Unless we understand the evolution of consciousness, we will never understand pain. Nor will we embrace it as a necessary part of our growth and therefore we will be tempted to avoid it at all costs.
In his lecture about the artist Raphael, Rudolf Steiner explains an aspect of pain quite simply by saying that humanity went through “a division, a mighty incision.” The Greek culture was the turning point from clairvoyant perception of everything in the universe to the appreciation of what the senses perceived in the environment. The Greeks began to perceive the spirit and soul elements living and weaving with objects that their senses encountered and thus began the inwardness of soul.
“All the experiences of the human soul were thereafter to become inward, to take their course in inner struggles and conquests. The mission of the founding of Christianity was not to direct man’s gaze to the world of sense in order that he might become conscious of the riddles of existence, but to all that the spirit might intuitively hold when giving itself up wholly to the powers of the spirit and soul. How utterly different, — divided by a deep, deep cleft, are those beautiful, majestic Gods of Greece, Zeus or Apollo, from the figure dying on the Cross, — a figure, it is true, full of inner profundity and power, but not beautiful in the external sense. Already here we find the outer symbol of the deep incision made by Christianity and Greek culture in the evolution of humanity. And in the spirits of the Post-Grecian ages we see the effects of this incision as an ever more intense inward deepening of the soul.”
This leaves us with the profound question: How do we bear pain? One way is to look closely at the esoteric details of the life of the Christened Jesus. Steiner refers to it as energy-pain that carries us forward as we “dance into an age of inner deepening.” Then on the cusp of the 15th and 1th Centuries, Raphael, says Steiner, “stands there as a mighty spirit parting the ways in human evolution.”
What is the source of this pain? The I AM! In willing the I AM enters unconsciously otherwise we would experience pain. The more we are able to use our will consciously, the more pain will be present. However, because we are able to use our will we will be able to create energy from our pain. This is our path to higher experiences, this is the message from the image of the crucified Jesus.
“What would all the starry world and all that is spread out in space amount to if it were not at some time reflected in the human soul, celebrating its own higher existence for the first time in the experiences of this human soul?” Goethe
Painting: Mond Crucifixion by Raphael