Thursday, September 12, 2013

Letter from the General Secretary

- Arie van Ameringen

Dear Friends,

Although the summer season is the time of the year when the human soul can take advantage of nature and sunlight to regain the strength necessary to withstand the winter months, many of us were deeply affected by the tragedy which occurred in Lac Megantic in Quebec and by the devastating upheavals in the Middle East.

In this second case, we look bewilderingly and with great sadness at the motivations of the opposing sides in this conflict and the suffering of so many innocent people. Any true understanding of this situation is made all the more difficult by the fact that the opposing forces are staunchly polarized. The question of who is on the side of good and who is on the side of evil cannot be determined with any degree of certainty.

Meditation World Wide
My wife and I were invited to participate in the gathering of the international movement Meditation World Wide. This initiative has been active for seven years now, having been born out of a need to provide a forum for the research being done into meditation according to anthroposophy in various countries throughout the world.

During three days, from July 4th to July 6th, participants from North America and Europe had the opportunity to share their research and their questions and explore the possibilities for the future of this initiative. It is to be hoped that this process will bear fruit so that meditation work can become increasingly more known and experienced throughout the world.

At the end of July a conference organized by Olga Kornienko and entitled: The Urals: the Border, the Crossroads and the meeting, was held in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The Ural mountain range, which stretches from north to south, marks the separation between Europe and Asia. Ekaterinburg is an important industrial center and has had its share of historical upheavals. Indeed, it is in this city that the 1918 assassination of the Tsar and his family occurred. Noted for its rich mineral deposits, the town has long been a center for the armaments industry. This region finds itself torn between the impulses of the consciousness soul and those of the shamanistic traditions still practiced in Siberia.

The conference gave the participants the opportunity to delve into questions linked to the geographical, cultural and spiritual aspects of this region. But as we went deeper into the implications of this theme it became less specific to the geographical location and more universal in nature. The conversation broadened to include questions of the nature of human life, both physical and spiritual, and the threshold experiences we all encounter as human beings living in our period in time. The Saint Petersburg eurythmy troupe highlighted the traditional stories and legends of the region as well as several deeply spiritual aspects of the Russian language.

Building a spiritual community
During the Ekaterinburg conference I gave a presentation entitled Building a Spiritual Community: Where Time and Space meet. Here are some of the points I touched on in my talk. (This research is ongoing and I shall develop it further on another occasion.)

During this conference the various aspects of the human being were explored in in the context of the question: how is who I am affected by the place I live and the time in which I live? Indeed, for each epoch human tasks are different. In this time of the consciousness soul the human “I” has taken on new strength and the forms long established by tradition must be transformed by the activity of the “I”. Modern science has forgotten the human being’s spiritual origin, and anthroposophy seeks to lead us to understand just this, that the human being is a spiritual entity. It is the “I” that creates its own karma through its suffering.  (See Rudolf Steiner: The Whitsun Festival. Its Place in the Study of Karma, Lecture of June 4, 1924, Dornach, GA 236.)

The relationship between the various elements of the human being and the “I” are what allows us to understand the essence of karma. The physical body is related to the earth, the etheric body to the cosmic ether and the astral body to the astrality in the cosmos. By becoming aware of the manner in which the “I” manifests itself in the cosmos we understand that the “I” is always a repetition of past lives on earth. The “I” moulds its karma in the realm of the hierarchies in the life between death and a new birth. To be able to follow the “I” through its successive lives and deaths we cannot remain in space (the earthly domain). No two successive earth existences can occupy the same space. We move from the realm of space into the stream of time (the eternal). On earth, time is always calculated by spatial movement and as such is devoid of any spirit reality.

Each time a human being is born he emerges from out of the stream of time (out of the eternal) and enters into space (physical). The Christ being unites time and space. He brings the time element to the human being. And when a human being unites himself with the Christ, he once again receives the stream of time into his being. Understanding our karma also allows us to understand the other person and discover how our karmas are linked. Only when space and time can flow together will we be able to truly form spiritual communities.

Upcoming Events
The Council will hold its next meeting in Ottawa from the 12th to the 14th of October and will also meet with local members on that occasion. The matter of the Statement of Purpose of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada will be taken up (see Dorothy LeBaron’s article in this issue).

On October 18th and 19th Constanza Kaliks, head of the Youth Section at the Goetheanum, will be in Montréal. She has agreed to give a lecture on the evening of October 18th entitled Consciousness in Time of Change and will also lead a conversation on the same theme the following morning.

At the beginning of November (the exact date and theme T.B.A.), Johannes Kühl, head of the Science Section at the Goetheanum, will hold a lecture in Toronto.

I want also to inform you that the Council is actively pursuing the recruitment of a new member for Council from Western Canada, to be confirmed in 2014.

Arie van Ameringen
General Secretary

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