What we all want is to find entry to the spiritual world. We all have at least an inkling of a portal with a threshold before us, and certain exercises have been given that enable us to reach it. But the path is difficult and full of hindrances. It goes through a sea of troubles, and one needs a lot of patience. Who creates these hindrances? Our own nature and also Lucifer and Ahriman. The latter two are engaged in an activity on earth that could lead to something good if they would limit themselves to doing what they're supposed to do, namely, to live in the effects of the sense world. But they're not satisfied with remaining in the spiritual realm to which they belong and with only sending their effects to the physical plane — they also want to rule on earth with their ego-consciousness. We know that man attains his ego-consciousness on earth, the angels attain it in the elemental world and archangels in the astral world. Thus Lucifer and Ahriman would like to penetrate man's ego-consciousness.
Ahriman is the lord of death, as it's conditioned by man's nature. There's no life in a stone, so it belongs to him. But Ahriman would like to extend his power over what goes through the portal of death to what belongs to the spiritual world. That's why he foists the lie on modern materialists and monists that there's nothing eternal, that the soul is contained in the physical body and ends with it. Ahriman can approach men because of their fear. It's not too bad if it's only normal fear of which a man can easily become aware. But it's worse if the fear is slumbering in subconscious depths. Such a man falls prey to Ahriman. This fear is in adherents of materialistic science, although they wouldn't believe it if you told them, and it's in all people who have no relation to the spiritual world Goethe is quite right when he lets Mephisto say: Simple folk never sense the devil's presence, even if his hands are on their throats. If one goes to a laboratory where many people are working one soon sees how impregnated their etheric bodies are with Ahriman. A clairvoyant sees the very same forms there that he sees in the etheric body of someone who's filled with fear. If a man passes a mirror he sees his image, that however can only be there because the man is there. Likewise what one sees of a man on earth is only his mirror image, but Ahriman tries to make one think that it's a reality.
How can one protect oneself against Ahriman? By being satisfied with what's given to one:
glad for what's given to you;
Gladly do without what's not given to you.
Then Ahriman can't get at us. One shouldn't be an ascetic who flees the world and neither be someone who enjoys himself all the time.
Lucifer could do a lot of good if he stuck to his rightful sphere of leading men to self-consciousness. But he wants them to have an exaggerated opinion of themselves. Here's an example, imagine an artist making a statue. As long as this is supposed to be an image, all is in order. But if he breaks it apart and thinks that it's walking, if he wants to be a creator God, then Lucifer is standing behind this. Lucifer walks on the boards in the naturalistic, realistic plays that are created today. A 100 years ago Schiller could still put words into the mouth of his Tell that no man has ever spoken. For him art was a gift from heaven, as he often said. Today a Gerhard Hauptmann manages to eliminate everything from Tell that doesn't agree with his realistic views. The only way we can counteract Lucifer is to develop the deepest modesty and humility.
No doubt many people who look back at their day's work in the evening say that it was the Gods who directed their deeds and actions. Most of them think that they can be proud of what they did themselves. We protect ourselves from Lucifer if we nourish the spirit of humility and modesty in us. Ahriman can't get at us if we develop satisfaction within us.