September 13, 2006

Persona (Personality)

Our persona is a facade, and that facade doesn’t let us see the work we need to do on ourselves. Behind the facade of our persona is a disturbed mind. Our mind is disturbed by all the junk we have put into it, and also by the rot and decay resulting from lack of proper maintenance and self-improvement.

Imagine a beautiful home with a nice exterior facade of brick veneer or slabs of marble. But behind the facade the structural framework is rotting. Eventually that beautiful home is going to crumble; it’s going to fall apart. In the same way, a human being who doesn’t see the inner work that needs to be done, and just puts on a facade of being happy, is only fooling himself or herself. Unless they do real work on improving their mind and making it solid with wisdom, they will definitely fall to pieces one day. Outwardly they may continue to put on a show, but inwardly they will be a mess. Unfortunately, this is the case with many people today, because they are not doing their homework.

We cannot continue to fill our mind with nonsense and then expect our life to make any sense. If the life doesn’t make sense it is only because we are trying to make sense of the nonsense. Life is what it is, and what it is is beautiful if we make our mind beautiful. If our mind is beautiful we will be beautiful. If our mind is ugly we too will be ugly, regardless how we try to cover it up with our personality.

Our personality is just a shadow; it is not the real self. It is the shadow cast in our life due to the interference of our ego and self-will. If we expel our ego from the mind, the light of consciousness will shine through our thoughts and that expression will be divine. We can call it ‘godhead-personality’, because it is devoid of selfish ego. If you think everyone is going to recognize that godhead personality, think again. It never works that way. If you do your homework and consequently pass the test, it doesn’t mean everyone is going to know your mark or grade. Of course, they will likely sense your confidence and strength, and may be attracted to be near you — some to cheat and others to learn. If you are really deep you will not fall for the empty praises of the slackers, nor will you be too quick to advise every seeker.

When we see our personality but don’t get attached to it, we become established in our Higher Self. To do that, we have to forget ourselves. The problem is this: if we are caught up in our personality, we will also get caught up in other personalities too, and we will never know the Essence of Being. Personality is just a flavor of ego. Like so many flavors of ice cream, there are so many flavors of ego, but the truth is that none of them provide any real nourishment. It is just another junk food for the mind. Personality just adds more junk relationships, junk memories, and junk feelings to the mind. The ‘personality play’ is just a waste of time and a waste of life.

To experience the state of Pure Consciousness we must go beyond our personality and stop feeding into the personalities of others. We don’t have to be people-pleasers, but we do have to please our own soul. We make our soul happy when we see ourselves and everyone around us as living souls, as the beginingless, endless expression of Pure Consciousness. OM

Becoming Open-Minded

What is a narrow mind? A narrow mind is one which is filled with images. Now, let’s come to an understanding about what images really are. To begin with, we have impressions in our mind. These impressions come about from our experiences. More specifically, they are created in the mind when ‘ I ‘ do actions. The key word here is ‘ I ‘, which means ‘me’, which means ego-self, which means the identification of the eternally conscious Self with the temporary ‘body’ (body, mind, intellect, and all the things of this world of mind and matter). No one remembers their first action in this body, and certainly not their first impression either. We may incorrectly call our first memory our first impression, but in fact, our memories are formed from our impressions. The impressions referred to here are subtle impressions (SAMSKARAS). Naturally, we may also form ‘impressions’ of our memories too.

From our impressions arise subtle tendencies (VASANAS). These subtle tendencies become full blown desires when the ‘environment’ for their fulfillment comes about. These tendencies and desires induce the mind to ‘think’. That is, we have thoughts related to our impressions, tendencies, and desires. In fact, we are prompted, or impelled to think in order to satisfy our desires created from our impressions. [Remember: at the subtle level, our desires are VASANAS, or motivating tendencies.] Our thoughts form our attitudes, or mental disposition. Together, our thoughts, attitudes, and mental disposition are called VRITTIS. Our mental disposition makes us disposed to act in a certain way, according to our impressions and tendencies. So, our attitude, or mental disposition leads us to do actions which in turn create more impressions, and thus the cycle of KARMA goes on, and on, and on. (Karma, Samskara, Vasana, Vritti, Karma. . . . .)

This brings us back to the explanation of ‘images’. All images are formed in our thoughts. In fact, images are thoughts, attitudes, and mental dispositions to which we cling to. It is this ‘clinging’ that makes the thought an image. An image of what? An image of ourselves. In other words, the ‘cling-on’ is our own ego, which attaches to a particular thought to validate its existence. We support our separate identity by holding on to those thoughts (attitudes, etc.) which perpetuate our separate selfhood. These images are the ‘hood’ that covers the self and creates in the mind the illusion of separateness. When we remove the images we dis-cover, or uncover the Truth (our own True Self) and the mind recovers from the spell of self-delusion.

When the mind is filled with images (which simply means: ‘when we are using our mind to support our ego’), our mind becomes constricted and this constriction creates friction and tension in the mind. We are stressed-out by our own images and ego-expectations. But when we open up our mind, by dropping our images and false expectations, the mind becomes free and clear.

So, how do we do it? How do we remove our mental images? We remove our images by filling our mind with the Wisdom of Consciousness: with the explanation and knowledge of what our real nature is, and what is the real nature of this world (including of course our mind, body, intellect, ego, etc.). The wisdom will create a stir in the mind and make it difficult to remain complacent. Wisdom makes the mind that is filled with images very uncomfortable, but it also gives the mind new insights which are very refreshing. Naturally, the mind wants to feel ‘refreshed’. To get more refreshment, the mind makes room for more wisdom by removing more images. When the mind becomes completely image-free, the ego no longer has any support and is removed from the mind. Through intense spiritual practice, the ego is eventually dissolved and the self stands clear. The true nature of the Self, which is self-effulgent and ever free, is manifested. OM