A way of looking to plants in the garden

Place yourself infront of a garden or a plant, and observe.

What do you see?

Look away, close your eyes if you choose to, and remember 

the garden or plant, really try to draw up in your imagination 

the image you observed, do this for 5-10secs. 

Repeat the process 3 times.

Now ask, where does the image of the garden or plant live?

Perhaps you arrive at the experience that the plant lives both

outside, in the physical, earthly world and it lives in you, by

the region of the head, by the space of thought.

In the activity of observing a person thus creates a picture

held in the space of thought.

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Natural philosopher Wolfgang von Goethe repeatedly took up this activity of creating plant thought picture, by looking to plants in different gardens. From a general way of looking he realised that the senses could only draw up a thought picture of earthly, physical reality, and this way of looking couldn’t comprehend the living essence existing behind, through and within the whole of the plant. This presence he called the ‘ur–phenomenon’ (Urphänomen), or put another way, the archetypal, primal life force expressing itself through the plant and bringing it into being. To comprehend the whole picture of the plant he thus proposed a new, sun-like way of looking:

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‘Just as the sun coaxes forth and shines on all plants, botanists should consider all plants with an even and quiet gaze and take the measure for knowledge — the data that form the basis for judgment— not out of themselves but out of the circle of what they observe.’ (The Experiment as Mediator of Object and Subject, 1792. Goethe).

Goethe noticed that that he projected, from himself onto the object of observation rather than allowing the observed object to show its true self in the emerging plant picture, held in the sun-like light of thought.


Today, natural philosopher Heinz Grill also describes this way of looking, he writes:

‘As a rule the conventional consciousness is completely bound to the senses and their streaming from the body outwards to various objects. This direction of movement of the senses enables the usual, scientific method, and this develops the ability to judge, which matches the usual, scientific method, and this develops an ability to analyse and the subsequently used conclusions. But in the texts of Yoga out of the purity of the soul’ (title given by Heinz Grill to the spiritual path described by him) the goal is reversed and is directed as though from the outer to the inner, radiating from an object towards the personal consciousness.’ ( The Approach and Aim of “Yoga out of the Purity of the Soul”1998, Heinz Grill))

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With this description we find Grill beginning to explain how the metaphysical process of creating a thought picture is working. To him, if a person wants to truly understand and experience how a plant is growing, and indeed what a plant really is, then the consciousness, that is the soul forces of thinking, feeling and willing, need to come into a newly made ordering, he writes:


‘Do not think and feel out of your own inner view, but begin to think and feel out of active observation, out of awareness of others, of a matter or an objective phenomenon. Begin to develop your thinking and feeling out of the broad real surroundings through independent awareness and never forget the goal of the high realisation of the spirit.’ (Soul Dimension of Yoga, 2003)


Through ordering the way the soul forces meet an object in the outer world, so a soul-space is created for the object to reveals its ‘open secret.’ How does this ordering process work in the forming of a real thought picture?

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