If mindfulness is having no preferences and personality is the sum of an individual's preferences, does it follow that a mindful person has no personality?
It is not so simple, of course. However, what makes this worthy (to me) of deeper inquiry is the glimmer of light I've seen in the choice of living from other than the personality, as in 'The Impersonal Life,' a book anonymously written.
What brought this home was an insight sparked by discussion group interactions on the question of 'What is your personality type?', including comments such as:
Elizabeth Hill Interesting. I would love to see someone delve into this topic of spirituality and the different personality types. I would be curious to know how my type in particular has influenced my spiritual evolution.
Kathleen Nowlin Morrison I'm an INFP too --- but this has recently begun to make me wonder...for almost all my planets in astrology are considered male/extroverted/assertive -- whichever word one might use to describe the sign they fall in. Anyone know if there should be a connection?
Chris German The Myers Briggs typology is interesting but I find it puts us in a box too much. The only personality rating that is backed by science is the OCEAN/big 5 personality rating. The Big 5 treats human personality much more like a list of ingredients in certain quantities than a baked cake as typology personality ratings do.
Earlier in my writings, I related to the inner landscape as the realm of the psyche; the soul; the mind, will and emotions.
My Work is to live from that inner landscape rather than from personality, as much as possible. It is a choice, an act of will, not a personal preference.
While writing the above, I ran out of words like a creek running into a dry bed, and closed the laptop to read from 'Mystery of the White Lions' by Linda Tucker, whose words flowed right from mine. On page 251, it says:
"Shamans, who see the fast-approaching future, believe our earth is on the brink of catastrophe because the actions of its human inhabitants have brought about critical insability. I concur with this thinking. There are causes, reasons, and consequences, the patterns of which are identifiable — if we simply open our eyes and our consciousness.
"To speak of lions 'forewarning' implies that they bear a 'consciousness.' I believe this to be so. Yet, rather than ego-consciousness (g. - an aspect of personality) so familiar to humankind, I believe that they carry the consciousness of the Original Source, the Creator identifiable with the solar Logos. Like the shamans of Africa, I accept that the White Lions are agents of light: Lions of God.
"In this way, the words of the spirit master gradually became clear to me: 'When man destroys the agents of light in his world, he freezes consciousness.' Humankind's mismanagement of its planet, and the consequences of this mismanagement, have instilled fear on earth, and for good reason.
"The thought of an Ice Age, of imminent apocalypse and global catastrophe is frightening in the extreme, yet the White Lions' message to us is not to succumb to our fear. They are here as the symbol we might draw upon to overcome this fear — and change the consciousness that is heading us into devastation. As the symbol of the heart of humankind, they are here to teach us the power of being brave and truly lionhearted. We as a species can evolve — not only physically, but ultimately also spiritually. We can overcome fear by summoning principles of courage, faith, and love. Love, in shamanic understanding, is faith in a divine presence. It is the knowledge that we are not alone, that we are all connected, we are all One.
"Caught in the treadmill of our consumer societies, we might feel impotent against the ongoing destruction of our earth. This is not so. I do not believe that we are helpless. We become intensely powerful and effective once we start believing in the light within us (g. - the inner landscape, the 'what,' not 'who' we are,) and allow this inner light to guide us toward the right action.
"There are many ways to reconnect. We might not choose the White Lion as our symbol. Our totem might be the doves that we feed at Trafalgar Square, or the stray ct that we rescue along the road, or the vegetables that we plant in our garden, or even the crystal that we cherish as a light-radiating stone in our house. There are many ways to reinvest in our earth and its riches. There are many ways to give something back for what we have received. The important thing is to start make the connections, and the interconnections.
"The truth is that we can make a difference.
"The very first step is to confront, and overcome, our own fears. Fear can hold us back from believing in our own inner radiance. The lion symbol is not a lifeless statue in bronze or marble guarding the entrances of our state buildings. It is alive. It lives in the courage and truth and light of every one of us. Like Christ himself, and all the other avatars of light who walked this planet in physical form, the White Lions are here on earth as a beacon to guide us to reclaim that light within us (g. - to live from what we are, the rich land of the inner landscape.)"
Reflecting on personality types gave me this last jewel of an insight. Following are excerpts regarding the non-preference of mindfulness. There is more to be uncovered, ahead.
'Having no preference, desire, or aversion, engage mindfully and attend to whatever thoughts and sensory images appear. With your awareness like space, simply be present, without reacting to any appearances. Release any grasping tendencies, allowing your awareness to remain in its own place. Attend to whatever arises in the present moment, without distraction, grasping, or aversion, and sustain an unwavering flow of mindfulness.' - 'The Four Applications of Mindfulness' by B. Alan Wallace
"There is a Buddhist teaching attributed to the Chinese Zen patriarch Jianzhi Sengcan call Faith – Mind. It opens with the lines, 'The great way [towards liberation] is not difficult for those who have no preferences. Like not, dislike not. Be illuminated.'" - 'Judgment Vs. Discernment: Moving from Preferences to Wisdom' by Forrest Hill
Clive Pardoe Its perfectly natural to like and dislike things or circumstances, its called "being human." What the teaching overlooks is the wiser council that we should not have overly strong attachments to our preferences.
Gary R. Smith I really 'like' this, Clive Pardoe. At least, it is useful to allow oneself to have preferences without attachment. To me, "Being filled with 'what I am' and detached from 'who I am' is the ultimate mindfulness." - Emanate Presence
'Who I am' has preferences. 'What I am' does not.
Being filled with 'what I am' and detached from 'who I am' is the ultimate mindfulness. - Emanate Presence