Learning to Perceive Christ in the Etheric
By Douglas Gabriel
I was born clairvoyant and saw angels flying into our earthly realm, heard archangels sounding their harmonic music throughout everything, and felt the hand of the divine that instructed me in the language of the spirit. The problem was that almost no one around me saw, heard, or felt these beings. I had more conversations with these beings in my youth than with my family and friends. I could not understand why others did not perceive these other dimensions and experience these beings all around them. To me, nature was filled with elemental beings who could communicate their source and nature. I could see that higher spiritual beings were grouped in ranks and accomplished many tasks through their particular elementals. Reading people’s minds was quite easy, and often I could read their feelings and actions better than they could if they acted without consideration, which is what people do most of the time. Throughout my life, I have been searching for a way to speak about the chasm that exists between normal materialistic perception of the world and the perception of the world from the point of view of a clairvoyant, clairaudient, and clairsentient person like myself.
The chasm between clairvoyant and materialistic perception is so great that there truly were no words to describe these painful gaps in perception when I was young. Once I reached the age of nine, I realized that the chasm was too large to cross until I could build some type of bridge that could cross over from the spiritless materialism of our times to true living thinking, feeling, and willing. The threefold division of the soul into thinking, feeling, and willing causes a minor crisis in the soul of a materialist as it tries to merge these three distinct realms of activity into one united consciousness. Most people have yet to realize that there are three distinct soul capacities that must be understood before a balanced personality can arise.
Because I could see these basic problems people were having, I became a psychic reader and used palm reading, Tarot cards, playing cards, astrology and many other methodologies as tools to aid in the process of helping people learn to perceive their outer and inner worlds in light of spiritual principles. By helping to raise the consciousness of the person I was helping, he or she was given an opportunity to perceive the world as I did, full of spiritual beings trying to help us ascend the ladder of consciousness.
The bridge between the outer world and the inner world of the human soul has yet to be understood by philosophy, psychology, or physical science. What goes on in the soul is invisible and very hard to understand with the limits of the five senses. For me, there were twelve senses that rayed into my soul from the starry world that must be worked with to understand the world we perceive outside of our inner world. These twelve senses helped me understand the hierarchy of spiritual beings who work together to create both the inside and outside world. There were also seven tones that I heard all the time sounding in my heart. These tones came from the hierarchies who create and maintain the planetary spheres of our solar system which are reflected in the seven major organs of the human bodies. When both the stars and planets harmonized, I could hear the speech of the divine which would resonant in my heart and ray out through my whole body. It was natural for me as a child to simply sit still and be fully satisfied, content, and nourished by all of these beings who moved in and around me and wished to help in every way. I would become so filled with love and wisdom-light that my heart would seem as if it might explode. I finally concluded that I was the only person who was having similar experiences. I tried to help others understand that heaven is truly all around us if we simply perceive with all three parts of our soul at one time.
Once I became old enough to be curious and wished to “travel” about the spiritual world, I came upon an extraordinary experience that made all that I had experienced before pale in comparison. When I would sit and pray and meditate for long periods, I would meet a divine female being who was threefold and full of wisdom. I saw Her as divine Mother Mary, Eve, and the Queen of Heaven. She became my guide who helped me through an extraordinary experience, and for the last five decades she has continued to teach me what the experience meant. She took my hand and enkindled my courage to go forward into the experience that seemed to strip away all aspects of my selfish personality. This type of stripping away of the lower self humbles the soul and enlivens the spirit, giving birth to an imperishable garment of light that is purified through fire. I had already come through the trials of earth, water, and air with the help of the Mother and was now ready for the trial by fire which is most painful and difficult.
Once I had gathered the treasured aspects of earth, water, and air from my friends the elementals, the Mother took me by the left hand and we rose up into a rarified atmosphere where everything was still and empty but full of active listening. When She let go of my hand, I became terrified as I rose further into the rarified atmosphere of cosmic stillness that seemed to hold all space in one united consciousness. Once I became perfectly still and empty, I could see the approach of the grandest force of consciousness that ever embodied love coming towards me. I immediately was struck with a brilliant light that seemed to be my inner core coming towards me from outside. This being was a brilliantly luminous herald of the overwhelming force of love that was flowing towards me. I fell to the ground and hid my face from the brilliant light, knowing that I was not worthy to be in the presence of this pure love.
The Herald came close and touched my head telling me to arise and let the light filled, sound of the heavenly harmonics, and the love of divine flow through me.
“Do not try to hold onto the light, sound, or love — just let them flow through you and cleanse your soul and illuminate your spirit,” I heard a voice say.
Knowing that I was not worthy, but that I should obey the Herald, I stood up and I could see, hear, feel from a great distance the approach of pure love who pronounced that He was the Cosmic Christ who created the very consciousness I was embodying to be able to witness His approach. The Cosmic Christ’s appearance was beyond describing with words relating to size, shape, color, tone or any other earth bound sense perception. Truly, the Cosmic Christ is indescribable because in the act of witnessing Him the soul also perceives who she is because she stands in the presence of her maker, her parent. From one consciousness to the other, like child to parent, I saw the past, present and future and it was my own I consciousness developing on the spiritual path that leads back to the maker. My I consciousness was given to me by the Cosmic Christ and someday it will unite again with the Cosmic Christ. I understood that the earth was created by the Mother of Wisdom as a stage upon which my I consciousness can unfold between the and inner and outer worlds.
What I realized next was far beyond words. I knew at that moment that the outer world of perception was bringing my personal I consciousness to me each time I consciously perceived the world. It was shocking to me and such a revelation that my personal I exploded and expanded to encompass the entire world. The entire world was sending to me the very nourishment from the Cosmic Christ that I needed to build my personal I consciousness from out of the outside world. Then, I was made aware that my world of concepts and memories was an internal I consciousness that has been built up by all the perceptions I had accumulated both from perceiving the outside world and the inside world. The huge chasm between my I and the world was instantaneously crossed and this caused space and time to extinguish and no longer limit my personal I consciousness.
When I realized that my inner I consciousness had also been built up by Christ’s gifts of higher consciousness and love, I could see that I was able to be in two places at once with my consciousness and not loose cohesion even though space and time had been dissolved so that a spiritual bridge could be built between my inner world and the outer world. I knew that behind all perception, including perception of my thoughts and memories, Christ is actively stimulating my higher I consciousness to perceive the spiritual nature of the world which is composed of spiritual beings not bound by time and space. The earth, water, air and fire that create the outer world are shadows of higher beings who hide behind space and time so that humans can awaken through their own efforts and advance their personal consciousness.
The outer world was created to bring our personal I consciousness to us when we perceive. Perception itself is the inner I consciousness meeting our personal I consciousness coming to us to teach us who we truly are, children of the Cosmic Christ who created our I consciousness and is the goal of our development. Our I consciousness will someday be the same as the I consciousness of the Cosmic Christ. This is accomplished by a human group spirit composed of individual Is that have been made whole and Christened through the path of spiritual self-development – the same path Jesus of Nazareth took.
It was a shock to me that I had two separate Is and that an inner I manifests as the past through mental images of perceptions that become memories. I had thought that my inner world was the home of my I, not that another aspect of my I was coming to meet me from the outer world. The raying in of my outer I, the I of the Cosmic Christ, into my soul through perception was coming to me from the future. The outer I had already been created in the spiritual world where there is no space and time. This higher I, from the outer world, was already complete and raying into me from the outside world. The hierarchies that created the world also created all aspects of evolution that I would need to embody this outside I that rays in from surrounding space and is not bound by time. I realized that one I lives in the past while another I comes to me from outside and builds my I consciousness from the future. To completely understand this I, I had to let my consciousness expand and transcend time. I did not initially comprehend the full ramifications of this duality but knowing it caused me to begin to break into many pieces and explode into the loving world surrounding me that was filled by the presence of the Herald and the Cosmic Christ.
In what seemed to be a flash of a second, timeless wisdom and boundless insight weighed my consciousness down so that I could no longer stay aloft in the realm of the living Cosmic Christ. My consciousness slowed down and became heavy as a dull sleepiness filled me. I could feel the hand of the Mother take my hand and lead me back to my body which I could see sitting deathly still in the care of the elementals. I did not want to go back to my body and its grotesque limits. Sleep came over me and I slipped into dreams as the Mother placed me back into my body and lay me down to rest in the divine peace that descended upon me.
The experience I have described happened numerous times over my life and I never tried to express it to anyone because I believed they would not understand and would think I was crazy. But throughout my life I encountered others who had had this experience and I could clairvoyantly see the results it left in their hearts like glowing drops of rose colored light. All of the people I met who had had the experience became close friends and teachers. We used that experience as a reference point for everything that came before or after. Most of the time, people only have the experience once in their life and it is completely adequate to inspire them for the rest of their lives. Almost all of these witnesses of the Cosmic Christ eventually find their way to the works of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, who gives the best description of this special event. Steiner calls this experience, “the Damascus Event” in light of what Saul experienced on the road to Damascus.
The Bible depicts Saul of Tarsus as a cruel persecutor of Christians. He was headed to Damascus hunting Christians when a blinding light knocked him to the ground and struck him blind. Saul heard a voice ask him why he persecuted the Christians. Saul asked who the voice was and it answered that it was Jesus, the one Saul was persecuting. Jesus then told Saul to stop persecuting the Christians and to go into Damascus and wait in prayer. After three days, Ananias was instructed by the Lord to go to Saul and heal him of his blindness and then teach him about the true nature of the risen Christ. Essentially, Ananias explained to Saul what had happened to him and taught him the wisdom he needed to understand the “Damascus Event.” Saul changed his name to Paul and subsequently became one of the most influential teachers of Christianity. Thus Paul becomes one of the first people to perceive the Cosmic Christ in the Damascus Event.
Some years ago I met a person who I could see immediately had experienced the Damascus Event. We became fast friends and eventually married. From the first, Tyla, my wife, was focused on writing about the Damascus Event that she had witnessed many years prior. I had tried to write about the Being of Wisdom – Sophia, who Rudolf Steiner calls Anthroposophia, years before and had taken my life work in comparative religions and distilled it into verses and poems in praise of the divine feminine. The effort was only a beginning and was very unfulfilling for me as an attempt to reveal the Being of Wisdom, Sophia. All of my work fell terribly short in comparison to the experiences that Tyla and I had both already had of Sophia and the Cosmic Christ.
Fortunately for me, Tyla was already a deep student of Rudolf Steiner and we were able to discuss the Damascus Event in light of Anthroposophy, which sheds the greatest light on the meaning of this experience. Tyla was insistent that we should write about what Steiner pointed out was needed to understand the Cosmic Christ – Anthroposophia (Sophia). Steiner had said that it was the Wisdom of Christ that was needed in our time, the Sophia of Christ. I could see that Tyla was right and that we needed to start at the beginning and take our time describing the preliminary studies of Wisdom (Sophia) that would lead others to an experience of the Cosmic Christ in a living way. Steiner called the Damascus Event many names, including: the experience of the Etheric Christ, the second coming of Christ, Christ’s appearance in the etheric realm, and many others. This is the Wisdom of Anthroposophia that Rudolf Steiner called the Wisdom of the Cosmic Christ.
Once Tyla and I decided on the beginning of the path, we began writing what became the trilogy of books entitled, The Gospel of Sophia. In the third volume we placed a description of meeting the Etheric Christ and the accompanying cosmology of wisdom that is necessary to understand this Damascus Event, just as Ananias had to explain to Saul what he had experienced. Ananias delivered the Wisdom of Sophia to Saul so that he could understand the Cosmic Christ as he had appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus. Thus, The Gospel of Sophia is similar to the instructions Ananias gave to Saul. We hoped that presenting this Wisdom, Sophia Christos, would help others who had experienced the Damascus Event integrate the experience into a cosmology with the Cosmic Christ at the center.
Once The Gospel of Sophia was written, we then wrote a book entitled, The Eternal Curriculum for Wisdom Children to explain the nature of the etheric realms where Christ now lives. This etheric world is also reflected in the etheric body of the human being and it holds the Wisdom of Sophia and the ever renewing, living force of love that the Cosmic Christ brings to humanity. Steiner presented the Waldorf curriculum as a way to educate the etheric body from age 7-14, or basically the elementary school years of childhood. All of time – past/present/future – is inscribed in the human etheric body according to Steiner. If we properly educate the etheric body during those sensitive years, the child takes in wisdom effortlessly and is led to true, free thinking that will naturally be drawn to the Wisdom of Christ’s Love.
The etheric body of the child is nurtured through a curriculum that has “eternal” effects upon the etheric body. Through recognition of the true nature of the etheric realm where Christ lives, the evolving child takes up wisdom as nourishment for the growing etheric body and thus turns the etheric body into an organ of perception that can see the spiritual beings standing behind the physical world. The Wisdom Children’s worldview (cosmology) is alive and full of wisdom that spans the chasm between the physical and spiritual worlds. The Eternal Curriculum acts as a bridge to the spirit by synchronizing what is taught to the child to the natural growing cycles of the etheric body. The Eternal Curriculum is a means for nurturing and feeding the etheric bodies of Wisdom Children.
Both Tyla and myself were long-time students of the work of Rudolf Steiner and had participated at all levels of the Anthroposophical Society, which often can be rather lackluster and tedious. Many aspects of Anthroposophy had grown into communities surrounding Waldorf schools, biodynamic farms, Anthroposophical hospitals and clinics, Camphill communities for special needs children and adults, and many other specialized communities. We had deep associations with many of these communities and groups. We both studied the pedagogical and medical indications and worked to apply Steiner’s ideas in many enterprises. We culled all of our writings and put them onto our websites and our writings grew and grew. 1 We became associated with many alternative news networks and contributed contemporary articles on a plethora of topics seen through the lens of the Damascus Event. 2
As our work grew, we began to tackle bigger and bigger issues, like: the Etheric Christ, Ahriman’s incarnation, the nature of masters and avatars, the nature of evil, the three human egos, the being Anthroposophia, and many others. We wrote e-books and extensive articles using Steiner’s own words to paint fresh perspectives on critical issues. But the most important issue of our times is that of meeting the Etheric Christ. Steiner had indicated that the coming of Christ in the etheric realm was the second most important event in human history, after that of the Mystery of Golgotha – the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even though Steiner had pointed out the crucial necessity to learn about the Second Coming of Christ, few Anthroposophist ever addressed the question and there was even a strange cloud hanging over the topic. Anyone who insinuated that they might have had the experience of the Damascus Event was not received well among the members of the Anthroposophical Society and were often ostracized and shunned. Since few, if any, Anthroposophists seemed to have ever had the experience, it was not, ironically, a good place to discuss the topic.
One of the few exceptions to the rule among Anthroposophists was Sergei O. Prokofieff, who was a member of the central council for the international Anthroposophical Society in Dornach, Switzerland. He wrote a good deal about the Damascus Event in his book, Novalis – Eternal Individuality. But still, many were not able to read and understand what Prokofieff had summarized from Steiner’s work in these clear and lucid writings. Prokofieff made no claims to have had the experience of the Damascus Event but did elucidate what the experience entailed. But still, no Anthroposophist would discuss the Damascus Event with either Tyla or myself. Eventually, we learned not to bring up the subject of the Damascus Event or the meeting with the Being of Anthroposophia who helps lead the aspirant to the vision of the Cosmic Christ in the etheric realm.
After studying all that we could about the Damascus Event, Tyla and I worked hard to bring an immediate and living experience of Sophia (Anthroposophia) to all of our readers. We studied Novalis, who Steiner had indicated had had an experience similar to the Damascus Event while he was in the spiritual world. We studied everything Steiner said about perception, the human senses, the development of etheric organs of perception, the etheric world itself, the human etheric body, and anything else that might shed light on closing the chasm between physical perception and spiritual perception of the Damascus Event. Eventually we went back to a most mysterious work of Steiner’s called, Anthroposophy – A Fragment which he worked on all his life and still said that it was unfinished. This work focuses on the questions of perception, the twelve human senses, and the seven life processes in the body. Very few Anthroposophists ever refer to this work because it is extraordinarily complex and presented in a fragmented fashion. Even still, this work is one of the most important works of Steiner and the secrets he reveals in this book build a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds through studying human perception. We could see that the content of the book was what we were looking for to describe what humans experience in sense perception in relationship to the Damascus Event.
To lift the veil hiding the mechanism of human consciousness in relationship to perception is equivalent to having the Damascus Event. If we could accurately perceive the world, we would see the hierarchy and we would know that the spirit of Christ, the second person in the Holy Trinity, has entered into the physical world and redeemed it. The physical world is being enlivened by the sacrifice of Christ, the Mystery of Golgotha, which Steiner called, The Turning Point of Time. Christ’s blood entered the physical earth and stopped the earth from dying. Christ brought new life to the earth and now resides in the etheric realm which brings life to seemingly dead matter. Christ’s physical body died so that the earth could live. His blood entered the earth as an etheric rejuvenation of the dying physical earth. The battle is still waging and the war is not over. Christ is being crucified again, but this time in the etheric realm where the battle for human souls wages on. Materialism casts a dark shadow over the light-filled realm of the etheric. Each human who falls prey to the delusion of materialism darkens the etheric realm and his own personal etheric body subsequently crucifying Christ again.
It is through enlivening perception and strengthening our moral fiber that we can enhance our ability to “witness” the invisible realms of the astral and etheric. The astral realm is filled with the desires of human beings that are, in fact, invisible and require more subtle “supersensible” organs to perceive. The name “astral” refers to the starry realm of the cosmos that surrounds the earth, often called the Zodiac, the ring of “animal desires.” The immediate task of an aspirant is to “tame” the animal nature in his physical body so that those forces can transform into higher organs of perception that can see into invisible realms. Taming the astral body is the first step on every path of spiritual self-development. The aspirant must first learn to “read” the astral body and then develop control over all desires which subsequently effects the etheric body (body of “habits”) and finally the physical body itself. The higher I consciousness must learn to “rule” the astral body and make use of the “astral light” that can be perceived with spiritual organs of perception.
After an aspirant tames the astral body by controlling desire, the next step is to imprint good habits into the etheric body which is essentially a body of time and rhythm. Memory is imprinted into the etheric body of the human being through habits, rituals, and repetitive actions. What a person does on a daily basis creates the rhythmic building blocks of the etheric body. The etheric body, like the astral body, is invisible to the five senses that are accepted by modern science. It takes training to be able to “hear” the rhythmic sounding of the etheric body. The human etheric body can also resonate with the “sounds” of the etheric body of the earth, the solar system and the cosmos. Human, earthly, and cosmic rhythms interpenetrate the human constitution continually. The harmonies of our planets dancing around the sun, who is also dancing through space, create the perfect harmonics that are mirrored in the forms and shapes of the human being. The etheric rhythms of the cosmos also resonate in the human heart.
We can see that the human being has a physical body and that it is continually re-enlivened by a life body we call the etheric body. We can also understand that each human has a personal body of desires that fills him with wants. The physical, etheric, and astral bodies compose the more physical aspects of the human being. But there is also a soul realm where again we find a threefold division of soul capacities. We can call those soul forces: thinking, feeling, and willing. And just as the physical, etheric, and astral bodies can be refined and transformed into more delicate organs of perception that can experience invisible, supersensible realms that interpenetrate the physical world, so too thinking, feeling, and willing can be transformed into higher soul capacities that are called: imagination (thinking), inspiration (feeling), and intuition (willing). Both the lower and the more refined capacities of the soul tend to be invisible to the five senses. Controlling thoughts, feelings, and will activities are principle keys of spiritual self-development. Thus we can describe three components of the outer nature of the human being – physical, etheric, and astral. We can also describe three components of the inner nature of the human soul – thinking, feeling, and willing. But there is also a higher part of the human being. We have heard about the physical and soul realms and now we will hear about the higher realms of the spiritual components of the human constitution.
The spiritual constitution of the human being is composed of three parts called the Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Man, according to Rudolf Steiner. These three components are only slightly developed in most people and will become more developed in the future. Once the three refined components of the soul have developed into a cohesive whole, they begin to develop the Spirit Self. This Spirit Self is the part of a human being that is conscious that it is an immortal being who has had, and will have, repeated human incarnations. Only the eternal parts of the human soul can “rise up” into the spiritual realm and develop its personal Spirit Self. One could call this Spirit Self the “higher self” of the human being. It is the I consciousness of the individual that can grasp the eternal qualities of the spirit that are found in life and carry them as treasures into the Spirit Self. Many spiritual paths clearly describe the self-development necessary to gain these treasures and birth this higher self. It is always through embodying higher virtues, love, and carrying out moral deeds that the higher self, Spirit Self, becomes strengthened and consciously aware of the invisible realms of the spirit.
What is little understood about the threefold spiritual nature of the human being is that there are three distinctly different Is (I consciousness or ego) in the spiritual constitution of the human being. Steiner only speaks about the three egos (Is) a few times and Sergei O. Prokofieff does a very good job encapsulating those remarks in his book, Rudolf Steiner’s Path of Initiation and the Mystery of Ego. Most students of Steiner are just beginning to work on the first ego, the higher ego found in the Spirit Self. This higher ego is the reincarnating I consciousness of the individual. Only sense free thinking that is not bound by material perception can enter into this realm.
The second ego (I) of the individual is also well known to some spiritual paths. Steiner calls the second component of the spiritual nature of the human being, Life Spirit. Life Spirit is essentially the etheric body of the Cosmic Christ that transforms the personal higher ego (I) of the Spirit Self into an egoless copy of the living ego of the Cosmic Christ. Steiner calls this ego, the Christened Group Ego of humanity. This Christened Group Ego is the personal higher nature of the Jesus Christ who is the leader of the rank of hierarchy called the Elohim, the Spirits of Form. We can imagine the Spirit Self to be the higher ego of the human being that uses Jesus Christ as a model to create a higher ego that conquers death and is resurrected after death into the eternal nature of the higher ego.
The next step is one in which the aspirant must then surrender the personal higher ego and become one with the Christened Group Soul of humanity. This step is terrifying because it looks to the individual that his personal higher self will be extinguished. Only iron clad faith in the Cosmic Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity called the Son of God, can bridge the chasm between the personal higher self and the Cosmic Christ. This step is one that much of humanity will not take for some time. Much development is needed before the Spirit Self is fully developed let alone the Life Spirit.
The third ego (I) is far from being able to be comprehended with earth-bound thinking. Steiner seldom referred to this higher ego of the Cosmic Christ that unites with the entire Zodiac, or universe. He called this third part of the spiritual constitution of the human being Spirit Man, or Spirit Human, or the Eastern name of Atman. And yet, the threefold spiritual nature of the human being is not complete without understanding that the Spirit Human exists and can be worked with, especially in the far distant future. Steiner points out that once the Life Spirit “surrenders” to the Spirit Human, another chasm is crossed that is more terrifying than any other that came before it. Completely surrendering in faith to the highest beings of the hierarchy, who brought all of creation into existence, is tantamount to extinguishing all connections to the physical world entirely. The normal ground of being is dissolved and the Spirit Human becomes aware of the entirety of space that holds what Steiner calls, the Zodiac, or the entire starry universe. Humans are no longer human at the point that they have fully embodied the Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Human. Humans ascend through the ranks of the hierarchy as each of these stages is completely embodied over the course of human spiritual evolution.
We have now characterized the nine-fold human constitution to demonstrate that throughout the human being we find groups of three that work together, not unlike what we see in the ultimate example of the divine – the Holy Trinity. The working of three simultaneous realms together in harmony seems to be a key to understanding the human being and the cosmos. This trinity of forces is also found in the nature of perception. In Anthroposophy- A Fragment by Rudolf Steiner, we find a description of perception as a threefold process that bridges the inner world of soul with the outer world of the senses. In no other work of Steiner’s is this process of perception described in this way and a basic understanding of the multiple threefold aspects of the human being’s constitution is necessary to comprehend these ideas. Without the knowledge of the three egos (Is) of the human spiritual nature, Spirit Self, Life Spirit, and Spirit Human, it is most difficult to understand the threefold nature of perception.
In Anthroposophy – A Fragment, Steiner points out that there are three “organisms” involved in the process of perception. The first he calls the organism of concepts which is basically all memory and conceptual mental images that have been formed by the individual to describe his place in the world. One can call this organism of concepts the individual’s personal world view or cosmology. When a person senses something in the outer world, the organism of concepts brings up the concepts, memories, and mental images that relate to the perception so that it might be placed in relationship to the individual’s personal experiences. The greater the organism of concepts, or cosmology, the more the individual actually perceive when he looks out upon the outer world.
The second organism involved in perception is called the organism of the I that utilizes thinking to become aware of both perception of the outer world and perception of the inner world, as in the perception of thoughts. This organism of the I is the vehicle for thinking. Thinking itself is a realm of lawfulness that is found both in the outer world and in the lawfulness of thinking found in the human being. When a human being thinks, the process of thinking stops perception and the thinking individual becomes an empty vessel through which thoughts flow. Many people believe that their personal thinking is private and that they create thoughts themselves. That is true for lower thoughts, but lawful thinking is quite different. Lawful thoughts are found active in nature and in the individual who uses those same lawful thoughts to understand the outer world. Thoughts are the bridge between the inner and outer worlds. The processing of thinking inside of the human being is ruled by the same beings who use thoughts to manifest the outer world. The vehicle of thinking bridges the inner concepts of the individual with the percepts coming from the outer world.
The organism of the I uses ego consciousness to relate outer percepts with the inner organism of concepts. Steiner calls the outer world of percepts, the organism of tone because all sense perception can be distilled into vibrations or tones. Each sense perception brings the organism of tone into the organism of concepts through the organism of the I. The thoughts that compose the percept, organism of tone, also become the bridge to carry these thoughts into the organism of concepts. Through the living processes of thinking utilized by the organism of I, the percept can become united with the concept. When this happens, it is only the limits of the organism of concepts, the individual’s cosmology that limits what is revealed in the percept. The more developed the individual’s cosmology, the more she can directly perceive spiritual beings working in percepts. This linking of percept and concept is the key focus of one of Steiner’s central works entitled, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. But in this work, it is intuition (love) arising in thinking that makes the connection to the spiritual world. 3
We now have the basis to understand how the experience of the three different egos (Is) manifest in perception. The first ego is readily found in what the individual experiences as his personal memories in the organism of concepts or his worldview (cosmology). Most people identify strongly with this ego.
The second is found in the ego consciousness that utilizes thinking as a vehicle for consciousness to “go outside into the outer world” and relate the percepts to the inner world of concepts, organism of concepts. Even though consciousness itself is subdued during thinking, the individual usually doesn’t notice this process nor does he consciously examine the processes of thinking, what is called “thinking about thinking.” But once mental training is developed, thinking as an independent process is revealed to be different than the person’s collection of thoughts and memories. Thinking then becomes identified as an organism, a living being that transcends personal thoughts. The organism of concepts reveals itself to be an organism, a being that grows and develops quite separately from the thought impressions (mental images) which are held in the past as memories.
What is more difficult to understand is that the organism of tone, the outside world of percepts, becomes mental images and memories through the process of thinking. This organism of tone is the very being that perception can reveal when clear thinking has a developed cosmology that can accurately relate percepts to concepts. If the individual’s cosmology (concepts) encompasses and embodies a spiritual relationship with the hierarchy of spiritual beings, then percepts can be understood as beings trying to grow and nurture the individual’s personal cosmology. It is through the beingness of thinking as a vehicle for I consciousness that the spiritual revelation of percepts reaches the organism of concepts (cosmology). The more perception reveals, the greater the organism of concepts becomes. The lawfulness of percepts builds the lawfulness of the cosmology of the individual. The more the cosmology or organism of concepts grows, the more perception, or the organism of tone reveals. The organism of the I must simply surrender and create the bridge from the inner world to the outer world through sacrifice. The I consciousness of the perceiver must step aside as a creator and simply witness the perception without limits. When this is done, the true spiritual nature of perception can be revealed to the individual as the workings of the divine spirits living in matter.
When the bridge has been built through selflessness, the organism of the I lets flow through it the beings active in the lawfulness of the inner and outer worlds. Inner and outer can unite and then percept and concept unite. Finding the true I during this process of alignment and integration becomes complex since we can observe one I in the organism of concepts which holds our personal memories, and another in the organism of the I which is the vehicle for I consciousness that takes a somewhat object view watching both the inner and outer worlds. But the third I comes from the outside world through perception. This idea is very hard to grasp and Steiner addresses this next stage of awareness only a few times and then with few characterizations. He describes the effect the human being experiences during perception when what he calls, the “presumed entity” or the “immanence of the I” perceives the I itself. Steiner describes this in Anthroposophy – A Fragment:
“Thus when the I perceives itself, this occurs as a result of its (the presumed entity’s) activity, which is of identical content with its experience of itself and differs from this only in that activity shows it its own immanence from outside, whereas the I can experience this immanence only within itself.”
The third I consciousness is found coming towards the organism of the I from the outside world as a “presumed entity” or “immanence of the I.” Steiner says in several lectures that the human I comes to meet itself from the outside world. This then explains why perception is a key to self-development – the third I comes from some type of entity from the outside and that entity is the third I of the human spirit, the
Spirit Human. Thus we can now understand that the organism of concepts creates the first I which eventually comes to live in the Spirit Self, the higher self, the higher I consciousness that is personal. The organism of the I creates the second I that can be transformed through the Life Spirit into the I of the Cosmic Christ, the Christened I, that helps create the Christened Group Soul of Humanity. The organism of tone creates the third I that can be transformed into the Spirit Human. The organism of tone in the outside world brings the Christened Spirit into the realm of the Zodiac, the universal realm of the starry heavens.
The organism of concepts relates to I consciousness that lives in the past. The organism of the I relates the I consciousness to living in the present. The organism of tone relates I consciousness to life flowing into the human being from the future. The threefold human spirit transcends space and time and lives in consciousness that is boundless.
When past (concepts) meets future (percepts) in the present moment (living thinking), then the true nature of the timeless manifestations of the hierarchies becomes transparent through perception.
The cosmology of the individual must first become adequate to hold the Cosmic Wisdom that is found behind sense perceptible matter. Matter is spirit that has been slowed down. True perception enlivens matter to become spirit again. The awakened aspects of the three Is can cause perception to become a revelation that unveils the spirit that is behind matter. This is what the Damascus Event is actually all about.
When Saul witnessed Christ in the etheric realm in His glory, the astral light of the Herald knocked him to the ground and blinded him. This is the quickest way to stop physical, materialistic perception from witnessing the true nature of the spirit. Blindness to the allure of the outer world of sense perception is often a prerequisite of spiritual development. Then, a voice spoke to Saul though no other person heard the voice. Ananias then healed Saul of his blindness and instructed him in the wisdom of the Cosmic Christ. Saul’s Damascus Event opened him to seeing through the blinding light of the astral realm and into the etheric realm where the Cosmic Christ lives. Christ appeared through an astral vision and spoke to Saul from the etheric realm. Saul was called to the Damascus Event by Christ himself. Many people in our time are called in a similar fashion and yet cannot understand what happened to them until a translator like Ananias is sent to teach them about what they have perceived.
The Damascus Event is what should happen to anyone who truly sees into the etheric through the astral light. It is a revelation like St. John’s apocalypse. Each aspirant on the path of initiation will have to navigate the astral realm and find his way to the living realm of Imagination (higher thinking) before he can find his higher self. Sophia helps the soul find the first I, Spirit Self, through providing the Wisdom needed to understand the Cosmic Christ. Christ leads the second I, Life Spirit, into becoming one with the other Christened Spirits. It takes the combined efforts of both the Male Trinity (Father-Son-Holy Ghost) and the Female Trinity (Mother-Daughter-Holy Sophia) to help birth the third I, Spirit Human, that opens the Christened I to the Zodiac of universal beings. When all three Is have been mastered, the individual becomes a divine being having risen through the ranks of angels, archangels, and archai (time beings). Space and time have long been forgotten and only pervasive universal consciousness exists at that point development. This is the ultimate goal of human spiritual evolution.
When a person has a Damascus Event before a cosmology of wisdom is developed, she may have the same experience that Saul had. She may not understand what happened and subsequently need a teacher who can translate the experience for her and train her in the paths of wisdom, Sophia.
Once the Sophia of Christ, the Wisdom of Christ, is understood and embodied then the Damascus Event can be understood to be an accurate experience of perception that reveals the spiritual world that stands behind the physical. When we perceive the outer world with the eyes of spirit, we will move through the astral light and perceive the Cosmic Christ alive and active in the etheric realm. Then, each perception can add to the revelation that the Holy Spirit may reveal the works of the Cosmic Christ in the living substance of the earth and that Sophia, as Mother of the World, works together with Christ to redeem all substance. Sophia (Mother) and Christ (Son) bring the Spirit Self and Life Spirit into the realm of the Spirit Human where the three Is unite to meet the Father Ground of Being. This is the place where human I consciousness originated and must someday return unto to gain its spiritual inheritance. Then the human trinity of Is unites with the divine trinities as a child to its parents.
2 A compilation of our geopolitical writings can be found at http://www.ourspirit.com/full-disclosure
3 See also Perception as a Bridge to the Spiritual World and Attain Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition by Discovering Your Three Egos. Both of these articles can be found at www.gospelofsophia.com