THE ART OF LIVING

Spirit And Form

The question
Outside and inside
Home and work
The form of joy
The form of suffering
The art of living





 

THE ART OF LIVING

 

If you want to walk upon the path I have already described to you in various ways in other books as one who knows it, – the path which leads to the light in yourself, then you will have to renounce many illusions! – –
Above all you must abandon the illusion that your life on earth has been ‘determined’ and therefore must be accepted just as it comes! – –
Those who live their lives in this way are like builders who excavate without a building plan and build in whatever way they can until they run out of bricks and are forced to stop. –
It can be that this chaotic way of building might succeed, and some bizarre structure might come into existence.
Much more likely, however, is the prospect that one day the bricks he foolishly piled on top of each other will collapse on his head. – –
Be not like this foolish man!

What you call your life on earth is raw material. It has, admittedly, been given you in the way you found it on earth and you can do little or nothing to change it.
Placed solely into your hands, however, is what you can construct from that material in a spiritual form. No power on earth will be able to prevent you from building in the way the ‘building plan’ as seen by your soul, requires of you. –
You will seek to counter my words by asserting that many things have not been placed into your hands; that other people can hinder you in many things; – indeed, that the external world could smash your whole edifice into pieces.
Oh, my dear friend! As long as you utter such words, you have still not recognised what I am talking to you about! …
Your external building is indeed not determined by yourself alone. Your beautiful outer walls can be razed to the ground before you were able to crown your proud edifice with a dome! – – –
On the other hand, only you can disturb your spiritual building, or make others whom you allow such disturbance! – – –

I speak here of the work of art your spiritual life should become!
Your life on earth provides you every day with new material from which you can skilfully construct your spiritual life!
You will never lack ‘bricks’ and ‘timber’!
But it will be up to you to transform the raw material in such a way that it accords with the sublime building plan your soul finds within itself, in its innermost shrine! –
It is up to you to prepare the proper ‘mortar’ to bind one brick to another!
It will be up to you to span the ‘beams’ so that they can support!
You must not despise anything your earthly existence provides for you day by day!
Everything is in some way or other necessary for your spiritual building and will provide good service, if only you find the form appropriate for the construction! – – –
However, there is nothing which can accord with your spiritual edifice which has not been prepared beforehand and formed spiritually! –
Whatever daily life provides you with: – always ask yourself how it can be quickly given form, so that it may serve building your spiritual temple!
Then set to work at once, and do not rest before the raw material has received its proper form! –
The more you practise this wise work, the easier it will become for you!
You will soon succeed with hardly any effort in performing those things which today still seem hardly possible to you!
You must only show perseverance in this work!
You must not begin with enthusiasm today, only after a few days to abandon most of what needs to be done! –
Whatever you have not absorbed will get in your way; thus you will hinder yourself greatly, even if you want to begin again later on! – –

 
book 25 the art of living
 

This very day, when you hear my words, seek the building plan within the inner shrine of your soul!
It has been kept safely there, and you will find it if you seek with complete calm and certainty!
You will not bring it to the light of day with your hasty rummaging!
When you have found it, start work at once and stay loyal to your work!
You will only start to understand the building plan while you are building. If you need to, you will also find more detailed plans which hitherto would have been of no use to you!
Gradually the power you have to give form will increase. You will become the artist creating your work!
No ‘training’ can replace what the work itself alone has to teach you! – – –
You have not yet achieved fulfilment, and you do not yet know what is hidden within you!
You still have no confidence in yourself and would prefer to get your plan and instructions from others!
But you will grow in confidence when you begin to see what you carry within you! –
It will only grow gradually from your own work carried out according to the plan concealed within you. Then you will know that you have been helped because you trusted yourself, even if you only notice the help given and not the helpers themselves! – – –
Only this spiritual help can be of use to you! –
Everything you are told from without can only awaken you from your sleep, to work – can be the spur to begin to the best of your ability! – –
But the help you need in your work must come about in a spiritual way in your inner–self, if it is really to offer you support! – – –
Even if you are distant from all artistic endeavour in the world outside, within your innermost being there is an artistic nature which can only be developed spiritually in your work!
Here in your innermost being you will be guided towards sublime art: – towards the art of creating your spiritual life according to the law inherent in the eternal spirit! – – –
All that is expected and required of you is that you learn to fashion all the raw material your earthly existence provides for you day by day with your own forming power in order to give it form! –
This is the reason I have spoken to you – in such diverse ways in this book – of the necessity of
form! –
If you were to claim, justifiably, that there is much in your external life which can obstruct you from forming your life as you would like to see it formed, I must nevertheless say to you that in this regard too, you are more powerful than you think! – –
Only you will have to determine the outside from within! –

Seek to make use of everything your external life brings you in a spiritual way by striving to give it spiritual form. Then you will clear your path through your wise spiritual deeds of the many obstructions which seemed to you insuperable in your external life! – – –
All your external life will be transformed in the image of your spiritual life, if you can give spiritual form to everything in your external life! – –

Many have been called ‘artists of life’ because they skilfully and safely avoided the things which made external life unpleasant.
But the art of life of which I speak will not be lost to you when you have to depart from the external life of this earth!
It will already let you enjoy its noble fruits here in this earthly existence; it will offer them in most abundant fullness once you have taken on that new form of existence which follows this earthly
life! – – –
Truly, it is worth every effort to learn this art. It will let down no man who is serious in his will to give spiritual form to himself and to everything he might experience! – –
All earthly forms will also reveal their deepest value to him! –
He will find the spirit at work in every expression of form! – – –

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