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.