Higher Self, Lower Self and Mask

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From lecture 14, THE HIGHER SELF, THE LOWER SELF, AND THE MASK:

The aim of spiritual development is to eliminate the lower self so that the higher self becomes free again of all outer layers it has acquired. In your own life, you will be able to sense quite easily, with yourself or others, that certain parts of the higher self are already free, while other parts are still hidden. How much is free or hidden, and how thickly it is hidden depends on the overall development of the respective person. The lower self consist not only of the common faults and the individual weaknesses that vary with each person, but also of ignorance and laziness. It hates to change and conquer itself; it has a very strong will that may not always manifest itself outside, and wants its way without paying the price. It is very proud and selfish, and always has a great deal of personal vanity. It is the ego with all its manifestations. All these characteristics are generally part of the lower self, regardless of other individual faults. There are many shades and possible forms however, in which the lower self can display these general trends. Such manifestations depend on various other factors, such as the personal faults which can have different effects on these common traits of the lower self. The qualities of the higher self, as well as various other circumstances, also influence the outer manifestation, intensity, degree, and direction that these general trends may take.

There is another layer that is, unfortunately, not yet recognized sufficiently among human beings for its full significance, and that is what I might term the mask self. The mask self is created in the following way: When you recognize that you may get into conflict with your surroundings by giving in to your lower self, you may still not be ready to pay the price for eliminating the lower self. This would mean first of all that you would have to face it as it really is, with all its motives and drives, since you can conquer only that which you are fully aware of. This means taking the narrow path, the spiritual path. Many people do not want to think that deeply; instead they react emotionally without thinking about facing the lower self. The subconscious feels it necessary to present a different picture of the self in order to avoid certain difficulties, unpleasantness, or disadvantages of all sorts. Thus people create another layer of the self which has nothing to do with reality, either with that of the higher self, or with the temporary reality of the lower self. It is what you might call phony or false; it is unreal.

I will return to the above example. The lower self dictates to the person to be quite ruthless about a selfish desire. It is not difficult for anyone of even the most limited intelligence to realize that by giving in to this desire he or she will be ostracized, or disliked by others — an outcome no one wants. Instead of overcoming selfishness by the slow process of development, people often act as though they were already unselfish. But they actually are selfish, and feel the selfishness. They hate the pressure of their higher selves to act contrary to the desires of their lower selves, but feel compelled to put on an act, which disturbs their inner peace, since it does not agree with their still predominant lower-self feelings. Their giving and their generosity are just a sham. In other words, the right act is entirely unsupported by the unpurified feelings, and therefore the person is at war within. The proper act becomes an act of necessity, of compulsion, instead of free choice. With such superimposed goodness does not count in the real sense. While you may give something, you may hate the idea. Not only do people remain convinced that they need to be selfish, but are also untrue to their nature, violating their reality and living a lie. I am by no means suggesting that it is advisable to give in to one’s lower nature; one must fight for enlightenment and strive for development in order to purify one’s feelings and desires. But if this is not accomplished, there should at least be no self-deception. One should have at least a clear and true picture about the discrepancy between feelings and actions. In this way, no mask self can form.

However, too often people try to believe in their own unselfishness and in that way fool themselves about their real feelings and motives by not showing them, and not wanting to look at them. After a while the evil will sink into the subconscious where it will ferment and create forms that have their effect and cannot be eliminated, because the person is unaware of them. The example of selfishness is merely one instance; there are many other traits and tendencies that go through the same process, my friends.

When people are emotionally sick, it is always a sign that in one way or another a mask self has been created. They do not realize they are living a lie. They have built a layer of unreality that has nothing to do with their real being. Thus they are not being true to their real personality. As I said before, being true to oneself does not mean that you should give in to your lower self, but that you should be aware of it. Do not fool yourself if you still act according to the necessity to protect yourself and not out of enlightened vision and inner conviction. Be aware that your feelings are still unpurified in this or that respect. Then you have a good basis from which to start. It will be easier for you to face yourself in this manner when you realize that underneath the layers of your lower self lives your higher self, your ultimate and absolute reality which you must eventually reach. In order to reach it, you must first face your lower self, or your temporary reality, instead of covering it up, because that puts an even greater distance between you and absolute reality, or your own higher self. To face the lower self you must at all costs tear down the mask self. You can bring yourself to do so when you visualize the three selves I am presenting here.

To lie to oneself and not think about one’s emotions and true motives at all, but merely let the emotions react without thinking, may appear at times adequate, but it is not. The person who wants to become happy, healthy, and at peace inwardly, needs, in order to truly fulfill this present life and be in harmony with God and thus with the inner self, to find the answer to these questions once and for all: What is the actual me? What is my higher self? What is my lower self? Where may there be a mask, a falsehood?

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Thanks:

To my teacher Marieke Mars who taught me self-honesty. To my courageous and loving pathwork helper Dottie Titus.

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