Thursday, September 29, 2011


I have been reading "What Men Live By" by Leo Toltsoy, during this week, and even though the portraying of Saint Michael in this story is not the usual one seen in these days, with sword and ready to fight the dragon, it is nonetheless very adequate for us. We could even for a moment pretend we are in his role, and learn the 3 truths that God has commanded him to search for:

-"Learn what dwells in man"
-"What is not given to man"
-"What men live by"

Both Simon the Shoemaker and Matryona his wife, start the encounter with Saint Michael with lower human traits, with selfishness, greed, fear, etc...but in the course of the story, these traits are overcomed by love. Matryona changes her foul thought into a loving gaze and Simon changes his mind and retraces back his steps to help him.

I have talked in the past about communities, how people striving to form a community may find it so difficult to sustain the effort, and it is because we are so separated from the spiritual world, that the differences amongst us are made unsurmountable. Some people may look for community for wrong reasons, egotistic intentions, or plainly self-interest. yet how can we humans strive for something better than that?

We find it in the first community, marriage, where two have to become one, and where the natural binding is again, plainly not enough, nowadays we have more independency from each other because we have more independency from the spiritual, but until we gain again the truths about reality, about the spiritual origin of all, and we consciously make the work to align super-naturally with these truths, all will fail, marriage, and  communities at large.

The quotes at the beginning of Leo Tolstoy's story are worth thinking:

We know that we have passed out of death into life, beacsue we love the brethren. He that love not abideth in death. I Epistle St John iii.14

Whoso hath the world's goods, and beholded his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us no love in word, neither with tongue; but in deed and truth. iii 17-18

Love is God;and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. iv 7-8

No man had beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abideth in us. 1v 12

God is love;and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him. iv 16

If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he had not seen? iv 20

One of my teachers, the director of a school in Spain, told me once about her youthful longings to work in a community. As time went by, she confessed that just striving to hold a school smoothly in a way that everybody was heard and honored, was enough community for the time-being.

I have also the same longing, just striving to hold the family in loving relationships, to strive to "see" every person that I encounter and thus give them my attention, to be part of groups striving to do the same, to overcome our selfishness, and connect again with God so we can truly love one another, that maybe is enough community for the time-being.

May Michael protect us in that walk. May the iron of his sword be victorious in the cosmic spaces and in our blood.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I have a quote of Mother Teresa in my kitchen blackboard and has stayed there for over two years now. Every time I would look at it I would think is time to change it, initially it was designed as a board that would have different quotes and mottos changing periodically; yet it did not happen. This quote seemed more adequate to any other thoughts, comments or sayings that have passed my way during all that time, that is until last week.

For me it is rather special because it stresses the importance of doing things out of love, and I may be caught here and there doing things fast and efficient, yet with no love, and I know this is the cause of much unhappiness around me. What is the point if the house is in order, the curriculum followed, the lessons done, the meals nutritious, the phone calls and conversations dealed with, if there is no love? Sometimes I need to catch myself reading the quote and remembering that is better to dine on onions and smiles that on roast beef and tears.

This also can be followed up to our mind, what are the thoughts behind every action, what is the real intention after every duty? When slowing down the true thoughts can come to light, and then we can deal with them, either accept our selfishness or ignorance, or change them for the better.

I have been asking for some time about love, how to love better, how to love beyond human love. And this is the quote that will replace the old one in my kitchen blackboard:

"Atentiveness is love"

I know there are many other higher wisdom writings to put, (God is love...) yet this one in its simpleness captures one pathway to love, atentiveness. To be attentive to the carrots when I am cutting them, to pay attention to the child when asks a question, to really listen to the husband when he says something, to be attentive with my whole heart to any situation.

I know some teachings of the east like yoga or alike train the mind through breath exercises and they do good out of these, because the mind is centered, yet the path that I am choosing goes searching for good in the opposite direction, in training the mind, the thought process, which in turn changes the breath via the heart. This is western, modern (compared with old eastern wisdom) and thus separated from the new age movement, it is the path of coming back to God through the Earth, through Christ.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I wanted to bring up some of the basic tools/arrows for this epoch, Rudolf Steiner gave six exercises which are fundamental to his meditative work, and also exercises for each day of the week.

I find that if in the morning I recall myself to do this work and read also the calendar of the soul,
things are clearer and better during the day.

The following notes are taken from another source, yet the information can be found in two of the basic books, "Theosophy"

No. 1 - The Control of Thought

The first exercise has to do with the control of thinking. It is designed to keep our minds from wandering, to focus them, in order to strengthen our meditative work. There are several versions of this exercise, one version is:

Select a simple object - a pin, a button, a pencil. Try to think about it exclusively for five minutes. You may think about the way the object is manufactured, how it is used, what its history is. Try to be logical and realistic in your thinking. This exercise is best if practiced faithfully every day. You may use the same object every day or a new object each day, as you choose.

No. 2 - The Control of Will

Choose a simple action to perform each day at a time you select. It should be something you do not ordinarily do; Then make it a duty to perform this action at that time each day. Rudolf Steiner gives the example of watering a flower each day at a certain time. As you progress, additional tasks can be added at other times.

No. 3 - Equanimity

The third exercise is the development of balance between joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, the heights of pleasure and the depths of despair. Strive for a balanced mood. An attempt should be made not to become immoderately angry or annoyed, not to become anxious or fearful, not to become disconcerted, nor to be overcome by joy or sorrow.

No. 4 Positiveness

This exercise is the development of a positive attitude to life. Attempt to seek for the good, praiseworthy, and beautiful in all beings, all experiences and all things. Soon you will begin to notice the hidden good and beautiful that lies concealed in all things.

No. 5 Opennes

For this exercise, make the effort to confront every new experience with complete open-mindedness. The habit of saying, "I never heard that" or "I never saw that before" should be overcome. The possibility of something completely new coming into the world must be left open, even if it contradicts all your previous knowledge and experience.

No. 6 Balance

If you have been trying the earlier exercises of thinking, will, equilibrium, positivity and tolerance, you are now ready to try them together two or three at a time, in varying combinations until they become natural and harmonious.

SATURDAY: Right Thinking
Be aware of your thoughts. Gradually learn to separate in your thoughts the essential from the nonessential, the eternal from the transitory, and truth from mere opinion. When listening to conversation, try to become inwardly still, renouncing all agreement and, more important, all negative judgments (criticism and rejection). Do this in both thought and feeling.

SUNDAY: Right Judgment
Decide on even the most insignificant issues only after full, well-founded deliberation and reflection. Abstain from doing anything that has no significant reason. Once we are convinced that a decision is correct, adhere to it with inner steadfastness. This is “right judgment” because it was made independently of attraction or aversion.

MONDAY: Right Word
Avoid the usual sort of conversation that involves jumbled, simultaneous cross-talk. Listen thoughtfully to every statement and answer. Consider every approach. Never speak without a reason. Prefer silence. Try not to talk too much or too little. Listen quietly and process what you hear.

TUESDAY: Right Deed
Our outer actions should not disturb others. When we are moved inwardly (by conscience) to act, carefully weight how hest to employ the occasion for the good of the whole, and the happiness of others and the eternal. When you act from yourself and your own initiative, weigh the consequences of your actions in the most fundamental way.

WEDNESDAY: Right Standpoint
In ordering your life, live in harmony with nature and spirit. Do not get buried in the external knickknacks of life. Avoid all that brings restlessness and haste to your life. Be neither impetuous nor lazy. Consider life as a means of inner work and development and act accordingly.

THURSDAY: Right Striving
Take care not to do anything beyond your power, but don’t leave anything undone that is within your ability. Pose goals that are connected with the highest of human responsibilities. In relation to these exercises, for example, try to develop yourself so that later—if not immediately–you may be better able to help and advise others. Let the preceding exercises become a habit!

FRIDAY: Right Memory
Strive to learn as much as possible from life. Nothing happens that does not give us the opportunity to gather experiences that are useful for life. If you have done something incorrectly or incompletely, it becomes an opportunity to do it correctly or completely later on. When you see others act, observe them with the same end in mind (but not without love). Do nothing without looking at past experiences that may help in your decisions and your actions. If you are attentive, you can learn much from everyone.

One thing that I want to mention is that even though these are basic exercises, it does not mean that they are easy, or that just beginners undertake them. It is actually comforting to know that very experienced people still humbly admit to stumble with these basic methods, be it a warning and an incentive to start the work, and  to pick it up again whenever it falls.

(On the side I wanted to comment that Steiner at points recommended to start with meditative exercises during the phase of waxing moon, and not during the waning phase which just begun.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011


So, we are getting ready for Michaelmas. Besides the adult work, this year I wanted to build up a festival for the children that mirrored last year's celebration, when the children were being knighted with silk capes. On that occasion it was the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Languedoc, which accompanied during those September times.

This year as I am retelling the story of Don Quijote, it would be also a similar situation, where the children get to hear the story of the knighting just before they celebrate their own.

Holy Grail Seal: The transformation of evil into good.
We are rehearsing some songs that are living in us at this season, and reflect the conflict that encompasses the human being as the summer spiritual strength fades away, and the consciousness is left more alone to work. It is in this mood that we enter the circle every Friday, with the renewed hope in our freedom and in taking initative, for the conquering of evil and transforming it into good.
The children hear us singing with trust and conviction, and they can see too how autumn brings decay and greyness to the previously colored harvest landscape, yet the forces in us defend the castle from perishing and thus it thrives with inner light.

Steiner said that the Michael festival should not be done if it could not be done properly. We are, nonetheless, humbly trying to reflect for our children the inner experiences that the soul lives in this season, and we strive to gather the unity of different individuals to fight together against darkness.

For Michaelmas 29th September then we do as follows, songs, story, ceremony of the capes. There is clay to be worked, as an element of cold, moist earthly substance, that needs much of our warmth to be transformed and worked upon. There is also a slightly sweet cake (marzipan) in form of a dragon to remind us the sweetness of victory ahead.

September (by Bittleston)

Into the ripening
Of earth's great gifts
the mists of autumn
Begin to be woven.
We feel the touches
Of winter's coming.
The gentle earth
has suffered conflict
 Of man with man.
Dust is the witness
Of faithless hearts,
Of cruel thoughts.
May we learn
To care for the earth
Through the purpose of Michael,
Lord of the starry iron,
And the help of Raphael
Spirit of the morning dew.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sympathy vs antipathy

We have been on vacation for a while, visting old friends and making new ones. It has been a delight yet we are also glad to be back and starting our homeschool year. Today was our first day and we accomplished much. We have set the forms of the homeschool day, the verses and songs for opening and closing, the fuctions of the space and also details like the weather chart, etc...

There is something special about starts and something special about friendships too, I think that sometimes we may be carried by the sweet beginnings of a relationship, and yet forget that in the older relationships new things can arise too if we are open to it.

I have found examples of this in this last trip where older friends had been moving in different paths of life and thus have less things in common between them, but as I listen closer, it does seems that a lot can be united where distance abides.

The same holds true for antipathy and sympathy, we may seem attracted to some kind of personalities, and get to befriend the same type of people, perhaps if we are of one temperament we feel inclined to like the opposite one, and vice-versa, but is is in overcoming this law of sympathy that we can exercise our full human freedom, in choosing to be friends to those that we might not feel inclined to, usually the ones that hold some likeness to us, that some truth about ourselves is discovered and yielded to the service of the highest. ( That is one of the benefit in having children that have the same temperament working together for a while, their temperaments soften up with each other's company)

I have been observing sunflowers for a while now, following the indications of observation exercises to get to know the essence of the plants, and I discovered that after a while, a relationship with the sunflowers arose, somehow the thoughts of sunflowers got intermingled with my daily life and at some point the picture came of the whole plantation, where the spaces in between them got brighter and intense, whereas the sunflowers themselves difused in the background.

 It is this kind of exercise that also helps us see through our human nature, and focus on the spirit that resides in us, thus vanishing anger, jealousy, hatred and other such like thoughts from our life.