biodynamic association of north america newsletter #32 summer 2017
A conversation between biodynamic farmer Anthony Mecca and Lisa Romero, a teacher of anthroposophical meditation and inner development and a complementary health practitioner.
Anthroposophy, or spiritual science, is the source and path of development developed by Rudolf Steiner that stands behind the wisdom of biodynamic agriculture. An understanding of inner development and the soul-spiritual nature of the human being is central to furthering the work of biodynamics if we are interested in supporting the evolving human being and fostering healthy communities.
LR: Yes, it’s an important topic, and I think as a teacher of anthroposophical meditation this is definitely the central question for me—around consciousness and also the necessity of true inner development in our times. Spe- cifically at issue here is the idea of a substance “doing it for you,”having something change your consciousness instead of having that change come out of your own inner freedom. That said, there are times when we are sick and we need someone or something to do things for us be- cause we can’t actually do them for ourselves. So, obvious- ly, in terms of personal care when we are very unwell, this need for the other to do it for us comes up in various ways, from ameliorating pain to putting us to sleep, to feeding and toileting, etc. This is also the case with something like a broken arm, which requires a cast to heal properly. However, if you were to leave the cast on far longer than necessary for the healing process, you would actually do detriment to the arm.
LR: From an anthroposophical understanding, what is happening in a seizure, for instance, in epilepsy, is that the astral and etheric bodies are struggling to be in right relationship to one another. They are “bouncing off ” each other in an attempt to form a new connection. The astral body can’t find a harmonious relationship to the etheric or physical sheath, and specifically to a particular organ. In anthroposophical medicine, harmonizing that poor relationship would be the approach, but would not have an instantaneous effect. What we do in stopping seizures through other means, and the reason marijuana is useful in this context, is that it has the effect of pulling out the as- tral body so that it no longer tries to find the right relation- ship and the sign of that—the seizure—also stops. The lifting out of the astral body is exactly what is happening in other instances of Cannabis use, medicinal or recreation- al: it lifts you out of your normal waking-day experience. So, while we can understand its medicinal use in this context, this idea of the potential detriment of something doing something for you would exclude a great majority of the reasons that people are using Cannabis.
LR: We need to be vigilant about when we actually need something done for us and for how long. That’s the question, and I think that line has become blurred in our comfort-orientated society; we don’t live with discomfort very easily. Too often medicine is about comfort and it’s not about the individual’s consciousness. So when do you actually need something to do it for you, and when do you think you need something to do it for you? If you say to your doctor, “I need something to do it for me,” versus “I have a child who’s having seizures and that’s the only thing that’s working,” these are clearly different situations. We’re actually attracted to someone or something doing it for us in this day and age, and it is part of the culture of comfort. On the other hand, it’s also because of the imbalanced way that we live our lives. If someone lives so materialistically into their day, not only outwardly spending many hours on the computer, under artificial lights etc., but also inwardly if their thinking, feeling, and internal will all engaged in a material existence— then they often become so gripped into their bodies that they then look for something to release them from that experience. They may smoke marijuana at night to get this opposite effect, to release them from this grip. They could say, “That’s medicinal marijuana!” because they need to let go and release, they need to change their state of mind. However, they’re using a substance to do something for them instead of doing something out of themselves, they’re not looking at the whole picture of the imbalance, or working consciously to change their lifestyle in a way that helps the human being to be healthy.
LR: What’s needed is a meditative life that develops a strengthening of self—a meditative life that cultivates the strength required to develop the faculties to experience other planes of consciousness, in freedom. We need to develop our capacities and evolve ourselves, in support of world evolution. What we get from marijuana takes us back to an earlier point in the evolution of humanity’s consciousness. That’s also why Steiner avoided inner practices that utilize the body; they are practices that access a world of the past through the body that is built with the wisdom of spiritual forces of the past. In Steiner’s words, “[t]he spiritual can no longer reveal itself to hu- man beings in all kinds of subconscious and unconscious processes. The time has come for human beings to receive the light of the spirit through a free inner deed.”1 We need to find a way towards living, present spiritual realities, and this is not where we are led when we take substances that alter consciousness. They lead us away from true progres- sion, which can only be accessed through inner capacities that we develop for ourselves.