Research in Spiritual Science - Inner development through “Learning by Doing”

Wednesday, 10 March 2021 An Interview with Inessa Burdich MSc,

In November 2020 Emerson Education partner, Innessa Burdich, brought her Research In Spiritual Science course to Emerson. The first module was enthusiastically recieved by all participants and the next course is already planned.  To enable people to get a sense of what the course brings we asked Innessa a few questions about her inspiration and methodology behind the course.

Inessa photo

Why Research in Spiritual Science?

First of all, I would like to address the research attitude, because this is the main aspect or idea of the whole course. So, why research?

I understand research as systematic investigation and creative work undertaken to increase, enrich the knowledge and to deepen the methods of cognition.

The word research is derived from the old word, which means "to go about seeking”. And the focus of the course is in searching and exploring of unknown in ourselves and in the world. 

The research attitude is a fundamental capacity to the whole life. How can we actively perform it? Not only in the seminars, but in our daily life?

question as the main aspect/ attribute of a research

In a contrary with our usual daily activity, we can experience a difference in research activity. One of the main attribute of the research is a question. In other words, having a question is a beginning of a research.

I would like to emphasise the importance of a question in the research. Namely the importance of ability to formulate the right fitting question regarding the object or phenomena to be researched. Having a question we have a direction. A connection between the intellectual mind and spiritual insight is activated by a correctly formed research question. The capacity of questioning is I-activity. This skill can also be addressed and begin to be developed on the course.

All research we are doing is in the context of Anthroposophy or the Spiritual Science, created by Rudolf Steiner. Keeping this in mind, we understand we can have a lot of questions. So we have to find a right ones. That's why during the whole course I’m constantly proposing different questions again and again and students are also encouraged to form their own questions as well.

Why learning by doing?

Often people think that once they read something, about some phenomena in a book of Steiner, then it's enough. A feeling comes that getting intellectual information is enough. Unfortunately, often it stays on the level of thoughts. We forget that a cognition capacity works in our soul. The cognition comes through soul practice. When we do meditate, then we get our own personal spiritual experiences, which is essential for spiritual development.

That's for me the only real way of learning – through developing practical living skills that we can apply later on in our lives and working fields.

We may find our own experiences can differ a little from those in the books. How about others? Then we can compare our research results with the others. In that way we are in the process of searching the truth, which is not only in the books, and not only in our experiences. This course is an invitation to explore it.

When we are doing a research, and actively asking questions, then our inner position changes - from dissolving in and attaching to the stream of becoming to an observer. When we are inside of the process, it is usually hard to observe this process at the same time. When I'm speaking about the research, I'm proposing looking on a process from outside. This is the gesture to look from outside. In this course we research ourselves, that why it will be a look from outside back to ourselves.

And this is an attitude of the observer. One can say: “I observe/research myself.”

The observer attitude strengthens our I-quality, because I'm observing what is happening with me or what I'm doing.

And this is very important for every activity, which we are doing also through all our live. Usually we are interwoven with our emotions, with our thoughts. It’s hard in practice dis-attach with that. We are deeply inside in the process. It's hard to develop objectivity, for example, because we are so involved. When we are researching, when we are in a position of the observer, then we are able to approach this aspects and strengthen our I-presence quality.

How can this become a path to strengthen our "I"?

We can ask questions, we can observe and reflect on our own deeds. Through that we create a real learning ourselves activity. Those aspects – the research attitude (observer quality) and formulating questions – are going in the direction of strengthening our I-abilities. This is the path of “Know Thyself”. And we research not only ourselves, but also the nature and cosmos.

Generally summarising, the whole Research in Spiritual Science course keeps a core focus in strengthening of our I-body. The path of self-development based upon Spiritual Science presented in this course is focused on the strengthening our "I" (sense of Self) as a foundation of all spiritual work. We learn approaches to focus and master our thinking, purify and refine our feeling life, and strengthen our will.

For more information about the course please click here >