The Western Way of Occult Development

Bruce Michael

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A close friend of Rudolf Steiner explained,
"The Western way of occult development is not to seek enlightenment by regulating the breathing (yoga), but just the reverse: to bring about a change in the rhythm of breathing by engendering the right thoughts. The breathing is slowed down or halted when the mind is engrossed in contemplation of something that inspires it with admiration!"
Or, as Rudolf Steiner himself expressed it in An Outline of Occult Science:
"The ultimate ideal is that no exercises of any kind should be done with the physical body as such, not even breathing exercises, so that whatever happens in the physical will occur simply and solely as an outcome of the exercises for Intution."
In this Consciousness Soul age freedom is paramount. It would not be like Steiner to tell you not to smoke, for instance, but rather just present facts, and then let you make your own decision.

All occult excercises can lead to ill health, Dr. Steiner warns- he gives certain exercises to overcome these problems (Sixfold Path).
Above all one doesn't sacrifice their health for the sake of spiritual development.

Great post. Thanks.

Regulation of breath to me seems just like taking psychiatric drugs which regulate seratonin. People aren't depressed becfause they lack seratonin; they lack seratonin because they are depressed (IMO [obviously]).
Great post. Thanks.

Regulation of breath to me seems just like taking psychiatric drugs which regulate seratonin. People aren't depressed becfause they lack seratonin; they lack seratonin because they are depressed (IMO [obviously]).

Thanks for your interest Eclectic,

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Steiner in the early days, gave out lots of breathing exercises, however these were given with strict provisos - those pledges of the Esoteric Section for one. What he gave out privately later, probably still remains private.

You can "lift the lid" to spiritual experience via the bodily forces, it's just that this is an upside down approach in modern spiritual practice.
To lift ourselves into the spiritual we cannot rely solely on the "earth" element because for one thing it is not lasting i.e. you don't take the spiritual achievement with you after death.

In the same way, you could mock up an orange and feed yourself with it, and this might well work temporarily, but after a while your body would suffer.

I would only hope for the very best. New problems, new conditions are always arising; hopefully we can meet these needs in the healthiest way.

Everybody is an individual, with individual needs. Also I think we can examine every single practice, native or otherwise and look at its pros and cons. We have all been here before and it only natural that past inclinations will resurface.

In ancient times phallicism (also temple prostitution) was pretty much a universal religion- there are many examples which could be made. This was not just symbolic, as modern people think, but a direct connection to God was found through sex. Solovyiev says that when animals copulate they become one with their group spirit. With humans this experience was of Father God, and according to Barfield this is why we use the word "Father".
This is also connected with the Kundalini (it's interesting that Kundalini Masters -such as the late Muktananda - in India are celibate.) The Medusa is a symbol of the Kundalini entering the cranium and then appearing as snakes, also that this was becoming an unhealthy process-
turning us to stone.

Anyway, read in Bock how the initiate Moses had to (for the future of the human race) overcome all this. It was not easy, there was lots of backsliding as the OT recounts.

Rudolf Steiner explains that our generative organs were destined to be our highest. It is a microcosmic/macrocosmic thing. He bewailed the fact that folk were too facetious to talk about these things. Another reason is that they are too easily inflamed when discussing this topic.

He does discuss a little about the ten petalled chakra in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds. It is not so much a question of "'lower' chakras direct our spiritual work" but that "bodily forces" should not be used- all these work through the feet: our earth pole.

Black Magicians however, always have to use the physical, even to the point of sacrifice of creatures and using their organs.

By working with the upper chakras we retain our freedom in waking day consciousness. The forces of the lower chakras work in the subconscious, by emphasising these before we have mastered the upper three, we become a slave to all sorts of lower impulses.

Ignoring the body and cleaving only to the spirit is asceticism- that is not what we are talking about here, though again it was/is a practice that worked.

Neither is it an anti body bias. We could equally say there is an anti spirit bias. It's just that there is a place for everything and everything in its place- Balance.

You can view it as biases, and that they may be, but they could be just the way things are. In order to source the truth we must also see through our own biases. eg. in viewing Christianity as superior to other religions Dr.Steiner said it was no more biased than viewing the Sun in relation to the other planets. There can sometimes be a misguided sense of fairness and equality where indeed equality doesn't exist or apply.

We are instructed to concentrate on the good in the world, and this is healthy and gives us life.