Spirituality is all about giving our higher nature (or higher self) an opportunity to manifest in our world. The higher self cannot manifest in our physical world without going through our thoughts, feelings and body cells, which all together form our lower self. Thoughts and feelings can get out of order when not kept in check. When they are not controlled, their behavior prevents our higher nature's goodies to manifest in the outside world. Therefore a self control, a self mastery of this lower nature is needed for the sake of our higher nature.
Self mastery only concerns the lower nature. This term cannot be applied to the higher self which is already perfect, harmonious, and beautiful. There is nothing to perfect in the higher self, there are no misbehavior in it to be controlled. Self mastery is to be applied to the lower nature. That's where the work is. That's where the stubbornness, the madness, the agitation, the trouble is. Not in the higher self. Like you might already have noticed in nature: Troubled water breaks images reflected on it. If you have clean and stable water, the images of things above reflecting on it will appear clear and distinct. When uncontrolled, the lower nature looks like the troubled water, unable to reflect the higher self image.
So self mastery is about mastering the lower self (lower nature). This lower nature like explained in old threads, is made of thoughts and feelings and body etheric energies and the physical body. Those four components represent four elements. Thoughts = air, feelings = water, etheric energies = fire, and physical body = earth. One may then also talk of self mastery as the mastery of four personal elements. Or the mastery of the 4 subtle lower bodies ( mental body, astral body, etheric ...
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