In 1904, Rudolf Steiner first made this account of the Western esoteric path of initiation public. With great precision, he carefully leads us from the cultivation of the fundamental soul attitudes of reverence and inner tranquility to inner development through the stages of preparation, illumination, and initiation. Practical exercises in inner and outer observation and moral development are given. By patiently and persistently following these, new organs of soul and spirit begin to form that reveal the contours of the higher worlds hitherto concealed from us.
"The methods by which a student is prepared for the reception of higher knowledge are minutely prescribed. The direction he is to take is traced with unfading, everlasting letters in the worlds of the spirit where the initiates guard the higher secrets. In ancient times, anterior to our history, the temples of the spirit were also outwardly visible; today, because our life has become so unspiritual, they are not to be found in the world visible to external sight; yet they are present spiritually everywhere, and all who seek may find them."
How is Knowledge of the Higher Worlds Attained? The Stages of Initiation: Enlightenment; Preparation; The Control of Thoughts and Feelings Initiation Some Practical Aspects The Conditions of Esoteric Training Some Results of Initiation The Transformation of Dream Life The Continuity of Consciousness The Splitting of the Human Personality during Spiritual Training The Guardian of the Threshold Life and Death: The Greater Guardian of the Threshold Appendix
"Not everyone can immediately achieve spiritual vision; but the discoveries of those who have it can be health-giving life nourishment for all. The results of supersensible knowledge, when properly employed in life, prove to be not impractical, but rather, practical in the highest sense....
"The acquisition of higher knowledge is not the end, but the means to an end; the end consists in the attainment, thanks to this knowledge, of greater and truer self-confidence, a higher degree of courage, and a magnanimity and perseverance such as cannot, as a rule, be acquired in the lower world....
"The student places all the higher knowledge he has acquired at the service of humanity." --Rudolf Steiner
In "Overcoming Nervousness," Steiner shows us how exercises in thinking also give us the calm centered sense needed to lead purposeful, healthy lives.
"Facing Karma" takes us to the heart of life, where we experience suffering and happiness. The law of karma that determines life's experiences and encounters also helps us develop the self-knowledge required for self-transformation.
Finally, "The Four Temperaments" show us how the union of hereditary factors and our own inner spiritual nature shape our psychology. The guide here is the ancient classifications of sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic. Renewed understanding of these allows us to develop a truly modern spiritual psychology, which is the basis of all real inner development.
With its many practical exercises, mantras, and meditations, this book is a fundamental introduction for anyone beginning or needing encouragement along the path of inner development.