Two Brilliant Reflections on last Saturday talk and workshop held at Michael House School…
Event Held By The Anthroposophical Society
On Saturday 9th November, the Anthroposophical Society hosted an event aimed at raising its profile around the school. Many people know that Michael House is a Rudolf Steiner School. The striving to renew and keep fresh the spiritual impulses which underlie the pedagogy and practice in these Waldorf Schools is less well known in the public domain. The Anthroposophical Society is an open group for anyone wishing to keep themselves informed of all the developments within the study of spiritual science as revealed and pioneered by Rudolf Steiner.
The participants in Saturday’s event were in fact drawn from many different milieus. A group, which also puts on many public events in Sheffield, was present, as were workers both from a pharmaceutical background and an agricultural one. The school was represented by teachers and other members of the school community. Not all who attended were members of the Society as this was an event open to members and non-members alike.
The program was led by Sibylle Eichstaedt, a member of the council of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. The title of the event, ‘That good may become…,’ was taken from the Foundation Stone Meditation, as given by Rudolf Steiner at the establishment of the General Anthroposophical Society, an event often referred to by members as the Christmas Conference. The choice of these words was meant to focus our minds on the working of the impulses of anthroposophy, through the society into the world. Sybille is also a speech formation therapist, and was able to inaugurate the event by taking us all through some artistic speech work on words of this meditation, leading us on a journey of discovery into the mediation’s echo of the threefold nature of the human soul, as expressed in the activities of thinking, feeling and willing.
Sybille gave a talk on the open nature of the society, which was constituted to provide a forum and working focus people from all backgrounds and creeds, who wished to work out the science of the spirit. She pointed out that, as idealistic and clear as that may sound, it has not always been easy for members to co-operate in a harmonious way on this great work of bringing impulses from the spiritual world onto the earth in this age of materialism.
This talk provided the starting point for work in smaller groups in the afternoon. Two of these looked at what we can do in our local groups to strengthen the life of the Society so that it can become more relevant to its members as well as those who might be seeking it. Another group looked at situations where conflict remained unresolved, and where resolution was found, and which qualities and factors prevented or enabled this to happen. Conflict seems to be such a constant companion of all earnest human endeavours undertaken in groups.
I am sure that most participants finished the day, as did I, with a sense of wishing to include as many within our working communities (those working and those more generally involved) as would feel drawn to participation in the spiritual striving that lies at the heart of the Waldorf impulse. I would particularly like to thank Paul Langston and Sibylle Eichstaedt of the Anthroposophical Society for their contributions in organising the event, and the school for hosting it.
Ian Stephenson (Teacher and Parent)
That Good May Become- reflections on a talk by Sybille Eichsteadt
Despite all our differences how can we work together? This was one of the big questions of the talk and workshop by Sybille Eichstaedt last Saturday in our school hall. Before venturing to try to answer such big questions we warmed up with some speech exercises, especially useful for us teachers. We recited parts of the Foundation Stone Meditation, focusing on thinking, feeling and willing. The Foundation Stone Meditation was written by Rudolf Steiner, and is often read and reflected on around Christmas time by people interested in Anthroposophy.
Sybille, who is a member of the Council of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, held a talk about how people can work together and included some history of the Anthroposophical Society in Steiner’s time. The talk covered many aspects of human relationships and I am sure different people learnt different things from it. An important question the talk raised for me was, that although we can’t get rid of differences between people, how do we develop the ability to work together? Steiner said that broad mindedness, tolerance and activity were needed for this. Sybille emphasised the vitality of basic human respect through not interpreting other people’s actions, but instead realizing we cannot know other peoples’ motivations. An awe for the mystery of the other person supports this.
In the afternoon we separated into groups, discussing either one of the following questions:
“What qualities and processes do you think are needed in your area for fullness of the Anthroposophical Society’s potential for life” or
“Share where you have had a conflict or impasse in a social situation where resolution was reached” followed by “where resolution was not reached”.
In the second group, after looking at personal examples, we tried to find the phenomenon within the events- what aided one issue to be resolved and what exactly prevented another from finding a good resolution? Using our own experiences we concluded that conflict is mostly resolved if people accept, respect and forgive both each other and themselves. Walls of conflict couldn’t be broken down if people didn’t feel listened to and expectations differed. Plenty of food for thought!
Regular breaks during the day allowed plenty of time for meeting people, catching up and even standing in the sunshine. The Ilkeston Anthroposophical Society meets at 7.30pm on the third Wednesday of every month, except with special events like the above, and welcomes anyone interested. If you are interested in attending please contact; Paul Langston. P.Langston@nottingham.ac.uk
Mrs Black (Teacher)