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Chapter V. Knowledge of the Higher Worlds


except what takes place under the influence of the new-born ego, this is what strengthens and fortifies man's forces. This matter of self-cognition is, in certain respects, different in the higher worlds from what it is in the physical sense-world. For whereas in the latter, self-cognition is only an inner experience, the newly born self immediately presents itself as an outward psycho-spiritual apparition. We see our new-born self before us like another being, yet we cannot perceive it in its entirety, for, whatever the stage to which we may have climbed on our journey to the supersensible worlds, there will always be still higher stages which will enable us to perceive more and more of our “higher self.” It can therefore only partially reveal itself to the student at any particular stage. Having once caught a glimpse of this higher self, man feels a tremendous temptation to look upon it in the same manner in which he is accustomed to regard the things of the physical sense-world. And yet this temptation is salutary; it is indeed necessary, if man's development is to proceed in the right manner. The student must here note what it is that appears as his double, as the Guardian of the Threshold, and place it by the side of the higher self, in order that he may rightly observe the disparity between what he is and what he is to become. But while thus engaged in observation he will find that the Guardian of the Threshold will assume quite a different aspect, for it will now reveal itself as a picture of all the obstacles which oppose the development of the higher ego, and he then becomes aware of what a load he drags about with him in his ordinary ego. And should the student's preparation not have rendered him strong enough to be able to say: “I will not remain at this point, but will persistently work my way upward toward the higher ego,” he will grow weak and will shrink back dismayed before the labor that lies before him. He has plunged into the psycho-spiritual world, but gives up working his way farther, and becomes a captive to that image which, as Guardian of the Threshold, now confronts the soul. And the remarkable thing