Abstract or concrete

About working hard and working miracles.

Abstract or concrete

Do we formulate the title as a question: what is concrete, what is abstract in our life as learning and spirit-directed human being, as pupil? A discovering and learning human being, who in his or her life searches for the passage towards the foundation of existence, that is what we call a pupil. A group of pupils who support each other in their quest, we call a school. Sometimes a school has a master. Beyond the passage there is the new life, which takes place at a higher level of vibration, living from the spirit.


Abstract or concrete. One of the definitions of ‘concrete’ determines the word as ‘sensory perceivable’, and ‘abstract’ as ‘beyond senses’. The same dichotomy can be found in the etymology of the word ‘reality’: real is, what can be worked with in the world around you, placed opposite of the inner experience.

In his considerations Plato differentiates two worlds: the concrete, perceivable everyday world and the real world of unchanging abstractions, outside time and space. So two worlds.

The confrontation between the inner, young consciousness of the beginning pupil and a world vision or teaching can lead to a quick and extreme tossing back and forth between on the one hand recognizing the elements of the path of the soul in one’s own life, concretely and on the other hand the apparently unreachable far off state of that new life.

One’s own soul is alternately imaginarily placed in the tangible reality of life and then again far off to a point infinitely far. The soul is then looked upon as a reality of which we, mortals, cannot consciously experience anything. If that last viewpoint is maintained for a certain period of time, then the belief is formed: the new soul is something that we cannot experience at all and to which we cannot add or do anything. The candidate rests with empty hands in a temporary standstill.

At the other edge of the fluctuation the pupil thinks he discovers concrete manifestations in his life about his progress on the path and he very closely and clearly sees the tasks, even as far reaching as into matter.

What he knows and can do will be deployed on his path while learning. This goes too for participating in the work within a school or in the way he treats his master. Often passionately and full of temper, until he collides with a wall, or again projects his soul on infinity because of an address or a fragment of literature.

Is the distant projection a vertical movement in the direction of his goal? Or does it remain an imaginary horizontal displacement within this reality?

As long as there is movement, things go well for the pupil and he can learn. His consciousness evolves and based on the contact with the intensive learning environment surrounding him, the new soul develops. Problems arise, however, when one of the implicit viewpoints is held on to and defended: then a negative non-doing is practiced or actions flow from the present consciousness and the idea of complete manufacturability of one’s own soul.

Are you familiar with the experience of the uncertainty that evolves from the elusiveness of the soul, the elusiveness of being ‘a learning human being’?

All of this from the perspective of an ever stronger and thus concretely experienced desire for renewal, for the True Man, for what transcends us.

There is the factor time. Time as in: the living-time of the individual pupil; and time as in the age of the school, the learning environment. As individuals we may already have encountered the school at a younger age and with youthful enthusiasm, during the period that our earthly life was developing.  This also demands the necessary time and energy, that both still seem to be abundantly, yes, almost unlimitedly, available. We are leading an active life in society and we are fully committed, also in the organization of our school. Through the back and forth movements of our vision on the new soul, we are learning, in the constantly changing relative positions of me and the soul.

Now we have come to a more mature age, and society expects less from us. The time and energy that are still available can be used within the organization of the school. For there is a lot of necessary work to be done and the younger generations have little time for commitment, after realizing their worldly obligations, because of which we subsequently do not find the time for the possibly expected more abstract future pupilship. Maybe we can become contemplative, later on?

Pendulum movements between abstract and concrete within the mind of the pupil can diminish because there is simply less life energy, less good old life ether, available. The big leap in life has been accomplished and appears to be, when looking back, less far off  than was hoped for and also not completely into the right direction. This experience then provides a karmic life lesson for a next learning cycle. The back and forth movements can also become less fierce through insight and life attitude and through the opening up of the new soul, in a very concrete state of pupilship, in realization.

The unavoidable and the avoidable whirling within our own being has taught us something, through which, despite all that, a silent space was created. And in that space something completely new arose. This new aspect enables us to experience ‘heartfelt’ friendship, developing and growing within the group of learning people, despite everything. A friendship of the soul, as the sum of the love – which is abstract – and the power – which is concrete – of God.

Maybe in the meantime the movement within the soul of the pupil has turned over: no more swaying and wavering between an abstract vision and concrete actions, which both play within the horizontal sphere of our reality, but which now  genuinely is elevated into the verticality of the inflow of the spirit. That is no longer a projection. By definition, working is concrete, related to realization. Spirit is abstract. The Spirit brings us the Divine plan, the Idea, of the direction that is necessary for humankind and the world. Between plan and working a translating decoding will have to take place. Working alternately takes place both aimed inwardly as well as outwardly. Inner action can also be very concrete, magical, that is: realizing. Magic which is aimed inwardly is self-realizing. On the basis of our own actual consciousness we shall then act, realize concrete deeds and be able to perceive a reflection in the never-untruthful matter: the result of our acting, in order to be able to learn from it. 

Karl von Eckartshausen writes:

Just as the sun makes everything visible and real within the sensory world, so the Christ makes everything recognizable and real in the world of the spirit. Just as the sensory person sees everything in the light of the sun, so the spiritual man sees everything in the light of the spirit. This discerning is wisdom – the objects there are truths. [1]

A person’s head contains the brain. In the brain there are also the gates to the senses: eyes, ears, mouth and nose and part of the skin. The most essential function of the brain is navigating, on the basis of an inner chart of reality, constantly actualized by the input of the senses. In this way we can move our body through this, our, reality. Inflow of the spirit alters the head and changes perception. It re-draws the inner chart and in that way gives access to a different reality. Going our path of life through this reality makes us discover completely new pathways.



[1] Karl von Eckartshausen: Enkele woorden uit het binnenste, followed by De vervolmaking van de mens (The Perfection of Man), Regels voor het binnenste (Rules for the Innermost), lines 6 and 7, Rosicrucian Press 1993


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Date: April 14, 2021
Author: Eric Op 't Eynde (Belgium)
Photo: Maxime Tulenev

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