Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Personality & Individuality

I just love learning about how we work...! There are so many ways to approach the way we're created ... so many terms, models, understandings to consider. What resonates for one may sound like a bunch of malarkey to another.

I rather prefer to collect it all ... put it on the shelf to consider, and allow all the components to come together to form a "bigger picture" ... threads of a tapestry, perhaps. And I notice that the tapestry becomes more clear, more detailed, as more component-threads are added to it ... and threads which previously seemed out of place can suddenly "fit" when another thread is found.

Given all that, I'm enjoying reading about personality and individuality ... as understood and taught by Edgar Cayce. It meshes well with what Tolle teaches about the ego and the Spirit. Of course, as always, use whatever fits for you ... perhaps suspend the rest.

Cayce makes this bold claim: "Jesus the Christ is an example for us of the right relationship between personality and individuality."

Of course, to understand what he meant by that, we have to understand what these terms mean.

Personality is the outer self that we present to the rest of the world, to others. Jung would call it the "persona". It's the mask we each wear, that which we hide behind ... that which carries us through daily life. It's our familiar self-identity. It's the "story we tell ourselves" ... that which we believe about ourselves ... our familiar routine ways ... those inner voices with which we second-guess and criticize/judge ourselves.

The personality is consumed with itself, and its own sense of self-importance. It desires to have others recognize it's personal superiority (and this can be oh-so-subtle! if we see it in another, we have it in ourselves). It puts itself in the center of all things. The personality operates both consciously and unconsciously... though it tends to be unconscious most of the time, for most people. Thus, so many operate on "auto-pilot" ... with strong habit patterns influencing or even driving us.

On the other hand, individuality is our authentic being. The higher self. Not perfect, but that which has capacity for growth ... and it even inherently leans in the direction of growth (whereas the personality is quite addicted to status quo, and resists growth/change).

Individuality is that part of us that can be awakened in meditation ... it's the real self beneath the personality-chatter. It's who we find recognizes God, when we get still, and know that God Is (not conceivably, but experientially -- there is a difference).

The personality is consumed with self, whereas the individuality is concerned with the Whole. The personality sees separation, whereas the individuality is aware that it is only experientially/temporarily distinct -- that it is inherently part of the Whole -- it knows all is One. The personality says "what's in it for me?" whereas the individuality says, "what's best for all?"

Now, obviously, in this material world we're experiencing, the personality is necessary, as is the physical body. Clearly we do need to look out for ourselves, take care of ourselves, and even develop helpful habits and routines.

The problem comes when we lose touch with our individuality (true self/Spirit-connection) and believe that our personality (false self/ego) is all there is.

I found this to be helpful ... just another thread to weave into the unfolding tapestry...!

Shalom, Dena


chris said...

Isn't it funny how we usually get the two mixed up. Personality is what we usually cultivate, leaving individuality in the cold. Silly humans!!!!

Dena said...

LOL - silly humand indeed!

If we learned to laugh at our own, and each other's, foibles ... rather than destroying each other over them, what could we do with all that energy...?!?

Anna said...

I just wanted to say that you are an incredible woman. I accidentally stumbled across your art blog (your work is fabulous, by the way) and have spent the last hour and a half reading your thoughts. I finally decided it was time to call it a night, but you have certainly given me much to think about. Your outlook on life is inspiring and you put your thoughts into words beautifully. There are so many concepts about the spiritual aspect of life that I agree with or that explain my own outlook quite perfectly. Thank you for sharing your amazing insight and knowledge. You've enabled me to organize and rethink my views and inspired me to live life more fully. You are amazing.

Dena said...

Oh wow.

May I live up to your view of me!

I want you to know that you've been "used" (got to be a better word) by God. I've jjust been involved in two rather difficult/painful discussions on some online forums, in which I was misunderstood & accused of having some rather destructive motives. There was no way to explain/defend myself, and so I let others think as they would ... but I wondered, "am I arrogant? do I think I'm superior to others? is that how I'm coming across? Please help me see what I need to see, God."

Now, I live with me. And I have a houseful of witnesses who can attest that I can be as crappy or as quasi-saintly as anyone else. I'm a complicit conglomeration of ego and Spirit, like all y'all...! ;)

But I know that my heart's desire is to be as authentic as I know to be, to share who/how I am, AS I am (in process), and to hopefully inspire others to see/be themselves, as God does. I'd love to see everyone walking around, grinning like idiots, wide-eyed with astonishment, muttering, "wow, THAT's how He sees me?!?" And, of course, as a direct result, to see everyone else the same way...!

Yeah ... I have lofty goals. I'm determined to learn to live this, even in (especially in!) the most difficult circumstances/relationships ... and to let it be contagious.

So ... THANK you, dear Anna, my new friend, for telling me this, for encouraging me when I truly needed it. YOU are also amazing. As is everyone reading this, or avoiding this, LOL!

Welcome -- do you have any sites, or thoughts to share? I'd love to know more.