Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 10

Last time we looked at the relationship between the home and cultural life. Today we will see how the homemaker can set out on a path of self-development.

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In fostering the home as a locus for cultural renewal, the homemaker must work to strengthen his or her inner life in order to work toward the ideals of this renewal. It may seem like we have no time for such an undertaking, but even in very short bits of time we can do significant work.

The path described here has two parts: meditation and exercises.

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For the meditative work we can find a sentence that holds meaning for us that we can ponder. Rudolf Steiner gave us many such sentences, or one could find rich sources in the Bible or other spiritual books. Focusing on a meditative sentence each day for even a short time will strengthen one’s heart forces. To balance these forces, we also must develop our will forces.

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Rudolf Steiner described what are often called the “six supplemental exercises,” about which I have written in more detail in relation to parenting here. In brief, the exercises are:

concentration, in which we focus our attention on a common, otherwise uninteresting object for five minutes each day,

initiative, in which we do an otherwise unnecessary action each day at a predetermined time,

equanimity, in which we hold back the expression of our feelings (though not suppressing the feelings themselves) for a short time at an appropriate moment,

positivity, in which we try to find something positive in every situation or thing,

open-heartedness, in which we attempt to look at every new thing without prejudice,

and persistence, in which we create harmony by willfully repeating the previous five exercises.

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Next time: The Sacrament of the Home

Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker, Temple Lodge, 1996.

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13 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Books, Deep Thoughts, Homemaking

13 responses to “Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 10

  1. Mon

    I’m going through your linked parenting article.

    I’m least keen on the object concentration idea. I would prefer taking the focus into oneself. Certainly agree on the being centred and present point.

    Good to have you back on these. 🙂

  2. I enjoy reading what you have to say about this book. I feel like maybe I had too much opportunity for practicing equanimity with a certain hard to get along with person yesterday. 😉

  3. I am constantly struggling with these exercises, I would say I fail most at persistence. I will be really good following through for a while and then my motivation goes away or I fall asleep while doing my nightly meditation. (Maybe I have been on the low side of “positivity” for a while now, as well)

  4. Oh, man, I SWEAR-one afternon naptime SOOn I’m going to sit down and read your entire Spiritual Tasks series!!!!!!
    i’ve been scanning bits and pieces and LOVE it but I need to give it my FULL attention!

  5. Dawn: Sometimes I think that one is the hardest!

    Lisa Anne: Have you tried switching to mornings? I’ve read many times that evening, because it is a naturally “down” time in our energy levels, isn’t optimal for meditative work.

    RunninL8: The page I set up to list all of the posts should be helpful then 🙂

  6. Eve

    I’m interested in initiative and equanimity tonight. I like the idea of practicing equanimity consciously, because I think it’s an ability possessed by the mature.

    I’m wondering about initiative, though. What did Steiner say was the benefit of this practice? Interesting.

  7. Mon: Sorry, I somehow skipped replying to you. I think Steiner suggested using an unremarkable, everyday object for two reasons: First, part of the exercise is to focus our attention completely on the object through thinking of the sequence of its creation — for the paper clip we would think about how the metal was mined and processed, then formed into shape, cleaned, sorted into boxes, etc. Second, because the object is otherwise mundane, we must focus our will on it as it is probably something uninteresting! (As yet another will exercise; see my response to Eve below.) So if we were to use our own selves as an object of observation, it would probably be much more difficult to follow these reasons. It is meant to be a relatively simple thinking exercise; observing oneself is not usually so simple 🙂

    Eve: Steiner spoke and wrote often about the will, which is strengthened through initiative exercise. A fundamental anthroposophical view of human activity is threefold: thinking, feeling, and willing. We are most conscious in our thinking, less so in our feeling, and the least conscious in our willing. Because it takes such active, hard work to advance spiritually (which Steiner described in detail in his books Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path and How to Know Higher Worlds) we can only benefit by improving our ability to enact our will forces through conscious effort.

  8. Ah, I like this. Always see a bit of zen in this book. All good…

  9. I’m discovering, as a Mom, the concentration is a luxury…

  10. I like the post of yours that you linked to as well, and shared that link with some friends. I think your advice makes a lot of sense. I especially like the notion of concentration vs. distraction. The other day I was pretending (as it turns out) to listen to my three year old, but really was trying to get something to load on my computer. As Dana walked away, something I really didn’t register, I heard him say “I hate the dumb stupid ‘puter.” (puter = computer). In other words, by not concentrating on my son I helped lead him to use naughty words and feel neglected in favor of a machine. Needlessly to say, that made me feel pretty bad (and, of course he suddenly got the attention he’d been wanting).

  11. Interesting that Anthroposophy shares so many things with Wicca.

  12. Denise: Well, Steiner did incorporate lots of Buddhist concepts!

    Susie: Oh, yes. Busy all day, and then tired after bedtime. When do we get our own stuff done, again?

    Scott: How wonderful that you shared it! Kids have a way of quite directly showing what you’re doing wrong, eh? Computers are particularly heinous in their eyes.

    HMH: Seems like most spiritual paths have things in common, even if you have to dig a bit for them sometimes. Wisdom — it’s everywhere! And certainly both anthroposophy and Wicca (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” and “An it harm none, do what ye will”) talk about the will forces.

  13. Pingback: How To Meditate? | Total Health Care - Yoga Business Coach

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