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Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

The Shadows, Light/Dark, and the Self

“Who do you think you are?”
It’s Funny how this question comes over as an insult.
Why does being asked this, challenge our sense that others appreciate us?

The truth is, that no matter what you think of yourself, you are not what you think you are.
Thinking creates illusions. Therefore your idea of yourself is illusory.
Maybe that is because we are not any-thing at all, more of a process.
Moving house, marriage or divorce, changing jobs… All radically change how we relate to the world, we may become so different that our friends barely recognize us.
The truth is that what we think we are dies every night and is rebuilt for us every morning.

So, Who Do You Think You Are?
Where does your answer come from?
Who is rebuilding us daily?

The self we mostly identify as, is made up for us out of shadows, cast around our true I, into the soul-substance, by the powers of the world. This world is mostly provided for us by Lucifer and Ahriman. (see also) Were it not for the ‘Fall of Man, Prometheus, or the Adam and Eve incident,’ we would not have a solid world, nor a solid sense of self. The Luciferic shadow in us provides us with our hopeful belief in a better future, convincing us that we are, really, beneath any surface troubles, a wonderful person and that this will show through eventually and all will come right. Meanwhile, the Ahrimanic shadow in us continually reminds us that we have failed in many things, that we are beaten down by our traumas and that any reliance on hope is foolish dependency that will only weaken us.

Ahriman gifts us with a pragmatic attitude, persuading us that our best route to success is to get on with what needs to be done. Lucifer reminds us that we are a good person, if only others would see it. These two selves, like Hesse’s “Steppenwolf” are at war within us, each seeking to own our sense of identity.

In the delicate space between, Christ offers us forgiveness, flexibility, humility. None of these Christ-powers create an identity in us, they simply allow the other two to coexist. The Christ-identity is larger than us. It is the source of our higher self and not an entity as such within us. The Luciferic self grabs hold of all that Christ offers us and fixes it into our conviction that we are worthy of being honoured. The Ahrimanic self points to what Christ offers us and says: You see, you lack humility, you lack forgiveness, give up, and simply do what is demanded of you. These two are like squabbling twins, who, in truth, are supporting each other as they seek to create ‘me’ in their image. The ‘ego’ that Freud identified, spiritual science sees as a lower-self of the human being, produced in us by these shadows.

It is an uncomfortable truth that this ego seeks to destroy other egos. The Luciferic shadow whispers that we are better than the person next to us. The Ahrimanic ego works out how and why the other person is not as good as we are. It is a step forward when we can find and identify this as it happens. Both of these shadows become aggressive when they are threatened. Underhand disagreement, covert hostility, passive aggression are all warfare that these egos feel they can get away with while preserving their social standing. The harder these two feel pressed, the more vicious they become. While whispering to us “You are a nice person, it is just that the other has pushed you into an intolerable position” they undermine the Christ virtues within us in order to destroy opposition.

There is no stopping this. The only way is to raise our own awareness. So long as we insist that we are nice, they will get us to do anything to prove it. Anything. Only when we turn to Christ, in whatever form we find him, confessing that we are tempted by this destructive force, can we avoid being manipulated into doing something slightly worse than was done to us.

If we are to open up the space between these two and allow more of Christ to shine through us, we need to come to terms with them both. We cannot do without Lucifer in this world. We cannot live without Ahriman. Lucifer carries for us the glory of all that we achieved in our past seven incarnations. Ahriman provides for us the strength that our parents brought down to us through the last seven generations. These are mighty gifts. They just don’t happen to be who we are.

What we truly are is just a point of attention that watches all that happens.
What we truly are is a decision to experience this life, in all its richness, and make the best of it that we can.
What we truly are is the capacity to feel into all that is actually happening and assess where we would like to go with it.
If we get identified with this historic achievement of x-decades of development of this self, and the achievements that have accrued to this ‘me,’ we lose sight of this drive to learn and grow that is the Christ within us.

This Christ within us is the same Christ within everyone else. When I learn, in my heart, that I am that voice on the phone that is trying to cheat me, that I am that official causing a blockage in justice through being enmeshed in the system, I am that down and out I pass on the street: then I am making room for Christ between my Luciferic and Ahrimanic shadow-selves. When I judge any one of them, it is these shadows that are making that judgement, doing so to defend their control over my identity.

Most of us do judge others, constantly. This is the voice of our identity reassuring itself of its right-to-exist.  The louder the inner voices of Ahriman’s denigration and Lucifer’s adulation, the more we need to reassure ourselves with comparison.
When we get to hear the judgements others hurl (or insinuate) against us, we can be sure that this is their shadow speaking. Yet, we can also be sure that there is some grain of fact in what’s being said. Here is a reflection on who we are that does not come from our personal L&A shadows. That is incredibly valuable. Here is an opportunity to reassess our idea of who we are.
If we simply say: ‘This judgement against me comes from that person’s weakness, their pride or their fear!’ Then we hear our own pride and fear, mirroring that of our critic.
If we close up with such a judgement – however accurate it may be, we lose the chance to see through, to penetrate beyond some of our own pride and fear. We can be perfectly accurate in our assessment and still lose our opportunity.

This “Tobias” that I am, this time around, is my closest responsibility. My relationship with him is like parent to child.  I need to care for and educate him with endless love and compassion. The more I can do right by his experiences, by the people he meets, by the situations he gets himself into, the more I attach to Christ and free myself from the demands of those twins who support me, but seek to own me. “Tobias” is my closest friend, my constant companion. Without him, I could not function here. Yet he is not my eternal self. “Tobias” is my chance to bring myself, and the Christ that creates me, closer and closer into this earth-experience. Seen from this perspective, “Tobias” becomes a mirror through which I gain an ever deeper understanding of how to come to Christ, how to manifest Him in this earthly experience. Conscience arises in this space between the I-experience and the “me/Tobias” experience.

Compassion, Forgiveness, Honesty. Inwardly and outwardly, are the Ways by which we soften and grow our daily-given identity, bringing the Love and Wisdom of our highest hopes, our deepest nature, into the body-substance that is the Earth, my body.
The Earth that is reaching up to know Christ.

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