, whatever. Big deal, my thinking has reversed. Give me my pendulum. I’ll get an answer and I won’t have to go on the internet to get it. It’ll be in the way my blood is reacting with my nerve, and I’ll make a code out of the movements of my blood and nerves interacting and I’ll go out and use my pendulum on my ouija board and start getting some answers. But there is a problem with this. The forming of a code for dowsing your ouija board does not happen in your heart. The tendency to form codes is in your head. So a dowser or a sensitive says I’ll let my blood and my kidney and my whole organism react to something imperceptible, and I’ll watch my reactions of my organism, and I’ll develop a code of the way in which my organism reacts to this particular stimulus, and then I don’t have to worry about thinking with my head because I have now formed a code which places my thinking into a piece of wood or into a crystal ball or into an ouija board.
When this type of slippery thinking happens the heart goes, Holy Cow man, I wish you wouldn’t dump your thinking overboard all of the time, because I don’t know if what you’re finding out about this is lawful or not. Do you? You say, “Well, my pendulum told me this was true. Think about that. If your pendulum was a being,(it really stands in for your unconscious body elemental being) and you talked to it? What do you think it would say? Would it tell you that it was infallible? Would it tell you that it was a free being? Do we know any free beings who are infallible? This is mighty deep water using subconscious codes to run a life.
So there’s another level of the work, another possibility for understanding the spiritual dimension beyond the senses. This path has to do with giving the heart images so that it can intuit deeper spiritual mysteries, but do the intuiting as a thinking process. And that involves disciplining the heart by selecting pictures and applying the attention to the pictures in such a way as to perceive whether or not the rhythms are moving lawfully. The heart needs to ask is this protocol a lawful sequence? If it’s a lawful sequence, then the heart can enter into it, into the movements of it, and the nerve can say, “What I’m understanding, heart, is that you feel that this is lawful.” And the heart can go, “yeah, I feel that it is moving lawfully.” And then the nerve will go, “Well, if it’s okay by you, it’s fine by me, because I can’t get an answer no matter how much data I throw at this thing. All I can do is bring up more conflicting data.” And the soul mood that results from living in heaps of conflicting data is called skepticism, the root of modern science. But there’s a difference between pathological skepticism and healthy skepticism. Healthy skepticism is very good, it arises out of the discipline of the thinking as a reticence towards making judgments. When applied to one’s own treasured opinions this type of skepticism is a wonderful tonic for the soul.
Chronic skepticism, pursued as a way of life usually means you’re a pain in the butt, fundamentally. To the pathological skeptic nothing is okay. Everything is suspect. This type of behavior is just a rampant melancholia. So chronic skepticism is not what we’re after. But healthy skepticism means that the head understands that it can never come to a complete answer. In order for an answer to arise, the heart understands that the process of asking a question has to be worked with consciously and rhythmically. The heart really understands that fantasy has to be transformed into the process of forming pictures that move lawfully in order for the heart to be able to arrive at an inner knowing through reversal. So the rule which the heart steers itself by is: anything you can think, you also have to be able to think the exact opposite and have the two of them meet one another point for point in your deliberations. That process is called pondering in the heart or contemplation.
The idea is that once your heart has expanded to include both sides of the problem and has taken the time to run the inner pictures forward and backward again and again so that it truly doesn’t matter to you which way it ends up, then your heart sees clearly. Once it does not matter to you what the answer is, that’s when you get close to getting a much better question. A really good question is much better for the heart than a whole raft of answers which have been understood by the head. But if your heart is invested in one side or another, then the nerve thinking can dominate the heart and says, okay, I know that there is conflicting stuff around this but I can tell you what the ‘right’ answer is for now so you won’t have to go back and forth any more. That’s the way your nerve works: off/on, one-zero, yes-no. That’s a nerve thing. And what it works with best is memory, especially memories of things which have been encountered in the sense world. So memory relies on things like, how many ones do I have on this side and how many zeros on the other side? Let’s see, I have one more one than I have zeros. That means the answer must definitely be one.
But think about that. I have forty-nine ones and fifty zeros. The nerve answer is zero. Does it make sense to your heart? No. But the nerve, goes, upff, it came up zero man! What do you not understand about zero? That’s the answer. Zero! Okay, next! Next problem.
But our heart goes, wait a minute. What about all these forty-nine ones here — and this next presidential election (Gore – Bush) is going to be very much like this, with a little Ralph Nader thrown in! So are we going to have a president we can all get behind? Probably not. Whichever way it goes. This is a perfect picture of nerve driven relationships. It’s a perfect picture. The nerves are out in the world as wires. Everything that once was a deep secret esoteric function is now out in the world manifest. Clairaudience — telephone. Remote viewing — TV. Every esoteric capacity that a person once had to work on for years and years, now you can just pay $129, get on a server and send a big funky download of photos of your trip to Katmandu to somebody in Stuttgart –instantaneously. I mean hey, we’re not talking about months. We’re talking about real time right now! You get the apparatus and then bang you are hooked to the whole of the electronic dream! Think about it. When you hit that key — choooh! everywhere you go there you are! That use to be an esoteric dream to do that. And you would study with a guru for years to do that. And now it’s outside, manifest for as little as $129.99. These are all imaginations of the ways in which the nerves work in the act of knowing.
But the knowing that comes out of the blood is very different, it is more subtle and difficult to understand because that has to do with cosmic lawful movement. But the electronic world has analogs for this type of knowing also. To see this we need only to look at the media. The moving lights of the media. The great irony is that moving light is just what the heart is really looking for — movements of light. It is the hearts spiritual task to create movements of light in the soul through which we can realize our connection to the Cosmos. These light movements created by the heart eventually result in the formation of the other organs of the body. Remember that the heart is the first organ to develop. But what the heart is yearning for is that the movements of light be lawful, not that they sell toothpaste.
Because, as we saw earlier, when the movements of light that I am taking in through my eyes go through my limbic structure and the midbrain, I need to be able to say to myself, this sense experience I am having is true. My heart needs to grasp the movements and be invested in them or it faces dire uncertainties. And the very faculty which we need to be able to let the heart find a way to ponder the lawfulness is the very faculty which is being threatened by cheap and unlawful images moving through the world. The heart always want to know, how do I know that this is true? And that is the very thing that is being attacked. As a culture we are losing the capacity to tell whether what we’re perceiving is moving lawfully or not. The heart asks from “every image, “Is this image in accord with the archetype that is standing behind this or is there a bottom line agenda made to sell me something? Can I invest my attention in this and surrender to it or do I have to keep up my guard while I am unconsciously having the feeling that someone is consciously trying to get me to suspend belief?
This is a very radical realm of esotericism that I don’t hear addressed very much in the Anthroposophical Society. The media are already recognized as either evil or misguided, and it is thought that by recognizing the problem it is solved. Giving this impulse a name does not solve this challenge. In reality, a problem this huge is not really something to be solved. But it’s definitely something to be addressed. And it doesn’t mean doing away with media. We can forget that idea. The flickering lights are here to stay. Unless the plug is pulled by something really big.
But perhaps an esoteric way to address this challenge is by somehow training the heart to see lawful things, to train the heart to see. I really think that this is an important future capacity, because more and more we’re going to be given images that will keep us unbalanced. The unbalancing is happening where things are put into images that create inner soul situations where our emotional life gets expanded way beyond anything we can control or deal with. Situations which happen worlds away and which we have no possible way to control or solve. Emotionally we have no way of dealing with these things. So the images go in, they bounce around in the soul, there’s a reaction in the blood, usually of oh, my God, this is out of control and I’m helpless, and then the uncertainties arise. Today this is even further out because we don’t know whether the image we are seeing is really real or not, but we see it and, therefore, there’s a certain something behind it, especially if it’s a picture of a head from here up talking about something in an authoritative way. Then we go, this must be real, this must be true, what’s coming out of the mouth of that head there. The level of magic needed to put that talking head in that box makes what is said seem much more powerful than it might be if we were talking to the head in person. This is very deep stuff, but it has very much to do with the need of the heart to experience moving images of light. We need to build a new clairvoyance out of this need.
[Question]: Is telepathy two hearts speaking to each other?
[Response]: Yeah, it is. But the great danger in telepathy is when we uncritically believe what comes to us without having a protocol for testing it. That’s the great danger. Not to say that what we experience telepathically is not true. But the question is, do you know it’s true. Or do you hope that it is true? Did you opt to form a code to deal with the incoming stuff and now the code has been grandfathered into the system of belief so you no longer check the code? That is the ultimate uncreativity. You form the code and you say, this must be what it is, and then you never check the code. That’s the danger in telepathy. A lot of people have it, no doubt about it. However, the problem is, can you trust it. How do you know? And in order for your telepathy to become yours, you have to practice giving it away. Give your code away and see if there is anything left of your telepathy. That is a good Rosicrucian beginning.
So the forming of an image that you think you’ve received telepathically or an intuition that you think you’ve received telepathically — the first step is imagination. You have to actually form the image as clearly as possible. Number one, imagination.
Number two, inspiration or what Rudolf Steiner calls reading the esoteric script. You have to try to see, was there a sequence in the becoming of the image? If there was a sequence and you can think the sequence as a clear inner picture, your heart can enter in. If it’s just a fact or if it just fits your code, then your heart is shut out. The soul simply shifts to nerve thinking as a default. In the old clairvoyance it is possible to say, this knowing here is too big for my heart to deal with, and I need an answer right now, so I’m just going to go into my nerve code, use my pendulum and bingo there’s my answer.
So if your heart really wants to enter into the knowing, you have to have at least what once was known as the three day rule. The three day rule is an esoteric rule where you come to me with a question, and I say to you, see me in three days.
[Question]: That has to do with having an open question and not having to have an answer?
[Response]: Absolutely. So this is all about open questions. I know it sounds paradoxical, but the heart is nurtured by questions that have no easy answers. It is fed by the clarity of the empty space if we can keep the nerve occupied with big enough thoughts of the essence of beingness while the heart is sitting in silent contemplation. Fortunately the best thing to keep the nerve occupied with big thoughts about the essence of beingness is total silence — but for the nerve to tolerate total silence, the total silence must be structured. Silence is structured by the function of the witnessing consciousness. Silence which allows spacing out ends up being three monkeys at lunchtime. But when we strive to go into total silence in an organized and structured way, the Witness accompanies the thinking to say to the nerve, uh, I know it seems like death here in this silence but look, I’m still here communing with you even though nothing of a sense nature is going on. In states of total silence the nerve gets bored and dredges up things from the bottom of the pond to stimulate the inner picture process. The Witness which lives outside of the sensations found in the nervous system, can quickly see what is happening, acknowledge what’s coming up, recognize it and then say, thank you for sharing to the nerve, and go back into total silence. The Witness can recognize the nerve impulse because it is superconscious and simultaneously in the presence of the Witness the nervous system knows that someone is home even though the house is awfully quiet. In meditation the nerves are occupied sensing the essential beingness of the Witness. They need no outside source of sensation to be occupied.
And since there’s so many nerves in the heart such as the sinuatrial node, the heart nerves also need to be given the task of sensing the witness, to let go of the images which keep boiling up and disturbing the silence. Receiving these images often gives the impression that they have been given to us telepathically. And we might just have received them telepathically, and that’s very cool. But if we don’t check them with the Witness, then what will happen is the code will force us into just repeating stuff that we learned fifteen years ago about what we thought was telepathic. This is a holding pattern in which our capacity does not grow. If our capacity doesn’t grow, telepathy will be there, but our moral structure will suffer. We run the risk of getting caught up in power games, or making a career out of seeing people’s diseased organs. To have these gifts and to serve others with them by getting out of the way of the healing is one thing. To make a bundle on them is another. If we look at what happens to people who cannot get to the Witness level with their gifts, they pay the price with their emotional well-being. The bookstores are filled with those stories. The seers or trance channelers rise on a wave of seeing for four or five years and then you never hear of them again, because they just get burned out and tossed overboard by a fickle world. And life’s too short for that, especially if you have gifts desperately needed to heal a sick world. The modern path for the seer is to give away the gifts so that capacity can be developed. The capacity is the gift transformed in the seer by the deed of giving it away. A gift usually operates in the dynamic between the subconscious, filled with personality fragments and the day-awake state of daily life. A capacity has cognitive elements which operate between the day awake state and the superconscious, the realm of higher soul states such as the creative state of Imagination.
So if we wish to be creative as we get older and we want to be creative for most of our life then feeding the heart clear objective pictures of processes that are unfolding forwards and backwards, gives the heart some wiggle room. The inner pictures which we work with have to go through reversals, from this to that, from up here, to down there. Here it’s on the right, here it’s on the left. It used to be on the left, now it’s on the right. The blood used to be in the center, now it’s on the outside. Now it’s back in the center. That’s the world the heart lives in. And the thinking of the heart has to deal with constant reversal, which means, the problem comes into being and forms, and then it has to dissolve and go away again, just in the exactly opposite way that it came into being.
Since that is the essence of the way in which the heart moves if we can manage to do that kind of thinking and picturing inwardly, again and again without wanting an answer to fall out of the process, then the heart goes, oh, yeah, I recognize this. You’re doing my thing here. Yeah, I can get with this. Now what was that you said? Oh, I’ll get back to you tomorrow. I’ll work on it during the day. How is this? How is this? At night the heart goes with the Witness to check out Saturn, and then maybe over to Antares, and then they check in with the Kyriotetes, or Cherubim, and then they come back. And they say, you know the Cherubim loved what you thought backwards right before you went to sleep, but the Dynamis didn’t think it was moving quite in the right way. Can you work on that again? Okay. Yeah. We’ll send that back to you again. And then it comes to you in a dream. And the next night you do it backwards again, but this time adding what you learned from the Dynamis, and it goes out again. And then after three or four days it comes back from the Cherubim through the Dynamis, and the Angel goes to the Witness, “They said yeah.” And then the heart gets it. Then what happens I’ll illustrate with this diagram from Jacob Boehme. The heart is deep and totally mysterious. So Jacob Boehme has a diagram to depict this state.
This picture is a little meditative device. It has many meanings, but as I understand it, this is the heart of the person working on themselves that has been turned upside down, and the eye of the heart opens, but it opens in lagrima — through suffering, through travail and sorrow. And so this is the tear of the eye of the heart. It is the tear of empathy with all being. And when that tear forms in the eye of the heart, the heart that is now reversed flames up with enthusiasm.
[Question]: Would you say that again?
[Response]: When the heart reverses and the eye of the heart opens and the tear of compassion forms in the eye of the heart, then the flame comes up out of the reversed heart as a consuming flame of enthusiasm for being — for just being. Not being anything, but just being. Enthusiasm for being. What Rudolf Steiner calls trust in life. And trust in life is what the heart can give us when we stop wanting answers. It’s okay to get answers in the realm of the IRS or in mathematics, because we must render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. But when you want to get answers about deep destiny problems, you can’t apply that same logic to life, because life is not perfect in that analytical way. But life’s more perfect than we can imagine because it includes all imperfection. Imperfection is an integral part of the process towards universal perfection. The heart is in touch with the necessity for imperfection to exist as a path towards perfection, but it has to be turned away from the power of owning the answer in order for the eye of compassion to open in the heart. On the other hand the heart must be given clear thoughts and very precise images — that’s what the little hands in the diagram represent, the work we must do in order to form exact images. We form exact images with the arms of the heart. You can actually imagine there are little arms from your heart that go out, and you actually sculpt the little Rembrandt figures in the 100 Guilder print with the arms of the heart. Then you look at them with the eye of the heart. And you try to ask yourself, what was this person feeling, standing there when Christ was gesturing like he is in this print? What was that person who Rembrandt depicted feeling about themselves? And Rembrandt can help you do that, because his heart eye was open to see into other souls and as an artist he put that insight in the picture through the limbs of his heart. So when you touch in with that level of the image and you enter into that in your own feelings, Rembrandt is present as a soul across the threshold who can help you in a lawful way. With his help you can think all the way into another and trust all the way through the process, so that the heart can expand into the becoming of that person in the print. And each one of those little people in that picture is you in a different soul gesture, or else you couldn’t recognize them. And they’re you in different flavors, and different colors, and different moods, and different times, with different people.
So with your heart eye open you can surf through all that human astrality. And if you protect the forming of the heart eye, you can eventually try to picture the picture forming process as it happened in the artist. Try to picture the Rembrandt print being made. One time in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, after I’d been working with Rembrandt for a long while, copying drawings, doing etchings and stuff — and I walked into the Metropolitan, there was this really big picture by Rembrandt (it was “The Nightwatch”) and I had been practicing living into the mind of the artist. I sat down in a little chair and I was looking at the painting, and suddenly I had the experience that Rembrandt was standing there putting that paint on. I walked up to the painting and looked at the paint and I was like, whoa! There’s something still present there in this paint that was present at the time when this man was there making this painting. And I could stand there and feel his presence.
More recently I was in the Met again. I was looking for a particular Cézanne which I did not know was not in that museum, I was just sort of wandering around among the paintings and I felt a bit disembodied so I decided to do a scan of the pictures walking through the galleries with my heart eye open. As I was walking through the museum I didn’t know it but I was moving toward a particular picture. I walked through a door between rooms and something went out into the space near one small picture. It was hung badly near to a doorway in bad lighting. It was a picture of “Saskia” his wife (it’s only about this big, 2.5′ x 2.5′). The painting looked kind of dark. But I stopped and just looked at it softly with not much of an identification process going on. I thought that I had ‘seen’ the painting and the impulse to keep walking on arose there in the dark corner when suddenly I looked into her eye and oooooohhh just happened and everything inside me melted. I spent two hours standing there looking in her eye. Then I went back to where I was staying. I was fried. I had to take a nap. But later that afternoon I was drawn back to the museum by that magic in her eye and I spent two more hours standing there looking through her eye into a whole universe of warmth, tenderness and compassion. Hello out there! Either I’m totally nuts or there was something incredible in that eye. Both may be true. My heart eye found that there was something in that picture that was deep food for the soul that went beyond anything I could really understand with my reasoning processes in my nerves. But these things can definitely be understood with our blood flowing through our heart. The problem is we have to train our hearts to think.
Dennis Klocek, MFA, is Co-founder of the Coros Institute and founder of Consciousness Studies at Rudolf Steiner College. He is the author of many books including the newly released, Esoteric Physiology and also Sacred Agriculture: The Alchemy of Biodynamics. Dennis is known as an international lecturer.