Achieving the Capacity to Discern the Supersensible Domain
Achieving the Capacity to Discern the Supersensible Domain
Achieving the Capacity to Discern the Supersensible Domain

"Pictures, then, of a spiritual kind are first encountered by the student on his progress into higher worlds; and the reality to which these pictures correspond is actually within himself."

Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, 1947

"The content of what is spiritually perceived can only be reproduced in pictures (imaginations) through which inspirations speak, which have their origin in spiritual entity intuitively perceived."

Rudolf Steiner, An Outline of Occult Science, 1909

  In this meditation we will engage in ongoing contemplation as to how we can learn to achieve the capacity to discern--apprehend and comprehend--and realize our presence in the Supersensible Domain.

  We will use paintings by Gustav Doré (1832-1883) to assist us in learning to discern our presence in the Supersensible Domain, by placing ourselves (through imagination 1) within the images and conceptualizing our life in that reality.

  We envision the winged angels in this painting as representative of Higher Beings in the supersensible domain. Their wings represent their ability to "be" [have their awareness] at any point in the supersensible domain that they choose. Their being in company with other harmonious beings represents their psychic and elemental commingling and communing with one another. The levels in the image represent the spheres of evolution within the supersensible realm. In each sphere, Higher Beings commingle for specific purposes. Throughout the image, there shine the Forms of Goodness. Beauty, and Love.

  We can imagine ourselves within the reality of this image and communing with these Higher Beings, where everyone and every element and every time and every place are Here Now.

  In the meditation below we contemplate becoming aware that our essence is our soul and that our soul has its being in the Supersensible Realm. (Refresh the document to begin the meditation.)

  Having come into awareness that our essence is our soul and that we have our Higher Being in the Supersensible Domain we enter into inner dialectic with our soul, so that through the anagogical power of dialectic we ascend to the Supersensible Realm, our Origin.

"Dialectic is the only philosophical process which seeks for wisdom by anagogically uplifting our Intellectual foundations so that our Higher Self ascends to the Origin."

Plato, Phaedo

  We begin learning to apprehend and comprehend--to discern--the reality of our presence in the Supersensible Domain by meditating on the Essence (Form) of this realm. What MUST be the essential elements of this domain?
  • This realm must be the Eternal World from which we came when we entered the terrestrial world.
  • This realm must be the domain in which we have our Essential Being: before terrestrial birth, during terrestrial existence, and after terrestrial death.
  • This domain must be one in which humans evolve eternally, ultimately realizing (knowing and actualizing) oneness with the All, the Transcendent Creator.
  This process of conceiving of the essence of the Supersensible Realm by determining, in meditative thought--inner dialectic--what are the essential elements of the domain is what Plato spoke of.

"And he attains to the knowledge of Forms in their highest purity who goes to each of them with the soul alone [and] with the very light of the soul in her clearness penetrates into the very light of truth in each Form through dialectic."

Plato, Phaedo

  We realize that in the Supersensible Realm we are in the presence of the Divine. It's necessary to comprehend what is the appropriate manner in which to approach the Great Spirit--as Native Americans refer to the Creator. To approach the Divine in the attitude of ordinary, sychophantic worship assumes that the Creator of all desires egoistic human adoration and adulation.

  Worship is basically a passive behavior, and presumes that the entity desires such veneration or adoration, that the person worshipping is worthy to perform the worshipful action, and also that the person has the correct understanding as to how worship should be carried out. These assumptions may be incorrect.

"The honours which are paid to the Gods are performed for the sake of the advantage of those who pay them." Thomas Taylor (1758-1835), Platonic Philosophers Creed

  A much more non-presumptuous manner in which to approach the Divine is to act in a way that is completely sincere and more in keeping with our status: expressing sincere gratitude to the Divine for all the blessings we have received.

Thank you, Lord God.

  Expressing gratitude for all the blessings the Divine bestows on us is something we can do with humility and sincerity. We address the Divine as "Lord," to indicate our perceived status as humans on a much lower level than the Divine and to indicate that the Divine has sovereignty over us, by our own submission and declaration.

  This affirmation of gratitude enables us to know, with certainty, that we are, at the moment of expressing our gratitude to the Divine, in the immediate presence of the Creator (recognizing that at each moment, we subsist with the Divine). One of the primary blessings for which we express our gratitude is the bestowal of our very being. Gratitude is not only an expression of appreciation, it is also a higher cognitive element: it enables increased awareness of the Supersensible Realm and the Divine.

"We rise rapidly when we fill our consciousness . . . with thoughts evoking in us admiration, respect and veneration for the world and for life. It is well known to those experienced in these matters that in every such moment powers are awakened which otherwise remain dormant. In this way the spiritual eyes of man are opened. He begins to see things around him which he could not have seen before. He begins to understand that hitherto he had only seen a part of the world around him. . .

"It is not easy, at first, to believe that feelings like reverence and respect have anything to do with cognition. This is due to the fact that we are inclined to set cognition aside as a faculty by itself--one that stands in no relation to what otherwise occurs in the soul. In so thinking we do not bear in mind that it is the soul which exercises the faculty of cognition; and feelings are for the soul what food is for the body. If we give the body stones in place of bread, its activity will cease. It is the same with the soul. Veneration, homage, devotion are like nutriment making it healthy and strong, especially strong for the activity of cognition. Disrespect, antipathy, underestimation of what deserves recognition, all exert a paralyzing and withering effect on this faculty of cognition. . . Thereby the cognitional faculty is ripened; it receives intelligence of facts in its environment of which it had hitherto no idea. Reverence awakens in the soul a sympathetic power through which we attract qualities in the beings around us, which would otherwise remain concealed."

Rudolf Steiner, Christianity As Mystical Fact, 1947

  In expressing gratitude for the many blessings the Divine bestows on us, we feel genuine love. Our evolving spiritualised faculty of Love enables our supersensible self-consciousness to perceive and grasp our presence within the supersensible realm, because we can perceptibly feel the love of Higher Beings around us.

  As we penetrate more deeply into the "very light of truth" of the Supersensible Realm, we realize that within this domain there must be specific discarnate humans (and/or other beings) who have as part of their responsibilities the welcoming and assisting of persons who are learning to discern their presence in the Supersensible Realm.

  It is intriguing to work toward discerning precisely who these welcoming persons are and how, specifically, they are able to assist us. Much of what we must do in working toward discernment of the Supersensible Realm must be by our own personal effort: to comprehend, through inner dialectical interchange with our own soul, the features of the Supersensible Realm and what specifically we must do in order to gain increasing understanding of and participation in this realm.

  As I look at the image to the right, I imagine that the Higher Being who is welcoming us (the two persons), might be Socrates, Plato, Betty White, Stewart Edward White, Paul Brunton, or a member of my earthly family. 2

  We can be certain that the persons who welcome us are somehow "connected" to us by special concern for our well-being and in intellectual and emotional sympathy with us. This is the principle of Similarity and Sympathy at work: entities or elements which have similarity of interest and sensitivity naturally gravitate toward each other.

  The essence of sympathy is that one has a strong concern for the other person. Sympathy should not be confused with empathy. Empathy is simply the recognition of another's experiences, whereas sympathy is actually sharing another's experiences and feelings. Sympathy exists when the feelings or emotions of one person are deeply understood and even appreciated and experienced by another person.

  I look forward to developing (or re-establishing) friendships with higher beings, bonds of co-operative and supportive behavior involving mutual understanding, esteem, and affection, along with rendering service in times of need or crisis.

  I can feel the essence of friendship, its heart-warming joy of mutual regard and care, the exhilaration of knowing that others understand and appreciate you and that you can dialectically interchange with them and attain new insight and comprehension.

  I imagine myself as a part of the group pictured, enjoying the congeniality, conviviality, familiarity, harmony, intimacy, kindliness, and warmth of comradeship as we engage in ongoing dialectical interchange regarding areas of mutual concern and interest.

  I imagine myself as one of the two figures in the foreground of the image to the right. The person next to me I imagine is a Higher Being who is assisting me to learn to apprehend and comprehend the Supersensible Realm in which I find myself.

  There are other Higher Beings nearby who are also looking out at the panorama of the Supersensible Realm. There appear to be levels of being as I gaze into the circle. Many levels of Heavenly Hosts appear to be engaged in evolving toward the Divine, which I can discern only as a light in the distant center of the revolving circle-levels, an ever-present Reality.

  I imagine myself as beginning my "work" of evolving toward unity with the Divine through developing my understanding of the Supersensible Realm.


1 "Imagination is the very gateway to reality! Imagination is the Power of Transportation--that overrides space and time! Imagination enables you to put yourself anywhere. It's the power of juxtaposition, that puts together things that were never put together before, at points of contact that nobody else ever thought of. It's the power to see the Pattern." Betty and Stewart Edward White, Across the Unknown, 1939

2 You might imagine any discarnate beings with whom you feel a spiritual kinship.