Cultivate your true personality for spiritual and personal growth
Sullins Stuart - August 14, 2022
There tends to be a lot of focus by spiritual teachers and other thought leaders on false personality and for good reason. False personality is opposed to your spiritual and personal growth.
Fortunately, there’s also a part of you that works against false personality—true personality—and you can cultivate it and have it assist you in growing personally and spiritually.
Your false personality is who you imagine yourself to be. It begins at an early age and is more or less fully developed around adolescence. Many factors influence your false personality—parents, siblings, peers, teachers, social media, society, television, film, advertising, etc.
False personality tries to convince you that wearing what's currently fashionable, making a lot of money, driving a fancy car, etc., will make you more appealing, happy and successful.
False personality wants to be liked and seeks the approval of others. It’s also the part of you that judges, gossips, lies, cheats, and does a myriad of other things to appear better or superior to others.
If you are seeking personal and spiritual growth, it’s important to be aware of and work against false personality for two reasons. One, because it is an imaginary picture of yourself, key word imaginary. Two, false personality does not want you to be aware of it or for you to grow spiritually because that exposes it for what it truly is—false—which contributes to its demise.
As Buddha began to awaken, he saw the power of false personality and its role in conditioning our behavior and the suffering it causes. He taught how to overcome false personality and spiritually evolve with the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path:
1. Suffering exists.
2. The cause of suffering is one’s desires, wants and cravings (false personality)
3. To end suffering, lose your desires, wants and cravings
4. To rid yourself of your desires, wants and cravings, and reach nirvana, follow the Eightfold Path: right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right meditation.
The more false personality diminishes, the more true personality is revealed. This is what you should cultivate to grow spiritually and personally—your true personality. Some of you may not even be aware that you have a true personality. It’s tied to your essence.
There are two types of essence, spiritual and physical.
Your spiritual essence is your soul, the part of you that is divine and eternal.
Your physical essence encompasses all of those qualities that are innate to you and can be observed at a very young age: being left or right brained, being a positive or negative type and whether you tend to act/react from your emotions, instincts or intellect.
Activities that are in our physical essence are much easier for us. They also tend to be things that we enjoy and come naturally to us, for example, someone who loves math, excels at writing or is a natural athlete.
When we are living in our essence, life is easier because we are being true to our physical selves. When we stray from our essence, we engage our false personality and life becomes more problematic as we are then more concerned with our desires, cravings, attachments, and fears.
Have you ever lost yourself in an activity? Have you ever been so fully engaged in doing something that you lost track of time and seemed at one with the task at hand? I've recently heard it referred to as being in "flow state."
This often happens to me when I’m gardening. It’s in my essence and when I’m working in the yard, I easily become very present caring for my plants, my hands in the soil, feeling at one with nature. It also happens when I go for a walk or I'm at the beach as nature feeds our essence.
In these moments, I will often receive inspiration from the universe that assists me in something I may be working towards in my spiritual work, or I will be shown how I could have handled a situation better by being more loving and compassionate.
True personality is tied to essence and aligns with the needs of essence and our spiritual work.
It is your true personality that alerts you it’s time to go to the beach or the mountains to recharge spiritually. It is your true personality that encourages you to be more creative, to be more playful, more imaginative, more engaged in life, more present.
True personality encourages us to do things that are in our essence.
When we operate from our essence, we are naturally less negative as we are closer to being in harmony with our true selves. The farther we stray from our essence, the more negative we become.
Do you know someone who hates their job? Most likely, their job is not in their essence. It may be a job they initially thought they might like, maybe the pay was really good, or they felt some other obligation or pressure to do it. No matter the reason, it will be very hard for that person to become fulfilled in that occupation because it's not in their essence and it will continue to contribute to their suffering.
I know someone who hates their job to the point that they told me that if they were making three times their current salary, they would still hate their job. I keep trying to encourage this individual to do something more closely tied to their essence, but fear (false personality) keeps getting in the way.
So, if you are unhappy or unfulfilled, is it possibly because you are not being true to yourself? Is it possible you are not living in congruence with your physical and spiritual nature?
If so, take a few minutes to reflect and then ask yourself, what is my physical essence? What activities and things do I naturally excel? What activities do I gravitate towards? What do I like to do in my free time? If money were no object, what job would I love to do? If you need help, think about what you enjoyed as a child or ask someone who has known you a really long time what they have observed about you. Others who know you well can be of great benefit in determining characteristics of your essence.
Furthermore, don't be dismayed if you are in an occupation that is not in your essence and you cannot change jobs due to your circumstances. Instead, find activities or hobbies that you can do in your free time that are in your essence.
If you dreamed of being a writer, take a creative writing class and investigate self-publishing. If you always thought of being an actor, check out your local community theater. If you wanted to be an artist, take a drawing or painting class.
And don’t let your false personality tell you that you’re too old. Louise Hay started Hay House Publishing when she was 60. Julia Child didn’t appear on television until she was 50. Grandma Moses didn’t start painting in earnest until she was 78.
As you begin to live more from your physical and spiritual essence, you will find your true personality naturally aligning with Buddha’s eightfold path. You will begin to have thoughts encouraging you towards right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation.
And your personal and spiritual life will flourish.
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