‘You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.‘ Rumi
The constitution of the human being is much like the ‘…the appearance of the seven colors of the rainbow when light passes through a prism. What a physicist contributes to our understanding of light by studying this process and the seven colors that result is analogous to what the spiritual scientist does for our understanding of the makeup of he human soul. The soul’s seven members are not abstract intellectual distinctions any more than the light’s seven colors. In both cases, the distinctions rest on the inner nature of the things themselves, the only difference being that the seven constituents of light become visible by means of an external device while the seven components of the soul become perceptible to a method of spiritual observation consistent with the nature of the human soul. The true nature of the soul cannot be grasped without knowing about this subdivision, because the soul belongs to the transitory world by virtue of three of our constitutional components – physical body, life body and soul body – and has its roots in eternity through the other four constituent parts. When the soul is seen as a unity, its transitory and eternal aspects are indistinguishably bound up with each other, but unless we are aware of the differentiations within it, we cannot understand its relationship to the world as a whole.’ Rudolf Steiner
Who am I? What is the human being? What is life? What is our purpose? What is the meaning of this every day existence that can appear so ordinary? Could it be that the very secret purpose of our existence is bound up with our being and the way we have been created? These are fundamental questions towards our understanding of the nature of our existence and the meaning of life and famous philosophers, scientists and spiritual leaders have searched for answers to these questions throughout the ages.
I do not promise that the following article will solve the riddle of life. However, Rudolf Steiner gave us a model of the nature of human existence and explained the make up of the human being in a way that in my opinion surpasses any other explanation I have come across. In all religions the attainment of eternal life filled with divine bliss, is held as the ultimate attainment of human endeavor. A wise old catholic priest once told me that my whole body is a prayer. I didn’t understand it then. However, after reading and researching Rudolf Steiner’s work it started to make sense. Rudolf Steiner explained how the very constituents of the human being, are the path we are walking towards our eternal destiny.
The knowledge of the nature of a human being forms the cornerstone of Waldorf education. It is essential in our spiritual and educational journey towards freedom.
The Threefold Nature of the Human Being
If we as human beings, observe ourselves closely, we will find that we relate to this world in three different ways. Rudolf Steiner used these three modes of experience as a basis for his definition of the body, soul and spirit and he described it as follows: