The Foundation Stone Meditation

On deepening the second verse
of the Foundation Stone Meditation

Christiana Haid and Constanza Kaliks

The Foundation Stone Meditation has formed the centre of our work for several years now. This meditation makes it possible for our soul to experience itself increasingly, through practice, as a threefold being that is connected with the cosmos.

This practising is a central motif that forms and enlivens the Anthroposophical Society and the Sections. In the coming year we would like to continue to deepen our work with the second verse and present exercises of Spirit Awareness that can lead into meditation. Wolfgang Tomaschitz, general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Austria, and Jaap Sijmons, former general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in the Netherlands, are contributing an article on this theme.

Future issues of Anthroposophy Worldwide will include further contributions on the same topic that can serve as a basis for study in branches, groups and in the specialist fields. In addition to the recommended reading, we would like to suggest Rudolf Steiner’s book The Christmas Conference for the Foundation of the General Anthroposophical Society 1923/1924 (GA 260). | Christiane Haid and Constanza Kaliks for the Goetheanum Leadership

Experiencing the future: the rising sun

Wolfgang Tomaschitz and Jaap Sijmons

There are many possibilities for working or living meditatively with the Foundation Stone Meditation. Simply reflecting on a word or a line can open up wider dimensions. The following is an attempt to describe such an exercise.

One of the many aspects in the Foundation Stone Meditation’s central verse concerns our experience of time. Meditation can lead us to an experience of time that is more vibrant than the one usually accessible to us in our everyday consciousness, and it can dissolve the forces which are very pronounced today and which repel, as Rudolf Steiner once said, «what seeks to enter our soul from the future».(1)

Awaiting the future: The following is one possible way of working on this theme meditatively: we can, in a first step, reflect on how limited our everyday consciousness is when it comes to the future, because the future is impenetrable for this consciousness. We simply don’t know what the next minute, hour or day is going to bring. We can only await the future; and this is a situation that informs our daily understanding of ourselves and of the world. Rudolf Steiner referred to this repeatedly (2). Our instinctive response is fear. We are afraid of what is uncertain and unplannable, and this fear is an ever-present background for those who – as Rudolf Steiner once said with a touch of humour – always need to be sure of everything.(3) If we don’t give in to such instinctive emotions, but try to control our feelings in such situations (4), the outcome of our contemplation can condense into a more positive mood, a sense that the future is entirely open and that it holds a wealth of possibilities.

In a second step we can add an image: the image of the rising sun(5) in whose fire – and this is the important part of this second step – no aspect of the coming day has as yet taken shape. The image of the warming sun stands for a future as yet unshaped, into which we can step confidently because it is not unfamiliar but holds something for us and wants to help us develop. This is how one could describe what grows from the meditative interaction of contemplation and imagination. The mood is no longer one of anxiety, but one of confident expectation, of being ready «for what reality teaches us»(6).

What has so far been achieved through meditation can then be accentuated and deepened in a third step, for which we refer to the following lines from the Foundation Stone Meditation’s central part: «Let from the East be enkindled, what through the West takes on form». The meditative process gains essence: we can address beings and ask something of them. The future is no longer only open but is experienced as will-like, as a conversation between the as yet unformed and that which assumes and gives form. From there, countless other experiences can open up, as can new questions regarding my involvement(7) in this conversation, the power of East and West in me, the qualitative aspect of time in the Michael experience(8), and others.

The interplay of contemplation, image and the verse can be described as a meditative experimental set-up, in which the meaning of the verse is taken into our soul experience and where this soul experience is at the same time guided and illumined by the verse.

The sun at night: Our practising is completed in the soul on the path from thought, to image, to the word. This path would not exist if it was not for the living light that the spirit casts into the soul, a light that is received as imagination or toned down into thought. We may not be conscious of this, but we encounter actual beings at every step.

Hopefully we live towards the sun. Let us contemplate this inner attitude. Where does this strengthening expectation come from that the light and warmth of the rising sun instils in us? We are referred to the contrasting experience of the sunset and the night. Let us look at the waking up process, when we rise with our consciousness out of a realm that has no light and no images, and we turn to the sun. This day-world cannot be penetrated without preparation. We contemplate how we experience the uncertainty of the open future that lies ahead of us differently from how we experience what the night holds in store for us, or what we are given every morning by what lies behind us. As we wake up refreshed we feel the power of incarnation. It rises from the limbs as the I-organization and astral body enter the physical and etheric body.(9) It is really the opposite of the worries about the unknown that can arise in the head and rob us of our sleep at night.

Rudolf Steiner offers an imagination that can help us feel our way into the spiritual reality of the night. He asks us to think that the beings of the second hierarchy are at work in the daytime behind the golden rays of the sun; that we were with these beings in the night. The image arises of beholding the sun at midnight, behind the earth, when we have observed its setting in the red evening sky and it appears to the spiritual eye in the night in glimmering hues of blue and red. This night sun makes a moral impression on us and it increasingly assumes the form of beings: these are the hierarchies which we meet in the night sun.(10) In the night we experience or remember all our earlier incarnations before entering again deeply into the present one. The hierarchies also look back on our former earthly lives and they show us, in the daily sun-lit world, what we are karmically entitled to see in the visible world, «the reservoir from which the Gods may draw for their demonstrations of karma».(11)

We can live confidently towards the sun because we feel deep inside that we have to await what the hierarchies will bestow on us and what we have already lived through in the night. We will find inner balance when we feel that the rhythms of day and night together will let us experience the meaning of our earthly existence. When we consider this we may hear the following line from the Foundation Stone Meditation: «For the Christ-will encircling us holds sway, in world rhythms bestowing grace upon souls».

The rising sun and our memory of the midnight sun become an image for us of pure time as it unfolds in the souls, hearts and heads, where the sun can rise over the moral impulses that we bring with us from the night.

(1) Rudolf Steiner: GA 59, lecture of 17 February 1910.

(2) Rudolf Steiner: GA 13, chapter ‹Cosmic Evolution and the Human Being›, and GA 115, lecture of 4 November 1910.

(3) GA 134, Lecture of 28 December 1911, Hanover.

(4) Cf. Rudolf Steiner’s exercises for positivity and open-mindedness in GAs 13 and 95, where he also refers to the experience of time.

(5) No more needs to be said about the importance of the imagination of the rising sun in meditation; Rudolf Steiner’s indications to this extend from How to Attain Knowledge of Higher Worlds (GA 10) to Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts (GA 26). Readers might be less aware of the connection between warmth and the experience of time implied in the words of Benedictus’ meditation for Johannes in Scene 3 of Rudolf Steiner’s first Mystery Drama: «Love’s blessing pours its warmth through time’s long ages to call forth revelation of all worlds» (GA 14).

(6) Rudolf Steiner: GA 134, lecture of 28 December 1911.

(7) Ibid.

(8) Rudolf Steiner: GA 229, lecture of 13 October 1923, and GA 26, chapters ‹The World-Thoughts in the Working of Michael and in the Working of Ahriman’ and ‹Where is the Human Being as a Thinking and Remembering Being?›

(9) Rudolf Steiner: GA 236, lecture of 27 June 1924.

(10) Ibid.

(11) Ibid., lecture of 22 June 1924