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Human nature and divine nature

Man’s two natures - Complete Works, Vol. 2
For thousands of years, in their endeavor to study themselves and understand the principles that govern their structure, human beings have imagined many different ways of dividing the multiple facets of man. Some have spoken of two divisions (good and evil, high and low, spirit and matter, masculine and feminine, heaven and earth). Others speak of three (thought, feeling and will, and this matches the Christian pattern of body, soul and spirit). Alchemists see a human being as composed of four levels which correspond to the four elements. Astrologers speak of twelve, corresponding to the twelve constellations. Hindus and Theosophists speak of seven bodies: physical, etheric, astral, mental, causal, buddhic and atmic. Cabbalists divide man into three, four, nine and ten… And then there are those who say that man is an indivisible whole. Whichever system you adopt, it is always true; it depends on your point of view.

To simplify the question, let’s say that a human being is a perfect whole, but that this whole is polarized. In other words it manifests in two directions, under two different aspects. A human being comprises two natures: a lower nature (which we may call the lower self or personality) and a higher nature (which we call the higher self or individuality). They both have the faculties of thought, feeling and action, but oriented in opposite directions. It is by observing ourselves that we can recognize this divergence. Most people get everything mixed up: they think that the thoughts and feelings of their lower self are of the same nature as those of their higher self. They see no difference between them. For initiates, on the other hand, the difference is perfectly clear. In reality one cannot distinguish an absolute line of distinction separating the two natures. Although they blend into each other (like the colors of the spectrum which can be seen very clearly from a distance but in which no clear-cut line of separation can be seen) the differences can be clearly distinguished in everyday life.
The manifestations of the two natures in human beings - Complete Works, Vol. 2
The personality is bent on calling attention to itself and is ready to take every means, both pleasant and unpleasant, to achieve this. It wears gaudy colors and eccentric clothes and attracts attention by grotesque laughter and affected gestures. Like a hen which fluffs out its feathers in order to look bigger, the personality always wants to appear larger than life. Above all, it is extremely changeable and switches from one mood to another with incredible ease, being successively gay then sad, optimistic and then discouraged, kind and then cruel. It fears hunger, poverty and death, and contrives unbelievable stratagems to ensure that it always has enough to eat and all kinds of possessions. But it is unable to hold on to things because it is a bottomless pit which swallows up everything. The personality has only one motivation, self-interest, and for this it is capable of changing its philosophy, religion and political opinions as promptly as circumstances require.

The behavior of the individuality is the opposite of that of the personality. It is not in a hurry to show itself; it does not try to dazzle or deceive, it does not raise its voice to call attention to itself because it is sure of being discovered when necessary. For this it relies on inner gifts and on its own work. It is inhabited by a firm, indomitable conviction, steadfast and constant hope and faith. It is not changeable. It sees things always from the same point of view.

Unfortunately, human beings put far too much faith in their personality. Almost everyone looks to their lower nature to find freedom, happiness and light. No, the personality can only bring weakness on the physical plane, suffering on the astral plane and error on the mental plane. In spite of its seductive appearance that is all it can give. It is like a soap bubble, light as air, glittering and iridescent, but it soon bursts.
Know yourself in the divine world - Daily Meditations  December 22, 2001
God is within us and outside of us, and we can say the same thing of our higher self. Most human beings are not conscious enough to feel the presence within themselves of this sublime entity that is all-light, all-love and all-power. The prime work of a spiritualist is to look within himself for every sign of this presence, while knowing that this is his true self. It has been said, ‘Know thyself.’ If man truly wants to know himself, he has to know himself up above, in the divine world. Until he is aware of his existence up above as a particle of the Deity, he will not know himself and will lack all the divine qualities. To know oneself means to have found oneself by having found God. By finding God, man finds love, light, freedom, joy – and not only does he find these within himself but also within all human beings and also in animals, plants and stones. When man finds God within himself, he discovers him everywhere, in the whole of nature, and this is truly to ‘Know thyself.’
Mastering one’s personality - Complete Works, Vol. 2
Once the personality has become its servant, the human spirit will be capable of miracles. It is important to know that everything that hinders the spirit and prevents it from understanding, creating and acting freely comes from the personality. Observe the character of the people around you and you will see that the more inflated the personality the more the person is narrow-minded and prejudiced. And the slightest prejudice in a person’s philosophical or religious opinions, in human relations or in questions concerning work lead to complications in understanding and activity. There is no prejudice worse than that of an aggrieved personality which tries to defend and avenge itself and keeps changing its point of view. It is because every undertaking of the personality is inspired by self-interest that it can never see reality as it is. When an initiate sees people with highly developed personalities coming to his school he immediately foresees the problems they are going to meet with and the difficulty he is going to have in instructing them. For an initiate there is one absolute rule of thumb: the more one obtains mastery of one’s personality, that is, the more one limits and controls it, the freer and stronger one becomes.
“Let the dead bury their dead, but you who are living, follow me!” - Complete Works, Vol. 20
Try to envisage only people’s divine nature, their soul and spirit. Don’t try to satisfy the needs of their lower, egotistical nature. You say, “Yes, but if I don’t give them what they want my husband or wife, my children and friends, will be furious.” Let them be furious and continue to love their divine side. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead, but you who are living, follow me.” If you interpret these words freely you will make some interesting discoveries. Why do human beings have such difficulty getting along together? Because they follow the dead. Yes, our lower nature, the personality, must be classed as dead, and if we keep trying to make it happy and satisfy its capricious demands, we too will end up dead. Jesus was not talking about the dead in the cemetery. They are where they should be… besides, their souls are living. No, the dead Jesus was talking about are those who have no spiritual life because they give in to their lower nature. It is they who are truly dead.