Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Vancouver Michaelmas 2015 Cambridge Music Conference

The Vancouver Michaelmas 2015 conference consolidates the ideas and ideals at the heart of Rudolf Steiner's 1915 lecture “Preparing for the Sixth Epoch.” Since the inception of the Cambridge Music Conference, I feel this initiative has developed and embodies aspects of humanity Rudolf Steiner foreshadows in this lecture. Thus I felt it my responsibility to embrace these principles of our evolving humanity and bring them to light. Compassionate concern for the other, freedom of thought in the religious life and the universality of a spiritual worldview are aspects of our undiscovered humanity.
What we understand as altruistic acts of kindness, as well as concern for the other, Rudolf Steiner describes as a form of consciousness that will result in feeling another person's suffering as though it were one's own. Such empathy and heightened sensitivity of another's pain could be described as “beyond compassion”. Rudolf Steiner describes moments when one will experience the suffering of the other so acutely that one cannot, but choose to act. Although compassion and altruism are invaluable for us in our time, they are simply a seed of what is to come. For the heart to sense suffering and compel us to act unquestioningly requires personal transformation.
Freedom of thought in the religious life means that each individual will only be able to trust his/her own subjective terms. What constitutes institutional religious belief will cease to be able to inform the inner nature of our spiritual life. The religious life will begin to be informed by truly personal experiences. Unique terms of inner truth will constitute the core of each individual's religious life, which will also result in an understanding of the personal values created by each individual.
Just as we face the universality of a materialistic worldview in our time, as humanity evolves we shall begin to experience the universality of a spiritual worldview. For this to occur there will need to be a shift in consciousness. Novalis captures this change of perspective extremely well when he encourages us to go beyond the limitations of our interpretation of life today: “We are not simply human-beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience!”
Healing is the main objective of the Cambridge Music Conference. Whether music aspires to heal the individual or regenerate culture or renew social health, concern for the other and assuaging the suffering of others has been at the heart of the music conference since its inception. Furthermore, the philosophical premise of “dialogical thinking” at the heart of the Cambridge Music Conference has encouraged the involvement of people with different beliefs to come together for a common value, ie music as a healing art. The new music compositions inspired out of the Grail reveal each composers effort to remain faithful to his/her own personal religious terms. For example, Nigel Osborne explains the closest he could get to the Grail was/is in the form of the Divine Feminine, as a result “Transformations” (2007) emerged in the form of seven Goddesses: Isis, Layla, Lakshmi, Kore, Lilith, The Banshee, Sophia. Music with its potential to heal is the spiritual worldview of the Cambridge Music Conference. This collective initiative describes, transforms and spiritualizes life through music. In tune with life means at one with the spirit.
18-19 September 2015
Anthroposophy through the Arts - Calendar of the Soul with Ursula Zimmermann (eurythmist)
Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul is to be the main focus of the workshop using eurythmy to deepen our understanding of the content of the meditational verses. Ursula Zimmermann has made the Calendar of the Soul a life long study. No knowledge of eurythmy is needed to attend this workshop! http://www.cambridgemusicconference.org/michaelmas/calendarofthesoul.html
25 -26 September 2015
Vancouver Michaelmas 2015 Cambridge Music Conference http://www.cambridgemusicconference.org/michaelmas.html
25 September 2015
Eurythmy Performance
Three new works will be premiered and performed by eurythmists Ursula Zimmermann and Klaus Suppan: “Resolution”  by Janet Danielson, “The Light of Michaelmas” by Evgeny Shcherbakov, “Emily Carr's Primeval Forest”  by Jinny Shaw. The eurythmy performance includes works inspired by the Grail: “Fons Vitae Caritas” (2014) by Janet Danielson, “Transformations” (2007) by Nigel Osborne, “Gralsstimmung” (2010) by Howard Skempton, and “Fictional Epiphanies” (2008) by Kate Waring. http://www.cambridgemusicconference.org/michaelmas/michaelmas-eurythmy-performance.html
26 September 2015
Morning Lectures
Joan Sleigh: Spiritual Intelligence, Free Deeds of Will, the Sense Organ of the Heart
Philip Thatcher: The Michaelic Path and the Practice of Spirit-Beholding
Afternoon Workshops
Joan Sleigh, Philip Thatcher, Jinny Shaw and Klaus Suppan. http://www.cambridgemusicconference.org/michaelmas/vancouver-michaelmas-conference.html
27 September 2015
Signs of the Zodiac and Planetary Movements for Professional Eurythmists
Eurythmists Ursula Zimmermann and Klaus Suppan will be offering a one-day workshop for advanced and professional eurythmists!
Elizabeth Carmack
Artistic Director
Cambridge Music Conference www.cambridgemusicconference.org

Contact for further information: ecarmack@sfu.ca

The Terror of Black Doubt and the Philosophy of Freedom by Timothy Nadelle

In a certain mood of soul, we can become aware of a gulf which separates us from everything which confronts us in life.  This gulf appears to delineate insurmountable boundaries to what we can know.  What can a person truly know with certainty – first hand, all anthroposophical literature aside! - about the being of a tree, the process of remembering, the inner experience of even his closest friends?  This gulf can cast doubt upon everything a person thinks he knows, leaving him feeling estranged from the world.  Even when life’s obligations or distractions intervene and awareness of the gulf fades, a nagging feeling can remain that he is unable to answer life’s most pressing questions.
Or perhaps an experience shakes him out of the sleep of everyday consciousness, as happens to Strader, the scientist or engineer, in scene one of Steiner’s first drama, when he witnesses a seeress in trance and hears her visionary words.  His friend, Capesius, tells him, “I fear… that you are losing through this your certainty of mind; soon over everything for you black doubt will spread its veil.”
Strader confides, “The terror of such doubt – it often tortures me… often, when in agony with problems, a terrible dream figure like a ghost rises from spirit depths before my vision; it presses hard upon my soul, and clutches horribly about my heart, and speaks through me: Unless you conquer me with the crude weapons of your thought, you are no more than a brief, lying picture, formed by your own illusion.”
This doubt which Strader experiences also sets the stage for the knowledge drama which is narrated in the Philosophy of Freedom.  Dualism, this separation between self and world, is not merely a philosophical point of view.  It is a fundamental experience of the human soul on the path to knowledge.  In treading the knowledge path which is implicit in the Philosophy of Freedom, our goal is not merely to grasp how Rudolf Steiner rebuts and overcomes the arguments of dualistic philosophers; it is to make conscious the gulf of knowledge which is an essential experience of every human being today – and to overcome through our own efforts our apparent limitations. 
When we set out to observe our thinking, we discover a realm of experience which differs from all other forms of consciousness in life, a realm which Steiner characterizes in chapter three of the Philosophy of Freedom as a kind of “exceptional state”.  In this exceptional state we encounter in the living mobility of thinking an activity which comes into being through our own efforts and is at the same time a universal, objective process.  Through it, we gain strength and certainty for new beginnings, for exploring ourselves and exploring the world. 
On the one hand, the process is simple… First, we observe something.  Then we think about it.  Then we observe the thinking we have done.  The thing to observe at the outset can be whatever we choose, for example:
a physical phenomena
a feeling
a verse for meditation
On the other hand, it is a trial, a seminal process of creative engagement and discovery which draws upon our deepest resources.  The first transition – from observing to thinking – requires an exertion of will.  The second transition – from thinking to observing the thinking – requires a higher magnitude exertion of will.  And yet, with good will every healthy person is capable of entering this exceptional state and practically benefiting from the health-bringing forces which the activity engenders.
A woman observes something.  A question arises and she seeks an answer, an explanation for what she has observed. Two bouquets of flowers are taken from the same shrub.  Petals fall from one bouquet when it is placed in a vase.  Why does the other bouquet drop no petals?
A man has a feeling.  He observes it – recognizing, perhaps, that he is vexed and investigating the quality and form of that vexation.  He examines the outer event which caused it.  And he asks what in his personality brought about such a feeling, when perhaps another person might have felt differently.
Even a verse upon which a person meditates must be brought into motion through the activity of thinking.  Perhaps the meaning of part of the verse is not immediately clear and a question arises which may be answered through a deeper exploration of other parts of the verse.
Typically, this is as far as we go with our thinking and we are content if we have uncovered an explanation, gained a new insight.  But we can go farther.  We can turn around and observe the thinking in which we have just engaged. 
And when we do so, something immediately changes.  Before, we were exploring with our thinking something which was separate from us.  The flowers, the feeling, even, to begin with, the verse – were all outside us, part of the given world.  When we now observe the thinking itself, we explore an activity which we know intimately and immediately, which we brought into being through our own exertions.  The separation, the gulf between world and self now disappears.  We experience the powerful, objective, active reality of thinking. 
Our thinking becomes more vibrant, more alive.  And now we have a choice about how to proceed.  One direction would be to more deeply explore – with our enlivened thinking – the question with which we started.  We experience this as a turning away from the observation of thinking, in order to repair or enhance or enlarge the thinking in which we were initially engaged.  New insights appear to us, insights richer and more complete than those we initially uncovered. They appear with lightning speed, creative leaps and that joyfulness we experience when we really penetrate with our thinking into the depth of a question. 
The other direction is to continue to work within the exceptional state. But nothing is static in this state. To move forward requires a further increase in will activity.  The temporal distance between the thinking and the observation of thinking narrows, approaching simultaneity.  There are many different ways to proceed at this point.  In forging our individual pathways we live our way directly into the creative being of thinking.
In The Riddles of Philosophy (page 88, bottom), Steiner writes, “A world conception must express itself in thoughts, but thought only
then endows the soul with the power for which it searches by means of a world conception in the modern age, when it experiences this thought in its process of birth in the soul.  When thought is born, when it has turned into a philosophical system, it has already lost its magical power over the soul.  For this reason, the power of thought and the philosophical world conception are so often underestimated.  This is done by all those who know only the thought that is suggested to them from without, a thought that they are supposed to believe, to which they are supposed to pledge allegiance.  The real power of thought is known only to one who experiences it in the process of its formation.”

You are invited to join colleagues and friends in Thornhill, Ontario from October 23 – 25, 2015, for a conference devoted to the exploration and experience of the path of knowledge which is implicit in the Philosophy of Freedom.  Interwoven into the fabric of the conference, TQuest Productions of Toronto will perform the first third of the Portal of Initiation.  Accompanying us on this journey, Christian Community Priest Daniel Hafner will open and close the conference with lectures which are intended to awaken a spiritual dialogue between the two initiatives. Visit www.philosophyfreedom.ca to learn more.

The North American Anthroposophical Conference: Encountering Our Humanity - Call for Research

Call for Participant Research
The North American Anthroposophical Conference Encountering Our Humanity, to be held in Ottawa during the summer of 2016, will include daily afternoon sessions where members will be given the opportunity to express personal research initiatives.
“This is indeed written in the karma of every single Anthroposophist: Be a person of initiative.. This should stand written in golden letters, constantly before the soul of the Anthroposophist....”
Rudolf Steiner 4Aug1924
These words by Rudolf Steiner have been an inspiration for many to undertake Anthroposophical work. This is an opportunity for this work to be shared and heard by Anthroposophists and non- Anthroposophists alike.
North American Anthroposophical Conference
Encountering Our Humanity
Ottawa, Canada
August 7 to 14, 2016
From Knowledge to Conscious Action
Research must have an Anthroposophical foundation, and should include an organised rationale which expresses a research subject and its significance to Anthroposophy and/or society in general. The various sections of the Anthroposophical Society serve as a good guideline for research topics.
Research topics from the various sections include, but are not limited to :
    •  Anthroposophical medicine
    •  Education
    •  Biodynamic agriculture
    •  Eurythmy
    •  General section studies
    •  Art
    •  Medicine
    •  Architecture

Participant research presentations will last a total of twenty minutes in length, with the last 5 minutes of each presentation dedicated to a question/answer period. Presentations can take any form deemed suitable for the subject. For example, a eurythmy presentation could include audience participation in eurythmy, or a presentation on architecture could include a slide show with various types of architectural motifs. For more information or to receive a participant research application form, please contact John Bach at jbbach1@yahoo.ca

L’AGA 2015 à Toronto : Associations mentales embryonnaires - Richard Chomko

Cela faisait une vingtaine d’années que je n’avais plus assisté à une assemblée générale; je me suis senti appelé à y participer cette année en partie parce que la réunion se tenait dans ma cour. Pourtant, comme je suis gérant du Village Market, je n’ai pu me joindre à l’assemblée que dès 14 heures le samedi après-midi.

En repensant à la fin de semaine, je me rappelle que ce qui a d’abord attiré mon attention, c’est le moment où j’ai commencé à percevoir la présence d’anthroposophes étrangers (c.-à-d. qui n’étaient pas du coin) se promenant dans les corridors de la maison d’habitation Hesperus. Cette arrivée de personnes venues de loin pour converger dans cet endroit a éveillé en moi un sentiment indéfinissable.

À la différence du processus de mort et de dissolution – centrifuge, irradiant – ce geste centripète, où tant d’individus étaient venus de si loin pour se réunir, a provoqué en moi le sentiment que quelque chose était sur le point de naître – en effet, un présage prometteur pour les jours suivants.

Se précipiter pour franchir la barrière

En ce qui me concerne, le congrès a débuté en vérité avec la présentation de Bert Chase – un récit du trajet de l’être humain à travers les époques, à partir des éons de l’éternité jusqu’à notre époque postmoderne. Et, pour accompagner ce survol, une description de l’être de Christian Rose-Croix et de son lien avec Rudolf Steiner à travers les époques de l’évolution de l’humanité. Même si elle contenait bien des éléments qui m’étaient déjà familiers, la présentation de Bert a été vivifiante grâce à son envergure majestueuse.

De la tête au cœur 

Cette présentation a été suivie par la causerie de Jonah Evans sur l’élément pratique du christianisme dans le contexte social. Comment envisageons-nous ceux avec qui nous sommes en désaccord ou en conflit? Est-ce que nous les rejetons intérieurement et nous séparons d’eux? Ou bien avons-nous la volonté de confronter la douleur du conflit et de nous efforcer à aimer l’autre malgré nos différends?

Jonah est prêtre à la Communauté des Chrétiens de Toronto depuis maintenant deux ans. Étant membre d’un de ses groupes d’étude, j’ai pu constater sa capacité de ramener les principes fondamentaux du christianisme au niveau de l’individu et de la vie de tous les jours.

« Art-ographie »

Et ce processus de ramener les choses au niveau de l’individu a été approfondi par une série d’exercices artistiques sur la biographie, entrecoupés de causeries. Il s’agissait de travailler en groupes de trois personnes pour identifier des situations difficiles que chacun avait connues face à d’autres personnes au sein de la Société. Il fallait ensuite concentrer ses expériences sous forme de descriptions, puis de mots-clés, pour enfin aboutir à des « phrases ».

Un autre volet de ces exercices consistait à dessiner. Deux membres du groupe dessinaient une image visuelle de ce qu’ils pouvaient percevoir de ce qui vivait dans l’âme de la troisième personne, fort de l’expérience biographique que celle-ci avait choisi d’approfondir dans le premier volet de l’exercice. Vous trouverez une série de ces images annexées à ce compte-rendu; les mots-clés ou « phrases poétiques » de quelques-uns des participants se trouvent également à la fin de cet article.

Il me serait difficile de commenter l’expérience du volet artistique, car je faisais partie du seul groupe qui ne consistait que de deux personnes au lieu de trois. J’ai senti pourtant que la volonté des participants à faire face à ces situations d’ombre dans les relations avec les autres était tout à fait convenable, apportant au congrès une ambiance de courage et de sérieux.

À l’issue du processus, Regine Kurek nous a demandé de joindre nos mots-clés en une seule phrase. J’ai fait en riant la remarque que, comme à la cour de justice, la « sentence » arrive à la fin du procès.

Tu es avec moi

Le spectacle d’eurythmie du samedi soir a confirmé ma conviction qu’il existe un phénomène de « franges d’interférence des couleurs » lorsque le regard se pose sur les couleurs vives des voiles des eurythmistes se déplaçant devant un fond sombre. Et pourtant, je ne l’avais jamais remarqué de cette manière avant d’assister à ce spectacle. Et, évidemment, il va sans dire que j’ai également apprécié l’eurythmie elle-même!

J’ai été heureux de pouvoir ajouter cette observation sur les « franges d’interférence des couleurs » à mon ouvrage (non publié) que j’ai intitulé : General Theory of Veil Eurythmy. Selon cette théorie, un des effets de l’eurythmie est de surcharger ce que je pourrais appeler « le moteur créateur du monde » de notre conscience, un phénomène qui provoque des failles momentanées dans le fonctionnement normal de notre esprit et qui effectue une dissolution de la maya, c’est-à-dire du monde illusoire des apparences.

Pendant le spectacle, j’essaie de suivre l’ensemble des mouvements, les changements, les gestes des eurythmistes, le flottement des voiles – mais je n’y arrive pas. Cela ne correspond à aucun schéma connu, il n’y aucun signet qui marque une page connue parmi tous les livres qui peuplent la bibliothèque de mon esprit. Il y a des moments dans ce que j’appelle « la bonne eurythmie » où je deviens conscient du fait que l’image mentale que je construis moi-même du « monde qui est là à l’extérieur » commence à s’effriter. Et cette expérience me rappelle que le monde que je vois n’est qu’une construction mentale. Est-ce que je suis seul à vivre cette expérience?

Par analogie, la vitesse vidéo numérique ne serait pas suffisante pour servir de support à ce que je voudrais rapporter de cette expérience; il en résulterait un blocage qui empêcherait le système d’exploitation de reproduire l’énorme quantité de détails d’une telle situation où tout change et se transforme continuellement.

Les phrases

Alors, pour conclure, voici quelques-unes des « phrases » qui ont résulté des exercices de biographie » :

« Tu es courageux; laisse aller ton moi qui t’étouffe. Unis-toi avec compassion, énergie et patience à ton moi radieux qui se révèle dans le monde. »

« Quel étonnement! Être intimement humain veut dire être un et avec le monde. »

« S’éveiller à une perception nouvelle en accueillant la cohérence, car elle mène vers une compréhension globale. »

« L’obscurité et la lumière de chaque cœur apportent la liberté d’aimer. »

« Trouve le courage qu’il faut pour avoir le temps d’aimer l’autre avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. »

« Que l’autre me vivifie et éveille en moi une nouvelle perception et de nouvelles perspectives! »

« En étant parfaitement ouverts, nous résolvons le karma là où la lumière dans les ténèbres rencontre l’universel humain dans un monde uni. »

Je vis dans le cours du temps
Je vis dans le présent
Se relier au sentiment de l’autre
Est-ce qu’on me juge?
Être conscient de soi-même pour pouvoir voir l’autre
Une nouvelle lumière point dans mes ténèbres
Des amis haut placés – la clé des conflits interpersonnels entre amis
Fais que l’ambiance respire
Libère la complexité
Voyage jusqu’au présent
Ouvre-toi maintenant, ouvre grand.

Contemple l’autre