In his book on the subtle bodies and centres, Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov explains how human beings possess six subtle bodies in addition to their physical body. These bodies belong to one of two natures: The first is the human nature, allied to our animal past. The other is a divine nature which is one with God, and possesses all the divine qualities and attributes. The master referred to the lower nature as the personality and the higher nature as the individuality.
The human being: a perfect whole, polarised
He explains it succinctly in this long extract taken from his book Spiritual Alchemy:
To put things simply, let us say that a human being is a perfect whole, but that this whole is polarised. By that, I mean that it manifests itself in two directions, it has two aspects. A human being has two natures: a lower and a higher nature, and they both have the power to think, feel and act, but in opposite directions.
The best way to realise this clearly is to observe yourself. Most human beings get everything mixed up. The thoughts and feelings of their lower nature and those of their higher nature are all the same to them. They see no difference but for an initiate the difference is obvious.
To tell the truth, it is not possible to distinguish an absolutely clear – cut borderline between the two. They melt into each other like the colours of the spectrum. From afar the different colours can be distinguished, but seen from close up it is impossible to tell exactly where one ends and the next begins. In day to day life, however, they can be distinguished.
Diagram of the subtle bodies and two natures
The diagram consists of two halves which represent our lower and higher natures. In each half there are three divisions, corresponding to the human being’s three functions; intellect, heart and will. Or, if you prefer, thoughts, feelings and acts.
Connections between the higher and lower subtle bodies
The three larger concentric circles in the diagram demonstrate the connection between the higher and lower bodies:
The atmic body or spirit, which is divine energy, power and will, is reflected in the physical body. This, in turn, represents energy, will and power on the physical plane.
In the buddhic body or soul dwell the highest feelings of love, self-sacrifice and kindness. This body is linked to the human heart or astral body.
The causal body, which is the vehicle of the loftiest thoughts, is linked to the intellect or mental body.
(There is another subtle body, the etheric body, which is not represented on the diagram. This is attached to the physical body and is what gives the body sensitivity and feeling).
Manifestations of the two natures
A person who is dominated by their lower nature nourishes egocentric thoughts and feelings which are concerned only with the satisfaction of that lower nature, Their higher nature is hidden inside them and its manifestations are severely limited.
But in the case of someone who is dedicated, full of respect for others and animated by the high ideal of becoming perfect in divine, spiritual qualities, the lower nature diminishes in strength. And this allows the higher nature to develop and become stronger.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
We are divinities on the higher plane
You should understand that you are divinities. Yes, divinities, and you live on a higher plane free of limitations, shadows and darkness, sorrow and suffering, in the midst of abundance and joy. Do you know what prevents you from manifesting the splendour of those higher regions here below? Your personality- in other words, your lower nature.
The lower nature cannot capture divine messages
Your personality is too unadaptable, too self-centred to capture the subtle messages from those regions… like a radio that cannot pick up all the stations. The waves and vibrations released by Cosmic Intelligence in the higher spheres are swift as lightning. But the matter of the personality is too dense, too hard of hearing to vibrate in tune with them, and so it cannot seize divine messages. They flash by without making an impression and we continue to live in ignorance. We are deprived from knowing or experiencing the wonderful joy of our higher Being.
The lower nature must become an instrument
There are ways of changing this situation. If you choose to lead a pure life and become once again a child of God, then your heart will open and become generous, your mind will clear and your will become indomitable. The personality will become the willing instrument with which to express the divine life of the individuality more and more fully and correctly. And then the day will come when both the personality and the individuality become fused with each other, the personality ceases to exist and becomes one with the individuality.’