Lessons In Truth - Lesson 7 - Annotation 3

Lessons In Truth - Lesson 7 - Annotation 3

Define personality.

3. Personality is the sum total of the distinctive personal characteristics that each of us shows forth through facial expressions, mannerisms, through mental and physical attitudes.

Sometimes the personality is referred to as the "garment of the soul" because it is the combination of both soul and body (the second and third phases of our three-fold nature—spirit-soul-body).

"It is the sum of all your former thinking ... It is the outside of the inside ... it is the observable form of your mental processes" (What Are You? 14,15).

Personality is that which makes a person appear either different from others or like others. It is what we build mentally, emotionally and physically for ourselves, as the vehicle of expression, through soul and body of the Spirit in us. This Spirit in us is the Christ, the I AM, and referred to in this lesson as individuality. The expression will always be according to our particular understanding of this Spirit which is our true self.

Personality has been analyzed as something that may be acquired, developed, strengthened, or changed in part by understanding, persistent effort, through study, education, travel, and association with other persons, but above all through prayer. Because personality is a combination of physical inheritance, intellectual pursuit (thinking and reasoning) and emotional reaction (feeling) in a human being, we may say that it is a showing forth of the human mind or consciousness.

"Jesus is the name of the personality. To the metaphysical Christian -- that is, to him who studies the spiritual man -- Christ is the name of the supermind and Jesus is the name of the personal consciousness" (Jesus Christ Heals 10).

When we refer to a person's character as being weak or as being strong, we mean the type of characteristics that the personality is exhibiting. The greatest influence for good on the personality is the realization of ourselves as spiritual beings.

Because the personality is the way, the fashion, or the manner in which our ever-evolving human consciousness expresses itself, it may manifest selfishness, fear, timidity, arrogance, or pride. On the other hand, when enlightened, the personality will express the qualities of the individuality (Christ) such as love, friendliness, humility, dignity, and enthusiasm.

The word personality comes from the Latin word persona meaning "a mask," through which the voice of the actor would sound through in old classical plays. Personality is that which "masks" the individuality or the Christ Self. As the aggregate of characteristics we have acquired through living, personality is the changing part of our being. As we become more and more aware of the divine qualities (ideas) that make up our true nature, our individuality, we release the limited, ignorant, or immature characteristics of personality so that the spiritual qualities of our individuality may express without interference. The following was found among the papers of Charles Fillmore dated 1899:

"persona, a mask -- to sound through. The corporeal manifestation of a soul. The outward appearance, expression, body, etc."

Like the artist who changes the strokes on his canvas so that it may more perfectly portray the person or scenery he is painting, we change the "canvas of personality" so that our Christ nature, our individuality, may be more truly portrayed. The highest purpose of the personality may be likened to the setting in which the "diamond" of individuality (the Christ self) is displayed.

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Preceding Entry: What constitutes the greatness of the Sermon on the Mount?
Following Entry: Define individuality. How do we cultivate and strengthen our consciousness of our individuality?