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the inner work path

A foundation for meditative practice in the light of anthroposophy

Published by Steiner Books, 2016

Lisa Romero

The Inner Work Path provides accessible insights into the workings of the human soul, outlines its relationship to the spiritual life, and shows the way to develop and strengthen our inner capacities through practical exercises, experience, and deep understanding.

By building a bridge between the spiritual and the earthly, the unfolding of these soul capacities awakens the consciousness with which to engage and transform our outer lives.

“Every step an individual takes affects the collective development of humanity. The world we experience now is a result of the inner work of past generations. By consciously working to understand and experience our connection to the higher worlds we are more able to fully realise and contribute to the higher unfolding of humankind”Lisa Romero

DEVELOPING THE SELF

Through the inner work path in the light of Anthroposophy

Published by Steiner Books, 2015

Lisa Romero

Individual effort toward development of the higher self is essential for genuine progress on the inner work path. The clear insights and exercises outlined in this book reveal the meaning and necessity of this essential striving in the present consciousness soul age, contributing toward enlivening both our inner and outer work at the same time. The path of developing the self and our work in the world are not separated, but united through the practices and their results.

 

“Through taking hold of all that lives in us we participate consciously in the transformation of our particular personal self that is often closed to higher insights, towards a greater possibility of experiencing a living, dynamic spiritual life that awakens our being and serves the progression of the world we live in.” – Lisa Romero

LIVING INNER DEVELOPMENT

The Necessity of True Inner Development in The Light of Anthroposophy

Published by Steiner Books, 2016

Lisa Romero

“The future of such spiritual esoteric movements as ours will depend more and more upon the realisation that the spiritual development of humankind is a necessity.” – Rudolf Steiner

We live in a time when many are striving to develop inner faculties because they recognise the necessity of true spiritual development.

This book gives direct insight into the workings of the inner exercises and meditations and their intended results on a number of levels. It also speaks about the well-trodden path of inner development, helping us to make sense of the experiences we encounter as we each move through the various stages of consciousness.

Working with the content supports the clarity for the individuals that are striving to make headway on the path and are experiencing encounters in inner realms. It also helps us understand the others’ striving and experiences on their journey.

“Even before we are called to the stages of higher development we can prepare ourselves by understanding the way and the truth of the unfolding schooling we shall take. Recognising the power and place  of the inner exercises and meditations means we work with them in a way that they bear fruits of genuine transformation.” 

Lisa Romero

by Daniel Mackenzie for BEING HUMAN magazine, 2018

Living Inner Development : The Necessity of True Inner Development in the Light of Anthroposophy is Lisa Romero’s third book on spiritual self-transformation. It presupposes, but does not pre-require, familiarity with her previous works and will be more comprehensible to readers who have some background in Anthroposophy. As Romero stipulates in the foreword, however, “it is accessible to those who can utilize it.” 

Anyone who has studied Rudolf Steiner’s works on spiritual development knows how overwhelming it can be to attempt to devise a systematic approach to working with the content, so multifarious are his offerings. One feels blessed and awed by the curriculum the founding Anthroposophist bequeathed upon humanity, yet bereft of an organized, clear method of taking up the actual work. 

The daunting mountain of Anthroposophical self-development towers like Everest among the foothills of many less rigorous contemporary paradigms that dominate the contemporary dialogue of spiritual growth. Enter Lisa Romero, who, having herself ascended the higher realms through decades of inner work within the Michael School – also referred to here as The Path of Love – offers her services as a uniquely qualified guide. A teacher of Anthroposophical meditation, Romero acts as Sherpa to those intrepid souls who would also attempt to take on the life challenge of spiritual self-development in service of humanity. Though her approach may be characterized as strictly “Steinerian”, Romero peppers her writing with quotes from the likes of Goethe, Aquinas, Rumi and Hafiz. 

The book is succinctly organized into four chapters preceded by an introduction in which Romero makes a simple case for the importance of spiritual self- development. She identifies the innate, universal human sense that life is ultimately about growth and development, asserting that the most effective way we can meaningfully contribute to human evolution is to attend to our own personal evolution. “Self-development” is, anthroposophically understood, not about the self per se, but about the individual’s contribution to the community through the development of the self. Romero goes on to describe the threshold that exists between physical reality and spiritual reality, noting that, besides death, it can only be crossed in three ways. 

She states that humanity has collectively begun to approach this threshold unconsciously, and that if we wish to facilitate our own conscious crossing, we must undertake healthy spiritual development. The only other way across, the author admonishes, is through unhealthy intervention upon the bodily sheaths through psychotropic drug-induced toxicity or trauma. We can always wait to be carried across by the tide of evolution, but if we rise to the task of our age and actively take up the inner work, Romero assures us, we may productively aid in the healthy evolution of humanity. 

In chapter one, Inner Development for the Physical World, we are first reminded that Anthroposophy does not exhort us to believe any particular concepts, rather it gives 

us a means of gaining understanding through our own inner activity. Potentially dangerous misconceptions arrived at through dogmatic belief or limited intellectual thinking may be corrected through true spiritual insight born from a higher form of cognitive thinking. This living thinking, as the author terms it, is arrived at through the practice of time-tested, specific meditative exercises and verses, which safeguard the healthy development of our inner capacities. Our incarnate experience in the physical body gives us the opportunity to experience our basic three human faculties of thinking, feeling and willing through the sentient soul, the intellectual soul and the consciousness soul. 

Romero points out that in the present “Consciousness Soul” age, we are called upon to ascend to a higher level of freedom by transforming and balancing our faculties in such a way that we become less beholden to the impulses of the sentient soul and the dry logic of the intellectual soul, drawing instead upon the knowing spiritual wisdom of the consciousness soul. She introduces “more radiant than the sun”, a verse of seven lines that becomes the meditative focus of the book, describing not only how to work with it, but why it is constructed in its particular manner and what results we may expect from working with it. 

In Chapter Two, Inner Development for the Elemental World, Romero distinguishes the three modes of initiatory experience: seeing, sensing and enduring. Her ensuing description of the elemental world draws our attention to the fact that there are various distinct non-physical realms, which the human consciousness will experience in different ways. This realm, home to “elemental beings and the collective consciousness of the animal kingdom,” is characterized as closest to the physical realm in which we normally find ourselves. Nevertheless, we must learn how to navigate its unfamiliar territory of image-experiences, where we encounter aspects of our own being and feeling life that are reversed or mirrored in that they stream back towards us as if coming from outside ourselves. Here we must also grapple with the dark, looming thought-beings of doubt, fear and loathing. These arise directly from those aspects within us that have yet to be transformed if we are ever to approach and cross the threshold into the actual spiritual worlds. 

We must develop inner fortitude to bear the discomfort, even horror of what we might see of ourselves in this realm. The crossing of that threshold, past which we may not carry our earthly ego, necessitates a real purification of the soul. Romero elaborates on the inherent challenges of this realm, and the forces of hope, faith and enthusiasm we must cultivate to surmount them. She describes how we may encounter the etheric remnant of a spirit who has moved on to higher realms, a “shell” that still transmits information about that individual’s concluded incarnation. And since this is the realm of animal spirits, we may experience it differently depending on whether or not we have intermingled with animal consciousness by consuming a meat-heavy diet. Inner exercises that require us to work with powerful symbols such as the caduceus, the rose cross and the pentagram will help prepare us for the meeting with our double, which is unavoidable if we aspire to cross the threshold. 

Chapter 3, Inner Development of the Spiritual World, finally escorts us across the threshold into the lower spiritual realm, where the soul mirroring of the elemental realm has been replaced with pure soul activity. The ego has been left behind, as only the higher “I” may enter into this realm. Romero explores what exactly it means to achieve this level of development, deferring a few times to quotations from Rudolf Steiner and from another of her preferred sources – Mabel Collins’s Light On The Path. She then describes in detail the seven different portals through which we may begin to learn the language of the lower spiritual realm: color, measure, number, sound, direction, movement and form. 

The final chapter, Preparing for the Higher Spiritual World, delves into the more extreme challenges facing the aspirant at this advanced level, where our emerging inner light casts a correspondingly dark shadow – our dreadful egotism has been revealed to us by the humbling encounter with the Guardian. Whereas the lower spiritual world is the realm of the Hierarchies, there is nothing in the higher spiritual world but the peaceful experience of the “true I”. As we enter here, we must even leave behind the experiencing soul; our only I-experience here is pure consciousness. We perceive the workings of the Hierarchies from a cosmic point of view and gain a profound understanding of the laws of karma. 

Romero warns us of other spiritual paths that involve taking psychoactive drugs to facilitate altered states of consciousness. Such interference upon the physical body may indeed give us temporary access to the astral realm, but it constitutes a kind of “gate-crashing” the threshold to the true spiritual word. In doing so we risk sustaining imbalances in our physical, etheric and astral bodies, and – worse yet – we may be barred by the Hierarchies from access to the higher spiritual realms. 

By guiding us step by step first through each of these levels, the Path Of Love strengthens our thinking so we can perceive and integrate thought-pictures engraved upon the elemental substance by the beings of the lower spiritual realm. Thus, when we rise to the higher realms, we may merge with cosmic thoughts of human evolution. Inspired by these cosmic thoughts to selfless deeds, the Michaelic initiate invariably turns down Lucifer’s offer of freedom from karma and incarnation, returning instead to work among fellow humans in the collaborative effort of evolution. This paramount devotion to others is what earns the Michael School its alternate name The Path of Love. 

With Living Inner Development, Lisa Romero has contributed another challenging, esoteric workbook for spiritual self-transformation through Anthroposophy. This book is recommended to anyone who would intentionally endeavor to become a more conscious, loving and responsible human being. 

SEX EDUCATION AND THE SPIRIT

Understanding Our communal responsibility for Healthy development of gender and sexuality within society

Published by Steiner Books, 2017

Lisa Romero

A healthy relationship to gender and sexuality supports our wellbeing, both as individuals and as a community. The form of sex education that we bring to children and adolescents not only needs to combat the inner disturbances and imbalances created by social media and exposure to pornography – as the most prevalent sources of implicit sex-eduction in our time – but it also needs to serve them in cultivating useful capacities with which to meet the growing societal changes around this fundamental aspect of being human.

Providing a healthy and socially constructive sex education is the responsibility not only of the primary caregivers, parents, and teachers, but also of the individuals in the wider community, who likewise contribute to the collective consciousness.

Working to overcome our own biases and imbalances will prepare us to more readily awaken to the spiritual wisdom that can bring health and harmony into the evolving reality of gender and sexuality.

“Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners” – Shakespeare, Othello

The insights shared in this book are important for everyone who is interested in understanding the various forms of human relationship, and how we might work together to bring about a healthier community life.

An extract from The Journal of the Anthroposophical Society in America – Being Human, Summer 2017

online@ http://www.rudolfsteiner.org/fileadmin/being-human/bh-18-2017-spring/bh18-web.pdf

by Daniel Mackenzie 

Sex Education and the Spirit, Lisa Romero’s latest contribution to her series of profoundly inspired books on spiritual development, growth and health, delivers far more than its title might suggest. The author is acutely aware that contemporary society has programmed us— even those who are eager to learn about a given topic—to seek quick facts, “life hacks,” and simple secrets of success. We gravitate towards clever bullet lists, opinion blogs, and colorful how-to videos, leaving those daunting books we know we should be reading to gather dust on the night stand. Rather than cater to that current cultural impulse, Romero gives us what we need, not just what we want. The central premise of her book is that we must attend to our own spiritual transformation if we wish to attain the deeper understanding required to address sex education in a way that meets the demands of our time. Such transformation, whether we like it or not, requires dedicated, persistent work. 

Though clear, straightforward and deliberately structured, the author’s writing is stripped of anything that might compromise either the content or the reader’s requisite effort to absorb it. Though her books are deceptively short, Romero’s chapters are long and demand more focus and attention than most works in both the education and self-development genres call for. This is not to say that her tone is dry or overly earnest. On the contrary, she manages to infuse even her more esoteric passages with down-to-earth examples drawn from daily life, as she covers vast terrain ranging from the lofty realms of spirit to the earthier subjects of masturbation and pornography. A reader more familiar with her understated brand of hu- mor may even find cause for an occasional chuckle. 

Even so, this is not the kind of book you can pick up late at night, read a few paragraphs from and then fall asleep; the reader is advised to allot a comfortable amount of fully alert waking time so as to absorb as much of each unfolding chapter as possible in one sitting. For those who give this book the time and attention it gently re- quests, the payoff is immeasurable. 

Over the past two decades Romero has emerged as a premiere teacher of anthroposophical meditation and self-development, even while her work as a master homeopath, health practitioner, personal consultant, and educator of professional teachers and healers is ongoing. Her first two books, Inner Work Path and Developing The Self, distill much of the content she works with in her meditation retreats and three-day courses. Although the setting and form of those interactive and introspective workshops give rise to present-moment opportunities and inspirations that no book could capture, these two first volumes are rewarding handbooks for purposeful inner work. In Sex Education and the Spirit, the author’s experience as an educator of parents and teachers smoothly dovetails with her expert guidance in spiritual development. Though this book is highly recommended for teachers and parents, it is not exclusively geared towards them. It is compelling reading for anyone interested in self-development, inner work, and the matters of sex and gender in contemporary society. 

Although Sex Education and the Spirit is indeed rich with insights about children’s delicate relationship to the experience of gender and sexuality through progressive stages of development, it delves deeply and at length into the inner growth processes of adults as well. Romero’s rigorous explorations of various aspects of spiritual self- development may initially strike her newer readers as tangential or off topic, yet these are not random digressions, nor gratuitous insertions. Each exercise presented speaks to a particular capacity that is essential to cultivation of a healthy, holistic understanding of sex-related issues. 

The thrust of her teaching is that our own inner development is actually prerequisite to an understanding of any aspect of human life, including how healthy education about sex and gender must progress. Instead of merely alerting us to this truth, Romero provides us with the means—mostly by way of exercises and meditative verses from Rudolf Steiner—to do the relevant work. One crucial insight that arises from such work is that the human spirit itself is genderless and connected to a higher world that exists in eternity, beyond the ephemeral, material domain we spend most of our waking consciousness in. The author emphasizes the particular importance of this understanding now, at a time during which the prevalence of materialistic worldviews and values holds such sway over our cultural norms and habits. The outer world is constantly bombarding us with body-identification, sex-baiting, and gender stereotyping. The world of higher consciousness, however, wants us to understand the body as a mere vehicle for the human spirit, and to recognize the individual within each of us, whose essence is beyond sex, gender, and other generalized physical associations. 

Romero guides the reader through an exploration of how not only the physical body, but also the other human sheaths (the life body, the astral body, and the “I am”) can generate varying forms of attraction. She explains the value of removing both shame and sentimentality from dialogues about puberty and sexual awakening, and why it is important that discussions about sex be gender-neutral and inclusive. The author admonishes us, however, that it is never enough to merely parrot the teachings and insights provided by spiritual research. A teacher or parent who is merely relaying data and facts—even those derived from someone else’s deep inner work—will be unable to guide, act, and interact with true understanding. We must not simply echo what she calls the “chatter” of contemporary teachings. Rather, we are called upon to hold and entertain deep questions about why things are as they are in the world today. Why are an increasing number of individuals expressing gender identifications and sexual preferences outside traditional norms? What effects does the ubiquity and unprecedented accessibility of pornography have on both children and adults? How should the way we talk to children about sex evolve as they pass through various stages of development? This profoundly engaged holding of questions is one of the essentially anthroposophical aspects of Romero’s work. 

Were anthroposophy merely some kind of belief sys- tem based solely on the static record of Rudolf Steiner’s life work, it might actually be what it is often misidentified as by uninformed detractors—a religion, or a personality cult. What qualifies anthroposophy as a vital movement, however, is that its founder shared not only the abundant fruits of his own spiritual research, but also a wealth of practical instruction in the field of spiritual self- development. Though Steiner’s legacy of esoteric insights, social initiatives, and artistic innovation is of a staggering scope and volume, he was less concerned with his own personal achievements and more interested in passing the torch of spiritual research to anyone with a sincere interest in continuing the work. 

What Steiner shared came not from his personality, but from the vast domain of spirit, and he sought to teach us how to transcend the limitations of our own mundane identities and to access that realm ourselves. Steiner’s work tethers us to the foundation of what he called spiritual science, while exhorting us to tend to its evolution in response to present-day impulses and expand its reach into yet unexplored regions. Guided by Steiner’s specific indications, certain distinguished anthroposophists have thus endeavored to cultivate their own inner capacities, so that they might in turn contribute usefully to the ever-growing body of anthroposophical literature, course work, and world-transforming initiatives. Lisa Romero is among these torchbearers who propel the movement forward, working to meet the demands of our time with healthy forms. 

It is powerfully evident in her writing that Lisa Romero’s deep engagement in her own inner development is faithfully and firmly rooted in Steiner’s teachings. She quotes him frequently, and in passages that convey his prescribed exercises and verses, her language does not stray far from his original texts. It is nevertheless equally obvious that the author is not merely repackaging the work of her teacher. The bulk of her offering—that which speaks directly to the challenges of our time—is clearly produced through her own spiritual efforts and her considerable experience in the professional world. In this sense, Romero is both a strict Steiner loyalist and a generously productive spiritual researcher in her own right. She successfully balances the twofold task of sharing the fruits of her own labor, while teaching us how to grow our own trees. The author also shows veneration for other spiritual teachers from outside anthroposophy, freely sharing poignant bits of poetry and prose from the likes of Rumi, Hafiz, Rilke, and theosophist Mabel Collins. 

Even for those who do not choose to actively pursue their own spiritual development, Sex Education and the Spirit provides a rich array of insights into the eponymous topic. Romero exposes commonplace errors in sex education, many of which are traceable to the root problem of identifying children with their gender-specific bodies and traditional social roles instead of treating and approaching them as spiritual, individual beings. Many of us carry unconscious gender biases, and tailor our speech differently to boys and girls; this only reinforces over-identification with the body and outmoded gender roles. 

She explains how a deeper understanding of the human being and the distinct stages of child and young adult development can foster wiser methods of educational guidance. Primarily, therefore, the book is an inspiring exhortation to perform the inner work required to develop our capacities, open our thinking and feeling life to the vast wisdom of the spirit realm, and harness our will to enact what we have thus received in creative giving to the world. More specifically, if we wish to cultivate the healthiest possible approach to sex education, we must develop our own spiritual understanding of both children’s needs and the tasks of our time. 

Those of us who feel drawn to the path of anthroposophy and called to take up the work of spiritual self- development and creative giving may dive headlong into the vast trove of Steiner’s collected lectures and books on the subject. This is the endeavor of a lifetime, and may be so challenging and intimidating as to be discouraging for all but the hardiest spiritual seekers. It is a great blessing to have a guide like Lisa Romero, an initiate who works out of genuinely anthroposophical impulses that she has arduously transformed into her own, helping us learn where to place our focus and how to apply our efforts in alignment with the higher impulses of our day and age. 

Daniel Mackenzie is a professional musician and composer living in Los Angeles. He served on the Council of Anthroposophy NYC. 

SPIRIT LED COMMUNITY

Healing the impact of technology

Published by Steiner Books 2018

Lisa Romero

Most of us believe that our potential for inner liberation and true freedom lies in thinner world of our capacities for thinking, feeling, and self-determined will. However, discovering how unfree we actually are has always been one of the necessary steps in awakenings on the inner development path. The foundations of our inner freedom, as well as our inner unfreedom are greatly influenced during the years of early child development. 

Our patterns of thinking, our feelings, and our will impulses are all influenced directly by the community in which we grow up. With our outer lives increasingly permeated by technology, we are now faced with the effects that technology  brings to bear on our inner lives, as well as its artificial influence on the development of our thinking, feeling, and willing. Technology is forming the future of our communities and, in doing so, extending its pervasive influence into our inner capacities as community members.

“We must be prepared, as a collective humanity, with capacities and inner strengths enabling us to freely choose the form of community life that we determine to be needed for the future of humanity. We need to establish communities that area dedicated to human freedom – communicates in which the health of the community, the education of the child, and social life are imbued with impulses supportive of the cultivation of human freedom.”

Spirit-led Community introduces spiritually healthy guidelines for lessening the negative influence of technology on the inner life. Through providing an understanding of the foundations of inner health laid in childhood as well as the path of inner development that can be consciously engaged with as adults, a way is shown for how new community life can lead us into a future when community serves to maintain and support the evolving human spirit.

In contemplating the risks and impacts of technology for inner development and humanity’s future, Spirit-Led Community – Healing the Impact of Technology (Steinerbooks 2018 by Lisa Romero) identifies the protection and care of child development, and specifically of the senses, as the frontline of influence for healing the impacts of technology in our age. Of primary concern is the bombardment of addictive technologies and their developmental and health-related consequences which put ethics, and the potential of human freedom at existential risk. In relationship to these difficult influences, Romero reminds readers of the deep meaning and far-reaching ideals of Steiner education in Rudolf Steiner’s own words “…it arises from complete dedication to human freedom. And it springs from our ideal to place human beings in the world so that they can unfold individual freedom –or, at least, in such a way that physical hindrances do not prevent them from doing so” (p. x).  In this era of ever more technology-led community, the author’s point is clear – we need to deepen our understanding and capacity to support healthy child development not just for its own sake but because it serves as the ground for human freedom, for inner development in adulthood and as such, for spirit-led community, community which works out of inspiration, in service of the evolving human spirit.

Spirit-led Community serves this vision with both insight and practical guidelines. Chapter one presents an in-depth understanding and approach to working with the twelve senses. Through the healthy development of the senses the human being learns about the world and develops the capacities for attention, self-regulation and healthy attachment, which are essential for learning how to learn. Romero offers insight not only into tendencies that may result from the impact of technology but also sheds light on another pertinent reality: children have predispositions to “hyper” or “hypo” tendencies in each of the twelve senses depending on their individual constitution. By identifying these tendencies, whether constitutional predispositions or as consequences of exposure to technology, we can understand that we cannot treat every child in the same way, and we must work to bring balance to their senses in an individual way. 

The book brings new and practicable insight to the existing literature on the twelve senses. It offers accessible descriptions to support the discernment of an individual’s tendencies, and provides clear recommendations of the different types of therapeutic and pedagogical supports that are useful for children with either a “hyper” or “hypo” tendency in a particular sense. With these insights we can understand that two kindergarten children who hit their neighboring classmates may not do so out of the same sense experience – one may be managing a “hyper”, overactive sense of touch and attempts to create more space for themselves by hitting, while the other may have an underactive, “hypo” sense of touch or movement, and hits because it stimulates those senses of which they are lacking. Consequently, these children need different supports to help them manage their experiences more easily.

The pedagogical implications of this work are mammoth, and this text can serve as a much needed response to the call of the growing behavioral difficulties cropping up in both Steiner and mainstream classrooms alike. The author encourages us to hear the call of today’s children: “There is no possibility of a healthy “conveyor-belt upbringing” in our age, and as we progress forward this will increasingly be the case. The “spectrum” children are waking us up to this fact at a rapid rate. They insist that we not lag behind in developing an individualized approach to care and understanding for each child, even if they do not outwardly demand it of us.” (p. 22)

The subsequent chapters of the book explore the implications of this call for our own inner work as individuals, as educators, and as community members. A chapter is dedicated to the seven-life processes and firstly, to understanding the unconscious digestive processes through which we initially take in the outer world. This concerns the percepts of the traditional five senses but also the (sometimes subtle) community preferences and conditionings, which influence our development. Can we stay awake – or wake back up – to a living relationship to the life processes in our learning from and giving to the world? Only in this way can we support the same opportunity towards freedom for the children in our care. How is our thinking and feeling engaged when we bring content to a group of children or for that matter, adults? Chapter two offers clear descriptions and experiential exercises that challenge us to work beyond prescriptive content and the technical information of curricula towards the unparalleled importance of the way content is delivered.

The author notes that most educational testing does not go beyond the perceiving, relating and assimilating life processes, and goes on to elucidate the deep wisdom and necessity of utilizing the revelations of all seven life processes in education. In this way can we radically individualize our pedagogy. This chapter includes practical suggestions for deepening and diversifying pedagogy by exploring the different needs in each of the three seven-year stages of child development, as well as those of learners at different levels of learning ability. There are those working primarily via the senses (perceiving and relating), by assimilating, and by individualizing. Through individualization comes the possibility of individualized creative expression in service of the world, the ultimate corrective to our technology-driven world.   

This book offers inspiration and tools for new community, whether it be in the classroom or in regards to the issues of colleagueship and collaboration that are so often at the heart of community challenges in Steiner Schools and beyond. With reverence and hope the book addresses relevant and important questions in our times:
Can we consciously create anew our relationship to spiritual laws and values? Are there laws in the spiritual world according to which we can test the truth or goodness of our individual choices? Or do the criteria of all our individual choices come down to nothing more than our personal preferences? And what will we choose to put our energies toward—a future that is self-serving, or a future that serves the whole? (p. 78-79)

The rich insights that follow, chart a path forward for freedom-striving individuals to work in community, and provides various exercises and practices towards the possibility of much needed new community impulses. Engaging with these exercises, whether individually or as part of a college of teachers or other working group, can bring consciousness, movement and balance to our various tendencies and one-sidednesses that hinder inner freedom and block these new impulses. Among other exercises, Romero elaborates and enlivens Steiner’s articulation of the 8-fold path, with commentary and examples, as a resource to work with our unconscious patterns and ways of relating that inhibit our work with the spirit in community. 

In the book’s final chapter, Romero describes the path of spiritual development, weaving together the profound role of our tasks in the world and the development of spiritual capacities through the evolution of the life processes as well as the role of imaginative pictures such as the College Imagination, which comes as an example of the work that is possible between the spiritual world and groups of striving individuals. Teachers and others striving to work with the spirit will find deepened understanding and experience not only through working with the exercises provided, but through Romero’s articulation of the journey of the higher “I”, and humanity’s potential for spirit-led community. That is, for working to support the evolving human spirit, “to become beings who love in freedom and through free deeds” (p. 159).

JAMES DEEFHOLTS is a primary school teacher, specialising in Steiner Education and is a parent and teacher educator in child development. James is currently a class teacher at the Cape Byron Steiner School.

SARAH HEARN is a complementary health practitioner working out of anthroposophy and an adult and school educator living in upstate New York, USA.

A BRIDGE TO SPIRIT

Understanding Conscious Self Development and Consciousness-altering Substances

Published by Inner Work Books, 2019

Lisa Romero

Human evolution has changed the exterior world we live in, but since the industrial revolution the exterior world has had an enormous impact on the inner world of those under the influence of industrialization. We now have an industrialized interiority that has new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting toward ourselves and others. This new inner life is impacting the health and wellbeing of so many individuals that new ways of self-development are being explored.

 

To recognize the impact of our industrialised interiority is to begin to understand the ways in which people are trying to move forward toward healing. Before embarking on the use of “plant medicine” to bring about inner change, we need to know what in us is seeking to be healed.

A Bridge to Spirit is a way of understanding where we are in our inner world and the various pathways being utilised to progress toward an enriched inner life that is not caged, rule, and blunted by the internalized effects of our outer existence. It speaks of the new bridge to the spiritual life needed to heal the disconnect created by a spirit-devoid external life that is in turn changing our interiority.

“The heart is the internal bridge in the human body. It is the bridge in our relationships from one human being to another. And it is also our eternal bridge between the spirit and the world. Our individual human heart is the mystery centre through which we participate in the collective progress of humanity. Strengthening the heart’s activity on all levels supports the bridge in body, soul and spirit. In turn, it supports the healing of the un-bridged experiences induced by substance use. The strengthening of the heart restores balance and harmony and supports the circulation of the life-giving gifts of the heart.”               Lisa Romero

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