Strengthening Immunity in a Dangerous World

By Orna Ben Dor

Drawing: Eduard Munk

As in the work of any therapist, crisis situations are a central and obligatory part of the biography counselor’s work. We believe that biographical counseling and Anthroposophy provide a unique response and support to a person in crisis. A response that is provided from a broad observation, that acknowledges a person as a body-soul-spirit entity, and through understanding the importance of crisis for awakening self-awareness, individual karma – and further development.

When discussing a crisis we rely on few premises:
a. Each crisis calls for suffering. The question of suffering relates to the question of both individual and humanity’s development.
b. The basic primal and natural human wish is to avoid suffering, as suffering causes pain and is often regarded as arbitrary; it breaks the sequence of routine life, interrupts our joy, and the happiness modern man expects out of life – as part of his premise on life’s purpose.

“It is natural that, at first, man reacts to pain as though he is rebelling inwardly against it. He wonders why he has to stand pain. “Why am I afflicted by this pain? Why is life not arranged for me in such a way that I don’t suffer pain, that I am content”.
R. Steiner, facing karma, GA 130

c. In the first half of life, the incarnation, a person does not have the proper spiritual tools to enable him to investigate in a meaningful manner the pain and suffering he encounters in his life. It is only in the second half of his life that these capabilities develop as part of his spiritual development; as Steiner phrased it – “Age is a limb”.
d. Coping with difficulties and suffering is important and necessary. Finding the reason and meaning for suffering, is achieved through facing karma, by taking responsibility over destiny. Knowledge emerges out of pain.
Acknowledging such a process could provide hope and lead a person to another stage in his life, whose meaning is – turning into a better person in the sublime sense, as part of his spiritual development mission – the pinnacle of which is the development of love and compassion to others and the world at large.

“Yes, it is profound wisdom to know that to be a good person is one of the most difficult tasks, and that nothing in life demands more in the way of preparation than the realization of this ideal to be good…”
R. Steiner, Facing karma, GA 130

Transformation will occur only by consent and relinquishment. The creative relinquishment is achieved when a person consents with his destiny “to live in the house that he has built”.

On the above described basis, the session will deal with two focal points:

1. Part one – observation of difficulties through the separation of the soul -forces: thinking, feeling, and willing. The realization that in the first part of life, the connection between these three forces is automatic and required for all the activities necessary for a person’s incarnation in the world, for building emotional, cognitive and other tools – necessary for the second part of life, and his spiritual vocation. Therefore: this linkage creates a necessary but not true interpretation of the events and difficulties a person encounters in his life. In the second part of his life: a person has the possibility to practice and develop his abilities in separating the automatic linkage between thinking, feeling and willing. This separation allows him to observe his life’s events and various challenges, by finding their true meaning, with regards to his biography and specific karma. Such practice will lead a person to:
– A profound acquaintance with himself, with relation to people close to him and with the “Consciousness-Soul” period. Knowing oneself in that manner means – recognizing his karma and taking responsibility over his destiny.
– Another aspect: gradually, as a person continues to practice it, he approaches the spiritual world and spiritual entities that are underlying the infrastructure of earthly events.

“It is only through this transformation of his being that the student can enter consciously into relation with certain supersensible forces and beings, for his own soul forces are related to certain fundamental forces of the world.”
R. Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, lecture 9, GA 10


2. Part two – observing suffering through the question: what is its role and purpose?
The source of pain and suffering which we all endure during our lifetime, usually originates from previous lives. The highest spiritual aspiration that serves as the reason for a person’s reincarnation, is the striving to become better, more whole. Karma introduces a person with what will lead him toward that spiritual wholeness, toward the next stage in human development- planet Jupiter.
Observing suffering from that aspect enables a person to recognize the “wiser person” within him – that is woven in his karma threads, and recognizes the right path of his spiritual development.

“We will come to the conclusion that all pain that hits us, that all suffering that comes our way, are of such a nature that they are being sought by our shortcomings. By far the greater part of our pain and suffering is sought by imperfections that we have brought over from previous incarnations. Since we have these imperfections within ourselves, there is a wiser man in us than we ourselves are who chooses the road to pain and suffering. It is, indeed, one of the golden rules of life that we all carry in us a wiser man than we ourselves are, a much wiser man. The one to whom we say, “I,” in ordinary life is less wise. If it was left to this less wise person in us to make a choice between pain and joy, he would undoubtedly choose the road toward joy. But the wiser man is the one who reigns in the depth of our unconscious and who remains inaccessible to ordinary consciousness. He directs our gaze away from easy enjoyment and kindles in us a magic power that seeks the road of pain without our really knowing it. But what is meant by the words: Without really knowing it? They mean that the wiser man in us prevails over the less wise one. He always acts in such a way that our shortcomings are guided to our pains and he makes us suffer because with every inner and outer suffering we eliminate one of our faults and become transformed into something better…” R. Steiner, Facing karma, GA 130