Your Personality and Your Individuality
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2013-11-11
Finding that part of you that's been the same throughout your entire life. Putting positive experiences into the subconscious mind through affirmations changes us in a very dramatic way. Devotional worship helps us to harness pride, be humble but positive. Anava mala's obscuration makes you think you're separate. Facing challenges, difficult tasks and overcoming them, obscuration is removed through the grace of Sivashakti. Grasp the sense of revealing grace from Siva's point of view.
Master Course, Merging with Siva, Lesson 213
Hinduism Today, 7/8/9:2013 From the Agamas, From Bondage to Liberation.
Reading this morning from Merging with Siva, Lesson 213 on:
"Personality and Individuality
"Many people become attached to their personality and suffer when it changes. One cannot, however, be attached to his individuality. In identifying the difference between personality and individuality, we can say that man's individuality is the actinic, superconscious mind, which is constant, permanent, ever-unfolding and secure, and deep within, at a more intense rate of vibration than his odic conscious and subconscious mind, which make up the ever-changing personality."
Gurudeva would put that in a very simple way. He'd say: I'm the same now as I was when I was born.
He could remember when he was born, most of us can't. But, the idea of being the same throughout your entire life, never, never having changed. Finding that part of you that's been the same throughout your entire life. That's the way he would put that idea. Because, of course, our personality changes particularly as we're growing up, you know. Small child has a certain personality, a medium age child is different. Teenager different, getting in your twenties, you're different. And then, you don't change as often once you get twenty-five or so, you change less frequently. But you go through all kinds of personalities just in the first twenty-five years of life. But yet, to find that part of you that was the same through all of those personalities, that's what Gurudeva's talking about as our individuality which doesn't change.
"It is conceivable that man can have many different personalities, but he can have only one constantly unfolding individuality. And so it is the ego or personality masks we must identify as being the unreal and impermanent, and the actinic individuality as being the permanent, secure, ever unfolding and refined actinic phase of the mind. This week do an internal concentration on the words personality and individuality. Try to locate your individuality by identifying your several masks or personalities that you have created in this life and write your findings on why you can get attached to personality but cannot get attached to individuality.
"You perhaps have had a series of good, positive and constructive experiences. They have gone deep into your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind has reorganized itself, giving you a more positive constructive, fruitful outlook on life. As a result, several weeks later your friends say to you, 'You look different. Your face has a glow. You appear eight years younger.' These compliments also go into your subconscious mind, and you begin to feel good about your physical body. These good feelings, constructive, healthy feelings, again go into the subconscious mind and build from within itself a new atomic structure for the physical body. You take a new lease on life. Your body grows younger because your mind has had good impressions placed within it.
"Think on this. Be renewed by a change of your mind, and seek for the constructive experiences with a positive reaction..."
Well we've talked about that a number of times, how our experiences in life, positive or negative, mold our subconscious mind. So if the experiences have been particularly negative, then it's molded in a way whereby we may have a strong pessimistic view of life and our self. Whatever I do won't really work out. The world isn't going to really improve. You know, we're pessimists. Why are we pessimists? Because we've added abundance of negative experiences going into the subconscious mind. And that has molded our outlook into a negative one.
So what Gurudeva's pointing out here is: When we have positive experiences go into the subconscious it changes us in a very dramatic way. You get enough positive experiences in there and you actually look different. You think differently. You're no longer a pessimist. You're an optimist. Why? Because more positive experiences have gone in and of course, as we know we can put positive experiences in just by using affirmations. We don't have to actually do something; we can just think something. There's no difference. Because what goes in the mind is a result of how we think about it. It's not a result of what actually happens, it's how we think about what happens. So, we can create positive events just through using affirmations, repeating them in our lives, and in that way mold the subconscious in a positive way.
Is one of the aspects of personality is: If we have a strongly negative or even partially negative concept of ourselves and of life we need to get rid of that. And we can! That's not who we are. That's what the subconscious mind has accumulated. That's not who we are, nothing to do with us. Has to do with the experiences that we've put in, the thoughts we've had. That's what molded our opinion of our self. So, if it's negative we need to get rid of that negativity. And one of the ways if affirmations.
You want a positive self concept. But we don't want to be a strong ego because then that becomes another problem. We can become so positive we're kind of overbearing. We're the smartest person in the room and so forth. You know, we've turned from a pessimist into a very proud person. So, we don't want to become extremely proud, we want a certain sense of pride but not a strong sense of pride.
So, that's one of the reasons temple worship, devotional worship is important in Hinduism. It helps us harness our sense of pride because to worship we have to be humble. We have to acknowledge that the Deity is greater than we are: The Deity knows more than I do. Otherwise, worship doesn't work. That basic attitude: Okay, here I am, Deity's greater than, I'm not that great. So, that helps us have a positive personality without becoming proud which is going from one extreme of being too negative to the other extreme of being too proud. So, we want to back off a bit and be humble but positive. That's the goal.
"Allow the reaction to bear fruit within the subconscious mind. Concentrate and feel the good feelings permeating the nerve currents running through the physical body, thus being renewed actinically from within. Good feelings are like food to the physical body. Food from deep within the nervous system, fed out through the circulatory system, right out to the skin, makes for an inner glow which can be seen on your face and through the rest of the body. This constitutes happy organs. In other words, all of the organs of the body are working in perfect timing, one with another, being proportionately fed by actinic energy and the vital [odic] forces. A good well-balanced 'force diet' makes for healthy organs and controlled, calm, central and sympathetic nerve systems."
So that's elaborating on how positive experiences create positive attitude, positive feelings and then that even influences our physical body in a positive way. It's all tied together. The body and the mind aren't separate units, they interrelate.
Some more over here. Thought I'd stretch our mind, read from the Agama page in Hinduism Today. This is about, this relates to individuality and personality.
So individuality, nicely defined here. (Let me see if I can find it.)
So Anava mala is the term in Saiva Siddhanta. It's defined here as the "Individualizing veil of duality, egoity. " And in Gurudeva's writings, for simplicity sometimes, he just says ego. But it's actually the individuating or the separation. Like you have the ocean, you stick the bucket in and you've got water that 's been individuated. It's been separated from the ocean. Pour it back in the ocean, it's not separated anymore. So it's that idea that you've taken a portion of the whole and separated it. Of course it's not really separated but it thinks it's separated. There is no bucket but it thinks there's a bucket. So:
"Sivashakti has the nature of bestowing grace upon all. This grace is bestowed upon intelligent beings and inert things at one and the same time. Grace is bestowed upon the potency of anava mala... thus intensifying it, but not with the intention of making the soul suffer. Whatever action is done by Lord Siva, it is indeed an effective and unfailing help to the soul. It cannot be considered otherwise. As long as there exists the dominion of anava mala, liberation cannot occur to the soul, since liberation is nothing but the complete removal of the anava mala's obscuration."
So, that's the idea of the bucket. If you remove anava mala's obscuration the bucket goes away. It's anava mala that makes you think there's a bucket there, makes you think you're separate. But there isn't there so you just have to remove anava mala's obscuration through the grace of Sivashakti. That's what he's saying.
"But even when the power of anava mala becomes ripe for such maturation, its intensification does not, and cannot, take place of its own accord. It is seen that always and by all means, the non-intelligent object, in this case the ego, is kept in action only by an intelligent being..."
What's that called? Individuality, right? Our individuality keeps the ego functioning. (Lost my place.)
"...This dominant state of anava mala would only be ready for removal once the soul has attained its full maturation."
So that's a very interesting point and Gurudeva says it another way. He always explains things in a way that are easier to understand than this, which is: We have to work through all dharmas. In other words, we aren't necessarily ready for this to happen. We have more things to do in this and in future lives. This won't happen until we're ready for it to happen. We can't force it.
"But even when the power of anava mala becomes ripe for such maturation, its intensification does not, and cannot, take place of its own accord. (That means we need God's grace.) It is seen that always and by all means, the non-intelligent object, in this case the ego, is kept in action only by an intelligent being. (Our individuality.) Therefore, bestowal of grace and the induction of anava mala's maturation must be one and the same. Just of the oft aggravating activities of a physician--such as applying pungent medicinal substances like black-salt and others to a person's wounds--though painful, result in the healthy and happy state for that person, and it would be seen that the physician's actions are not considered cruel. Even so, for the sake of the removal of anava mala, the experiences of pain, misery and so on meted out through karmic effects by Siva should not be considered as afflicting or aggravating activity, but rather as healing, for they drive the soul's evolution through the understanding born of its experiences. "
In other words, it's the idea that the false concept: They need a quiet place to live a peaceful life, right? Oh, if I only had a quiet environment; it'd be peaceful and everything would go well. It's nice to have that once and a while but if you aren't challenged you don't evolve. That's the point; we're supposed to be challenged. We're supposed to face difficult tasks and overcome them successfully. That's part of how we mature. That's what he's saying.
This next one is the last one.
"Since Siva is all-pervasive, His immediate and active presence in all objects and beings cannot be set aside. But where there is no need for His action, He remains neutral and free from any action.
"The power of anava mala obscures the absolute power of knowing-all and doing-all..."
So that's a nice way of thinking of trying to grasp the sense of revealing grace from Siva's point of view, He's always doing it all because He's everyone and everything, right? So we just have to take on Siva's point of view. Instead of just doing what we're doing we need to set that aside and do what everyone is doing, do what everything is doing. If we have the sense that: We are everyone and everything and what it's doing, then we're looking at it from Siva's point of view. So we have, to do that we have to set aside both our personality which keeps us busy in our self. And then, we have to attune our individuality, our awareness into that consciousness that we are doing everything, we are everyone and everything.
So good luck.