[With special reference to asthma]
THE color/hue which is amber is but a clear gold, muddied and darkened. Pure golden light refracting, speaks to us of a life-density which we are surrounded and supported with. The 'float' as it were, is in amidst this golden radiance (thus the mane/halo of the lion, depicting the etheric Sun).
The material amber - derived from tree-resin - was prized because not only did the color somewhat resemble this nurturing goldenness, but that also the material itself bore the very trace emanations of that etheric splendor, essence, quality and vitality. What was once flowing like thick blood becomes in time as little glowing coals bereft of the original fire.
Now to the point: our mobility in relation to how quick in action we come to in soul cognition, in comprehension, even in command of form and frame, is as the amber, i.e. as the amber is to the golden force which was the once pure sap. Streaming through the tree, life was contained in veins of sugary, translucent, mineral imbued fluid; a fluid which, without physical warmth, provoked and provided etheric warmth to the tree itself. This did inhibit crystallization; for whilst it gave over to the tree and was so contained, it did not congeal - one has only to see the hardened tears of sap once expelled and condemned to the outer surface.
If we can picture this process we may begin to grasp 'absorption' definitively. There are many ways to approach the concepts which allow for inquiry, containment, refraction and refuse. The question as to the acquired mastery of such personal discernment and ability is, by our standards, the question of development in its entirety! Therefore one cannot arrive at a preconceived formula for simple extraction, assimilation and/or resistance, as an all-time example. What one can be brought to, is the conceptual understanding of the forces at work within the being of man in order that he may comprehend, withstand and tolerate.
How often one may meditate or pray with their candle lit beside them. Returning once again to the merits of just a tiny candle, we can examine today not only the light it sustains, but the process itself by which it burns. For we may conceptually liken this to the process also of the golden force becoming the hardened amber- the fluid wax, the congealed fatty wax, motivated by a visible/invisible golden light. With a man there streams much life, but today we shall speak only of comprehension and tolerance in relation to such forces.
Comprehension has, by definition, a relatively transitory status. We may go on to indefinitely contain within our being that which has been taken in to us, held by us and known intimately by us, in but a temporary attachment of comprehension. When it is spoken of our Mother Earth comprehending the individuals who are so attached, it is to be remembered that relatively speaking it is a transitory affair whereby they shall depart and move away from her immediate sphere of concern; albeit impelled to return repeatedly also. Added to this, the term is quite literally intended: that such containment is fathomed, understood, known intimately, etc.
An absence of tolerance, on the other hand, does not necessarily imply comprehension, but nine times out of ten one can say that the impressions which besiege a man are unfiltered and persuasive as a total impact; therefore, willingly or not, it may be a form of comprehension.
If our soul is awakened with an enthusiasm, an enthusiasm which it enjoys, the flame ignites, the life-forces enter into the relationship of soul and that which it seeks to comprehend. It is as the wax begins to flow until such a time as the soul is ejected from the activity and withdraws, leaving a frozen impression as it were, a solidified remembrance. For it is the condensing, hardening, compacting aspect, which is pertinent to incarnation as we know it.
In spirit form our comprehension is quite extended i.e. where I go in my imagination, where I travel in my sympathy, my perception leads me. If I hold a reckoning for another or a place, by terms of heart, I am instantly where my wonderings take me. In spirit terms containment is difficult, and to some measure enjoyed or endured because of the contrast as learnt in the process of incarnation. Also conversely, it is by the process of such refining and narrowing down that one comes to make such experience and knowledge gleaned, incorporated lastingly into their being. The ego-consciousness is very much strengthened and exercised by the 'preciseness' as acquired in re-embodiment.
To the spirit-form the ego may not necessarily distinguish the outer realms it travails, to itself; or for that matter it may not differentiate between another being and itself, particularly if there are respondent sympathies. However, there is an advancement to be had from this - or so the human evolutionary trials would have it - that there may be a harmonious paradox within a Man, that he comes to aspects of outer life and chooses to incorporate them into his being, knowingly and masterfully.
Yet, as said before, the amber is darkened when most of the life-impacting goldenness has withdrawn. The impressions are remaining, but not as when the amber was living, interacting with purpose, the meaning to a tree's existence.
Therefore there is something we lose in the aftermath of a retained comprehension - the fact that once it is incorporated into our being as a recollection without a living connection, the experience is altered. This is why individuals all hold contrasting and differing opinions in everything.
Ordinarily it should not be too much to ask; one would think that if truth being truth, was come upon and experienced, it should at least be agreed upon by all, whereas ironically, we may come close but never close enough. The light is snuffed and the conception preserved, for this is the nature of such interaction.
The saving grace is the provision for newness and renewal. A man cannot therefore, be content just to live in his memories, he is in fact, forced to proceed forward into ever new experience. For you may well imagine that if by reproduction - i.e. stimulating recollections to life again - we could fully realize the perfect comprehension, then we should all be doomed to simply reliving the past indefinitely!- and be content in doing so.
To some, this process of containment, of incorporation, may be viewed as a death of but a living experience, or a perversion inasmuch as what has just been described. To these folk who sense the discrepancies, there may be a reluctance to commit such lively experience into the confines of the assimilative process. The ego says "I know of the soul's comprehension and will not suffer anything less". This is of course specific to a certain problem, one whereby the individual has not the ability to cordon off himself from the overwhelming influences which flow through him from tip to toe.
So we have taken this a little further: the aspect of such an individual who seeks to be perfectly aligned with the truth, or a signature, or even a recollection, but because they attempt the impossible, they are sorely upset with an unanswerable struggle. Reconciliation with the imperfections of incarnation!
Rest, reflection and containment provide an imperfect mirror to life's exchange, but however despised, all three are imperially required and to be respected. One cannot keep going from experience to experience without a commensurate pause in between; this is witnessed not only in sleep, but in heaven also and in all modes of manifestation.
For example, if you rest (not sleep) do you rest or do you seek to do something? Rest is rest - the dog on the mat knows that - trying to relax is not relaxing. The state of meditation is won when the trying has ceased. Study is honorable, recreational pastimes may or may not be beneficial, but they are not rest!
If a bird is uplifted by a high draught and glides contentedly without effort, he is resting and restoring himself within this special joy. He is not going anywhere, he is not at pains to shelter, feed or protect; he is actually enjoying himself, supported by the warm current beneath his breast.
When you enter in upon reflection, do you speak and command or do you listen? If we grimace and twist and writhe during said reflection it may be beneficial for us do to so, but it cannot be said that this is pure reflection, observing clearly upon recall. Equally, if we are inclined to rehash the more savored moments, these too may have their place as inner recreation, but it cannot be said that this is proper reflection either. Are you beginning to understand? If there are to be certain mineral constituents necessary to one's wellbeing, there are also provisions afforded behaviorally which are of equal importance.
Do we do what we are doing in the moment or do we seek to:
- Make effort to do more than one thing at the one time and suppress some activities from our consciousness?
- Actually carry out duties/activities which are abhorrent to our inner-self?
- Perform activities which we would not gladly take part in? (outer-self)
- Suffer the company of disagreeable folk?
- Feel that the day spent is as a compromise to what could have been?
- Want to know more? - am dissatisfied with current knowledge.
The answer to the above, if consciously recognized, is 'yes' to all categories - we all most certainly interpret our interactions in ways which do not afford for proper containment. Therefore as a remedy to this we can at least give a little time to exercising exactly the opposite. Such as, with:-
a) “Make effort to do more than one thing at the one time and suppress some activities from our consciousness.”
It is good practice to try to do one thing at the one time and give all of our attention to it. If we are not to suppress thoughts of other duties or callings, then we must be able to choose a time of day and a place where we will not be distracted. It is much harder than one thinks, however, one may build slowly.
When brushing one's teeth, one may give full attention to this activity: to the arm, to the hand, to the precision of movement, the gums, teeth and mouth and the taste, and their relationship - without thoughts a'wandering backwards and forwards.
It is an exercise of self-consciousness to come to such singular focus, and it can always be improved upon, being a valuable intentional exercise for everyone.
b) “Actually carry out duties/activities which are abhorrent to our inner-self.”
The remedy to this one is to 'make good' and recognize the needs of the inner man. There must be time provided for spiritual expression and interaction, one that is not loathed or difficult, not painful or awkward, but towards a higher bliss, because here we are examining association and tolerance and factors which enable a man to take into himself, and anything which provokes upset is contrary to this and damaging.
c) “Perform activities which we would not gladly take part in (outer self).”
This pertains to physical recreation - if you really enjoy a sweet biscuit, eat a sweet biscuit, it need not be a twenty-four hour indulgence; neither should happinesses be deprived. Find out exactly what it is that you really, really, enjoy and live in the experience becoming grateful for it.
d) “Suffer the company of disagreeable folk.”
Seek out better companionship and honor it well.
e) “Feel that the day spent is as a compromise to what could have been.”
(i) Be satisfied, really satisfied, that you have not wasted a day or offended a disapproving God. Pledge to do better, and upon the strength of having made that pledge, be satisfied.
(ii) Every now and then spend a very useful day, filling it to the fullest, accounting for every minute from waking to sleeping. It is more difficult than it sounds.
f) “Want to know more - am dissatisfied with current knowledge.”
Come to know what you do know, and for a while, desist from further inquiry. For example: one can say to themselves "I know. . . because of. . ." and so forth, calling upon the self-knowledge and being respectful to this, rather than seeking extraneous facts.
It should be noted that the above suggestions are not intended to be full-time exercises, but assisting exercises to enable one to strengthen their ability for containment. Little by little great improvement will be caught, snatched by an inspiring ego which needs to assimilate its comprehensions well.
“When men in olden times made candles of the beeswax and lighted them, they knew that they performed a wonderful and sacred action “This wax which we now burn we took from the hive; there it was hardened. When the fire melts it and it evaporates, then the wax passes into the same condition in which it is within our own bodies.”
In the melting wax of the candle men once apprehended something that rises up to the heavens, something that was also within their own bodies. This awoke a devotional mood in them, and this mood in its turn led them to look upon a bee as an especially sacred creature, because it prepares something which man must continually work out within himself. For this reason, the further back we go the more we find how men approached the bees with reverence. Of course, this was when they were still in their wild state; men found it so, and they looked upon these things as a revelation. Later they brought the bees into their household.”
Rudolf Steiner -Lectures on Bees