IN ORDER TO give a complete picture of this, much that is extraneous but which more or less influences the main question must be taken into consideration.
This is something which even many eminent persons ponder over, because the laws of justice decree that where responsibility exists there must also unquestionably be a possibility to make a free decision.
Wherever one turns, from all sides one hears the question:
Where does free will come in if in fact man is subject to Providence, guidance, destiny, the influence of the stars, and karma?
Man gets pushed, polished and molded whether he wishes it or not!
Serious seekers eagerly seize upon all that is said about free will, rightly discerning that it is just on this subject that an explanation is very necessary.
As long as this is lacking man cannot adjust himself properly so as to maintain the position in this great Creation which is rightfully his.
If he is not properly attuned to Creation he must remain a stranger in it.
He will roam about and have to submit to being pushed, polished and molded because he is not conscious of the purpose of life.
His great deficiency is that he does not know where his free will comes in and how it functions.
This fact alone shows that he has completely lost the way to his free will and no longer knows how to find it.
The entrance to the path leading to this knowledge is blocked by drifting sands and is no longer visible.
All traces are effaced.
Man runs around irresolutely in circles, tiring himself out, till a fresh wind comes at last to make the path clear again.
It is obvious that in this process the drifting sands will first be violently whirled up and, before they are carried away, will blind the eyes of many who continue hungrily to seek the entrance to the path.
For this reason everyone must exercise the greatest care to keep his vision free until the last grain of drifting sand is blown away.
Otherwise it might well happen that, although he sees the way, his somewhat obscured vision may cause him to take a false step, stumble and fall, and thus sink away when the path is right in front of him.
The lack of understanding which men stubbornly show regarding the actual existence of free will has its roots mainly in the fact that they do not know what the free will really is.
Although the explanation is already given in the words themselves, here as elsewhere man overlooks such simple things because of their utter simplicity.
Instead he searches in the wrong place, thereby preventing himself from getting a clear picture of free will.
The great majority of men today regard the will as something forcefully brought into being by the earthly brain when the intellect, which is bound to time and space, indicates and decrees a certain definite direction for thoughts and feelings.
However, that is not free will, but the will bound by the earthly intellect!
The confusion of these two concepts by many people brings about great errors, and erects the wall which makes recognition and understanding impossible.
Then man is surprised when he comes upon gaps and contradictions and cannot find any logic in it!
The free will which alone has such an incisive effect upon actual life that it reaches far into the world beyond, and which imprints its stamp upon the soul and is able to mold it, is of quite a different nature.
It is too great to be limited to things of this earth.
Hence it has no connection whatever with the earthly physical body, nor with the brain.
Free will is inherent in the spirit alone, in the soul of man!
If man would not always give unlimited sway to the intellect, then the free will of his actual spiritual “ego”, which has a wider vision, could through its finer intuition prescribe the direction the intellectual brain should take.
Then the “bound” will, so absolutely necessary for all earthly purposes, which are limited to time and space, would very often choose another course than is now the case.
That fate would also then hold different possibilities is easily comprehensible because, owing to the different course taken, karma would also weave different threads and bring about a different reciprocal action.
This explanation is naturally not sufficient to give a right understanding of what free will is.
To give a complete picture it is necessary to know how free will has already manifested, also how the many intricate entanglements of an existing karma came about, the effects of which can so conceal the free will that it is hardly possible, or completely impossible, to recognize its existence.
Again, such an explanation can only be given if the entire course of development of the spiritual man is taken into consideration, beginning with the moment in which the spirit-germ of man for the first time descended into the ethereal covering on the very outskirts of the World of Matter.
Then we see that man is in no way what he prides himself on being.
He can by no means claim the absolute right to eternal bliss and eternal individual existence!
“We are all God’s children” is wrong in the sense that man has given to it.
Not every man is a child of God, only he who has developed into one!
Man is sent down into Creation as a spirit-germ.
This germ contains everything it needs to enable it to develop into a child of God, conscious of its personality.
The condition is, however, that he unfolds and cultivates the corresponding abilities and does not allow them to perish.
Great and mighty is the process and yet quite natural in its every stage.
Nothing goes outside logical development, for there is logic in all Divine activity, because this is perfect, and what is perfect cannot be wanting in logic.
Each of these spirit-germs carries the same abilities within itself, as they are all of the same spirit.
Each of these abilities contains a promise which will be unconditionally fulfilled as soon as the ability has been developed.
But only then!
That is what each germ has in prospect when it is sown. And yet …!
A Sower went forth to sow!
The region where the finest ethereal substance of Creation borders upon the Realm of Animistic Substantiality* is the field in which the human spirit-germs are sown.
Small sparks go out from this Animistic Sphere across the border and sink away into the virgin soil of the finest ethereal part of Creation, similar to the electric discharges during a thunderstorm.
It is as if the Creative Hand of the Holy Spirit were sowing seeds in the World of Matter.
While the seed develops and slowly ripens towards the harvest many of them are lost.
They do not germinate, that is, they have not developed their higher qualities, but have let them decay or wither, and they must therefore lose themselves in the World of Matter.
But those which have germinated and work up above the surface are strictly sifted at the harvest, and the dead ears are separated from the full ears.
Then, after the harvest, once more the chaff is carefully separated from the wheat.
That is the general outline of the development, but to come to a better understanding of human free will it is necessary to go more thoroughly into the actual development of man.
When spirit-sparks fly over into the soil of the ethereal outskirts of the World of Matter, a gaseous covering of the same substance as this most delicate of all the regions of the World of Matter immediately envelops them.
Thereby the spirit-germ of man has entered Creation which, like all that is material, is subject to change and disintegration.
* See Translation Notes
It is still free from karma and awaits the things which are to come.
The vibrations of the powerful experiences which continually take place in the midst of Creation, in the process of development and decay, penetrate to the furthest outskirts of that ethereal region.*
Even if they are but the most delicate of vibrations that pass like a breath through the World of Ethereal Substance, yet they are sufficient to awaken the sensitive volition in the spirit-germ and arouse its attention.
It desires to “taste” of this or that vibration, to follow it or, to express it differently, to let itself be drawn by it, which is the same as allowing itself to be attracted by it.
Therein lies the first decision of the spirit-germ which, with its manifold tendencies, is now attracted here or there according to the choice it makes.
Thus the first delicate threads are woven for the fabric that later is to become its tapestry of life.
The rapidly developing germ can now use every moment to indulge in vibrations of other kinds, which are constantly crossing its path in many variations.
As soon as it determines to do so, thus wishing it, it will change its course and follow the newly-chosen kind or, rather, allow itself to be drawn by it.
Its wish is like a rudder through which it can change its course in the currents as soon as the one it is following no longer pleases it.
In this way it is able to “taste” here and there.
Through this tasting it matures more and more.
It gradually develops the capacity to distinguish and finally the ability to judge until, in the end, becoming ever more conscious and assured, it follows a certain definite direction.
The choice of vibrations it is willing to follow has a deep effect upon it.
In accordance with their own characteristics it quite naturally follows * For the moment only the wider aspect of all this is given, but in later lectures it will be explained in greater detail.
that the vibrations in which of its free volition the spirit-germ swims, so to speak, exercise an influence upon it through the reciprocal action.
The spirit-germ itself, however, possesses only pure and noble qualities.
These are the talents which it should put to the highest use in Creation.
If it indulges in noble vibrations, these through the reciprocal action will arouse its latent qualities, stir them up, and strengthen and cultivate them, so that they may, in time, bear good fruit and bring great blessing to Creation.
A man developing spiritually in this manner will become a good householder.
If, however, the spirit-germ decides principally in favor of ignoble vibrations these can, in due course, influence it so strongly that their nature remains clinging to it, and also envelop its own pure qualities, suffocating them and preventing them from awakening and developing.
These must finally be considered as “buried”, whereby the person concerned becomes a bad householder of the talents entrusted to him.
Thus a spirit-germ itself cannot be impure as it comes from the region of purity and carries only purity within it.
But after it has sunk into the World of Matter it can sully its cloak, which is also of material substance, by voluntarily “tasting” impure vibrations, as through temptations.
In doing so it can even outwardly make its own the inward impurity which has superimposed itself upon the noble characteristics, whereby it also receives impure qualities in contrast to the inherited qualities of the spirit which it brought along.
All guilt and karma are only material, existing only within material Creation and nowhere else!
Nor can they become part of the spirit as such, but can only cling to it!
Therefore it is possible to be washed clean of all guilt!
The recognition of this does not upset anything but only confirms what religion and church say allegorically.
Above all we recognize more and more the great Truth which Christ brought to mankind.
It is quite natural that a spirit-germ, having burdened itself with impurity in the World of Matter, cannot return with this burden to the Spiritual Realm, but must remain in the Material World until it has cast off this burden and redeemed itself from it.
In this process it must naturally remain in that region to which the weight of its burden forces it, depending on the greater or lesser degree of impurity.
If it does not succeed in ridding itself of and casting off its burden before the Day of Judgment, it will not be able to rise in spite of the purity always retained by the spirit-germ.
This could not unfold itself according to its actual qualities, because it had been overlaid with impurity.
The impurity holds it down by its weight and draws it along into the dissolution of all that is material.
The more conscious a spirit-germ becomes in the course of its development, the more does its outer covering take on the nature of its inner qualities, striving either towards what is noble or ignoble, and thus becoming beautiful or ugly.
Every deviation it makes forms a knot in the threads dragging behind it which, through the following of many wrong paths and going To and FRO, become looped and form an intricate network in which the spirit is entangled, either perishing through being held fast, or having forcibly to extricate itself.
The vibrations in which it indulged while nibbling or enjoying during its wandering remain attached to it and drag after it like threads, continually sending their particular radiations to it.
If it keeps to the same direction for a long time, then both the threads further back and the new threads can operate with undiminished vigor.
Whenever it changes its course, however, the influence of the further vibrations will slowly be weakened by being crossed, for they must first pass through a knot.
This hinders them because, in making the knot, they joined and fused with new vibrations of quite a different nature.
Thus it goes on and on.
As the spirit-germ grows the threads become denser and stronger and form karma, the ultimate effect of which may become so powerful that it may attach to the spirit this or that “propensity”, which is finally able to influence its free decisions and give it a direction that can already be estimated in advance.
Then the free will has been darkened and can no longer operate as it should.
Thus from the beginning free will has existed, but later many a free will becomes burdened to such an extent that it is strongly influenced in the way already described and so can no longer act as a free will.
The spirit-germ which is developing in this way more and more must come ever nearer to the earth, for from there the vibrations emanate more strongly.
Steering more and more consciously, the spirit-germ follows these or, more precisely, lets itself be “attracted” by them, so that it may enjoy ever-increasingly those kinds which its inclination chooses.
It wants to pass from “nibbling” to the real “tasting”, and finally to “enjoying”.
The reason why the vibrations from the earth are so strong is that something new and powerful has been added – physical, material, generative power!*
The latter has the mission and the capacity to set the whole spiritual intuitive perception “aglow”.
It is only through this that the spirit gets the proper connection with material Creation and consequently it can only then work in it with full vigor.
It then embraces all that is requisite to gain complete authority in the Material World, to stand firmly in it in every respect, to be able to work in it decisively and forcefully, and to be armed and protected against everything.
Hence the mighty waves of power issuing from man’s experiences in his life on earth!
It is true they only go as far as material substance in Creation, but they penetrate to the furthest and most delicate regions therein.
If there was on earth a human being of spiritually high and noble character, who was therefore able to bring to his fellow-men a high spiritual love, he would remain a stranger to them and could not come inwardly near them as long as his generative power was missing.
* Lecture II–51: “The significance of man’s generative power …”
Through this a bridge to understanding and to the psychic sensing of the intuitive feelings of others would be lacking, leaving a gap.
However, at the moment in which this spiritual love enters into a pure union with the generative power and is thereby set aglow, the emanation from this receives an entirely different vitality for all material substance.
It becomes more real in the earthly sense and is thereby able to work more completely and understandably upon humanity and upon the whole World of Matter.
Only then can this emanation be absorbed and finally perceived intuitively, bringing into Creation the blessing which the spirit of man should bring.
There is something mighty about this union.
This is the actual purpose, at least the main purpose, of this natural instinct, so immense and yet so mysterious to many, namely that it permits the spiritual to unfold in the World of Matter to its fullest working power.
Without it the spiritual would remain too alien to material substance to be able to work in it properly.
The purpose of procreation only comes in the second place.
The main thing resulting from this union is the “swinging upwards” of the human being.
This gives the human spirit its full powers, its warmth and vitality.
With this happening it is, so to speak, completed.
It is at this moment, therefore, that its full responsibility sets in!
At this important turning point the wise Justice of God gives man not only the opportunity but at the same time the natural urge easily to shake off all the karma with which he has burdened his free will up till then.
This enables man once more completely to free his will, so as to become a child of God, standing consciously and powerfully in Creation, working according to God’s Will, and ascending in his pure and sublime intuitive perceptions to those heights to which he will later be attracted as soon as he has laid aside his physical body.
If man does not do this it is his own fault, for when his generative power sets in he is first of all stirred by a mighty upward impulse to all that is ideal, beautiful and pure.
This can always be clearly observed with unspoiled youth of both sexes.
Hence the enthusiasms in the years of youth, not to be mistaken for the years of childhood, which are unfortunately often laughed at by adults!
This also accounts for the inexplicable, rather melancholy but none the less serious intuitive perceptions in these years.
The hours in which it seems as if the young man or maiden were burdened with all the sorrows of the world, when presentiments of a deep seriousness come over them, are not altogether without reason.
Also their frequent feeling of not being understood has in reality much truth in it.
It arises from their occasional recognition of how wrong is the world around them, a world which cannot and will not understand the sacred wish of their soul to soar on high.
A world which is not satisfied until these strongly warning intuitive perceptions in the maturing soul are dragged down to a level people can better understand, thus something “more real” and matter-of-fact, which they consider better suited to man and, with their one-sided intellectual mind, the only normal state of affairs!
In spite of this there are many out-and-out materialists who during this period of their lives have perceived these same serious warnings, and who now and then enjoy speaking of the golden days of their first love with a slight tinge of sentiment, even melancholy, thus unconsciously expressing a certain sadness at having lost something they cannot define more closely.
And indeed they are all correct in this respect!
The most precious thing has been taken away from them, or they themselves carelessly threw it away when, in the dull routine of every-day work, or under the ridicule of their so-called “men and women friends”, or again by reading bad books or through bad examples, they faint-heartedly buried the treasure.
And still its radiance shines forth from time to time during their further life and, for a moment, makes their disappointed heart beat faster, oppressed and bewildered by an inexplicable feeling of sadness and longing.
Even if these intuitive feelings are always quickly pushed away and laughed at in bitter self-contempt, they still bear witness to the existence of this treasure.
Fortunately there are but few who can assert that they never had such feelings!
Such men would indeed only excite pity, for they have never really lived!
But even such depraved ones, or let us rather call them pitiable ones, intuitively sense a longing when they have an opportunity to meet a person who makes use of this energy with the right attitude, through which he has become pure and already attained an inner maturity on earth.
The first effect of such a longing in these people is in most cases the involuntary recognition of their own baseness and negligence which then turns into hatred and may culminate in blind rage.
It often happens that a man whose soul has attained to an exceptionally high degree of maturity attracts the hatred of the masses without himself having given them any outwardly visible cause.
Such masses know nothing better than to cry: “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
This is the reason for the long series of martyrs in the history of mankind.
The real cause is their violent grief at seeing something precious in others which they themselves have lost, a grief which they only feel as hatred.
When people who have more inner warmth, and who have only been kept down or dragged in the mud by the bad example of others, meet a person of high inner maturity, the longing for something they have not attained themselves will often call forth an unbounded love and veneration.
Wherever such a man goes there will always be a for and against, but indifference towards him is impossible.
The mysterious radiating charm of an unsullied maiden or youth is nothing but the pure upsurge of the awakening generative power which, united with spiritual power, strives for what is highest and noblest, and is intuitively perceived by their environment through the strong vibrations emanating from it.
With careful forethought the Creator provided that this awakening should come at an age when man can be fully aware of his volition and actions.
This is the time when, in conjunction with the full power now resting in him, he can and should easily shake off all that lies in the past.
It will even fall away of itself, if man only keeps his volition for the good, which he is being unceasingly urged to do during this time.
Then, as the intuitive perceptions quite rightly intimate, he could rise without any effort to that level to which he as a human being belongs!
Behold the dreaming of unsullied youth!
It is but the perception of this upsurge, the wish to be free from all baseness, the ardent longing for the ideal!
Their uneasy restlessness, however, is the signal not to waste time, but energetically to cast off their karma and start on their spiritual ascent.
That is why the earth is the great turning-point for mankind!
How glorious it is to stand in this all-embracing power, to work in it and with it!
At least as long as the direction man chooses remains a good one!
But there is nothing more pitiable than one-sidedly to dissipate these powers in blind sensual orgies, thereby enfeebling one’s spirit and depriving it of a great part of the impetus it so urgently needs to advance upwards!
And yet in most cases man fails to profit by this priceless period of transition and allows himself to be led by those in his environment who think they “know” on to wrong paths, which hinder him from rising and, alas, only too often lead him downwards!
Consequently he is unable to throw off the dark vibrations clinging to him; on the contrary these only attract reinforcement, and he will more and more entangle his free will till he can no longer recognize it.
This is what happens with the first incarnation on earth.
In later incarnations which become necessary man brings a much heavier karma with him.
But in spite of this the possibility of shaking it off recurs in every life, and no karma could be stronger than a human spirit which has acquired its full vigor as soon as it receives, through the generative power, the complete connection with the World of Matter to which karma belongs.
But if man fails to make use of these periods to cast off his karma and thereby regain his free will, and should he have further entangled himself or perhaps even sunk deeply, in spite of this a powerful ally is offered to help him fight his karma and ascend.
It is the greatest conqueror existing, able to overcome everything!
The wisdom of the Creator has ordained that the times mentioned above are not the only ones in the World of Matter in which mankind may find the possibility of quick help, in which he is able to discover himself and his true worth, and in which he even receives an exceptionally strong impetus to draw his attention to it.
This magic power which every person during his whole life on earth has at his disposal in constant readiness to help, which also originates from the same union of generative power with the spiritual power, and which can liberate from all karma, is the love.
Not the demanding love of the material world, but the high pure love which only knows and wishes the welfare of the beloved one, and which never thinks of itself.
This love also belongs to material Creation, and it demands no renunciation, no asceticism, but only wishes what is best for the other.
It fears for him, suffers with him, but also shares in his joy.
The basis of this love is similar to the intuitive longing for the ideal which unsullied youth has when its generative power sets in.
But it also spurs on the responsible, i.e. the mature human being to the full power of all his abilities, even to heroism, so that the creative and competitive powers are exerted to their utmost extent.
In this no limit is set as to age!
As soon as a human being opens his heart to pure love, whether it be man’s love for a woman or vice versa, or the love for friends, parents or children, it is all the same!
If only it is pure it will bring as its first gift the opportunity to cast off all karma, which will then only be redeemed “symbolically”*, so that the free and conscious will, which can only strive upwards, may blossom forth.
* Lecture II–27: “Symbolism in the fate of man”
As a natural consequence ascent will then begin, that is, redemption from the unworthy fetters that hold him down.
The first intuitive feeling which stirs the heart at the awakening of pure love is thinking oneself unworthy of the beloved one.
This can be described in other words as the dawn of modesty and humility, thus the acquisition of two great virtues.
With this comes the desire to protect the other so that no possible harm could come to him from any direction, and so that his way should lead over flowery, sunny paths.
This desire “to wait hand and foot upon a person” is no empty saying, but quite rightly marks the rising intuitive perception.
Inherent in this is the surrendering of one’s personality, a strong desire to serve, which alone could suffice to cast off all karma in a short time, provided the volition remains uppermost and does not give way to mere sensual instincts.
Finally, with pure love comes the ardent desire to do something really great and noble for the beloved one, not to offend or hurt him by look, thought or word, much less by an unworthy action.
The most delicate consideration is engendered.
The important thing is to hold fast to these pure intuitive perceptions and to place them above all else!
Then no one will desire or do anything wrong.
He will simply be unable to do so!
On the contrary, through this he will enjoy the best protection, the greatest power, and the most benign helper and adviser.
That is why Christ refers again and again to the supreme power of love!
Love alone can overcome and accomplish all things, always provided, however, that it is not the earthly demanding love, which harbors jealousy and kindred evils.
With this the Creator in His Wisdom has thrown a lifebuoy into Creation, with which every individual comes more than once into contact during his life on earth, so that he may grasp it and swing himself upwards.
This help is there for all!
No distinctions are made, either in age or sex, between rich or poor, high or low!
Therefore love is the greatest of God’s gifts!
He who grasps this can be certain of salvation from every tribulation, and however deep he may have fallen.
He frees himself and thus quickly and easily regains an undimmed free will, which leads him upwards.
And even if he had fallen to such a depth as to make him despair, love is able to sweep him upward with the impetuosity of a whirlwind to the Light, to God, Who Himself is Love!
As soon as pure love stirs within a man, no matter what has caused it, he obtains the most direct connection with God, the Primordial Source of all Love, and thus the strongest help.
But should a man possess all things and have no love, he would be but “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” – without warmth, without life … nothing!
However, if he does find true love for some fellow being, a love striving only to bring light and joy to the beloved one, and not to drag him down through senseless desires, but a love that protects and uplifts him, then he serves the other without being aware that he is doing so.
Through this he be-comes more of an unselfish giver, and this serving sets him free.
Many will here say to themselves: “That is exactly what I do or, at least, what I am already striving to do!
Using all the means in my power I try to make life on earth easy for my wife or family, offering them pleasures while I exert myself to obtain sufficient resources to enable them to lead a comfortable and agreeable life, free from all care!”
Thousands will give themselves airs, feeling uplifted and imagining they are undeniably good and noble.
But they err!
That is not the living, vital love!
Such living love is not so one-sidedly material, but simultaneously urges much more strongly towards that which is high, noble and ideal.
Certainly no one may venture to forget earthly necessities with impunity, i.e., without detriment to himself!
He should not disregard them, but at the same time they must not become the principal aim of his thoughts and actions.
Hovering above all this, great and strong, is the desire, so mysterious to many, to be able actually to attain to what they are considered to be in the eyes of those who love them.
With this desire they are on the right path, which will only lead upwards!
Genuine pure love needs no further explanation!
Every man feels exactly what it is!
Man often tries to deceive himself about it on seeing his mistakes and realizing how far away he really is from loving truly and purely.
But he must then pull himself together, he may not hesitate or stop and finally give up, for without genuine love there can no longer be any free will for him.
How many opportunities thus offered to men to pull themselves together and swing upwards are left unused!
The complaint and seeking of the majority are therefore not genuine.
They simply do not want to be bothered if it means that they themselves must contribute something, be it but a slight re-arrangement of their habits and views.
To a great extent it is falsehood and self-deception!
God should come to them and lift them upwards to Him without the necessity for them to forgo their precious comfort and self-worship!
Then they would possibly condescend to go along, but not, however, without expecting special thanks from God for so doing!
Let these drones go their own way to destruction!
They are not worth any trouble!
Over and over again they will let the opportunities presented to them pass by while lamenting and praying.
If ever such a person does grasp an opportunity, he would surely rob it of its most noble adornment of purity and unselfishness in order to drag this precious treasure into the mire of passion.
Those who seek and those who know should finally make up their minds to avoid such people!
They should not think they are doing the Almighty a favor in spreading His Word and His Holy Will in such a cheap manner, offering it by trying to teach others, so that it almost appears as if the Creator were forced, with the help of His faithful ones, to go begging in order to extend the circle of adherents.
It is defilement to offer His Word to such as would grasp it with unclean hands.
The saying should not be forgotten which forbids “casting pearls before swine”!
And that is what it amounts to in such cases!
An unnecessary waste of time, which may no longer be wasted to such a degree without ultimately causing harmful reactions!
Help should be given only to those who seek!
The increasing disquietude felt by many people, and the searching and seeking for the whereabouts of the free will, are perfectly justified, and a sign that it is high time to set about it!
This feeling is strengthened by an unconscious premonition that there may come a time when it is too late.
That is what keeps the searchers constantly active at the present time.
But for the greater part it is in vain!
The majority of people of the present day can no longer make use of their free will because they have entangled themselves too gravely!
They have sold and bartered it … for nothing!
They cannot hold God responsible for this, however, as is so often and continually being tried through all kinds of interpretations by which they erase from their minds all thought of the personal responsibility awaiting them, but they must accuse themselves!
Even if this self-accusation was of the greatest bitterness and accompanied by the deepest pain, it could not be severe enough to counterbalance, even in a small measure, the value of the lost gift which has been senselessly suppressed or squandered!
Yet, in spite of this, man can still find the way to regain what he lost as soon as he seriously exerts himself, always provided, of course, that the wish to do so comes from deep within, that it is really alive in him and never weakens.
He must carry the greatest longing for it!
And should he need to spend his whole life on it, he could only benefit, for it is an urgent necessity for mankind to regain their free will!
Instead of “regain” we could also say “dig it out” or “wash it free”.
It would be all the same!
As long as man only thinks and ponders on the subject, however, he will attain nothing.
The greatest efforts and perseverance must then fail him, because through thinking and pondering he can never reach beyond the limits of time and space, which means that he cannot get to where the solution lies.
And since at present thinking and pondering are considered as the high road to all research, there is no prospect that any progress, apart from mere earthly matters, may be expected.
Unless, indeed, men would fundamentally change in this respect!
Make use of your time on earth!
Remember the great turning-point which always brings full responsibility with it!
For this reason a child is spiritually still under age, because the union between the spiritual and the material has not been established through the generative power.
Not until the moment when this power sets in will its intuitive perceptions be sufficiently strong incisively to penetrate the entire World of Matter, reforming and transforming it.
With this he automatically takes full and complete responsibility.
Previous to this the reciprocal action is not so strong either, because the intuitive faculty is much weaker.
Therefore in the first incarnation on earth karma cannot be so powerful.
At the utmost it could influence the circumstances into which a child is born, so that these can help the spirit in its earth-life to redeem its karma by recognizing the qualities it possesses.
The question of the attraction of homogeneous species would play an important role in this.
But all these influences would be rather weak.
The actual powerful and incisive karma only sets in when the generative power unites with the spiritual power in man, whereby he not only becomes of full value in the World of Matter, but can far surpass the material in every respect if he adapts himself accordingly.
Until then darkness and evil are unable to approach man directly.
The child is protected against this by the gap which exists between itself and the material world.
It stands as if isolated, because the bridge is missing.
Many readers will now more readily understand why children enjoy much greater protection from evil; this is even proverbial!
However, on the same path which the bridge forms for the entering generative power, and over which a man in his full power can stride forth to do battle, naturally also everything else can approach him, unless he is on his guard.
But in no case can this happen until he possesses the necessary means of defense!
Not for one moment does an inequality exist which could serve as an excuse!
This enormously increases the responsibility of the parents.
Woe unto those parents who through misplaced ridicule or a wrong education, if not even by bad example, which also includes all sorts of ambitious desires, rob their children of the opportunity to rid themselves of their karma and to ascend!
The temptations of life on earth lure men hither and thither as it is.
And since adolescent youth are not enlightened as to the scope of their power, they either do not use it at all or too little, or they squander it in an irresponsible manner, if not even put it to an improper or evil use.
Thus, because of ignorance, their karma inevitably grows ever greater!
Through some propensity or other its radiations influence decisions on this or that matter in advance, thereby limiting actual free will to the extent that it is no longer free.
That is why the majority of people today can no longer make use of their free will.
They have bound, chained and enslaved themselves through their own guilt.
How childish and unworthy do men make themselves when they try to reject the thought of an absolute responsibility, preferring to blame the Creator for injustice in this matter!
How ridiculous it sounds to pretend that they never really possessed free will, but were guided, pushed, polished and molded without being able to do anything against it!
If they could but realize for a moment what a pitiable role they actually play with such behavior!
Above all, if they could but once critically observe themselves in view of the position of power bestowed upon them, so as to recognize how senselessly they squander this power in petty and transitory things, how they raise trifles to a contemptible position of importance, and how they feel themselves great in things in which they must appear very small in comparison with their real vocation as human beings in Creation!
The man of today may be likened to one to whom a kingdom is given, but who prefers to idle away his time with the most simple of children’s toys!
It is only natural, and not to be expected otherwise, that the mighty powers which have been given to man must crush him if he cannot guide them!
It is high time to awake!
Man should make full use of the time and the grace accorded to him with each earth-life!
He has still no idea how urgent this already is!
In the moment when he once more frees his encumbered will, everything that now so often seems to be against him will then help him.
Even the radiations of the stars, feared by so many, are only there to help him, no matter what their nature!
And everyone can do it regardless of how heavily karma weighs upon him, even when the radiations of the stars appear to be predominantly unfavorable!
The effect of all this is only unfavorable when the will is not free.
This, however, is only apparently so, for in reality it is only for his benefit when he is at a loss to help himself.
It forces him to defend himself, to awaken and to be on the alert.
Fear of the radiations of the stars is quite out of place, however, because the reactions they call forth are always and only linked up with the threads of karma attached to the person concerned.
The radiations of the stars are merely channels into which is drawn all the karma hanging about a person at that time, in so far as the karma is homogeneous to the existing radiations.
If the radiations of the stars are unfavorable then only the unfavorable karma clinging to a person will be drawn into these channels, exactly as it corresponds to the nature of the radiation, and nothing else!
It is the same with favorable radiations.
Jointly guided in this way, karma can have a much more perceptible effect on mankind.
However, where there is no bad karma outstanding, even unfavorable radiations of the stars cannot have bad effects.
The one cannot be separated from the other.
Here again the great Love of the Creator can be recognized.
The stars control or direct the effects of karma.
Therefore bad karma cannot manifest without interruptions because the stars send out their radiations alternately, and this leaves man time to breathe in the intervals, for evil karma cannot take effect at the times of favorable radiations.
As it must then cease and wait until unfavorable radiations again set in, it cannot so easily oppress a man completely.
If, apart from the evil karma, a man has no good karma which could manifest when the radiations of the stars are favorable, then at least the favorable radiations would give him some respite from his suffering during the time they are active.
Thus also here one wheel in the course of events gears into the other.
In strict consistency the one draws the other along, simultaneously controlling it, so that there can be no irregularities.
And so it continues, as in a gigantic machine!
On every side the teeth of the wheels gear sharply and exactly into each other, moving everything onward, driving it forward in its development.
And in the midst of all this stands man, with the immeasurable power entrusted to him to direct this mighty mechanism through his volition.
But always and only for himself!
It can lead him upward or downward.
The direction he gives it alone decides the outcome.
But the machinery of Creation does not consist of rigid substance, but is entirely composed of living forms and beings who, in co-operating, create a much greater impression.
The whole wonderful weaving, however, has the sole purpose of helping man, so long as he does not obstruct it by childishly squandering and misusing the power given to him.
It is time man adapted himself in a different way in order to become what he should be!
To obey really means nothing else than to understand.
To serve is the same as to help. And to help means to rule.
Within a short period every man can make his will free, as it should be.
In doing so everything will change for him, because he himself has first changed inwardly.
But for thousands, for hundreds of thousands, indeed for millions, it will become too late because they do not wish it otherwise.
It is quite natural that the wrongly-applied power, which would otherwise have served the mechanism so as to accomplish a work full of blessing, must now destroy it.
And when everything breaks down all those who hesitated will suddenly bethink themselves of prayer, but they will be unable to find the right way to pray, which alone can bring them help.
If they recognize their failure they will, in desperation, speedily start to curse, declaring accusingly that there can be no God if He permits such things to happen.
They will neither believe in an inexorable justice, nor that they had the power given to them in time to change everything, and that they were told of this often enough.
With childish obstinacy they demand for themselves a loving God as they want Him to be, a God Who forgives everything!
Only in that do they want to recognize His greatness!
But how then should this God of their imaginings deal with those who have always sought Him seriously, but who, on account of their seeking, were downtrodden, scorned and persecuted by those who now expect forgiveness?
Fools who in their continually self-chosen blindness and deafness rush on to their destruction, who diligently create their own doom!
Let them be abandoned to darkness, towards which they stubbornly strive in their self-sufficiency!
Only through their own experiences can they still come to their senses!
Therefore the Darkness will be their best school.
But there will come a day and an hour when this way will also be too late, because there will not be time enough left, after they have finally come to a recognition through their experiences, to tear themselves from darkness and ascend.
For this reason it is high time seriously to concern yourself with the Truth!
* * *
MEN SPEAK OF deserved and undeserved fate, of reward and punishment, retribution and karma. All these are only part-designations of a Law resting in Creation: The Law of Reciprocal Action! A Law which lies in the entire Creation from its earliest beginning, which has been inseparably interwoven with the great, never-ceasing evolution as an essential...
YOU SHOULD NOW put together the lectures I gave about Substantiality and the closest surroundings of earthman, in which I spoke of the undulating and weaving constantly going on around you, and try to regard them as being assembled into one picture. It is really not so difficult. You will be able to recognize their...