Friday, January 16, 2009

Eliminating Your Persona

Today a burning issue with respect to spiritual education is the lack of freedom at an individual level. As one who embarks on the path of truth from early childhood, every seeker encounters teachers, parents and social conditioning which continuously modify and shape One’s mental makeup. There is no freedom of thought leave alone expression.

An insight that was shared by Jung, who was also interested in a very deep sense of freedom, can be expressed as follows; Jung put the activity of differentiation at the foundation of this deep freedom and ultimate human realisation. For Jung, differentiation was an ending of identification. He felt a person needed to stop identifying with his culture, nation, family and even with himself in the sense of ceasing to identify with his persona or constructed image of himself. (Persona comes from the Latin word 'persona' which means mask, character or personality.) This is not a cold and heartless distancing that some might imagine, but a stripping away of the accretions of identity accumulated from infancy onwards, so that the unique (what others might call ‘self’) can be discovered.

It happens that we all come into realisation of our conditioned existence only in our adult life after sufficient damage has been inflicted. For full empowerment of individuals, seeking spiritual awakening, it is essential to provide an ambience of total freedom and knowledge base for igniting an internal drive which will strip away all aggregated layers of modification of the psyche. Religion or even organised initiatives are not designed to play this empowering role. Hence it is through holistic education that this freedom can be achieved.

The act of eradicating your persona must reach to the very primal stage of absolute nakedness.
This is the reason that with the acquisition of the very first intake of corrupting knowledge or donning of the first mask, Adam and Eve discovered their physical nakedness.
In the Gospel of Thomas, when the disciples ask Jesus, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?"
Jesus said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid." …Saying 37

Only this utter striping away can elevate us to the consciousness of our primal, divine nature.

Love to you all

2 comments :

  1. Thank you for your email. I read the Blog on Eradicating your Persona. Yes, we do have to remove the masks we have been conditioned to wear from our infancy. However, this is easier said than done.

    It is my experience that we cannot consciously remove any of our masks. Try as I might, I cannot stop myself from being a 'father' or a 'grandfather'.Those who force themselves to do so, will either become cold-hearted, unattached persons or neurotics. I myself travelled this path under the wrong notion born of such exhortations and the effect on me and on my family was not a happy one. Fortunately, through the grace of my Master I realised my mistake and changed my course. I would not like any others to travel this path under the wrong notion of trying to force themselves into becoming un-attached.

    Removal of these masks is one effect of ones journey towards spiritual enlightenment and not a cause of it. It emerges as one advances forward. Reviewing the process one can easily discover how smoothly the person's persona fades away as one moves forward in the light of universal-ness which is full of compassion and 'one-ness'. As Nisargadutta Maharaj has put it, the fruit ripens slowly and, one day, suddenly falls to the ground.

    This salient fact is ignored by 99% of the people who exhort people to 'remove your masks'.

    Jesus's quote in the Gospel According to Thomas, which you have given in your blog, is very apt, though much misunderstood. Jesus did not say 'remove your masks'. He said, that he will appear after the masks have been removed. The phrasing is critical. Yes, he will appear after the masks have been removed and the seekers have become innocently child-like. However, just by exhorting them to do so, they will not become like that and Eshoa does not ask them to do so. He just tells them what the final stage when he would appear would be like. That stage is a product of meditation and other practices which seers throughout the ages have taught.

    We must remember that Jung was a psychologist and not a realised spiritual Master. As a guide on the spritual path it is preferable to follow one who has travelled that path before and not merely theoretically researched the psyche. On the TV and in books we can see and read the words of various spiritual gurus who keep echoing Jung and telling us to 'remove our masks'. There are other gurus who tell us to keep repeating or chanting "Aham Brahmasmi" - I am the holy spirit. Neither practice will result in anything except fruitless effort. Aham Brahmasmi comes on its own, once the masks are removed and the person can see beyond his persona at his one-ness with All That Is. The masks are removed once the seeker, through his or her efforts moves forward on his spiritual journey. Such efforts include meditation, satsanga (good company), self-control and compassion. They also include the grace of a realised Master in most cases, as we can see in the enlightenment of Nisargadutta Maharaj. Some seers, like Ramana Maharshi are born spiritually inclined.

    I am sending you this response because I wish the focus of our spiritual efforts was less on the effects than on causes. Effects will come, if the efforts are focused on the correct path. Focusing only on the effects will be self-defeating as this spiritual journey is one on which one lives in the moment and learns to move with the flow of the universe. When the focus is not on the present and is on some future heaven then the seeker tumbles.

    Best wishes,

    Kishore

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  2. Kishore,

    Thanks for the beautiful insight and elucidation. I am 100% with you that taking off the mask results from one becoming spiritually enlightened and not the other way around. As you have explained it is a process that by elevating our consciousness through various spiritual practices one's acquired masks fall away.
    My reference to Jung was purely from his desire for providing the freedom and ambience and not the process for modifying the psyche.
    He might appear to have gone overboard in saying "a person needed to stop identifying with his culture, nation, family and even with himself in the sense of ceasing to identify with his persona or constructed image of himself", but this exhortation applies only to the spiritual journey and not karmic roles.

    When Jesus disciples tell him "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
    Jesus saying "Who are my mother and my brothers? Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
    This does not mean that Jesus disowned his earthly duty or relationships but illustrates that in the pursuit of one's spiritual awakening all else stands excluded.

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