seeing the themes of the eight types on the playground
(The first name of each type is its essence (strengths and qualities). The second name is the personality of the type (manipulations and defenses). Positive and negative emotional feelings are in parentheses. The "stake" of each personality type is *out there* in every present meeting that takes place with another person.)
The "true self" is all in the essence. The "false self" is all in personality.
The "shadow self," the automatic, conditioned self that follows our ego around in sleep, the "false self" as it is called in many teachings, is all in the personality.
Within each of the types, the flavor, or theme carries through from the essence to the personality. See if you can study this out with each of the types. You could say that the personality has the same theme as the essence in each of these types, only it carries that theme "too far," too much in excess, too "disturbingly" of the peace and harmony of others as well as themselves.
In the actions and activities of your own life, you may only have the characteristics of the essence in a number of these types, and not have the characteristics of the personality of those types. With certain other types, you may have the characteristics of both the essence AND the personality.
While, on the one hand, I'm wishing to direct some light on the whole spectrum of strengths and qualities that you have in the essence side of these types . . . . . it is the personality side that we are "stalking" here. The main focus is in the several of these types where you may find that you have a lot of the characteristics of personality. It is in these several types where you can learn the most from this class.
In the *action* part of this study, "the move" might become lightening up a little on the activities of the personality of a given type where it goes to excess . . . . . and relying more *by choice* on the moderate essence that lies underneath.
For usually, it is in the several types where we have the most personality where the essence goes most ignored, and we get ourselves into *the most trouble* in life. In other words, we get so much into the personality of those types that we get habituated to that, and never turn to the essence of those types.
And the ego-driven personalities *cause trouble* to get what they want. They manipulate. They try to force life to be a certain way because they want it -- this without reference to *whether it is to be at all*. . . . . of if so, when? The ego-driven personalities have no regard for that. They just want what they want as soon as they can have what they want. They want other people to be, not who they really are, but who they want them to be.
Since everybody's got an ego, wanting what they want all the time, this leads to profound confusions within the human race, not to mention within our own families, among our friends, and with those we work and play with.
We all have ego-driven personalities. Each of us in our several characteristic ways (among these eight types) go too far. We over-do it. We disturb the peace. We bring disharmony to others, and right back upon ourselves, as they give disharmony right back. Pow! This is the human condition, globally. It is the condition of the leaders on high and the people below. "What you sow is what you reap." That says it perfectly. Sow personality, you get personality. Sow essence, you get essence.
Any hope for humanity lies in our catching on to this. But catching on to this takes mindfulness, first, and then the ability to look at human behavior objectively in awareness and see what it's really like. That's how it becomes possible to understand the value in "stepping aside from your personality," which disturbs the peace of others, and "stepping out in the essence that lies underneath," which not only harmonizes with others, but "gets the job done"--whatever it is that's going on--as well!
To summarize one of the points above, you may find the characteristics of your essence in *all* of the types. The trick, then, is in learning to recognize the few of these types, the several types among the eight, where you *do appear to have* a lot of the characteristics of personality showing up in what you routinely do day after day. These several personality types can be "worked on," as they say in spiritual approaches. Or, as we say here on the playground, they can be "played with," in a game called the awareness game.
A few points about "mystical or metaphysical terminology," so to speak:
The way we look at it in this study, the names on the left side on the chart above, the essence side, represent the themes of the characteristics of your *being*. And the names on the right side show the themes of the characteristics of what is referred to here as the "self."
"Being" and "Self." Being is the essence, and self is the personality. Being is the strengths and qualities that we are born with. And self is the manipulations of personality that we acquire as we are growing up--and which we can learn to "slip," by practicing studies like this. The idea is in letting go of self, and dwelling in being instead.
As looked at here, it is a process of mindfully working on, or "playing with," the main types of the personality--the stuff that goes on routinely on "the shadow side" of our lives, in order to . . . . . "slip that," when we wake up and see it clearly. Then we can just "let the light of our essence shine" in the strengths and qualities that are already there that we can "put into play" on the spot. This can go very smoothly and voluntarily, if we practice.
But regardless of all the differing technical terminologies that are around for these points in the many spiritual and mystical teachings (which are all revealing the same things in their respective contexts) all that matters here is that you catch on to the idea of it--that there are useful components in our over-all make up which are innate. We were all born with these. And there are harmful ("maladaptive," conflict-creating) components in our make-up that have been acquired as we were growing up. And by doing these over and over again during our lives, we have become *conditioned* to go on doing them in the same ways, over and over again, and reaping the consequences throughout our lives.
Here, we are interested in becoming more and more free of this harmful conditioning. We are practicing to be able to access more and more often the strengths and qualities of our underlying essence, and *put that out into play in life* with other people, as best we can.
Again, many people who study this diagnostic tool find that they have the characteristics of the essence side of all eight of these types. They have a certain amount of Can-Do Person, Teacher, Player, Artist, Hard Worker, Student, Lover, and Healer in their make-up. This is their essence--that is, they were born with all these strengths and qualities of all eight of these types, and they are innate. That's the way it is for most of us. We can all be "tough" if we have to; we can all "love tenderly," etc., etc. "Statistically," it's very likely that you, too--give or take a type or two, in rare cases--have your share of all eight of these essential qualities at your disposition, whether aware of it or not.
That's not where the difficulty lies. In fact, that's the area of the blessings, and the more it can be brought into light out of the shadows, the happier we will all be on Earth together. We all--each and every one of us--have plenty of resources in the qualities of our essence . . . resources enough!!!
The difficulty in ordinary life is that all so often people don't realize or remember that they have these masterful qualities of their essence always available within them! They become *absorbed in the constant activities of their personalities*, and they forget this. This is why the greater part of human interaction in everyday encounters takes place in personality. This is true at home and away from home.
In the ordinary meetings that people have--both with those that are close to them and those that are hardly known--it is the personalities that are out there in the room, blatantly: Dictator, Con Artist, Judge, Rebel, Doormat, Believer, Martyr, and Kind Helper. You'll be interested and perhaps surprised to see how often this shows up at work, at home, and even where you go to relax and have fun. "Human relations," for the most part, wherever one goes, is a constant series of "match-ups" between these ego-driven contenders that are in activity in all of us.
This is what you may see most of the time when you wake up in mindfulness and take a patient and contemplative look at "what's happening now" among people who are relating for ten or fifteen minutes or so. The personalities are out there. This course is about learning to see this, in awareness.
And don't think that teachers and coaches don't have personalities, because they do. The only edge teachers have is that they can wake up more often, coming from regular practice. And they can catch-on more easily and more often that their personalities are out there when that's what's happening. And, of course, they are "masters" because they can then be awake enough to do something about it on the spot.
And one can become a master of this no matter what their personality is--that is, whichever several of the eight types seem to take an apparent lead in the way that their life plays out. And they will be able to see, and with practice, to be able to remember to see more and more often.
Two people are there in a room together with their personalities, and each of them has their several characteristic stakes in the meeting and their several characteristic manipulations to go after those stakes--such as correspond with the several types of their respective personalities.
And, most interesting: neither of them is aware of this in either their own self or the other. And without knowing they have different personalities, each with their own several distinct views and stakes in the matter at hand . . . . neither really understands the other, not where they are coming from nor what they are wishing for.
Yet, each of them pretends that they can understand each other (according to the concepts of reason and logic) and be understood. They each think that the other person "ought to be able to understand their view." They "think" they understand where the other is coming from. They are likely to expect, or even demand that the other person ought to think about it the same way they do (which is all that seems "normal" from the perspective of each of these eight quite distinct types).
But this does not take into account the fact, that each type only looks at the situation the way *that type* looks at it. They only wish for what *that type* wants. The different types *do not understand each other* in this. They each only (as it's going on) understand it in their own typical, habitual, conditioned way, the way that they have "always" looked at things like this, the only way that they know how to regard anything as "normal." This is why so many *typical* misunderstandings arise among people. Their personalities are different! And they don't understand this.
How often have we been told that when we have a conflict with another person it can be very beneficial to "look at it from the other person's point of view?" But how is one to do that? Only through an understanding of the personality types and by *recognizing* the type that is involved, can one know what the other person's position is.
Most people simply ignore entirely the whole question of finding a coherent way to communicate through the typical confusions and misunderstandings that come up in almost all relationships with other people. Yet finding a way to share this kind of understanding with another person can be extremely germaine to real *companionship*.
People suppose that they already understand "as well as it's possible to understand." But this doesn't take into consideration the powerful *resource* of mindfulness in such an effort. Of course, most people by far have never even heard of mindfulness. Many who have learned mindfulness seldom remember it. And many diligent mindfulness practitioners simply do not have a diagnostic system available that they can use in conjunction with their awareness to accomplish this kind of deeper understanding.
That is why this diagnostic tool is being made available here in the playground. Indeed, this approach provides a student with an excellent way to practice mindfulness that is interesting, fun, and very practical, so that this awareness will proliferate in a student's life. The more one practices mindfulness, the more it is remembered. And this is an excellent way to get in that practice every day.
It is in the personality side that people differ so much from one another. (And they aren't aware of it, as they try to establish rapport and cooperation in whatever project or event is going on.) We all have a lot in common on the essence side (if that could be remembered). It is in the make-up of our individual personalities that we are so different from the others that we are involved with in our daily lives.
Each of our respective personality types *expects* others to be able to feel and think the same way that they do. They don't realize that many other people's make-up is *different*, and therefor it is *impossible* for them to feel and think the same way that they do. In the main, other people feel and think the way their types feel and think. You feel and think the way your types feel and think, in the main.
People usually find that there are three of these types (sometimes four) that hold the great majority of the characteristics that they actually can identify in their selves by practicing mindful daily study of this.
Each of us usually "specializes," you could say, in three of these eight types when we are "caught up" in the conditioned activities of our personalities. (For most people, that's most of the time.) Once these several types have been identified, they can be called a person's "primary types."
Through continuing study and practice, a student can usually eventually identify one of their primary types which takes the lead most often in the main ways that they live their life. This can be called the "chief feature," or "chief personality type." (Try not to be in too much of a hurry to figure this chief type out, or else there might be some worthwhile surprises that you might miss. For now, just see if you can catch on to your several principal types.)
The personality is acquired as we are growing up from childhood. More and more we imitate (or do the exact opposite of) the adults in the world around us as we are growing up. We start applying the manipulations of personality that have *taken over* human behavior in the adult world. (They give us better grades for this, in fact!) And the more we rely on personality, the less we remember and use the natural traits of the essence that we were born with (although these strengths are still there within us).
Eventually, it is *all* just personality in our human societies--governance, politics, journalism, the courts, business, labor, the "market," family, education, religion, medicine, sports, the arts, even human services. Eventually it is all just personality! Every human body in the streets has got its automatic, conditioned stakes in every event that happens. And "ordinary life" is all just blindly going after those stakes by using manipulations in sleep, with scarcely glances to the side to see, in awareness, what this powerful and beautiful force of human essence is, and what it can be, and do.
The object of this mindful training is NOT for you to be able to "drop" the whole complex body of your ego and your personality formation. This training--and the game that is taught here, the awareness game--is for application in the present moment only. You don't have to worry about your "whole gigantic ego," so to speak, or your "whole gigantic personality." All you need to do is focus on the one obvious part of it that is happening *now* in the present moment, in any place or situation that you happen to be.
By learning to recognize the components of your "ego-driven personality" this way, you are able, first of all, to study that. And then, as your studies lead to more and more cumulative understanding of your over-all make-up, you are in a position to *do something about it*
You can learn to be able to make a choice to drop your ego-driven personality in the present moment, and to put into play *by choice* the essential strength and quality of your essence that lies underneath it instead. [This is a "transformative" act, for those who pursue the many spiritual trainings that teach enlightenment and transformation.]
In other words, by recognizing a conditioned activity of your personality in mindfulness in a present moment, you are able to put an essential strength and quality into action instead, if you choose to. This is the quintessential "move" of the awareness game.
But for now, you must begin to learn what the flavors and themes of these eight types are, if you are to be able to play this game. The thumbnail sketches in the chart above are designed to give you a start with some hints of the "flavor" of the theme of each type. Print out that page (one), if you'd like to have it handy for practice. It's a "teaching tool."
See if you can start putting these clues into action already by keeping them in mind and watching your self and others in mindfulness.
In lessons on the playground that will follow, you will get more specific details and fuller explanations of each of the types.