PERSONALITY- VYAKTY – CHARACTER
The Mantra: Om Vyaktitya Na’ham
We have never consciously chosen our personality:
it was formed by external conditionings, the influence
of our culture, family, education, etc,
covering up our real nature.
It is a very ephemeral formation in a state of constant change, never the same, consisting of but a mixture of habits, conditionings, beliefs and patterns that we have identified ourselves with.
a) The issue is introduced by noting that
in order to acquire new experiences for its growth and evolution
in each incarnation our inner being builds up a new personality on four levels,
physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and it is this
which we usually mistake for “ourselves.”
Nisargadatta Maharaj asked:
How does personality come into being?
What would you say?
His answer is:
By identifying the present with the past
and projecting it into the future.
To which extent are you still identifying the present with the past and projecting it into the future?
He also said that
Even to talk of reuniting the person with the self is not right,because
there is no person, only a mental picture given
a false reality by conviction.
Nothing was divided and there is nothing to unite.
What does this imply?
According to Einstein,
The personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment
in which a man happens to find himself
during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior
The way that Moojiput it is:
The person is only a t-shirt worn by the Infinite
for a moment or two.
b) Some definitions of Personality – Character
– The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he never
would be found out. Thomas Macaulay
– Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. J.C. Watts
– You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. James D. Miles
– Weakness of character is the only defect which cannot be amended. De La Rochefoucauld
– Character is higher than intellect. Emerson
– Character is what a man is in the dark. D. L. Moody– Suffering is the root of personality, for it is only suffering that makes us persons.
Miguel de Unamuno
– It takes a lot of energy to be a person because it’s not your truth, but no energy to be yourself.
– Personality is a costume worn by consciousness. Mooji
Note: actually it changes all the time, but apart from those who are on the Path these changes are extremely superficial
– None is freed from their prison.Nothing gets a person out of their prison because the person is the prison. Wu Hsin
But we are not only the “person”.
Which of these definitions touched you most?
What does it tell you about yourself?
Nisargadatta Maharaj sums it all by pointing out that
The person is never the subject: you can see a person,
but you are not the person. Your being a person
is due to the illusion of space and time;
you imagine yourself to be at a certain point occupying a certain volume;
Your personality is due to your self-identification with the body.
You are always the Supreme which appears at a given point of time and space
as the witness,a bridge between the pure awareness of the Supreme
and the manifold consciousness of the person.
c) Our personality is almost always very different
from the ones that we had in previous lives:
for example, a too ascetic monk repressing his human needs might well be stuck with a bon vivant personality in his next life.
Our so called “personality” is no more than a superficial, ever-changing
amalgam of tendencies, automatic reactions
and false identifications
In any case our personality, even when it is a very good one, is always also a very big limitation,
the imprisonment in a narrow, ephemeral mix of superficial qualities, mental
and emotional habits which must be transcended
in order to find ourselves.
Are you determined to transcend them?
To which extent?
Wu Hsin adds that:
The departure from what is natural
is the birthplace of personality.
The world of persons is a solitary place,
each separate and alone.
The personality is like
a unique color.
When it’s work is done
Ii returns to the colorless
from where it emerged
Tethered to what is personal,
one cannot approach the Infinite.
Nisargadatta Maharaj has a warning
Reality is common to all.
Only the false is personal.
And Jung another one:
Every part of the personality you do not love
will become hostile to you.
Sri Aurobindo makes the main point:
The person is a mask.
If we want to gain universality and rise into the Transcendence
we must first of all lose our personality.
We are composed not of one but many personalities and each has its own demands and differing nature.
Our being is a roughly constituted chaos into which we have
to introduce the principle of a divine order.
d) Personality is considered more or less like the individuality,
but while some of the highest individual qualities may be part of our whole being the personality itself is always most ephemeral, based on the ego and therefore unreal:
the so called “person” is a composite of disparate elements, a shadow
of the mind, a deformation of our true Self; identifying with it
reveals insecurity: we are looking for a hold.
Are you looking for a hold?
There is no real need to.
Holds are just old habits and conditionings.
You do have the best possible hold within you:
it is called Centering.
So why looking for any external holds?
See the chapter on Centering in the Path section of this text.
In any case as Nisargadatta Maharaj said,
A reflection of the observer in the mind created the senses of the I and the person acquires an apparently separated existence.
In reality there is no person,
only the observer that identifies itself
with the “me” and the “mine”.
According to Freud it is all our thoughts and ways of living that add up to our so called “personality.
They are determined by the complex interactions between the id, the superego,
and the ego which very often are in conflict with each other,
which brings about anxiety and “existential” anguish.
Jung went deeper and he used the term “persona”,
as something which emerges out of the collective psyche
through our interaction and experience
with our culture and society.
This “persona” is like the mask that Greek actors wore according to the roles they played and corresponds to our self-image.
Such a mask is usually mistaken for our personality, or even for our individuality, but actually is no more than a role that we are playing
on the stage of the world.
e) Most of our personality
has almost nothing to do with whom
we really are,
only with the place, family, culture that we were born or brought up in, the rest consists mainly of formations or “elementals” brought along from previous incarnations,
and besides some positive qualities they often contain
also negative predispositions.
Nisargadatta Maharaj agrees:
The memory of past unfulfilled desires traps energy
which manifests itself as a person,
but in reality there is no such thing, only restrictions and limitations, and their total sum defines the person.
To be a person is to be asleep.
Which is also what Gurdjeff always said.
According to the psychologist Don Bannister, Freud saw personality as basically
It is a dark-cellar in which a well-bred spinster lady (the superego) and a sex-crazed monkey (the id) are forever engaged in mortal combat, the struggle
being refereed by a rather nervous bank clerk (the ego).
Diogenes noted that:
The true person in us is never anyone in particular but like
the limitless sky’s deep blue color is everyone,
everywhere in the world.
Did you ever feel this way?
It remains to be seen when.
It is recorded that according to the Kabuli
The human personality is a fabrication of the Deceiver’s Veil
mentioned in the Qur’an.
In the Dreamgame, our personality can be an ASSET or a WEAKNESS: it all depends on our attitude to the Dreamgame.
Which is the best attitude?
Mère has a warning:
This sense of one’s person becomes
like a cage,
like a prison enclosing you, which prevents you from
being true, to really know, really have power,
to truly understand yourself.
It is like closing yourselves in very hard shell,
and then be forced to remain there.
How clearly can you see this?
Wu Hsin agrees:
To live as a personality
is to live in restriction.
The fullness of life cannot be
constrained to the confines of a jar.
Being a person is only an idea.
It serves to maskthe underlying essence
in the same way that clouds obscure the sun.
When this idea is seen through,
what remains is brilliance itself.
In rapport to Personality, the Veil consists in the fact that all which is essential in our being, like Love, Joy, and Vision abide far beyond the personality; even consciousness in itself is completely impersonal.
Every emotions and feelings, from the negative ones to the most intense love are impersonal as well:
they are triggered by the conditionings that the Veil
deeply set in our brain.
The Devil’s Advocate:
Luckily for us, almost all humans fail to understand that their cherished “person” is an ILLUSION.
Until they do, I and my client can take it easy!
Personality is the limitation of your true Self
caused by the forces of your life, the prison of a small field of experience
that must be transcended to discover
who you really are
Words of Power:
Mistaking our personality for who we really are is like mistaking
our clothes for our body of flesh.
The person is but a very hard, thorny chain
imprisoning you: break it.
Do you feel ready to break it?
If not, why not?
The reasons that you mind will come up not to strive to break it are unlikely to the main ones.
Limitation is the very essence of personality.
“When God wants to become a person,
God becomes you…” Mooji
“Undeceive yourself and be free.You are not a person.”
“To be a person is to be asleep.”
Question/ko’han 1 to 4:
What does your personality mean to you?
Would you like to have a different one?
Question/ko’han 5 to 7:
Carl Jung warned that
Every part of the personality you do not love
will become hostile to you.
Can you clearly see what has to be changed in your personality?
Once seen, are you determined to love and change it?
If yes, how?
Sri Aurobindo has the last word and goes to the core of the issue:
It is behind the mystery of the presence of personality in an apparently
Impersonal universe – as in that of consciousness
manifesting out of the Inconscient,
life out of the inanimate, soul out of brute Matter – that is hidden
the solution of the riddle of existence.
1) Consider this passage of Jean Marc Mantel:
This person named myself has no existence
outside my mind.
Because of the identification with the body-mind, I take myself for what
I see. When the awareness arises that I am not what I see, but
the seeing itself, the illusion of the person vanishes.
What we name ‘the person’ has a functional interest, but you don’t need to take yourself for that. You are not the body-mind.
You are the knower of the body-mind. The knower is not a thought. It is consciousness itself. Consciousness has no personal characteristics: no form, no taste, no color, and no odor.
Consciousness knows itself, but “you” cannot know it
as an object. You can only be it.
2) Meditate on this insight of Ramana Maharshi:
All that a guru can tell you is: ‘My dear Sir, you are quite mistaken about yourself.
You are not the person you take yourself to be.’
There is no such thing as a person.
There are only restrictions and limitations.
The sum total of these defines the person.
The person merely appears to be, like the space within the pot appears to have the shape and volume and smell of the pot.
There is nothing to practice. To know yourself, be yourself.
To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that.
Just be. Let your true nature emerge.
3) Meditate also on this passage of Nisargadatta Maharaj:
As long as you take yourself to be a person,a body and a mind,separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surfaceand whatsoever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straw to feed the flames of vanity.
The dissolution of personality is followed always by a sense
of great relief, as if a heavy burden
has fallen off.
1) This passage of Jean Klein:
There is a cosmic personality, a trans–personality, that appears and disappears when you need it.
You are nothing more than a channel, responding according to the situation.
You function as somebody, as a person. You live constantly in choice.
You live completely in the psychological structure
of like and dislike, which brings you sorrow.
If you identify yourself with your personality, it means you identify yourself as your memory because personality is memory, what I call psychological memory.
In this seeing, this natural giving up, the personality goes away.
And when you live in this nothingness, something
completely different emerges.
Instead of seeing life in terms of the projections of your personality, things appear in your life as they are, as facts.And these appearings naturally bring their own solution.
You are no longer identified with your personality, with psychological memory, though your functional memory remains.
2) These words of Mère:
You wouldn’t say that the gramophone has created
the sound you hear, would you?
That would never occur to you. But as you are under the illusion of your separate personality, these thoughts which cross your mind and ﬁnd expression, these feelings which pass through your vital and ﬁnd expression,
you think, have come from you; but nothing comes from you.
Where is the “you” which can create all that?
3) These verses from Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri:
For only the unborn spirit’s timeless power
Can lift the yoke imposed by birth in Time.
Only the Self that builds this ﬁgure of self
Can erase the ﬁxed interminable line
That joins these changing names, these numberless lives,
These new oblivious personalities
And keeps still lurking in our conscious acts
The trail of old forgotten thoughts and deeds,
Disown the legacy of our buried selves,
The burdensome heirship to our vanished forms
Accepted blindly by the body and soul.
Once merely a person myself deemed. Just like
being in a prison it was, bound hands and feet,
deeply drugged and unaware of it, in a dream
forever here and there inanely wandering …