11. The Self-consciousness which is summed up in the ‘I’ or ‘Ego’ emerges out of the sea of consciousness. Consciousness arises when the forces of the physical and etheric bodies disintegrate these bodies, and thus make way for the Spiritual to enter into man. For through this disintegration is provided the ground on which the life of consciousness can develop. If, however, the organism is not to be destroyed, the disintegration must be followed by a reconstruction. Thus, when for an experience in consciousness a process of disintegration has taken place, that which has been demolished will be built up again exactly. The experience of Self-consciousness lies in the perception of this upbuilding process. The same process can be observed with inner vision. We then feel how the Conscious is led over into the Self-conscious by man's creating out of himself an after-image of the merely Conscious. The latter has its image in the emptiness, as it were, produced within the organism by the disintegration. It has passed into Self-consciousness when the emptiness has been filled up again from within. The Being, capable of this ‘fulfillment,’ is experienced as ‘I.’
12. The reality of the ‘I’ is found when the inner vision whereby the astral body is known and taken hold of, is carried a stage further. The Thinking which has become alive in meditation must now be permeated by the Will. To begin with we simply gave ourselves up to this new Thinking, without active Will. We thereby enabled spiritual realities to enter into this thinking life, even as in outer sense perception color enters the eye or sound the ear. What we have thus called to life in our consciousness by a more passive devotion, must now be reproduced by ourselves, by an act of Will. When we do so, there enters into this act of Will the perception of our own ‘I’ or Ego.
13. On the path of meditation we discover, besides the form in which the ‘I’ occurs in ordinary consciousness, three further forms: (1) In the consciousness which takes hold of the etheric body, the ‘I’ appears in picture-form; yet the picture is at the same time active Being, and as such it gives man form and figure, growth, and the plastic forces that create his body. (2) In the consciousness which takes hold of the astral body, the ‘I’ is manifested as a member of a spiritual world whence it receives its forces. (3) In the consciousness just indicated, as the last to be achieved, the ‘I’ reveals itself as a self-contained spiritual Being — relatively independent of the surrounding spiritual world.