Saturday, April 17, 2010

A JOINT POSTING FROM THE SITE CO-HOSTS: On Personality (a.k.a., Ego) and Arrogance (a.k.a., Egotism), Part Three

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An Advaita forum focusing on Realisation, enlightenment, non-duality, Real Love, peace, freedom, Your original nature, abiding naturally, the Oneness, the Nothingness, and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Here, there is nothing that is believed, so there is no one here who wants you to believe anything, either. Here, the invitation is to be free of all that you have been programmed, conditioned, acculturated, and domesticated to believe so that you can be free, period.

This is the first joint posting and came about spontaneously. More may happen spontaneously…or not.

“…The personality is only an obstacle. As long as you do not see that it is a mere habit, built on the memory, prompted by desire, you will think yourself to be a person.”

F.: And Maharaj was restrained in calling personality an “obstacle.” It has been noted before that personality is actually the bane of human existence. What else could be said of a force that blindly determines what persons think, that leads to talk that happens from a sleep state even as persons believe that they are fully awake and are choosing their words;

and that leads to behaviors that make no sense at all; that are totally childish, no matter one’s age; that are totally predictable to the pure witness but that are not understood at all by the ones involved in personality-driven behaviors; and that generates all of the destructive actions that mark the typical relative existence.

Persons over the course of a lifetime will assume scores and even hundreds of false identities / ego-states / personalities, each with its own, unique suffering-generating fear or misery-generating desire;

however, the assumption of a false identity begins in childhood when one of nine basic personalities is formed as a result of a child trying to cope with an unnatural environment in the home and in her / his culture.

Then, throughout the remainder of the relative existence, persons are driven blindly and unknowingly by the “memory” Maharaj referenced. That remembering of the stamp of personality that came about because of dysfunctionalism can only generate…more dysfunctionalism.

The result is an adult population around the globe that is embroiled in personality-driven fears and / or personality-driven desires that are based in a six-year-old’s memory that can only result in adults who think and speak and behave in ways that are far more typical of a six-year-old than mature adults. That is the toll of personality: childish desires and childish fears and childish preoccupations and childish self-absorption and childish obsessing and childish misperceiving.

Louise: Without the movement into desire or fear … what is? This is the question that Realization answers. The ego-driven mind perceives the world as if it is a three-dimensional Rorschach test – and projects onto it a layer of conceptual meaning – good or bad depending on the triggering motivator. How does the rope appear to be a snake? The rope is imbued with the fear-based projection of menace or threat, although in actuality it is neutral. Entranced at the level of personality, in each moment, the person perceives neutrality through the filter of personal desires and fears, creating a unique world that matches this perception.

F.: Is it not clear, therefore, why personality—and all of its ramifications—must be seen?

Maharaj: “The entire mechanism of personality [must be] grasped and firmly held."

F.: If personality is not understood, then no seeker will be able to grasp that it is merely “a product of the imagination” (Maharaj); therefore, personality is just another illusion that is to be understood in order to discard all belief in it.

That is the only means by which it can be eliminated in order to be free of the influence of this overriding force that produces unnatural thoughts, unnatural talk, unnatural behavior, and unnatural emoting. Only via that understanding can one follow the advice of Maharaj to “go beyond the personality, with its addictions and obsessions.”

So, to lay a foundation, here is a brief review of the nine basic personality types that drive thought and word and deed from age six onward (and that trap adults in that age six mode of thinking and speaking and behaving):

Type One – The Perfectionist, The Judge, The Critic, The Know-It-All
Type Two – The Helper, The Savior, The Histrionic or Over-Emotional One
Type Three – The Performer, The Achiever, The Seeker of Applause, the Non-Authentic One, The Imagemaker
Type Four – The Romantic, the Seeker of the Authentic Self
Type Five – The Analyst, the Avoider, The Knowledge Seeker
Type Six – The Dependent One, The Seeker of Security
Type Seven – The Adventurer, The Escapist, The Avoider of Pain or Suffering
Type Eight – The Control Freak, The Overly-Assertive One
Type Nine – The Peacemaker, The Doormat, The Procrastinator

Persons are driven from early on by the blinding effects of personality as well as throughout their entire lives unless Realization happens, and all who do not Realize will continue to fall prey to living under the influence of the traits of their primary type and the traits of many other types as well. Notice how restrictive is the effect of personality, Maharaj noting, “Self-limitation is the very essence of personality” and referring to personality as “obtuse” and “perverted.”

Yet, as noted, the influence and impact on thoughts and words and actions does not end with being driven blindly by the primary type alone. Each person can integrate other types and can, when stressed or trapped in arrogance, disintegrate into the very worst of another type;

can show the traits of the adjacent types (for example, a Three can display Two traits and Four traits); and can display the traits of one or more internalize types (where, for example, a person with a dominate Eight as a parent might also exhibit Eight traits later on).

L.: How can an EIGHT when fearful and without self-awareness react in any other way than externalising and demanding and exhibiting a massive sense of entitlement?

Related to that pointer, Maharaj taught: “As long as you are enmeshed in the tribulations of a particular personality, you can see nothing beyond it.”

L.: How can the FOUR, when fearful and under stress, react in any other way than melancholic isolation? It is inexplicable that these tools of personality analysis are not widely understood and used.

F.: Consider the total powerlessness of being driven by the agenda of one or more of those types. Consider the instability when one is being driven unconsciously by three or four or five or six of those personality types (a.k.a., “multiple personality disorder,” and far more persons on the planet than some might guess are driven by an array of those nine personalities combined with the effects of the many other personas adopted as identities.)

Conversely, consider the freedom that comes when personality goes.

Maharaj: “The dissolution of personality is followed always by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off.”

F.: Next, for a complete understanding, see that persons also add to the mix of an assortment of the nine basic types all of the other personas that are assigned or adopted. By the time persons reach the age of 30, they have likely played scores and scores of roles or personas, all with multiple and divergent agendas:

student; friend; lover; spouse; employee; homeowner; investor; citizen; Democrat or Republican or Tory or Communist or Socialist or Social Democrat or whatever parties exist in various cultures; bill payer; business person; employer; Buddhist or Taoist or Muslim or Jew or Christian; native American or Caucasian or African or African-American or Asian or Aryan / Anglo-Saxon; citizen of this country or that; ad infinitum.

Any time that persons / personas / personalities feel threatened (when they hear “I’m leaving you” or “You’re fired,” for example) the worst of the primary personality along with the worst of the type to which that type disintegrates combine with the worst of the internalized types. The result is a combination of subconscious motivators that will all inspire a variety of reactions which will trigger emotional intoxication.

Such emotional intoxication, by the way, only happens when one is attached to an ego-state / personality as an identity. The result will be that thoughts and words and deeds will be driven by the hidden agendas of the types rather than by any ability for persons to make sane and sound and reasonable and logical choices.

L.: Personality-driven actions, rooted as they are in achieving desires and avoiding fears, prompt persons to act in particular ways regardless of what is natural and reasonable. Much of what is dysfunctional on this planet is driven by these hidden yet overpowering personality motivators.

F.: At the third step on the seven-step “path” to Full Realization, personality must be understood if its influence is to be recognized and abandoned. Only then can the seeker move farther along the “path” and complete the steps that are beyond personality and identity.

L.: [To realize is to] understand the subtle flavours; the interplay of all of the influencing factors. Such an understanding is like the difference between playing nine simple tutored tunes on a violin and playing something unique, improvised, complex, authentic.

[ Louise and I have both found that a full understanding of your personality and all of the subtle flavorings and influencing factors that have determined your thoughts and words and actions for the entirety of your life can best be addressed by use of the Enneagram method. ]

Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)

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