Practical Training In Thought

Cover Page

Practical Training In Thought
A Lecture By Rudolf Steiner
Carlsruhe, January 18, 1909 (GA 108)
This booklet has been translated into many languages and published in innumerable editions. It contains clear directions for improving memory, thinking habits, and powers of concentration.

This translation is by Henry B. Monges in 1949, and was revised by Gilbert Church, Ph.D. in 1966. It has been authorized for the Western Hemisphere by agreement with, and published here with the permission of, the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung Dornach, Switzerland.


Almost sixty years have passed since Rudolf Steiner gave this lecture to a group of friends in Carlsruhe on January 18, 1909. Inevitably, some of it, especially the introductory pages, applies more particularly to the time when it was given and must appear old-fashioned today, just as much of what takes place in our contemporary world will be dated sixty years hence. Nevertheless, the perception of thoughts as actualities and the exercises given here for improving one’s memory, observation, thinking habits and powers of concentration are as valid now as they were when they were originally presented sixty years ago.

Practical Training in Thought is also a characteristic example of the many attempts Dr. Steiner made to show how the physical and spiritual spheres can be brought together through the experience of thinking. He frequently emphasized that a methodical training for the development of thought capable of grasping physical and spiritual reality and leading to a new unity, is a necessary basis for the science of the spirit known as Anthroposophy. When practiced consistently, the exercises given here can provide that basis. Even though such a foundation must be taken as introductory to any wider experience of Dr. Steiner’s teaching, the results of further anthroposophical study can nevertheless be built upon it.

Anyone interested in pursuing the subject beyond the limits necessitated by the brevity of this pamphlet will find a complete exposition of Dr. Steiner’s ideas in the numerous publications of his work currently available in English and German. Some of them are listed at the end of this lecture.

Gilbert Church, Ph. D.