The I, or Self within, is so much bigger than you guess.
It is the cosmic I AM seeking to experience itself through my small body.
Alternately, it shrinks or stoops to define itself and discover how separate it is from the world – a True Individual. Then it swells again, absorbing the vast reality of its reach and experience. Each summer the growing light, the seductive warmth, the lushness of growth draw me out again to become one with the beauty life offers. Each winter the cold and dark remind me that I am not the world, the world needs to be shut out in order that I find myself.
Spring comes, hope rises, joy is kindled, my self expands, wants to camp in the woods, wake to the birds, swim in the sea. Days shorten, mornings are cold, my self begins to take an interest in more inward things, I separate myself more from the world and snuggle down for autumn and winter.
The illustration above charts the rhythms of Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul. Fifty-two verses that track the annual cycle of this expansion and contraction, offering us a self-contemplation of how we grow, year by year, through this breathing. Every day, in each change of mood, in moments of inspiration and of disappointment, this same cycle is taking place. The soul-training I am offering in the Coming to Centre course, will also focus on this spirit-breathing, for within our power to notice it lies a thick slice of self-knowledge to grow by.
Owen Barfield was a colleague of Steiner’s and one of Tolkien’s “Inklings” group of philologists (lovers of the Word.) When Barfield transliterates Steiner, we get something that is more than a translation. We get that Inkling mastery of expression, that Barfield depth of wisdom, boosting Steiner’s cosmic thinking into the English mind.
As part of the Coming to Centre course, we will be following this ‘Soul Calendar,’ drawing in the detail of how the Self-I-Am breathes the Cosmic Consciousness like my lungs do the air. This is the Path of ‘Coming to Centre,’ to discover from the small, silent, Point of Attention what the Self within me is actually up to. Then how to cooperate with this extraordinary Wisdom of creation, that is flowing as Self, through me/you/the-soul.
To expand in joy, out of my narrow confines. To focus with interest on my boundaried self. to feel myself limited within, and break my bounds to discover more. To feel myself lost in the vastness, and seek again to find my centre. These are the ebb and flow of the Cosmic I AM in my own small experience. This is the breath of the Soul itself within the Nature-World my senses occupy.
This cosmic breathing is reflected also in the pulse of the heart.