December 1972

GROWTH OF PERSONALITY

 

In his outward behaviour we observe an individualís manners, his habitual custom of physical response which is a surface manifestation of a deeper level of organized behavioural reactions termed character, which in its turn is a limited area of a broad field composed of all the individualís responses to life situations, whether learned, innate, repetitive or unique, called personality. Behind the personality lies the essential individual being.

The nature of the personality, its established strengths and the areas of maximum organized development as well as its weaknesses and immature elements, effect a great influence on the progress in yoga. Such fundamental movements as aspiration, concentration, meditation and consecration will vary in their usefulness, effectivity, ease of application and resultant growth according to the personality through which they are applied and upon which they exert their influence. All these spiritual disciplines expand yogic consciousness, but the degree to which this expansion becomes a permanent change in the being depends upon their affect on the personality. Therefore it is worthwhile to develop personality into a strong, flexible, well-balanced and harmonious instrument, and since personality is a responsive product of life, it is most effectively built up in the field of life, in work. We can escape the need for such development only to the extent that a marked strength is already present in certain areas, due to experiences of past lives. For most, it is necessary to expose ourselves to the grinding process of life, its stimulations and responses, so as to grow into the fullness of an individual person. Yoga opens up life opportunities which aid in this growth and increase the capacity for and gains from our spiritual discipline which in its turn opens up greater fields of life experience for a wider, deeper, higher development of personality.