There is a profound moment in every self-developing person's life when they ask, "what am I?". Not "who am I?". For God, Creation and the Universe never deal in the "who" of things but always in the "what." Yet, it's surprisingly difficult to settle upon an answer that resolves the question.
Often one finds oneself reduced to observations of a technical nature such as "I have a body," "a mind," or "I am a man," or at times adrift in the fantasy realms that include such expressions as "I am a spirit incarnated into a body" as if that means anything without further definition.
And yet, it may be the most crucial question of one's life short of "Why am I here?" which I venture to say cannot be answered until one knows what one is.
To make any kind of serious approach to this topic, it will be helpful to define some terms that you will encounter in this work:
A man's essence is the totality of what he is born with, including inherited predispositions, mental, emotional, and physical aptitudes, etc. Everything inherited from your parents, the planet, and the various astrological signals intermingled in you from the Ray of Creation at the moment of your conception.
A man's personality is that which has been imposed and impressed upon him by the discipline and education of his parents, his peers, his teachers, society, and the culture in which he lives.
Upon careful consideration, one may come to the rather sobering realization that if both Essence and Personality have their origins outside of 'oneself,' there is no "I" to be found. For, any such thing as "I" in the fundamental sense would arise from inside of oneself, not external. Indeed, it can't even be said that there is such a thing as one's "self" in this light, and the situation would be rather bleak if that were all there was to the matter.
It has been said before that conscious evolution in man never happens accidentally. To understand how any development is possible, we must explore the concepts of the 'Law of Accident,' the 'Law of Fate,' the 'Magnetic Center,' and the 'Three Types of Influences.'
The Law of Accident
As you may recall from previous lessons on the ray of creation, everything in the universe either evolves toward greater freedom or de-evolving toward more restriction.
The declination towards the lunar influence of more restriction is also known as the 'Law of Accident' because it flows in opposition to order towards greater chaos.
A man's life under the law of accident has been likened to a drop of water in a rapidly flowing stream. One moment it is near the surface, the next moment, it is at the bottom, and it is impossible to predict where it will be moments after that.
The Law of Fate
There exists another possibility that a man may fall under a different set of laws that are ordered above the level of the planet as part of the evolutionary or custodial aspect of the ray of creation.
A man in this position is said to be under the law of fate, and this is never a product of an accident. Two things are required to find oneself in this situation; the possession of something called a 'Magnetic Center' and exposure to Influences of a particular kind.
The Magnetic Center
The magnetic center is not a center in the same way as the five centers that constitute the energetic matrix of the human complex. It is an assembly or 'coding' found in some individuals that allows them to recognize certain types of Influences when they come into contact with them. Whether or not they will react to those influences is entirely different. A man or woman without a magnetic center will simply fail to have any registration whatsoever of the influence.
The method by which this works is called the 'Tuning Fork' principle:
If you were to hold a tuning fork tuned to the note of "A" and I were to strike the note "A" on a similar tuning fork I held at a distance, yours would ring in sympathetic resonance because they are both tuned to the same note.
What we call the magnetic center is an internal assembly that resonates in oneself when one comes in contact with a similar type of influence.
A, B, and C Influences
All people in the ordinary course of life come into contact with two types of influences. The first is entirely cultural and concerns such things as the desire for wealth, fame, fortune, a family, etc. We call these "A" influences. The second comes from outside of life, although they operate under the same conditions. These influences take the form of art, religion, philosophy, and the like. We will call these "B" influences.
"B" influences are conscious in their origin (maintenance) but become mechanical over time, whereas "A" influences are entirely mechanical (expendable).
If a man accumulates enough "B" influences in his magnetic center, the possibility arises in him that they may crystalize and begin to attract "C" influences. Influences of this type are conscious (custodial). This may steer the direction of his life so that he may come into contact with an individual or group connected to the conscious circle of humanity and learning of a higher kind. If one comes into contact with such knowledge, it means that he or she has taken the first step, and there exists the possibility for further development.
The Development of "I"
Now, to return to the topic at hand, it is crucial to understand that to skillfully answer the question of "What am I?" involves the acquisition of and subsequent description of that which is acquired through the evolution of a conscious self, the source of which is through one's efforts of self-development under the direction of "C" influences.
When used in everyday conversation, the word "I" merely refers to an aspect of one's artificially acquired personality or, in the case of one's being, a feature of one's externally inherited essence.
Rightfully then, an actual "I" simply does not exist for one who has not undergone the training of self-actualization, and the answer to the question of "What am I?" for one who has not yet acquired a self-arising individuality is quite simply "nothing."
So, what are the criteria for developing an "I"?
Self Chosen Names
One way to think of a name is like a container. Consider for a moment all of the associations and attachments surrounding your 'life name' imposed on you by those who know you. Your family members may have certain impressions that differ from your co-workers or classmates or spouse. Your life name is rife with the impressions and aspects your personality has impressed upon others close and distant to you.
Selecting a self-chosen name tied to your development work can be a valuable tool because it marks your deliberate intention to build into your new name the qualities you deliberately collect. It is a way to separate one's automatic "A" and "B" influences from the voluntary "C" influences that are intentionally placed in oneself.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you select for yourself a new name that is tied to your development journey. When you engage in this work, engage as the new "I" you wish to be.