Unity Metaphysics 1
Lesson 11 Personality/Individuality
At our current level of soul unfoldment, we experience two basic attitudes of mind that make up our identity. There is a perception of ourselves, which we refer to as personality, the characteristics which we have created to distinguish ourselves from others. The other perception is called individuality, the characteristics which reflect our unique expression of the Christ mind within us.
In this chapter, we will explore the ways in which this framework can serve to remind us of the importance of true self-awareness and self-expression.
11A PERSONALITY/ INDIVIDUALITY:
“Personality—The sum total of characteristics that man has personalized as distinct of himself, independent of others or of divine principle. The word personality as used by metaphysicians is contrasted with the word individuality… Personality is what man seems to be when he thinks in his three-dimensional consciousness; individuality is what he really is when he thinks in his unlimited spiritual consciousness. As the true Christ self emerges, personality decreases. The real self, the individuality, begins to express. ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (John 3:30)” (RW/Personality)
"Individuality—the true self; that which is undivided from God; our spiritual identity ... That which characterizes one as a distinct entity or particular manifestation of divine Principle. Individuality is eternal; it can never be destroyed" (John 3:30)” (RW/Individuality).“Personality applies to the human part of you — the person, the external... When you say that you dislike anyone, you mean that you dislike his personality — that exterior something that presents itself from the outside. It is the outer, changeable man, in contradistinction to the inner or real, man... One’s individuality is that part of one that never changes its identity. It is the God self.” (Emilie Cady Lessons in Truth 7)
Our Unity writings define the term personality in a special way. It is referred to as that attitude of mind which has distorted our true uniqueness into a sense of separateness. Personality consists of elements that make up our earthly “persona,” our ever-changing sense of self. Individuality is that attitude of mind which reflects our unique perception of the divine idea of the Christ within. It is comprised of the attributes of our spiritu- al nature which is our eternal identity. To sum it up: individuality is the real self; personality is the sum total of characteristics and opini- ons which comprise a fragmented sense of self.
11B OUR MANY SELVES:
“The Adam man exists in the subconsciousness as a multitude of men: The wise man and the foolish man, the kind man and the cruel man, the loving man and the hateful man, the stingy man and the generous man, the hungry man and the full man, the happy man and the troubled man, the weak man and the strong man, the good man and the bad man, the live man and the dead man, the poor man and the rich man, the timid man and the courageous man, the sick man and the healthy man, the old man and the young man, the erratic man and the sane man—these, and a thousand other types of man as active personalities, occupy the consciousness of every human being.” (The Twelve Powers of Man 35).
“Every thought we loose in our mind carries with it a certain substance, life, and intelligence. So we might call our thoughts our ‘thought people’” (Jesus Christ Heals 138).
Because our personality expresses itself in such a variety of ways, we experience ourselves as being many different “persons.” We are inconsistent and unpredictable when our lives are dominated by personality. Through this awareness of “our many selves” we come to realize that the confusing and sometimes frightening “mood swings” we may experience from time to time are more than likely a product of the fragmented nature of personality.
11C OUR GIFTS:
“Much is heard about giving ourselves to service to the world, but how important is the self that we are offering? If we have found our real self the offer will be worthwhile, but if we are offering personality alone we shall never set the world afire” (Teach Us To Pray 161).
It is important to realize that each one of us has a special and unique talent which is part of our purpose in life. When we feel compelled to give in service to the world, we must examine ourselves to discern which attitude is uppermost in our mind. If we give only from personality, our motives will be selfish, we will expect great rewards and appreciation for our work, and we will often resent what is asked of us. However, when we express our individuality, we will give freely without expectation of particular results, and what we give will always be a blessing.
11D OUR DIVINE PURPOSE:
“The reason why God created man potentially perfect and then set him the task of proving it is found in the mysterious process called self-identification. Man makes himself after the pattern designed by the Great Architect. In proving his ability to carry out the divine plan he proves himself perfect.” (Mysteries of Genesis 45).
“We cultivate individuality by listening to the ‘still small voice’ … The more you learn to act from the ‘still small voice’ within you, the stronger and more pronounced will be individuality in you… However humble your place in life, however unknown to the world you may be, however small your capabilities may seem at present to you, you are just as much a necessity to God in His efforts to get Himself into visibility as is the most brilliant intellect, the most thoroughly cultured person in the world. Remember this always, and act from the highest within you.” (Emilie Cady Lessons in Truth 7)
As we progress in the development and expression of our individuality we will more completely fulfill our divine purpose, We will demonstrate our true identity in unique and powerful ways. We will com e to understand that it is through the surrender of our limited sense of self that the real individual emerges and we become not less ourselves but more ourselves.
PERSONALITY/INDIVIDUALITY IS A FRAMEWORK WHICH PROVIDES US WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXAMINE THE NATURE OF OUR TRUE IDENTITY AND RELEASE THE ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTIONS AND OPINIONS THAT MAY CURRENTLY COMPRISE OUR SENSE OF IDENTITY.
IN UNITY WE USE THE TERM PERSONALITY TO DESCRIBE THE SUM TOTAL OF THE CHARACTERISTICS AND OPINIONS WHICH COMPRISE OUR CURRENT BELIEFS ABOUT WHO WE ARE. OUR PERSONALITY OR SENSE OF SELF IS INCONSISTENT AND OFTEN UNRELIABLE BECAUSE IT IS BASED PRIMARILY ON APPEARANCES.
THE TERM INDIVIDUALITY REFERS TO OUR REAL SPIRITUAL SELF. INDIVIDUALITY IS THE NAME FOR THE PERSONAL UNIQUE MANNER IN WHICH EACH INDIVIDUAL EXPRESSES THE UNIVERSAL CHRIST IDEA.
WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUALITY ARE NOT “THINGS” BUT ATTITUDES OF MIND. OUR GOAL IS TO REALIZE THAT EVERY ONE OF OUR ATTITUDES CAN BE SPIRITUALIZED SO THAT WE ARE ABLE TO FULLY-DEMONSTRATE THE TRUTH OF BEING.
IT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT THE TERM “PERSONALITY” AS WE ARE USING IT HERE IS NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE CONCEPT OF PERSONAL IDENTITY. IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN WE CHOOSE TO TRANSFORM OUR LIMITED HUMAN AWARENESS (PERSONALITY) INTO AN AWARENESS OF OUR UNIQUE SPIRITUAL ORIGIN AND PURPOSE (INDIVIDUALITY) WE DON’T LOSE OUR PERSONAL IDENTITY, WE GAIN IT. WE BECOME MORE “OURSELVES” AND MORE ABLE TO EXPRESS OUR GOD-GIVEN POTENTIAL.
THROUGH SELF-OBSERVATION WE ARE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE WHICH ATTITUDE OF MIND WE ARE EXPRESSING AT ANY GIVEN TIME, AND REALIZE THAT WE ALWAYS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACT FROM THE HIGHEST WITHIN US.
PARADOXICALLY, IT IS THROUGH OUR EXPRESSION OF INDIVIDUALITY THAT WE WILL COME TO EXPERIENCE UNIVERSAL UNITY.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
- How can an understanding of “our many selves” contribute to your quest for self-knowledge?
- Share a time in your life when you first became aware of your divine identity.
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION AND MEDITATION
in an infinite ocean of intelligence and life and substance,
and we are a wave within that ocean
in which intelligence and life and substance
are projected into livingness as the person we are.
When we become aware of this unity, we are transformed from
personality to individuality”
(Discover the Power Within You 36)
Cady, H. Emilie, Lessons In Truth, chapter 7, "Personality and Individuality."
Smock, Martha, Listen, Beloved, chapter 4, "You Are Needed."
Transcribed by Rev. Evan Coleman on November 11, 2017.
- Download a PDF copy of 11 Personality and Individuality
- Download a video file of the comments in this lecture.