The lower self is a reflection, Part 4/7

“For centuries, for millennia, men have been studying the psychic world, trying to discover more about their inner self and what motivates its actions. To aid them, they divided man into different sections. Some divided him in half, using the number 2 as the equation to designate spirit and matter, masculine and feminine, positive and negative, heaven and earth, good and evil, and so on. Others chose to divide man in three: the mind, the emotions and the will, in similar fashion to the Christian spirit, soul and body. Alchemists preferred to divide him in four, symbolizing the 4 elements: earth, water, air, and fire. Astrologers divided him in 12, representing the 12 constellations.Hindus and Theosophists chose to divide him in 7, the 7 bodies: physical, etheric, astral, mental, causal, buddhic, atmic. Kabbalists divided him in 3, or 4, or 9, or 10. To others, man is an indivisible unity.

All are true, depending on the angle from which you look at him. To make it simpler, let us say that a human being is a perfect unity but that the unity is polarized, that is, there are two manifestations, two different aspects. Man has two different natures, the lower nature and the higher Nature, both endowed with faculties enabling him to think, feel and act, but in opposite directions. I have called these two natures the personality and the individuality. What we must understand first of all is that even if the lower nature is indeed different from the higher Nature, it nevertheless has its origins above, in the Spirit.

Spirit is the beginning, the origin of everything… a fact you must always bear in mind. But when the Spirit wishes to manifest it has to avail itself of a heavier vehicle adapted to the dense regions of matter into which it wishes to descend. These vehicles are called bodies.From the subtlest and most delicate to the thickest and most obtuse, they are: the atmic, buddhic and causal bodies of our higher Nature, or individuality, and the mental, astral and physical bodies which form our lower nature, or personality. The physical (material) body, the astral (emotional) body, and the mental (intellectual) body, are the same thing on a lower plane as the three higher bodies.

You say, ‘But why is it that the personality, if it is a reflection of the individuality, is so weak and limited, so subject to error?’ The answer is that the individuality is made of the same essence as Spirit : it lives in the heavenly regions in complete freedom, in brilliant light, in perfect happiness and peace, and has every power save one : the ability to express itself in the lower regions of matter, unless the three lower bodies (the personality) allow it to. The individuality can express itself in the dense regions of matter only to the extent that the personality is willing. A person may be weak and ignorant, cruel and evil on earth and at the same time be full of knowledge, love, and power in the higher realms, entirely limited on the lower planes and extremely rich and free on the higher ones.
To be continued….

Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov,
Izvor Book 213, Man’s Two Natures, Human and Divine



  1. Chef Jemichel April 30, 2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    This presentation especially convinces me of the shared source of knowledge that Rudolf Steiner also drew from aka the Theosophical/Anthroposophical stream. Nevertheless I am intrigued with “The individuality can express itself in the dense regions of matter only to the extent that the personality is willing” a line that I too had underscored in my mind before I got to see it here in Bold just now!

    • Valerie Unite April 30, 2015 at 10:00 pm - Reply

      “Thanks for your comment! Yes, I am glad you see parallels with Steiner and with the traditional wisdom of the East – although the terms may be different, they describe the same universal principles. The Master had knowledge of these from his past. As a result his teaching is rich and able to be appreciated by people from many different traditions.

      He also explains things in simple terms which make you stop and think. Your question is central to much of his teaching and specifically the Book 213 Man’s Two Natures. The Individuality (higher Nature) is subtle, like light, and cannot enter the lower realms unless invited. It is like sunlight – you need to open the curtains to let it in. The posts to follow in this series will explain how the Personality (lower nature) is threatened by the Individuality and does its best not to let it in. The Individuality being of subtle matter does not impose itself. The Master’s teaching provides numerous examples of practices and the purification required for the higher Nature to enter our being. 🙂

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