Why Study Personality?By PHIL WITTMEYER
Following are the benefits I have received from a study of personality. Each of these items will be discussed in detail further on.
1) Increasing personal integrity: The greater self-awareness that comes from self study has lead me to greater personal integrity by discarding what was false in me and revealing what is true. This should be the first step of any psychotherapy or spiritual path — to find out who we really are in personal terms. Then we look for who we are in "transpersonal" terms.
2) Increasing personal freedom: This is due to conscious control of my life resulting from release from subconscious controls and external influences.
3) Objectification of self and other: With an overall personality system in mind, I can see that myself and others are all pieces of a pattern. I would like to have an accurate view of the world and of other people. I don't. My perceptions are distorted, as determined by my personality traits. When I compare my traits with other's and with the entire personality chart, I see the ways we are different and I do not worry about it.
4) Increasing tolerance and understanding of others: When I have a personality chart on someone, it helps me get to know them quicker and I can relate to them easier. It helps me understand their motives and perceptions and values. With their traits known, I can cut through the garbage and begin to see people for who they really are. I can think, feel and act more appropriately and lovingly toward them. If we become friends, knowing the chart becomes less important of course, but it is a place to start. It helps me to have a system.
So how do we apply this psychotherapy of personality? We don't have to take any time out of our routine. We don't have to go anywhere, such as on a pilgrimage or quest. We don't have to talk things out with a therapist. It requires no exercises, rituals, postures, or other works. There are no accouterments such as candles, robes, icons, mandalas, or mantras. All that is involved is to become more aware of all aspects of ourselves and others in our daily lives. What the personality system does is give us clues about what to look for. It is really just that simple. The following is a brief introduction to the system. Following that, there is an extensive review of how to apply the system.
The Personality Chart
Every person has certain Traits with which they are born. For instance, let's say that someone is a Third Level, Mature Age, Warrior Role person in the Passion Mode, a Pragmatist in Attitude with the Goal of Rejection, in the Intellectual Center, having the Feature of SELF-DEPRECATION, in Entity #4, Cadence #6, and Position #2, having a Lunar Bodytype. This array is said to be that person's "True Personality". True Personality is divided into "Soul" and "Overleaves". The Soul factors are the aspects of Role, Entity, Cadence, and Position. The Overleaves are the eight remaining aspects.
A person's True Personality constitutes their most basic "Personal Truth", as Michael calls it. It is right up there with a person's gender, race, physical appearance, intelligence and special abilities or limitations. A major lesson I have learned from the study of personality is the difference between one person's Personal Truth and that of another person. What is true for an Emotionally Centered Arrogant Old Sage, a Spiritualist in the Aggression Mode with the Goal Dominance, is rarely true for an Intellectually Centered Self-destructive Child Warrior, a Cynic in the Caution Mode with the Goal of Submission. The perceptions, values, thoughts, and emotions of these two are simply not compatible. There would be no sense in each other trying to force their Truth on the other. Knowing this helps me to understand people.
The descriptions of the Traits given on the following pages are of the "pure" Trait, so to speak. However, every Trait that people have is affected by every other Trait they have. A Cynic will express the Goal of Rejection much differently than will an Idealist, for instance. Also, every person's family and cultural influences will affect the way their Traits manifest. So will other inherited factors such as intelligence, special abilities, and gender. Therefore, the pure description of a Trait does not perfectly fit any actual person, such as yourself.
Before we get into the personality system, there is more to explain. We will begin by discussing love. There is a multiplicity of meanings for the word "love" in our language and I refer to all these as "personal love" or just "love". There is something beyond this, and Michael uses a Greek word, "Agape", to refer to this, the highest form of love — "transpersonal" love. Others have selected this word also.
Let's have some examples of personal love. Of course the deep affection and total trust that some mates have for each other after a lifetime together is a good example. Another is the nurturing and protectiveness that good parents have for their children. Love is also the tolerance and understanding that two people attain for each other when they have been together a long time. Love is the bonding that occurs between two people during shared intense experiences. Love is the benevolent feelings and well-wishing thoughts that people have for all humankind. Love is the altruist deeds of humanitarian activists. Love is the compassion and empathy felt for the suffering of others. Love is the mellowing that people experience as they grow older and wiser.
However, a person may experience all of these aspects of love and never experience Agape in their entire lives. Please note that I am not saying there is anything wrong with the above listed experiences of personal love. They are all perfectly valid experiences which have a valuable place and function in life and which one may choose to seek wholeheartedly. Learning personal love is certainly one of the most important aspects of a lifetime, and practicing a psychotherapy promotes it. I am saying, however, that these are not Agape. Personal love augments Agape and vice versa, but they are not the same. They both reduce suffering and increase happiness, but they are not the same. For most people, being loving means thinking, feeling, and doing good things for others, and this is true. But Agape goes beyond this.
So then, what is Agape — transpersonal love? First of all, the personal self can love but it cannot Agape. It is impossible for the everyday consciousness that we perceive as ourselves to express Agape. Only the "transpersonal" aspect of ourselves can do this. This aspect has been spoken of by mystics and saints and some psychologists and goes by different names. Many call it the "higher self" or the "soul". Michael calls it "Essence" and says it is the innermost core of our being. It is the most real part of us and it does not change. Even though it is described as "innermost", at the same time Essence is said to be "beyond" or "above" all levels of the personal self, from whence it observes them all. Have you ever noticed that deep within your psyche is a consciousness that watches everything you do? Have you noticed that it is unwavering and unperturbable, unlike your chameleon personality? This is a veiled view of Essence — "the Witness", as some call it. A clear communication between Essence and the personal self is said to be "Agape". Agape happens when the garbage that separates the personal self from Essence is discarded. Agape exists in two forms: contact of the personal self with one's Essence, and contact of one's Essence with the Essence of another person. The first is obviously necessary before the second can be experienced by the personal self. Michael's teaching is primarily concerned with how to increase personal love and transpersonal Agape — hence my title: MAKING LOVE.
And what is the experience of Agape like? It is not a bolt of lightning in your consciousness, or a chill that goes up and down your spine. It is not a tingling in your extremities or a surprise that takes your breath away. It is not a thrill in your heart or a light in your mind. These are all things of the personal self. Transpersonal love is just that — beyond personal love. It is a letting go of everything personal, a relaxation of effort in the personal self. All the personal cares and concerns are transcended or transmuted. When the personal self experiences Agape there is a deep sense of inner satisfaction and contentment rather than external excitement. It is the ultimate "peace of mind".
How does Agape do this? Because it has no emphasis of any kind. There is no possessiveness nor expectation. There is neither desire nor fear of anything. There is neither approval nor disapproval of anything or anyone. There is neither guilt nor forgiveness. There is neither encouragement nor discouragement. There is freedom and responsibility equally. There is giving and receiving with equal grace. Its terms are that there are no terms — it is unconditional, without qualification.
Why is Agape this way? Because it reconciles all the polarities. It is intimate but without being invasive. It is empathetic but without being negatively affected. It is connected to everything but with complete freedom as well. It is always appropriate for the occasion but without ever losing its integrity or honesty. It has a powerful effect but is never coercive, intrusive, or manipulative. It is disinterested in the outcome of its actions, but always responsible for them. These things probably seem paradoxical to the personal self. They are not paradoxical to the transpersonal self.
Agape manifested by the personal self has the effect of purifying all forms of personal love. Only when we are in touch with our Essence can we express our personal love without distortion or misapplication.
Freedom of Choice
Besides increasing love and Agape, there is the matter of conscious control of our lives mentioned above. Are you often unable to make yourself do what you believe you should? Are parts of your personality at odds with other parts? Are you often at the mercy of your own emotions? Are you driven by subconscious impulses that you don't understand? One of the products of this spiritual path is increasing self-awareness and consciousness and freedom of choice. This comes from the full realization of who we are, and the full realization that we are not a personality. We are Essence. Essence has a personality. Personality is not a conscious thing of itself — it is merely a "program" for behavior. Usually we let the personality program run our lives rather than making fully conscious choices based on input from all aspects of our being, particularly the highest aspect. In other words, generally we act instinctively, automatically, compulsively and mechanically — according to the program in the primitive, least conscious part of our brains. Our inborn instincts are the program of our most primitive self, and we acquire other programs along the way from our environment which rob us of our freedom and true identity. The human aspects of the personality are part of the survival apparatus of the body and often work against love and freedom and integrity rather than with it. One purpose of the study of personality is therefore to make it passive, allowing and inviting the most conscious and free and loving part of ourselves — Essence — into our daily lives.
Agape and freedom are both opposed by one thing: garbage in the psyche of the personal self. In this teaching, Agape and freedom are said to already exist deep within all of us, in the transpersonal self, but they are obscured and distorted by layers of garbage in the personal self. Michael's personality system is the blueprint for dumping this garbage, thus revealing Agape and freedom. If this sounds like work, it isn't. It's fun.
There are a number of aspects of this endeavor in the system presented herein: 1) attaining the Positive Poles of the personality traits, 2) extinguishing the Feature, 3) shedding False Personality, 4) shedding Maya, 5) shedding instinctive behavior, 6) experiencing the higher Centers, 7) unifying the Polarities, and 8) advancing through the stages of love. Each of these aspects and others are explained below, after a description of the personality traits on the next several pages.
In the world we see the beautiful and the ugly, the smart and the stupid, the strong and the weak, the healthy and the sick, the happy and the sad, the righteous and the wicked, and so on. Everything has its opposite. People experience all the extremes of the various polarities and everything in between. All that exists and functions is polar. The Chinese know this as Yin and Yang. The Hindus know it as Shakti and Shiva. Physicists know it as positive and negative. Michael knows it as Cardinal and Ordinal. Jung knew it as Animus and Anima. The French know it as male and female. It is everywhere. If we are to achieve love and Agape and freedom we must not ignore or deny either of these poles. We must perceive them clearly and experience them fully. One of the most fundamental understandings we can have about how things work in the world is this matter of polarity. We (our personal selves) will experience hate as well as love, lies as well as truth, grief as well as rejoicing, pain as well as pleasure. This is our lot in life. It "should" not be some other way in the world.
However, there is an aspect of Polarity we can change — in our consciousness. We can change our understanding of events in our lives to make best use of things as they are, whether "good" or "bad". Throughout this thesis we will turn and return to the matter of psychological Polarity. There are three aspects of Polarity that concern us. There is the mental truth/illusion Polarity — do we perceive and believe things as they are or not. There is the emotional desire/dread Polarity — are our motivations and emotions beneficially directed or not. There is the behavioral do/misdo Polarity — are our actions appropriate for the situation or not. These aspects of Polarity don't always enter into such decisions as whether to buy a Ford or a Chevy, but they do enter into psychotherapy — personal psychological health in daily choices. Where a situation involves the mental truth/illusion Polarity, there is opportunity for increasing comprehension. Where a situation involves the emotional desire/dread Polarity, there is opportunity for increasing love. Where a situation is concerned with the behavioral do/misdo Polarity, there is opportunity for increasing mastery. Altogether, these three add up to increasing understanding by the personal self. Essence already has this understanding, and it is up to us to allow and invite this into the level of the personal self. This raises the level of our total being.
About Phil Wittmeyer
Phil is a long-time Michael student who has written several book-length manuscripts about the Michael teachings, many of them featured on this site. Phil has been an active member in the community for a number of years and can be found at most Michael gatherings across the country.
Phil currently lives in Colorado.
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