February 7, 2021
Rudolf Steiner urged teachers to take into sleep the meditation of their students’ highest selves in order to connect with their spiritual companions for guidance. I have practiced this both with my students and my own children. It fills me with such peace and love when I am struggling with a particular situation or phase of development, that I have come to rely on it often. It’s incredible how much, in turn, that just bringing this higher consciousness into focus (mine and that of our spiritual companions) helps to resolve issues thereafter.
Part of this is due to my change of focus, remembering the beautiful and unique genius of my child instead of what presently challenges me. Changes in me must be made to cultivate a change in the behavior of my child. The change in behavior is not always immediate, but the change in my perspective can be, followed by the patience and equanimity necessary to usher my child through this difficult moment. We all benefit from compassionate support as we struggle with something. We needn’t someone to fix the problem for us in over-sympathy, nor tell us to “buck up” and deal with how tough life is. We need someone to stand beside us, beholding our highest potential as we grapple.
Beholding- I love that word. When we behold, we see or observe someone or something remarkable or impressive. To me, it makes a perfect description of the deed I am describing. And I believe, especially in this world moment, that we could all do and use a little “beholding”.
During one of the training sessions I have been through with Cynthia, she shared Steiner’s thoughts on faithfulness.
“Create for yourself a new and strongly courageous view of faithfulness. What is usually called faithfulness fades away so quickly. Let this be your faithfulness:
In the other person you will experience moments… fleeting moments… in which he will appear to you as if filled, irradiated with the archetype of his Spirit.
And then there can be… indeed will be… other moments, long periods of time, when people become dried up and darkened. You, however, have to learn to say to yourself at such times, ‘The Spirit makes me strong. I remember the archetype. I saw it once. No deception, no illusion shall rob me of it.’
Always struggle for the image that you saw. This struggle is faithfulness, and in this struggle one person shall be close to another, as if endowed with the proactive powers of angels.“
It strikes me that the meditation for children that Steiner offered is perhaps an appropriate tool for practicing this faithfulness. Full of complexity and the thickness of time, our relationships with adults are more challenging. It is all the more difficult to hold the highest vision of them and yet, we must if a higher vision of the whole of humanity is to be fulfilled. We must remember the beautiful and unique genius at the heart of each individual, that has existed since childhood. It may be covered in layers of doubt, fear or hatred and it may be very difficult to see but we must try.
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Just as with the meditation practice for children, the changes start with me. I must be honest with myself, but without judgment. How do I see this person that I am angry with? How long have I held them in this shadow-filled image? We all make choices that hurt others. But is the image of another person who has hurt me stale and no longer true, only held to preserve and justify my own emotion-filled story? What is this doing for me to hold on to the narrative of this hate or anger? What would happen if I put down the weight of holding it? Might I make space for a light and fresh, new image of them and myself to emerge? It takes time and brave digging to answer these questions but they are the steps I take to finding myself in a place to love.
We must hold with tenderness and strongest hope the image in our hearts of what we know each other to be in our greatest light. We must behold it even as we struggle with each other through dark times for as we do, promise lies ahead.