A Panel Presentation from
The Goetheanum World Conference
September 27 – October 1, 2023
. The theme for the Wednesday, which was Michaelmas, was Plurality — Together in Diversity, relating to the line: ‘Human Soul! You live in the heart-lung-beat’.
General Secretary of the ASinA, Jane Bradshaw gave a presentation on the day’s theme at the daily panel. The key speaker for the Michaelmas panel session was Maaianne Knuth with Gerald Häfner acting as moderator. Maaianne spoke most passionately about the ‘spirit of Africa’, bringing different perspectives, highlighting the strength that can be found in diversity, different yet equal. Other contributors in this session were Marjatta van Boeschoten, Volkert Engelsman and Bernard Hanel.
Jane Bradshaw’s panel presentation
Advances in information technology and the World Wide Web have created a busy, web-like pattern across our earth that persists 24 hours a day. Some of this pattern is visible to the human eye, some parts are invisible, but certainly sensed in imagination. We cannot turn away from information technology; we acknowledge this is a new reality and we must live within it.
The current ecological social/ economic and spiritual crises are obvious to any awake human being.
Our response to them can be helplessness or fear, hatred, and separation: this is a type of pandemic. A remedy or antidote is needed, one that human beings can recreate anew in every moment, responding to this overload of sensory input.
Is this a solitary responsibility or a social path? I believe it is both.
Firstly, we need to commit to a new development in oneself and then in connection with others, with support and encouragement from others on the path. The social encounter is the earthly place for modern initiation, for the ‘New Mysteries’.
Any new human faculties that we can develop that enhance connection and transformation, anything that repairs relationships, and allows us to meet in a fresh way, has a radiating effect, not only for the community of humans on earth but in the etheric world, the invisible world of formative forces. These new formative forces and accompanying soul awakening then become available for the future of humanity.
Even mainstream thinkers recognise the 100th monkey effect (I’m not implying here that the human race is equated to monkeys. We have a different task as free thinking beings with free will).
Spiritual Science tells us so much more. Together we have the power of potentisation to create a worthy human counterforce, a human web-like pattern for our earth and its inhabitants.
So how do we do this?
One way is through gratitude.
I am grateful to those who came before us, those who built the Goetheanum, and to all the co-workers who are present here. Grateful to those worldwide who continue to nurture and build the General Anthroposophical Society that Rudolf Steiner created almost 100 years ago at Christmas time 1923-1924.
I am grateful to those who enabled the myriad of events and lectures, opportunities to meet together, the researchers, and artists.
Just as the plant bows down to the earth for its existence, so the animal bows down to the plant and the human bows down to them all in recognition of our co-existence, our co-creation. A mood of gratitude enables community. We are not merely spectators but co-creators of our community.
Another way is through listening.
An enhanced listening must be cultivated, a tuning-in to what is around us beyond our ears. Enhanced listening for the elemental beings, listening for the ancestors or the so-called dead, listening to and for each other. Listening beyond our personal script, beyond our already knowing, beyond biographical prejudice.
This faculty is a Venus quality in the balance of soul, the warmth between speaking and listening.
What better example of this than the human heart, this marvellous sense organ in the centre of our body, within the circular bones of the ribcage, with its heartbeat connected to the rhythm of the Cosmos? Four beats for every breath, we breathe in our surroundings, breathe an idea, breathe in our sense impressions. Wait for the four beats to integrate, to circulate, to transform, the blood substance.
But heart listening and thinking takes time; maybe if we slow down and trust this reciprocal space, we can be truly present in the here and now.
‘Be a bridge’
So be a bridge at every moment, be in movement.
Be exquisite tolerance.
Build our own ‘World Wide Web’ of warmth, in the light of our goodwill.
General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in Australia
Smit, Jörgen. (1998), How to Transform Thinking, Feeling and Willing.
Heine, Rolf. (Ed.) (2020). Anthroposophic Nursing Practice: Foundations and Indications for Everyday Healthcare. Portal Books. Translated by Carol Brousseau
Steiner, Rudolf, (1994). How to know higher worlds: A modern path of initiation. Steiner Books.
Steiner, Rudolf, (1975). Awakening to Community. Steiner Books
Photo credits: courtesy of Jane Bradshaw