To Be or Not to Be

“I was being who I shouldn’t be”

To Be or Not to Be

We all have the freedom to be or not to be. It means that we have the possibility, the inner potential, to live in harmony with the laws of the universe. With ‘universe’ I don’t mean only the material world as we know it, but the whole of visible and invisible worlds in which everything is intertwined and connected.

We have this magnificent inner potential, but how does it work out in our daily life? Does the word ‘freedom’ not leave a bitter taste in our mouth when we look at our daily practice? Have we not become modern slaves of a very destructive economic system?

Some years ago, when I was looking at the movie ‘Crazy Heart’, I was struck by the lyrics of a song[1] which was performed by the leading character ‘Bad Blake’, a washed-up country singer. Here is a part of the lyrics:

I was going where I shouldn’t go

Seeing who I shouldn’t see

Doing what I shouldn’t do

Being who I shouldn’t be

It’s funny how falling feels like flying

For a little while

These lyrics[2] contain a lot of life experience, a lot of wisdom. This sentence is especially right on the spot: “It’s funny how falling feels like flying … for a little while…” We think that we are flying towards our goals, our desires, our self-fabricated meaning of life. What we don’t know is that falling feels like flying. But then, full of dark humor and sense of reality, comes the inevitable “for a little while”. We hit the ground. The duality of the earthly reality scatters our dreams, breaks our wings.

Is there anybody who I can blame? Yes, myself. I was going where I shouldn’t go, seeing who I shouldn’t see, doing what I shouldn’t do and being who I shouldn’t be. Then the question is: where should I go and who should I be?

Do we have to go to a certain place to be free? The answer is: yes and no. Well, that doesn’t help much. The problem is that if we understand it in the ordinary way – I have to pack my suitcase and travel to Tibet – then the answer is ‘no’. Why? Well, because we always take ourselves with us and we happen to be our own prison guard.

What about the yes-part? Where should I go to be free? The affirmative answer leads us to very different waters. It turns out that freedom does not mean liberation of the ‘self’, but liberation from the ‘self’ or the ‘I’. If the I-central consciousness is transformed in (micro)cosmic consciousness, then we can reach the waters of Life.

Where are these waters of freedom? Jesus the Christ said about himself that he had no place to lay his head.[3] His reality, the level of vibration of his consciousness, was far above the earthly conditions. In this sense, his energetic field could never find a state of resonance, of harmony, within the earthly dualistic circumstances. He had no place to lay his head. But he also said: “My kingdom is not of this world.”[4] And of course, in his higher reality, ruled by the law of universal Love, things were very different; there he could lay his head. Jesus the Christ invited us to join him in his higher reality. He wanted to free the true human being from its imprisonment, to buy the enslaved spirit-soul free from the elements. In this sense, the answer to the question, ‘Should I go somewhere to be free?’, is yes!

When we are tired of misery and suffering, of cruelty and war, when we are tired of ourselves, can we go somewhere to live in freedom and harmony? We should connect this question with the verse of the lyrics “I was being who I shouldn’t be.” Who am I and who should I be?

That is not an easy question. A human being is a very complicated system. First, we must take into account that we consist of a mortal part and an immortal part. The mortal part is our personality, the immortal part we call the microcosm. If we focus on the mortal part, then we see that that part is a very complex composition. We all have a fourfold personality in which resides a threefold I-consciousness. If we want to understand more about ourselves, we must investigate this threefold I-consciousness or ‘ego’.

If we compare our personality to a car, then then the “I” is the driver. In general, we are not very aware that our I-consciousness is not a unified operation center but consists of three separate and chaotically interacting centers of I-consciousness In his book “The Coming New Man”, Jan van Rijckenborgh gives a very clear description of this situation. You can find it in the chapters ‘The nature of human imprisonment’ and ‘No bridge exists between natural and spiritual man’.

We have a center of consciousness in our head, it is connected to our mental capabilities. We find the second center of consciousness in our heart, it is related to our feelings and emotions. The third core of consciousness is located in our pelvis. This third center is the most fundamental and primitive core of our I-central consciousness and is related to our instincts and urges. This third ego is all about survival and gratification of desires. Every person is equipped with such a threefold ego, and this puts us in a quite difficult position. It is as if there are three drivers in the car. When the head wants to make a turn to the right, the heart interferes and pulls the steering wheel to the left. Then, to make the chaos complete, the third ego takes action and puts the car in  reverse. Where are we going?

Mankind has tried to solve this problem by applying education and culture. But the difficulty is that only the egos in the head and heart can be educated and cultivated. The third ego always remains ‘the self-maintainer’, the brutal beast which lives according to the principal of survival of the fittest. For cultivated people, for people who live according to high ideals and strive for goodness – and I assume the readers of this article fall in that group – this third ego is an immense source of sorrow and disappointment. We would like to close our eyes to it, deny its existence and hide behind our culture. But that is no solution. The history of mankind, drenched in blood, proves it. To come to an objective evaluation of ourselves, to attain real self-knowledge, we   must also accept this part of ourselves.

I hope that it is evident that such a chaotic and I-central being can never reach freedom. It would simply be too dangerous for the whole of creation. Freedom can only be granted to those who can handle their freedom in a responsible way. No matter how many books the fox has read, if we release him in a henhouse, the outcome is certain. Is then all the striving of mankind in vain? Is this all there is? Will our hands always be stained with the blood of others? No, there is a solution! There is a way to freedom; there exists a path of liberation!

The possibility of liberation cannot be found in our transient part, in our personality, but in our immortal part, in our microcosm. There is the door to freedom! When we open this door, we open the possibility of a total transformation of our consciousness. The problem is that we are not aware of our microcosm, hence we ignore its existence and start building on the wrong basis, on the wrong ‘stone’. The wrong stone is the threefold I-consciousness; it is the ‘Bad Blake’ which lives in all of us. Now please pay attention to a mystical quotation from the Bible:

Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame[5]

Maybe it is not easy to understand, but what is conveyed is this: there is a spiritual cornerstone; it is the center, the heart of the microcosm. If we start building on that stone, we will rebuild the sacred human temple in which the Spirit lives. Then we have become real human beings, then we are transformed from bestial human beings into a spiritual human beings. Then we are free.

The spiritual corner stone, the center of the microcosm, is a treasure in which the image of the true human being is kept as a sacred inheritance. It is this image from which can be said that “God created man in his own image”[6]. When we discover this lost treasure in ourselves, then we are doing what we should do. When this image regains its strength and comes to life, when it gets ensouled, then we see who we should see: our own true Self!

Then we can say with happiness:

I went where I should go and now I am who I should be!




[3] Matthew 8:20

[4] John 18:36

[5] 1 Peter 2-6

[6] Genesis 1:27

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Date: April 9, 2022
Author: Niels van Saane (Bulgaria)
Photo: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay CCO

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