What do we become if we do not have a personality?
By Jim Hatton
When I was a teenager, I had the privilege of hearing a Buddhist nun speak to our small group of young people. I was captivated to hear about the Buddhist spiritual truths and the way of life of a Buddhist.
The nun spoke of enlightenment, Nirvana, and the practice of non-attachment. She spoke of how, when one reaches Enlightenment, we could start to remember our past lives and that the personality dissolves. I was starting to understand all she was saying, except about the dissolving personality.
I had to put the brakes on this one. So, if the personality goes away, what do we become? I asked in my mind. The personality sets us apart and identifies us from each other. It is the spice, flavor, and texture of who we are. What do we become if we do not have a personality? Just plain, beige cardboard?
Over the years, I asked some Buddhist friends and other spiritual teachers, but their answers were vague and not fulfilling. I decided that, since I was not finding the answer, I wasn’t ready for the answer. And how true that proved to be.
Years later, I was learning about the Neuro-net, and that basically, we enter this life with a “clean-slate,” and as we experience life, starting with childbirth, our brain “fires” the neuro synapses with each thought, leading the neuro synapses to join together building thought patterns and structures. It is this framework, called the Neuro-net, that psychologists believe forms the personality. The video “What the Bleep Do We Know” wonderfully demonstrates how humans react to people and situations based on the Neuro-net framework.
I began to wonder … if we create this Neuro-net framework when we enter this life, do we release the framework when we exit this life? If so, what are we then when we re-enter the non-physical? It is a common thread of mystics, great spiritual teachers, and those who have had a “near-death experience” that as one passes back into the non-physical a great expansion of awareness is experienced.
Could it be, as the Buddhists proclaim, that our personality dissolves as we reach enlightenment? Is this process a mutually co-arising experience, that as the personality dissolves and a greater awareness ensues, an expanded consciousness come forward?
“We have the tendency to so identify with our personality and roles that we forget that we are really an Eternal Soul. We forget that we are here to reveal our eternal nature via the human incarnation which includes embracing our personalities and roles while transcending our over-identification with them.”(Michael Bernard Beckwith, edited.)
This may have some merit in that as the personality develops, our actions and thoughts are based on the structure of the Neuro-net. In a sense, our actions and behaviors become reactions and pre-programmed behaviors based on the thought structure of the Neuro-net. As we gain in our years on this planet, oftentimes spouses say that they can predict how their mate will react to something in a certain circumstance. In a sense, is it possible that we can become bound or constricted by a long-standing Neuro-net /personality?
Those of us who have chosen to be on the spiritual path to learn and grow are re-working our Neuro-net every time we have a greater understanding and realization of who we are, what this life is all about, and how the Universe works. Not being the same person that you were five, 10, 20 years ago may be a sign that you are growing in consciousness and starting to re-work or release the personality.
As we release the personality, what will naturally emerge is our true spiritual self. Instead of reacting to life’s circumstances and people’s actions based primarily on the Neuro-net structure, we act consciously and with wisdom-intelligence. We wake up. We begin to see more beauty, have more inner peace, and we see the real living essence of Love, Creativity, Joy, Generosity, Kindness, Intelligence and so much more. This is our natural progression.
Jim Hatton is an author, spiritual teacher and speaker. He makes his home in the Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Richard Carey (email@example.com).