How To Know Higher Worlds
The text for this book was written over 100 years ago. Then it was known as Knowledge of the Higher Words and Its Attainment. What Steiner discusses here is as applicable now as it was then. His instruction is very informative.
So, let’s talk about the throat chakra:
The “Sixteen-Petalled Lotus Flower” Near the Larynx
The acquisition of specific faculties depends upon the development of each of these sixteen lotus petals. As already implied, however, we can develop only eight of these petals consciously. The other eight then appear of their own accord.
To develop the sixteen-petalled lotus flower we proceed as follows. We direct our care and attention to eight specific soul processes that we usually perform without care or attention.
The first soul process concerns the way in which we acquire ideas or mental images.
As a rule, we leave this to chance. We happen to see or hear something, and then we form our concepts on that basis. As long as we behave in this way, the sixteen-petalled lotus flower remains quite inactive. But when we begin to discipline ourselves, it begins to move. Discipline here means that we pay attention to our ideas or mental representations. Each one must become meaningful to us. We must begin to see in every image or idea a specific message about something in the outer world. Ideas that do not have a meaning for the outer world should no longer satisfy us. We must guide our conceptual life to become a true mirror of the outer world. All our striving must be to eliminate false ideas from the soul.
The second soul process to be considered — much in the same way as the first — is how we make decisions.
Any decision, even the most trivial, should be made only after thorough, well-reasoned deliberation. We should remove all thoughtless activity and meaningless action from our souls. We must have well-thought-out reasons for all we do. Anything we cannot find a reason for, we must refrain from doing.
The third soul process concerns speech.
When we are esoteric students, every word should have substance and meaning. Talk for talking’s sake diverts us from the path. We must avoid the ordinary kind of conversation where everyone talks at the same time and topics are indiscriminately jumbled together. This does not mean that we should cut ourselves off from interaction with our fellow human beings. On the contrary, it is precisely in interaction with others that we should learn to make our words meaningful. We should be ready to speak to and answer everyone, but only after having taken thought and thoroughly considered the issue at hand. We should never speak without good reason. We should talk neither too much nor too little.
The fourth soul process concerns the ordering of our outer actions.
As esoteric students, we should try to manage our affairs so that they fit both with the affairs of others and with events around us. We should abstain from any behavior that would disturb others or otherwise go against what is happening around us. We should strive to direct our activity so that it integrates harmoniously into our surroundings, our situation in life, and so forth. When a situation prompts us to act, we should consider carefully how best to respond to this prompting. And when we act on our own initiative, we should weigh the consequences of what we intend to do as clearly as we can.
At this point, the fifth soul process comes under consideration, namely, the arrangement and organization of our life as a whole.
As esoteric students, we must strive to live in harmony with both nature and spirit. We must be neither overhasty, nor slow and lazy. Hyperactivity and laxity should be equally alien to us. We should see life itself as a way of working and arrange it accordingly. We should take care of our health and regulate our habits so that a harmonious life ensues as a consequence.
The sixth soul process has to do with human striving or effort.
As esoteric students we must assess our talents and abilities and then act in accordance with this self-knowledge. We should not try to do anything that lies beyond our powers, yet we must always do everything that lies within our powers to do. At the same time, we must set ourselves aspirations connected to humanity’s greatest ideals and obligations. We should not thoughtlessly place ourselves as mere cogs in the vast human machine, but try to understand our tasks and learn to look beyond our daily routines. Hence we should always strive to perfect the performance of our duties.
The seventh soul process involves the effort to learn as much as possible from life.
As esoteric students, nothing comes to us in life that does not provide an opportunity to gather experiences useful for the future. Mistakes and imperfections become an incentive to perform more correctly and perfectly whenever a similar situation next arises. In the same way, we can learn from watching others. We should try to gather as rich a treasure of experience as possible, conscientiously drawing on it for advice at all times. We should do nothing without looking back upon the experiences that can help us to decide and act.
Finally, the eighth soul process: as esoteric students, we should periodically turn and look inward.
We must sink absorbed into ourselves, gently taking counsel with ourselves, shaping and testing our basic principles of life, mentally reviewing what we know, weighing our obligations, pondering the meaning and purpose of life, and so forth.
On the esoteric path, we must be aware that what matters is not “good intentions,” but what we actually do. If I think or say something that does not correspond to reality, I destroy something in my spiritual sense organ, regardless of how good I think my intentions are. Similarly, a child gets burnt when it puts its hands into the fire, even though it acts out of ignorance.
In sum, if we orient these soul processes in the ways outlined here, the sixteen-petalled lotus flower will shine forth in glorious colors and move in accordance with its inherent laws.