The Glass Half-full

Following on the conversation from my last post, I have been trying to find the book or lecture where Steiner talked about not dwelling on the past, but using it as inspiration for the future. So far, I haven’t found it.

But, in editing some Steiner lectures this morning, I came across this gem. He begins with the image of pouring water from a half-filled glass into an empty one, and then compares this external experience to an experience of our inner lives:

Suppose someone has a loving heart, and out of this loving heart he or she performs a loving deed for another who needs love. The person who gives something to the other person does not become emptier by performing loving deeds for the other. One receives more, has more, and if that person performs a loving action a second time he or she will again receive more. One does not become poor, nor empty, by giving love or doing loving deeds; on the contrary, one becomes richer, one receives more. One pours forth something into the other person, something that makes one richer, or have more, oneself….

Love is so complex a thing that no one should have the arrogance to attempt to define it, to fathom the nature of love. Love is complicated. We perceive it, but no definition can express it. Yet a symbol, a simple symbol consisting of a glass of water that, when it is poured out, becomes ever more full, gives us one attribute of the workings of love. (Helsinki, 6 April 1912)

I remember feeling exactly this way when my second child was born: the incredible realization that my heart could actually get bigger, that it truly could not fill up but would contain ever more love.

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6 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Deep Thoughts, editing, Parenting

6 responses to “The Glass Half-full

  1. Bex

    I had a conversation with my mother just before Mei was born.
    I just couldn’t fathom loving someone as much as Poppy & if I did, wouldn’t I explode?
    Mum assured me that no, I wouldn’t explode but that my heart would indeed grow.
    Mums know everything don’t they? Xxx

  2. When my first son was born, for weeks afterward I experienced a spiritual and physical “ache” in my heart. Far more love began pouring out of it than it was accustomed to handling. It was in a somewhat shrunken state due to a painful divorce and several bad disappointments in life in prior years. It actually had to get in condition to deal with the increased magnitude of love energy it was channelling. And with time it learned to love with that intensity, and stopped hurting. Subsequent experiences have increased the flow even more. The more love you give, the more your capacity to love grows.

  3. Bex: Moms are da bomb, as they say!

    Scribbler: I’ve felt an ache like that too. It’s like your heart has growing pains.

  4. That was such a sweet post. it just brings back memories of the birth of my son..truly your heart does seem to explode!

  5. I was just reading over your comments on your last post. I love your Nana.

  6. “Yet a symbol, a simple symbol consisting of a glass of water that, when it is poured out, becomes ever more full, gives us one attribute of the workings of love.”

    Yeah, I’ll go with that.

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