Observe yourself. Can you discern the desires and fears that drive your primary persona? Can you see the constantly fluctuating desires and fears that give apparent life to the multitude of roles you play?
To repeat, Maharaj says: It is not you who desires, fears and suffers, it is the person built on the foundation of your body. So – if you are not the person who desires, fears and suffers, who is? The person he is referring to is the false self – a construction built out of a network of desires and fears, all imagined and designed to protect, preserve and reinforce this false identity. Many seekers, trapped at the level of personality identification, are so entranced that they are unable to discern the personas at play, or the desires and fears that fuel them. To them the false self “feels” natural and normal, just as the conditioned kitten may feel natural and normal behaving like a dog.
Interestingly for the Advaitin seeker, there is a tool that can assist with the identification of the primary persona and its debilitating influence. The tool of the Enneagram identifies nine main personality types or false selves and pinpoints the primary desire and fear that motivates each type with uncanny accuracy. As Floyd explains: The first false self that will be adopted as a persona develops in reaction to exposure to various abnormal circumstances. That earliest persona will be one of the nine most basic personality types, such as “The Helper,” “The Performer,” “The Boss” or “The Peacemaker.” Later, so many roles will be assumed as identities that most persons of adult age cannot even begin to make a complete list of all the personas they have adopted.
The Advaitin seeker can make use of the Enneagram to make the invisible net of desires and fears and the hidden conditioned influences visible. When the earliest or primary personality is deconstructed, the seeker, with detachment, is able to see how the relative life has been spent robotically driven by the winds of these desires and fears. In this way, the seeker can observe that the desires and fears and suffering are of the person and not the Real Self. Once this tool is understood, it is not difficult to identify the remaining parade of personas or “crowd of changeable fools” with their clamouring attractions and aversions. Entranced by personality, you are being controlled by this crowd of fools anyway; far more useful to get to know what makes these personas “tick”, so that their reactive patterning while still in place can be witnessed with detachment, rather than acted out with intoxication.
[Note: while we refer here to “seeker” – this too is a persona/false self that will be eliminated; however, often it is the last to go, after the more primary personas are seen and abandoned]
Remember, within the context of these Teachings, there is no suggestion to fix or improve any personas, as is the bread and butter of the personal development movement. Since the personas represent the false self, the invitation is to watch with keen observation, and simply witness the false personas, with the knowledge that this is not who you are. When they are seen directly as phantom roles born out of adaptive behaviour and conditioning, they lose their power, and like whisps of smoke, they dissipate.
Maharaj reminds you: Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that while all happens, comes and goes, you alone are, the changeless among the changeful, the self-evident among the inferred. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications.
Can you see that the so-called hopes, dreams and experiences of each role are just a random collection of memories and thoughts that provoke patterned behaviour, giving the appearance of reality? What are these memories, thoughts, impressions when they are not collected or grouped around a central organizing point? As Maharaj explains, there is just a stream of events. You are the silent witness of these dramas and comedies, the highs and lows of relative life. You are not the person who plays the part. Remind yourself again and again: the person who desires, fears and suffers – that is not you.
To be continued.
Please enter the silence of contemplation.
For extending teaching on the Advaitan Understanding – and the removal of the false that obscures Your Real Nature, see the links on the right hand side of this blog. Seekers trapped in personality identification may find an Ennegram reading of assistance. See the option: Understanding Your Personality By Using the Enneagram (scroll through the services offered at The Official Website of Floyd Henderson)
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