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[stbpro id=”download” shadow=”true” bwidth=”2″ color=”F0FAFF” bcolor=”1F2DA6″ bgcolor=”78C0F7″ bgcolorto=”2E7CB9″ image=”null” mtop=”1″ mbottom=”1″]Exercise One[/stbpro]
Developing our Ability to Focus
[stbpro id=”download” caption=”1. The Exercise” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true”] To think thoroughly and in a harmoniously structured way upon a certain object
What needs to be done
Choose a simple, artificial (man made) object such as a pen, pin, pencil, chair, table, handkerchief, cup, etc. Find out everything about the object, write it down so that you can remember it well. Encyclopedias or works on specific objects may be used, if you need to find out additional information about the object, the internet may be used as well.
Or one can familiarize oneself with the whole sequence of a production process, from raw material to finished product.
Always remain factual and objective, keeping the object itself in close view and avoiding a particular slant or interpretation.
- Try hard to build up a well-structured sequence through three, four or seven stages or levels (see below). Rather than attempting the full seven stages, one can limit oneself, at least to begin with the first three or four.
- Once you have managed to think a sequence through correctly, it is good to picture the whole process vividly, like a film and also try to run it backwards.
What should be avoided
- Thinking in an undisciplined, haphazard way
- Thinking in a ‘clever’ or ‘shrewd’ kind of way
- Just allowing thoughts to come – drifting along passively rather than being completely engaged, actively involved in the structuring of a sequence
- Dreaming off and losing the thread
What is important
To develop the habit of structuring organic processes of though in such a way that they become inner necessity.
- It is a good idea to carry out the exercise early in the morning, or at least before midday. This is because it makes you wide awake and fills you with energy and strength, with ‘uprightness’, even when done imperfectly.
- It is a good sign to begin with – that is, during the first cycles of repetition of all six exercises – to practice with several different objects. Then, eventually, concentrate on just one (see also the ‘remarks’ below).
- If it should prove impossible to consider all the details involved – which will be true particularly of the second step, the etheric level – then one should just create additional details to allow the exercise to progress in a flowing consecutive way. However, this imagining should be avoided as much as possible, for it is the utmost importance that the exercise be based on concrete, real facts.
- When one starts to carry out the exercise in reverse, thinking backwards through the sequence, then a rhythmic, pendulum-like, thought wave can arise. This exercising of our ‘control of thoughts’ then gives us an experience of thinking as oscillation, as wave; it manifests as an activity of and with the etheric body.
- The point of the exercise, as it has so far been described, is not to gain mastery of the process involved but only to prepare the ground for the real etheric process. Up to this point, the exercise can be carried out by means of our normal, intellectual thinking. The real exercise only begins when one has repeated it so many times and developed such good command of it that it becomes thoroughly boring.
- Not until the exercise can proceed almost by itself and automatically, until it has grown to be habit and therefore a capacity of soul, will it become possible for us to direct our whole concentration and awareness away from the object itself to the wavelike vibrations and motions of the thinking etheric body, thus concentrating upon the pure activity of thought itself. That is the real point of the exercise: experiencing the inner life-force. When we can experience the nature of thinking in this way, the etheric stream corresponding to such thinking will also become perceptible to us. This is also true of the other exercises.
[stbpro id=”info” caption=”- Questions to ask about the object” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true” ccolor=”2e7cb9″]
- What are the forms, the components, the raw materials?
- How were the parts prepared and put together?
- Why and for what purpose was the object designed in this way? What are my feelings about it?
- Who invented it? When? Where?
- Why and for what purpose did the inventor think of it?
- How did this kind of object develop; what forerunners preceded it?
- What are the various different types of this object – varying in form, material, use, etc.?
[stbpro id=”info” caption=”- A Typical Example” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true” ccolor=”2e7cb9″]
- Physical level (OUTER): form and material – all that can be perceived with the five senses
- form, shape, size, colour, parts
- weight, surface texture, structure, consistency, temperature
- tone, density
- type of odour and its intensity (e.g. cedar wood and synthetic material)
- material of the different components: wood, graphite and clay (in the lead), glue, varnish and printing ink (in the wooden shaft and the writing on it), rubber and brass fitting at the top
- Etheric level (OUTER): processes in time, activities (first in the separate parts, then in their combination)
- wood: forest, cutting the trees, transport (as for everything that follows), sawing up, etc.
- graphite mine: graphite and clay, mining, pulverisation, mixing, compacting, firing in the oven, etc
- glue: raw materials, manufacture
- varnishing and printing ink: extraction of oil and pigments, processing
- rubber: raw materials of oil or latex, manufacture
- brass fitting: mining, smelting, processing
Then one should think about the combining of all these materials in the factory, the packing of the finished pencils, their transportation to the shops, etc.
- Astral level (OUTER): design, feelings
- design – function, ergonomics, economic considerations
- feelings – qualities, suitability, aesthetic aspects, use
- ‘I’ level: nature, inventor
Who invented the pencil? Why and where and how? (Nicholas Jacques Conte invented the graphite / clay mixture in 1795, and created the pencil with it which has been hardly altered since then.)
- Astral level (INNER): need for the invention, purpose and significance, consequences for daily life and for general culture, etc.
Great advantages over the kinds of writing instruments available at the time of its invention; it therefore facilitated a new stage in cultural development.
- Etheric level (INNER): history of the development of writing instruments, effects upon cultural evolution
- sequence – fingers, twigs, stones, brushes, stylus, slate pencils, chalk, quills, fountain pens, mechanical pencils
- effects – aided the industrial revolution by enabling thoughts to written down quickly and easily
- Physical level (INNER): the concept ‘pencil’ and its various forms as physical, concrete objects
- according to function – writing, drawing, marking, etc.
- according to size – carpenters pencil, artists pencil, display pencil, pocket-diary pencil, etc.
- according to shape – cylindrical, three, four, six sided, etc.
- according to hardness – 14 different grades of hardness in total (from 9H to 6B)
These seven stages ultimately bring the pupil to a ‘pencil concept’ that contains all possible kinds of pencil, including potential future ones. An archetypal image of the pencil arises as a result, the “Ur-pencil” if you like. Thus one proceeds from a single object to its archetypal form.
[stbpro id=”download” caption=”2. Etheric Stream – Feeling Energy Exercise” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true” ]
An inner feeling of certainty and safety, but as though carried upon rhythmically flowing water; one should pour this feeling from the forehead over the back of the head, and down the middle of the back.
At the end of the exercise an endeavour is made to become fully conscious of that inner feeling of firmness and security which will soon be noticed by paying subtler attention to one’s own soul; the exercise is then brought to a conclusion by focusing the thinking upon the head and the middle of the spine (brain and spinal cord), as if the feeling of security were being poured into this part of the body.
The exercise awakens in the pupil a feeling of certainty and steadfastness, since it activates the chakra between the eyebrows. One should send the feeling from that point through the brain and into the spine.
After some time one can then start to notice a feeling of firmness and certainty in the soul. But you must not imagine that this is going to bowl you over. No, it is a very delicate, subtle feeling that you need to listen out carefully for. Those who state that they can find no trace of this feeling within themselves are like someone trying to find a needle in a haystack by trampling all over it – it is there but they miss it. One must become very still and quite and listen inwardly, then one can become aware of this feeling, chiefly in the forehead. Once one has sensed it there, one should imagine pouring it into the brain and the spinal column. One can then gradually start to sense streams of energy raying out from the forehead into the spine.
After doing this exercise, one will after a while come to sense a feeling of inner assurance and steadiness. This is a very specific feeling, and one should try to become very aware of it, and then pour it, as though it were water, into the head and spine.
Becoming aware of this feeling should follow directly after the exercise
[stbpro id=”download” caption=”3. Gesture – ‘I think speech'” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true” ]
The First Position of ‘I think speech’
‘I think speech’
The content of speaking, speech, is the world itself. The spoken word (utterance, sound) or the written word (sign, letters) symbolically represent the perceived objects/beings of our world. Through them the world becomes accessible to activity of thinking, and can therefore be worked through in symbolic form. These symbol words correspond to our concepts and ideas. All abstract ideas also, such as love, good, the state, etc. are abstracted from perception and the experience of concrete, material objects: love from the primal experience of the inherent gesture of motherliness; or the state from interrelationships in the political and social organisation of society. Speech or speaking is the vehicle which carries out into the world these inner concepts living in the soul.
‘I think speech’ means: As a unique ‘I’ I think about the world from my own unique perspective, which is simultaneously the place which I, as thinker, occupy on the earth’s surface.
The arms, following the surface of the earth, are spread horizontally, and encompass the earth; the body orientates itself vertically to the earth’s centre. The gesture of the arms relates to the content of thinking, speech – I think – within space. The position appears here on the physical level.
[stbpro id=”download” caption=”4. The Effect of these Exercises” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true”]
The capacity for thoughts become greatly strengthened. An organic, truly human quality of order either rises or is enhanced, as is the physical framework of the ego, in such a way that daily life can be more harmoniously structured[/stbpro]