Know Thyself -

Our Personality
Our Essential Self


What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.


The Human Mind ~ Robert Winston --
(Hardcover - 1 October, 2003)

Book Description
A fascinating book to accompany a major new BBC1 television series.
Where does our personality come from? Can we explain love at first sight? What do me mean by "intelligence" or "genius"? Can science explain intuition or de-ja-vu? Do we all have the potential to be a Tolstoy, Einstein or Mozart? Focusing on our day-to-day experiences, "The Human Mind", which ties in to a BBC1 television series, sets out to answer these questions and more. Using the latest clinical research and drawing on sources as diverse as "Hamlet" and Sigmund Freud, the FBI and bingo, Robert Winston takes us inside our own heads to see what really makes us tick.


Who am I really?


Krishnamurti - Teachings excerpt - Self knowledge

Last Saturday and Sunday, we were discussing the importance of self-knowledge; because, as I explained, I do not see how we can have any foundation for right thinking without self-knowledge; how any action, however inclusive, however collective or individualistic, can possibly be a harmonious and true action, without fully knowing oneself. Without knowing oneself, there is no possibility of really searching out what is true, what is significant, what are the right values in life. Without self-knowledge, we cannot go beyond the self-projected illusions of the mind. Self-knowledge, as we explained, implies not only the action of relationship between one individual and another, but also the action of relationship with society; and there can be no complete, harmonious society, without this knowledge. So, it is really very important and significant that one should know oneself as completely and fully as possible. And, is this knowledge possible? Can one know integrally not partially, the total process of oneself? Because, as I said, without knowing oneself, one has no basis for thinking. One gets caught in illusions: political, religious, social illusions - they are limitless, endless. Is it possible to know oneself? And, how is it possible to know oneself - what are the means, what are the ways, what are the processes?

I think to find out what are the ways, one must find out first, must one not?, what are the impediments; and by studying what we consider important in life, those things which we have accepted - the values, the standards, the beliefs, the innumerable things that we hold - by examining them, perhaps we shall find out the ways of our own thinking, and thereby know ourselves. That is, by understanding the things that we accept, by questioning them, going into them - by that very process we shall know the ways of our own thinking, our responses, our reactions; and through them, we shall know ourselves as we are. Surely, that is the only way we can find out the manner of our thinking, our responses: by studying, by going fully into the values, the standards, the beliefs, that we have accepted for generations. And, seeing behind these values, we shall know how we respond, what our reactions are to them; and thereby, perhaps, we shall be able to uncover the ways of our own thinking. In other words, to know oneself, surely, is to study the responses, the reactions that one has in relation to something. One cannot know oneself through isolation. That is an obvious fact. You may withdraw to a mountain, into a cave, or pursue some illusion on the banks of a river; but, if one isolates oneself, there can be no relationship, and isolation is death. It is only in relationship that one can know oneself as one is. So, by studying the things that we have accepted, by going into them fully, not superficially, perhaps we shall be able to understand ourselves.


If we honestly and sincerely follow a balanced approach to self-study, we are likely to make a discovery. Each person fundamentally is made up of two parts: personality and essence. Personality is the mask that you wear in daily life. It's the way you appear to others, and it includes your mannerisms, your likes and dislikes. Personality is the product of imitation. From the moment you were born and began to observe the world around you, personality began to take shape. You learned from your parents, television, and teachers, just to name a few of the most likely influences.

Over time your personality took on a particular set of qualities that are unique to you. However one characteristic of personality is the same for everyone: the habitual, involuntary way in which it operates. Personality runs on automatic pilot; it reacts to life situations in very predictable ways. For example, think of someone you know very well, perhaps a spouse or child. You can probably imagine a specific kind of problem situation for which you are sure you know how that person will react. You've seen the habitual attitude, emotion, or behavior so often in that sort of circumstance that you are positive it would happen the same way again. And, so long as that person is operating from the level of his or her personality, you're right¾ the routine response is predictable.

Personality is not inherently good or bad. Some of the strong habit patterns we have developed are nice, and others aren't so nice. What characterizes personality is the way it operates rather unconsciously. Humanity in its normal waking consciousness is in a kind of sleep state relative to genuine spiritual consciousness. In other words, we move through physical life sixteen or eighteen hours a day erroneously believing that we are self-conscious beings. We imagine that we frequently make free-willed choices; but the truth of the matter is just the opposite. We usually operate as a personality self and merely react unconsciously to the demands of life.

Perhaps this theory sounds discouraging, yet it's found in many systems of transpersonal thought. There are references to how our spiritual qualities are usually "slumbering" when the soul is in a physical body. Watch someone carefully; or better yet, watch yourself. What you're likely to see is how readily you fall into automatic routines. You'll find you think the same old thoughts, replay the accustomed emotional patterns, spout the same familiar words, and move with consistent mannerisms. Recognizing this can even be humorous, although laughter comes more quickly when it's someone else's mechanicalness and not our own that is pointed out.

A favorite technique of comedians is impersonation. Audiences howl with delight to see the personality traits of a famous person imitated. Sometimes the joke comes from exaggerating an obvious fault in that well-known individual; but maybe there is another side to our amusement. Could we be laughing at ourselves too?

Maybe something in us wakes up for just a moment when we clearly see the typical human condition. These descriptions of the personality make it sound at best worthless and at worst an unavoidable obstacle to spiritual growth. However it's probably necessary to have a personality to function in the world, simply because we need to be able to do certain things automatically. Driving a car, washing the dishes, or tying your shoes would be laborious if you had to make every movement with full consciousness. The personality side of our being isn't necessarily bad or wrong; it has an important role to play if it is used properly. The key to using it properly is getting in touch with our essence.

This forgotten part of ourselves is our spiritual core.

Many labels can be used -- Higher Self, Real I, or Higher Ego -- but the word essence nicely captures its core meaning, the essential self. To get a better feeling for this side of ourselves, let's look at five of its qualities. They're simple to remember because each one ends with the letters i-t-y:

unity, continuity, sensitivity, creativity, and activity.

Our essence bestows a profound sense of uniqueness, but paradoxically it is also in touch with the oneness of all life. The essence is conscious of the unity of all creation. It directly experiences its connections with everything. The essence has continuity and the potential for existence outside the bounds of time, if we conduct the inner work that is necessary.

Think about how you are in many ways a different person from who you were fifteen years ago, or fifteen years before that. And yet, in the midst of all that change, something has stayed the same. Despite all the identities that have come and gone, there is a thread of continuity. It's a dynamic continuity because even the essence is in the process of development and growth.

The essence demonstrates sensitivity not just to physical influences but to the non-material realm as well. It has innate intuitive abilities and can perceive things from invisible, spiritual dimensions. This natural psychic gift often operates quietly, almost behind the scenes by gently guiding us with hunches and feelings. It presents us with a special kind of wisdom: knowing something without being able to explain how we know it. The essence shows creativity.

Whereas the personality is caught up in routine and habit, the essence is original and inventive. It sees life with fresh eyes and creates new responses to old difficulties. It is imaginative and able to perceive novel approaches to life. Inspired individuals bring the qualities of the infinite down into individual, finite expression. Finally, the essence displays activity. The Higher Self is not passive or hidden. Every day it is involved in life, even though the personality self may ignore its presence. The essence constantly takes the initiative to influence conscious awareness and to provide helpful support for spiritual growth. The personality self may not want to change and may resist these overtures, but it doesn't deter the active, involved essential self.


Self. The archetype of wholeness and the regulating center of the psyche; a transpersonal power that transcends the ego. In Jung's own words:

As an empirical concept, the self designates the whole range of psychic phenomena in man. It expresses the unity of the personality as a whole. But in so far as the total personality, on account of its unconscious component, can be only in part conscious, the concept of the self is, in part, only potentially empirical and is to that extent a postulate. In other words, it encompasses both the experienceable and the inexperienceable (or the not yet experienced). . . . It is a transcendental concept, for it presupposes the existence of unconscious factors on empirical grounds and thus characterizes an entity that can be described only in part. ["Definitions," Collected Works, Vol. 6, par. 789.]

The self is not only the center, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the center of this totality, just as the ego is the center of consciousness. ["Introduction," Collected Works, Vol. 12, par. 44.]

Like any archetype, the essential nature of the self is unknowable, but its manifestations are the content of myth and legend. Again, in Jung's own words:

The self appears in dreams, myths, and fairytales in the figure of the "supraordinate personality," such as a king, hero, prophet, saviour, etc., or in the form of a totality symbol, such as the circle, square, quadratura circuli, cross, etc. When it represents a complexio oppositorum, a union of opposites, it can also appear as a united duality, in the form, for instance, of tao as the interplay of yang and yin, or of the hostile brothers, or of the hero and his adversary (arch-enemy, dragon), Faust and Mephistopheles, etc. Empirically, therefore, the self appears as a play of light and shadow, although conceived as a totality and unity in which the opposites are united. ["Definitions," Collected Works, Vol. 6, par. 790.] From The Jung Lexicon by Daryl Sharp.

Reknowned student of the human mind, C.G. Jung, wrote in Memories, Dreams, Reflections:

"My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole."

"The real distinguishing factor between the little self and the Higher Self is that the little self is acutely aware of itself as a distinct separate individual, and a sense of solitude or of separation sometimes comes in the existential experience. In contrast, the experience of the spiritual Self is a sense of freedom, of expansion, of comunication with other Selves and with reality, and there is the sense of Universality. It feels itself at the same time individual and universal." --Roberto Assagioli, M.D.

From John Powel Library:

"There is no fixed true, and real person inside you you or me, precisely because being a person necessarily implies becoming a person, being in process. If I am anything as a persona it is what I:

These are the things that define my person, and the are constantly in process of change. Unless my mind and heart are hopelessly barricaded, all these things that define me as a person are forever changing. My person is not a little hard core inside of me, a little fully formed statue that is real and authentic, permanent and fixed. My person rather implies a dynamic process. in other words, if you knew me yesterday, please do not think that I am the same persona that you are meeting today.

Source: 'Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?' John Powell, S.J., Tabor Publishing

Read more from this book on the psychology page and the ego page

Be master OF mind rather than mastered BY mind - Zen Saying

What Is Zen? by Mel Ash

Who are we really? What is really the meaning of Life? How can we attain lasting happiness in the face of our seemingly endless troubles? These questions are basic to our lives, and it is from these questions that the practice of Zen has its birth.

Zen can be the compassionate scalpel that removes the layers of accrued opinions, beliefs, and frozen expectations that stand between us and true experience. Zen shows us that what we mistakenly call ourselves, our personal identity, is really no more than a mask over our true selves and natures.

Beliefs, opinions, prejudices, educational and cultural training, our family backgrounds: All these are merely accidental factors, if you will. They are necessary tools for survival and integration into the larger society, but they are not really who you are.

Without falling back on convenient definitions of job, religion, sex and so on, who and what are we? If you lose your job, will you lose yourself? If you convert to another religion, do you substantially change? It may seem so if you are overly attached to these limiting definitions. Despite all these changes, however, something remains the same. What and where is the thing upon which we can stand firm? If the outside is so unstable and prone to change, then it would make sense to look within-to ourselves. But what are we on the inside? What in the world are we?

Zen can help us answer these questions, although Zen itself is not an answer. Zen is, if anything, the biggest question of all. It is the question that becomes a wedge in the cracked shell of our true self, prying us open to a meaning and truth that will have relevance to ourselves alone. It is a dance and a tug-of-war with ourselves. It demands no belief in anything, and instead insists on a great doubt concerning everything we had heretofore taken for granted. While belief is not a requirement, faith most certainly is. Faith is the unspoken, nameless and formless yearning for completion and wholeness.

Alone and unaided, it can pull us to union with our God or true self like a great free-floating balloon. Belief is the anchor that keeps our faith from ever ascending and testing its limits. Belief is the limiting and inhibiting of faith.

Zen points out to us the area of our lives where our faith in our selves has been silenced by the rigidity of belief. Once pointed out, we are freed to ride our faith to heights unimagined and certainly not permitted by the jealous jailer called belief. In Zen practice, the process of identifying and reducing our attachments to our own beliefs, ideas and opinions is sometimes called "putting them down." Just as we would put down a load that has gotten too heavy for us, so too can we put down our heavy load of self, which we identify with our per sonal situations, ideas and beliefs.

Zen is simply nothing more than paying attention to your life as it unfolds in this moment and in this world. The mindful, non judgmental perception of this process is the action of your true, original self, which exists before thinking, opinions, and beliefs arise and seek to name and divide experience. By becoming mindful of our original nature, we are able to lessen the grip of the denial that separates us from true experience. As we become more spontaneous and intuitive in our relationships with ourselves, others and the world, the world and our deepest selves start to act as one, and we come to realize that there's never been a problem except in our thinking.

Zen is the ultimate and original recovery program. It exposes our denial of true self and shows us how we've suffered because of our diseases of attachment, judgment and division. It suggests a program for recovering our original nature and teaches steps we can take immediately. It shows us how all our other diseases and discontents flow from our fundamental denial of unity with each other and the universe.

Zen is there when you swerve out of the way of a speeding car without thinking. It is there when you cry at a movie, feeling deeply the suffering of another. It is there in the unconscious grace of your walk, the elegant flow of your thoughts, and the automatic breathing that keeps you alive. No, Zen never forgets about you. It is you who have forgotten about Zen. It is you who takes this moment for granted and believes that you are separate from all you survey, alone and unique in your suffering. It is you who search high and low for meaning, contentment, satisfaction or deliverance.

To try to fill your emptiness with meaning from outside yourself is like pouring water into the ocean to make it wet. The practice of Zen is the alarm clock that wakes us up to our lives and enables us to stop sleepwalking through reality. It is the friendly map that says: "Right here is the place. You have always been here. Where else is there?" It is the calendar that says: "Right now is the time. Who could want another?" Zen practice identifies the liars and thieves in the temples of our hearts and casts them out so that we may live as we are meant to live: whole, fearless, and rejoined with that for which we so desperately long.

article from inner self magazine - What Is Zen? by Mel Ash

Zen story

A young man came to a town and asked the gatekeeper, 'Is this a friendly town with lots of opportunities?'

The gatekeeper replied, 'How was the last town you've been to?'

Young man answered, 'Terrible, Unfriendly, Ugly etc.'

The gatekeeper said, 'not any better here' and sent him on his way!

The next day a different young man comes to the same town and asks the same question. The gatekeeper enquires, as previously.

This young man tells the gatekeeper what a wonderful, beautiful city he had come from with lots of friendly people and much abundance.

The gatekeeper opens the gates wide open and says, 'you'll find much of the same here!'

Who Are You and Where Can You Be Found?
Lama Thubten Yeshe

Excerpted from Lama’s commentary on the yoga method of Divine Wisdom Manjushri, Manjushri Institute, Ulverston, Cumbria, England, August 1977. Edited from the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive by Nicholas Ribush. Printed in the June 2001 issue of Mandala Magazine.

One of the essential practices of tantra is that of deity yoga. When we practice tantra, we have to arise as the deity we’re practicing. In order to do this properly, we need to experience a certain degree of non-duality. If we don’t, we’ll think that our arising as the deity is the same as arising as a flower or a wall. It will make no sense. In fact, there’s incredible sense in arising as the deity and there’s a vast difference between arising as a flower and arising as a deity.

It’s essential to dissolve the normal ego projection of the physical nervous system body; to absorb the image that our conception of ego instinctively feels--that I’m somewhere around here; Thubten Yeshe is somewhere here. Where is Thubten Yeshe? My ego’s instinctive interpretation is that I’m here, somewhere in my body. Check for yourself. See what comes up in your mind when you think of your name. The huge mountain of your self will arise. Then check exactly where that mountain of “me” can be found. Where are you? Somewhere around your body. Are you in your chest, in your head?

You feel this instinctively. You don’t have to study philosophy to learn it; you don’t have to go to school; you parents didn’t teach you. You’ve known this since before you were born. Buddhism describes two kinds of ego identity: kun-tag and lhen-kye. The one I’m talking about is lhen-kye, the simultaneously born one; the one that exists simply because you exist. It was born with you; it needs no outside influence for its existence. Like the smell that comes with a pine tree, they’re one. The pine tree doesn’t grow first and then the smell comes later. They come together. It’s the same with the innate sense of ego; it comes at conception.

Kun-tag means the sense of self that’s philosophically acquired. It’s something that you learn through outside influence from teachers, friends, books and so forth. This is the intellectually derived ego. Can you imagine? You can even acquire an ego through reading. This one is easier to remove, of course, because it’s more superficial. It’s a gross conception. The simultaneously born sense of self is much, much harder to get rid of.

This instinctive conception of ego is really convinced that around my body is where you’ll find Thubten Yeshe. Someone looks at me and asks, “Are you Thubten Yeshe?” “Yes,” I reply, “I’m Thubten Yeshe.” Where is Thubten Yeshe? Around here. Instinctively, I feel I’m right here. But I’m not the only one who feels like this. Check up for yourself. It’s very interesting.

Until I was six years old, I was not Thubten Yeshe. That name was given to me when I became a monk at Sera Monastery. Before that time, nobody knew me as Thubten Yeshe. They thought I was Döndrub Dorje. The names Thubten Yeshe and Döndrub Dorje are different; different superstitions give different kinds of name. I feel my name is me, but actually, it isn’t. Neither the names Thubten Yeshe nor Döndrub Dorje are me. But the moment I was given the name Thubten Yeshe, Thubten Yeshe came into existence. Before I was given the name, he didn’t exist; nobody looked at me and thought, “There’s Thubten Yeshe.” I didn’t even think it myself. Thubten Yeshe did not exist.

But when one superstitious conception named this bubble, my body--“Your name is Thubten Yeshe"--my superstition took it: “Yes, Thubten Yeshe is me.” It’s an interdependent relationship. One superstition gives the name Thubten Yeshe to this bubble of relativity and my ego starts to feel that Thubten Yeshe really does exist somewhere in the area of my body.

The reality, however, is that Thubten Yeshe is merely the dry words applied to the bubble-like phenomenon of these five aggregates. These things come together and that’s it: Thubten Yeshe, the name on the bubble. It’s a very superficial view. The ego’s instinctive feeling that Thubten Yeshe exists somewhere around here is very superficial.

You can see that the relative reality of Thubten Yeshe is simply the name that’s been given to this bubble of energy. That’s all Thubten Yeshe is. That’s why the great philosopher and yogi Nagarjuna and the great yogi Lama Tsong Khapa both said that all phenomena exist merely in name. As a result, some early Western Buddhist scholars decided that Nagarjuna was a nihilist. That’s a conclusion that could be reached only by someone who doesn’t practice and spends all his time dealing in concepts and words.

If I were to show up somewhere and suddenly announce, “You’re all merely names,” people would think I was crazy. But if you investigate in detail the manner in which we’re all merely names, it becomes extremely clear. Nihilists reject the very existence of interdependent phenomena but that’s not what Nagarjuna did. He simply explained that relative phenomena exist but that we should view them in a reasonable way. They come, they go; they grow; they die. They receive various names and in that way gain a degree of reality for the relative mind. But that mind does not see the deeper nature of phenomena; it does not perceive the totality of universal existence.

Phenomena have two natures: the conventional, or relative, and the absolute, or ultimate. Both qualities exist simultaneously in each and every phenomenon. What I’ve been talking about is the way that bubbles of relativity exist conventionally. A relative phenomenon comes into existence when, at any given time, the association of superstition and the conception of ego flavors an object in a particular way by giving it a name. That combination--the object, the superstition giving it a name and the name itself--is all that’s needed for a relative phenomenon to exist. When those things come together, there’s your Thubten Yeshe. He’s coming; he’s going; he’s talking. It’s all a bubble of relativity.

If right now you can see that Thubten Yeshe’s a bubble, that’s excellent. It helps a lot. And if you can relate your experience of seeing me as a bubble to other concrete objects you perceive, it will help even more. If you can see the heavy objects that shake your heart and make you crazy as relative bubbles, their vibration will not overwhelm you. Your heart will stop shaking and you’ll cool down and relax.

If I were to show you a scarecrow and ask if it was Thubten Yeshe, you’d probably say it wasn’t. Why not? “Because it’s made of wood.” You’d have a ready answer. You can apply exactly the same logic to the argument that this bubble of a body is not Thubten Yeshe either.

I believe very strongly that this is me because of the countless times from the time I was born up to now that my ego has imprinted the idea “this is me” on my consciousness. “Me. This is me. This bubble is me, me, me.” But this bubble itself is not Thubten Yeshe. We know it’s composed of the four elements. However, the earth element is not Thubten Yeshe; the water is not Thubten Yeshe; the fire is not Thubten Yeshe; the air is not Thubten Yeshe. The parts of the body are not Thubten Yeshe either. The skin is not Thubten Yeshe; the blood is not Thubten Yeshe; they bone is not Thubten Yeshe; the brain is not Thubten Yeshe. The ego is not Thubten Yeshe. Superstition is not Thubten Yeshe. The combination of all this is not Thubten Yeshe either--if it were, Thubten Yeshe would have existed before the name had been given. But before this combination was named Thubten Yeshe, nobody recognized it as Thubten Yeshe and I didn’t recognize it as Thubten Yeshe myself. Therefore, the combination of all these parts is not Thubten Yeshe.

If we call the scarecrow Thubten Yeshe and then analyze it to see exactly where Thubten Yeshe can be found, we can’t find Thubten Yeshe in any of the parts or on all the parts together. This is easy to understand. It’s exactly the same thing with the bubble of my aggregates. Neither any single constituent part nor the whole combination is Thubten Yeshe. We also know that the name alone is not Thubten Yeshe. So what and where is Thubten Yeshe? Thubten Yeshe is simply the combination of superstition flavoring an object with the words, “Thubten Yeshe.” That’s all that Thubten Yeshe is.

Beyond the name, there is no real Thubten Yeshe existing somewhere. But the simultaneously born ego doesn’t understand that Thubten Yeshe exists merely as an interdependent combination of parts. It believes that without question, around here, somewhere, there exists a real, independent, concrete Thubten Yeshe. This is the nature of the simultaneously born ego. Therefore, if we do not remove conceptions like, “Somewhere in this bubble, I’m Thubten Yeshe,” we cannot release the ego.

The conception of ego is an extreme mind. It holds very concretely the idea that somewhere within this bubble of the four-element combination body there exists a self-existent I. That is the misconception that we must release. If the ego mind assessed the situation reasonably and was comfortable and satisfied perceiving that superstition giving the name Thubten Yeshe to this interdependent, four-element bubble was enough for Thubten Yeshe to exist, that would be a different story. But it’s not satisfied with that. It cannot leave that alone. It wants to be special. It wants Thubten Yeshe to be concrete. It’s not satisfied with Thubten Yeshe being a mere name on a collection of parts. Therefore, it conceives an imaginary, unrealistic, exaggerated, concrete self-entity. The method we use to remove that conception is to transform our bubble of relativity into light.




Perhaps people see you as boring or shy.

Don't give a damn, Just Be Yourself!

(Be independent of the good opinion of others !)

Personality is the persona,social mask. It is not the real you. One can have many personalities for many situations, as long as s/ he is aware of the silent unchangeable witness inside, it is ok. It is unhealthy if one has multiple personalities and does not know his / her true nature.

No body is better or worse than anybody else - we are all equal in potential for goodness. However some might be on a different path, or on a different stage on the journey that is life.

Be non-judgemental - to self & others

It is important to note that when somebody judges your personality - he is judging you based on his values, assumptions and beliefs. So you should take it with a pinch of salt, and not get too worried about it.

Treat others how you want to be treated

Jesus effectively stated 'don't Judge others and you will not be judged'

Psychologist Carl Jung described 4 dimensions that evaluate a persons personality: Extrovert vs Introvert, Structured vs Flexible, (unfortunately can't remember other types - structured? flexible? - email me answers?!)

Jung suggests that each person's personality has a point on each of the dimensions. So you can be mainly extroverted, but occassionaly introverted.

Myers-Briggs have self scorable personality questionnaires based on Jungs theories. These are often used for job interviews.

Recently I read a similar set of values

Director vs Amiable, Introvert vs Extrovert.


I think that ones personality can change. Not easily, but I think it is possible. One good way to do this is to look beyond ego and find your true self. When one sees ones true nature it is difficult to turn back.

Be wary of saying that anyone/ thing is 'always like that'. Buddhist Insight of Impermanence states that everything in the physical domain changes. Including 'non-self'. So one's personality is not always like that, one can and does change that.

Your personality could also be seen as composed of your mental body and emotional body.Your personality is not necessarily your true self. Your personality may have a large ego.

To develop your true self you need to dissolve your negative ego by eliminating layers of your false self and dissolving disillusions. There are many ways to do this, first step would be meditation - silent awareness. Just watch your body, speech & mind -without judging or condemning.

Awareness is the key - be aware of control dramas, Seven rays, Jung' s 4 archetypes etc.

eg. Intimidators, Poor me's, Aloof & Interrogators (Celestine Prophecy)

or Parent Ego, Child Ego, Adult Ego,

There are hundreds of different archetypes / dramas but the ego is the underlying factor that needs to be in awareness.

Become aware of the control dramas people constantly play out - soon you may realize that most people are self hypnotised and are continuosly in a control drama / ego situation.

It often most difficult to see your own control dramas/ ego - so ask a friend to help. You can also work out your two predominant dramas from your parents. For more info see page on Control Dramas*

It seems that people that we perceive to have a nice personality generally have a positive outlook on life and are easy to get along with. (we are also more likely to like them if their personality traits are similar to our own traits)

People that are perceived to be 'losers' have a negative, narrow-minded, outlook on life;

Which is better Positive or negative mind?

Well Positive mind is preferable however a silent mind is better than a positive mind!


Our True Nature

What is the real you? What is your identity?

I am not just my physical body, afterall that changes with time (eg. wrinkles & droopiness)

I am not my name, or status, or wage, or car - what happens when these change / disappear - do I simply Vanish?

I am not just the emotional part of me, afterall that changes with activities (anger, fear etc.)

'The emotions are useful functions of expression -- they are not the being who expresses the emotion.

I am not just the mental body, that evolves with time - (we generally get wiser as we get older)

Thoughts and beliefs are simply useful functions of mental expression, they give the means of separating things into understandable qualities. It is the nature of thought to separate and classify, but thought is not you. '

"Although we have detached from these useful functions and aspects of ourselves, this in no way diminishes their importance to our lives. They are as much a part of us as our "humaness" and cannot be denied their useful expression. Our purpose in this exercise was to arrive at an understanding of our real being, aside from that which changes and is considered part of the manifest "dimensional" universe."

In 'Magical Body, Magical Mind; Deepak Chopra explains what our True Nature really is:

'Your Real Nature is mostly space, the space being non-material intelligence. This means that you are neither the Mind or the Body, but are the source of both."

'Your Real Essence is a field of Awareness that interacts with own self and becomes mind and body.'

'Our Essence is basically consciousness that actually conceives, governs, constructs and actually becomes mind and body.'

Our true selves are effectively continuums of energy and information. This continuum can expand to Cosmic Consciousness / Buddhahood.

Below From

"The True Self is indescribable. Words and concepts and metaphors can only hint at its reality and possibilities. It is like the eye that looks out upon the world, but never sees itself. The real self can see and function in the world, but it cannot fully comprehend itself, other than to know it 'Is'. And don't confuse this with the "airy" and ambiguous descriptions of soul and higher self. It is you, here and now. It is not some future perfect being, barely connected with you as you know yourself to be. It may have soul and it may be the higher self, but whatever it is, it is your very life and being."

"Perhaps the best definition of the real self would be, simply: aware will. It is a point of awareness and volition in a sea of consciousness. This definition at least describes its highest function. "

To know the Self, one should starve the ego

"People are only intent on feeding the ego. They never think of knowing the Self. To know the Self, one should starve the ego. But unfortunately, most people cannot starve the ego. Instead, they cling to it, ever increasingly. The predominant tendency in human beings is to attract as much attention as possible. They want to be praised and recognized, believing that it is their birthright. This is all food for the ego which thrives on attention. How are you going to know the Self if your ego is constantly craving attention?"

Mata Amritanandamayi

Answer by Ramana Maharshi


Disciple: How is one to know that in the heart the Self itself shines as Brahman?

Master: Just as the elemental ether within the flame of a lamp is known to fill without any difference and without any limit both the inside and the outside of the flame, so also the knowledge-ether that is within the Self-light in the heart, fills without any difference and without any limit both the inside and the outside of that Self-light. This is what is referred to as Brahman.


Disciple: How do the three states of experience, the three bodies, etc., which are imaginations, appear in the Self-light which is one, impartite and self-luminous? Even if they should appear, how is one to know that the Self alone remains ever unmoving?

Master: The example The exemplified

1. The Lamp - The Self
2. The door - Sleep
3. The door-step Mahat-tattva
4. The inner wall Nescience or the causal body
5. The mirror - The egoity
6. The windows - The five cognitive sense-organs
7. The inner chamber - Deep sleep in which the causal body is manifest
8. The middle chamber - Dream in which the subtle body is manifest
9. The outer court - Waking state in which the gross body is manifest


Identity = Awareness = Now-ness = Experience


Assagioli's Library Assagioli's Library in Florence, Italy. A letter from Phyllis Clay, Synthesis International. Dear ... -


Assagioli's "Star" diagrams the relationship of the personality (or psychological) functions to the will and the Self. The functions of the Self are awareness and will and it is through the interaction of will and the various functions that we interact in the world. The variety of functions allows us to note how complex and at the same time unique each person is, for each individual relies differently on the various functions, operating with strength in some areas and with weakness in others. This map also points to the variety of ways we have of creating change. One may impact on any psychological function and begin a process that changes the whole person. Techniques in psychosynthesis, likewise, draw on the various functions.

Assagioli's "psychological laws pertaining to will training" offer an elaboration of the processes by which change is created. For instance, his first law states that "images or mental pictures and ideas tend to produce the physical conditions and the external acts that correspond to them." The gift of this map is its vision of the wholeness and richness of the human being with the certainty that growth is possible.


Assagioli's original "egg" diagram offers a view of the human psyche in its many aspects. The layers of the unconscious include:

Kindly borrowed from: The Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis is a professional organization dedicated to the dissemination of the ideas and spirit of psychosynthesis throughout the world.

More info about Psychology & Psychosyntesis & Assagioli see our psychology page

Characteristics of Higher Self

As described by Edgar Cayce

We all have experienced being our higher / true self. It is when we show these characteristics that we are truly happy and in the flow of life.

Individuality - this component gives us the sense of being unique - we all have a unique soul and talent

Unity - sounds in contradiction with inividuality however both are possible simultaneously - as well as being unique knowing that we are all together a part of creation

Sensitivity - we are sensitive to invisible forces and energies ie. we all have psychic powers

Creativity - flows through us ie. when decide to turn auto pilot off

Activity - Higher self is always active, we just need to tune into it


Characteristics of Personality Self

Habit - we are all creatures of habit - it takes 21 days to form a habit. Habit is like inertia. Don't be a slave of habit!

Reactive - we are reactive in nature - learn to respond instead of reacting

Automatic Pilot - decisions are made automatically as programmed by personality self

Goals - personality self is orientated towards achieving goals

Personality self is not bad, but idealy your higher self channels through your personality self - leading to improved life and grander version of self.

Skandha*: Term for the five aggregates, which constitute the entirety of what is generally known as "personality":. The are corporality or form, sensation, perception, mental formation and consciousness. These aggregates are frequently referred to as " aggregates" of attachment, since (excluding the case arhats and buddhas) craving or desire attaches itself to them and attracts them ot itself; thus it makes of them objects of attachment and brings about suffering. (an excerpt from the Rider Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion)






Above all else, we need to nourish our true self—what we can call our buddha nature—for so often we make the fatal mistake of identifying with our confusion, and then using it to judge and condemn ourselves, which feeds the lack of self-love that so many of us suffer from today.

How vital it is to refrain from the temptation to judge ourselves or the teachings, and to be humorously aware of our condition, and to realize that we are, at the moment, as if many people all living in one person.

And how encouraging it can be to accept that from one perspective we all have huge problems, which we bring to the spiritual path and which indeed may have led us to the teachings, and yet to know from another point of view that ultimately our problems are not so real or so solid, or so insurmountable as we have told ourselves.

Sogyal Rinpoche


related links:

related reading:

also see books-self knowledge section

Soul Psychology : How to Clear Negative Emotions and Spiritualize Your Life Joshua David Stone

Dr. Joshua David Stone

Integral Psychology by Ken Wilber (UK / US)

The Psychology of Awakening; Paperback ~ Gay Watson (Editor), et al

Toward a Psychology of Awakening : Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Path O F Personal and Spiritual Transformation; Hardcover ~ John Welwood - Synopsis - An in-depth integration of psychological work and meditative practice, this book explores the integration of traditional "talk therapy" and meditation practice. (read more

also see books-self knowledge section

related pages:
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