The so-called “inner voice,” the spiritual part of man, to which he can listen, is the intuitive perception!
It is not without reason that people say: “The first impression is always right.” As all such expressions and proverbs harbor profound truths, so also here. By the word impression is meant intuitive perception. For example, what a man intuitively senses at a first meeting with a stranger is either a kind of warning to be careful, which may even go as far as absolute repugnance, or something pleasant up to complete affinity, in some cases it may also be indifference. If now, in the course of conversation or further intercourse, this impression shifts or is entirely effaced through the judgment of the intellect, so that the thought arises that the original intuition was wrong, it almost invariably turns out at the end of such an acquaintance that the very first intuition was the right one. And this often occurs to the bitter pain of those who allowed their intellect to mislead them through the deceptive nature of the other person.
The intuition, which is not bound to space and time but connected with its homogeneous kind, with the spiritual, the eternal, immediately recognized the true nature of the other person and did not allow itself to be deceived by the cleverness of the intellect.
It is absolutely impossible for the intuition to err.
Whenever man is led astray there are two reasons for his errors: either the intellect or the feeling!
How often one hears it said: “In this or that matter I allowed myself to be guided by my feelings and got into trouble. One should only rely on one’s intellect!” Such persons have mistaken their feelings for their inner voice. They praise their intellect and have no idea that it is just the intellect which plays such an important part in their feelings.
Therefore be on your guard! Feeling is not intuition! Feeling emanates from the physical body, which generates instincts, which guided by the intellect, produce feeling. This is very different from intuition. The combined working of feeling and intellect, however, gives birth to imagination.
Thus on the spiritual side we have only the intuitive perception which is far above space and time *(Lecture No. 86: The inner voice) while on the earthly side we have primarily the physical body, which is bound to space and time. From this body emanate instincts which, in co-operation with the intellect, arouse feeling.
The intellect, being a product of the brain bound to space and time and consisting of the finest and highest element in matter, is able with the co-operation of feeling to produce imagination. Imagination, therefore, is the result of the working together of feeling and intellect. It is ethereal, but without spiritual power. For this reason imagination has only a retroactive effect. It can only influence the feelings of its creator, but never of itself send out a wave of power to others. Thus imagination only works backwards upon the feeling of its originator. It can only inflame his enthusiasm, but never influence his surroundings. This clearly stamps it as belonging to an inferior order. It is different with the intuitive perception. This bears within itself a spiritual power, creative and animating, and sending forth radiations which fire and convince others.
Thus we have on the one side the intuitive perception, and on the other side the body, instincts, intellect, feeling and imagination.
The intuitive perception is Pure-spiritual and stands above space and time. Feeling belongs to fine gross matter, depending on instincts and intellect, and is therefore of a lower order.
Although feeling consists of fine gross matter, it can never coalesce with, and thus cannot dim spiritual intuition. The intuition will always remain pure and clear because it is spiritual. And it will always be clearly sensed or “heard” by men if... it really is the intuition speaking! But the greatest number of people have closed themselves off from this intuition by placing their feelings like a dense veil or wall in front of it. They mistake feeling for their inner voice. As a result they experience many disappointments, leaving them to rely even more on their intellect, never suspecting that they were deceived through this very co-operation of the intellect. As a result of this error they are quick to reject everything spiritual, with which their experiences had absolutely nothing to do however, and attach themselves more and more to things inferior.
The fundamental evil here, as in many other matters, lies in man’s voluntary subjection to his intellect, which is bound to space and time!
The man who completely subjects himself to his intellect also subjects himself completely to the limitations of the intellect which, as a product of the gross material brain, is fast bound to space and time. In this way man chains himself exclusively to gross matter.
All that a man does issues from himself and his own free will. Thus he is not being fettered, but he fetters himself! He permits himself to be dominated by the intellect (this could never happen unless he desired it himself), which by its very nature binds him to space and time and prevents him from recognizing or understanding anything which lies beyond. A covering firmly bound to space and time is placed over the intuition which knows no limitation of space and time, thus drawing a line, and man no longer can hear anything whatever, his pure “inner voice” having been stifled, or he can only “hear” his feeling, which is closely connected to the intellect, instead of his intuition.
It would create a false idea to say that feeling suppresses the pure intuitive perception, for nothing is more powerful than the intuition. It is man’s highest power and can never be suppressed or diminished by anything. It is more correct to say that man makes himself incapable of recognizing his intuition.
If man fails it is always through his own fault, never because of the strength or weakness of his specific gifts; for the very fundamental gift, the actual power, the strongest part of man, which is the bearer of all life and immortal, is given to all alike! In this respect no man has an advantage over another. All differences are due only to the way in which it is used!
Neither can this fundamental gift, the immortal spark, ever be dimmed or tarnished! It remains pure, even amid the greatest filth. You need only tear the veil which you have wrapped around you through the voluntary limitation to which you have subjected your perceptive ability. Then, without any transition whatever, it will flare up again as pure and clear as it was at the beginning, unfolding itself fresh and strong to unite with the Light, the spiritual! Rejoice that this treasure lies within you inviolably! It is of no importance whether you are esteemed by your neighbors or not! Every bit of dirt that has gathered like a dam around this spirit-spark can be cast aside through honest goodwill. If you have achieved this and again uncovered the treasure, you are worth just as much as he who never buried it!
But woe unto him who through indolence continually and strictly closes himself off from good volition! In the hour of Judgment this treasure will be taken from him, and he will then cease to be.
Therefore awake, you who keep yourselves closed off, you who have covered your intuition with the blanket of your intellect, with its limited ability to understand! Take heed and listen to the calls that reach you! Whether in the form of a terrible grief, a great emotional upheaval, severe suffering, or a supreme pure joy capable of bursting through the dark layer of base feeling, do not let any such call pass you by in vain. They are aids which show you the way! It is better if you do not wait for them, but set out with the earnest volition for all that is good and for spiritual ascent. In so doing the separating layer will soon become thinner and lighter again, till finally it disintegrates altogether, and the still pure and untarnished spark bursts forth into a blazing flame. But this first step must and can only be taken by the individual himself otherwise he cannot be helped.
In all this you must distinguish clearly between wishing and volition. Nothing is achieved by mere wishing, it does not suffice to bring about progress. It must be volition which impels and even contains the deed. The deed already begins with serious volition.
Even if many a man must travel on various byways, because in the past he had entirely enslaved himself to the intellect, he should not let himself be deterred. He too will win! For him it is a matter of clarifying his intellect and of gradually peeling off and resolving all hindrances through experiencing every single byway.
Therefore, onward without trepidation. With an earnest volition every path will finally lead to the goal!