In the ‘Spiritual Seeing’ seminars, the essential exercise content is to conduct observations of a selected object under the guidance of a suitable idea or an appropriate question. This wise discerning exercise is essential, also, in the previous ‘initiatory training’ as described above, and the herein initially almost dry-terse wording, should not obscure the fact that these exercises by people today demand a great deal.
The starting point for the exercises is first the observation that, the present day human being is no longer easily capable to a detailed, focused contemplation of an object. Too quickly thoughts wander off, too quickly distracting associations of the mind arise, too quickly fatigue and distraction result, therefore, the exercise itself, in the structure developed by Heinz Grill, needs to be taken first of all into the preparatory perception.
But a further fascinating and hence motivating starting point is the statement of Heinz Grill, that if these initially encountered obstacles can be exceeded, and the concentration exercises in their steps are carried out sustainably, finally a transformation at the chosen object, a so-called ‘transubstantiation’ takes place, such that the exercise in its significance goes far beyond the purely external gained knowledge.
The structure of the concentration exercise is, therefore, described below again and further questions are then introduced:
The interruption of usual thoughts and the stream of feelings:
After choosing the object or thing it is first of all important, in the sun-like observation, to really keep it to the outside, that is, to consider the object closely and to describe it, and to reject all forms of "I know that already" or any emerging hasty associations and feelings, or even any pre-existing judgments.
The descriptive recollection:
The next step is to build the selected content again purely from memory, in as much detail as possible, so that in the presentation it stands freely before oneself. The ability to raise the consciousness with the idea of a body-free concentration, and therefore, to keep regardless of earlier associations and the quickly stepping in movements of the will, is also known as the ability of the forces of the "fifth center", the "visuddha cakra" (chakras or centers, see also the appropriate literature), or to develop the "courage of the planet Mars”, to ‘sacrifice’ the old and familiar, thus to leave behind and to turn oneself completely anew to the object.
The imaginative thought:
The third step is to introduce a so-called imaginative thought as a leading force for the concentration, and together with the object it is held in the consciousness, the idea and thought are placed to the physical object itself, and as much as possible remains to the outside of the practitioner, one could say so to speak, it stands freely before him.
An imaginative idea is a thought, which stands in relationship from out of the spiritual world with the chosen object or matter. For example, in the last seminar the exercise or lecture by Uta K. described the imagination from Heinz Grill to the Hawthorn:
“The Hawthorn takes on light from the sphere,
attracting relatively strongly with a fine bluish shimmer
in close to its thorny atmosphere
it is organising around little white flowers
and in this way acts on it a light ether centering,
it acts so that as if to gather the shrub
to the life ether sphere in the heart.”
The space-creating effect:
Out of the thoughts, held in concentration, etheric forces are released, first the light ether, then the so-called warmth-ether. These ethers open up a space, into which the essence of the observed matter can reveal itself.
Etheric forces can also be called life forces, which are capable of, lifting up dead matter in the living being and of subjecting this matter to constant change or transformation. The dynamics of living beings do not arise from matter itself, but rather they are taken from etheric forces. (see for example Ernst Marti, "The four ethers", Publisher Free Spirit Life, Stuttgart).
The radiating-back ether:
The object itself comes towards the observer with a radiating-back ether, counter to the described phenomena. The object now shows itself in its spiritual-soul, angel-like essential nature, and the perception or the subtle feeling through this approaching counter movement, lies the meaning, in the true sense of the words, of ‘spiritual seeing’. The radiating back ether and hence this approaching opposition is a consequence of space creating etheric forces that spring from the idea and imaginative thinking held in concentration.
In the object, a transformation, a "transubstantiation" now occurs, as heavy burdensome and binding circumstances are moving away from it, it becomes ‘sunlike’ that is how Heinz Grill has put it, ‘‘it will become that, as what is was meant to be all the way along, as an Ideal in the world-whole.’
Transubstantiation shows itself in the matter or object as purely spiritual, and at first not or barely not physical-matter. This term is to be distinguished here, however, from its use in church: there it means, as in the Eucharist, the ritual calling down of the spirit to transform bread and wine, into the body and blood of Christ. It is an act, therefore, in the concentration exercise which is an active, conscious process carried out by people and not a ritual or magic act.
In the last seminar the question was already raised of what it means specifically, when the object of the exercise eventually ‘‘will become that, as what is was meant to be all the way along, as an Ideal in the world-whole’, and what it means when burdensome and binding circumstances are taken away from the object.
What is, for example, this burden or binding, who or what has caused it? Is it perhaps about people of today with their often frivolous and thoughtless or even egocentric handling of things? Also, for a natural object such as a plant, from thousands of years ago or in a remote area, still "in a state of purity of perfect nature", as it is often thought, would it be necessary or appropriate to apply such an exercise to (except for pure knowledge purposes)?
Out of an encounter between people or between a person and a thing, according to Rudolf Steiner, both always come out transformed if in the encounter a "Christian-spiritual process" is present (see, for example, "Christ and the human soul" by Rudolf Steiner). In the exercise presented above it has been described how under the imaginary-spiritual activity of man the transformation of an object takes place, like for example, of a plant. But what it happening in the course of the exercise to the people themself, if one assumes it is a Christian-spiritual path of practice, how does, therefore, the practitioner transform oneself?
One can say the exercise described above is certainly a "healing process", a kind of healing power, which arises from the concentrated thought-power of the human being. Today, healing effects are quite well known also in other contexts (here healing means in the first instance the spiritual-soul dimension, and this dimension is having subsequently an effect into the physical.)
So, the up-lifting effect in an encounter with spiritual teacher Heinz Grill, is mainly based on the fact that he again and again, can open up to the other new and eye opening perspectives for life related to the spiritual dimension, which also requires, however, ‘sacrifice’ through conscious confrontation and implementation.
In Bruno Groening’s work, for example, the healing power seems to be positioned somewhat differently, here the healing power spoke mainly to people affected by the events of the second world war, who in opposition to that described above, accepted the healing more through simply just receiving, they also brought a sacrifice, likewise, through the suffering experienced in the war or also through the long waiting period before the meeting. (See for example "The Phenomenon Bruno Groening" documentary on DVD).
How is the exercise described above in relation to other healing effects, what similarities or differences characterize the different healing powers?
The questions can be taken as a suggestion for further exploration of the presented way of practice. This confrontation, however, should definitely, and I must point this out to myself as the author of this presentation again and again, happen practically, which means by practicing the exercise itself and not only in theoretical reflection.