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True Person

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about True Person

Realizing the Absolute is Not the Entire Story of the Inner Path

Almaas: Let’s see if we can understand the relationship of the Pearl to the Absolute. Pure consciousness, or conscious presence, manifests in different forms such as love or peace. It can also manifest as a person, a true person, an essential person. We call that the Personal Essence. It is a certain manifestation of pure consciousness or aspect of essence. But as I said earlier, the Absolute, although it is the ultimate reality, is not the complete development. It is true that it is the inner nature of everything and the ultimate experience; it is where we are going and where we came from and where we come from all the time. However, realizing the Absolute is not the entire story of the inner path. In order to complete the story, consciousness as pure
presence becomes inseparable from absence. Consciousness can develop, whereas the Absolute does not. So, in a sense, the development in consciousness is the work. Much of this development can happen before the discovery of the Absolute or after it. It depends on the person. Some people don’t embark on the development of consciousness until after the recognition of the Absolute. Others do a lot with the development of consciousness before the realization of the Absolute.

The Personal Essence is the “True Person”

We have so far established our understanding that the Personal Essence is the “true person,” as opposed to the ego individuality experienced by most people and seen by psychology as a structure in the mind. We have also seen some connections between functions of the ego and qualities of the Personal Essence, for instance, issues of autonomy and personalness, and pointed out that the ego can be seen as a “reflection” of the true Beingness of the Personal
Essence.

The True Person Includes the Universal, Includes the Divine

We go through the initiation of life to get to the real thing, not to go back to what we were before. Something in you emerges out of the universal; out of the substance of the universal, a personal arises. I have the universal in me, it is my very soul, my very substance, but I am a person. And that is the miracle. That is the mystery—that the true person includes the universal, includes the divine. The building blocks of the true person are the universal, the divine substance. God creates you fresh in every moment. There is a new birth in that—God gives birth. Without this experience, you will always feel incomplete. It is for the birth and for the growth of this person, the personal being, the personal essence, often referred to as the Pearl Beyond Price,” that everything else exists. This is the key, the entry into all the mysteries, and to all the celebrations of existence. To be oneself means to be the synthesis of all that exists as you; to be you. You are the fruit of the universe. Sufis call the death of the personality “fana,” which means extinction. Then they talk about “baqa,” which means the remaining after extinction, the existence after death. “Baqa after fana” means “existence in God”; it means to be yourself within the universal. That personal beingness is what is called the Beloved of God in the Koran. In Christianity it is called the Son of God. You cannot be a lover, especially a lover of the divine, unless you are truly yourself. When you are yourself, your personal beingness, then and only then is it possible to treat other people as people, as humans in a personal way. Then they are no longer objects to you. When you are yourself in this way, it is possible to have personal contact with others. When you are not yourself, when you are the personality of ego, the personality is a barrier between you and the other. 

We Don’t Have to Feel that We are a Person all the Time

Sometimes when we are exploring this kind of connection, we think we might lose ourselves. That is actually the beauty of it, not a problem. But we need to feel ourselves in our maturity as the presence of a true person—a presence that is a form of our nature that can be lost and arise again, spontaneously and naturally. We don’t have to feel that we are a person all the time. We can be a delicate, sweet puddle or we can be a thriving, throbbing mass aflame with the passionate presence of our nature. Or we can be nothing, absolutely nothing at all. The more freedom we have, the more fluidly we can change form in our experience. In fact, this characteristic of realization is something else that we have no control over. Our experience is changing all the time. We cannot keep it to one tone or quality. A personal form will manifest when it needs to, but if we are insecure in our personhood, in the sense of who we are, this will limit the forms we can take. It is good to know that there are other possibilities. I find for myself that when I hit a limit to how far I can let myself go, it is nothing but another opportunity. What do I think I’m going to lose if I give myself over? I’m only going to lose another idea of myself.

When You Realize the True Person, the Essential Person, then You Realize One of the Essential Aspects

We can manifest as a person, or as love, joy, or compassion. The person is just one of the essential aspects. Being a person is the most difficult of the essential aspects to understand because we have lived an imitation of it which is the false person, the personality. In being a person, there is a true person, and the true person is what I call the Personal Essence, an expression or manifestation of your true nature. Just like love is an expression of who you are. But if we believe that ultimately we are the person, then we form a false personality. We form boundaries. So the person is not something to be rejected or put down or hated. The person is as precious as love is. The person is the way that who we truly are manifests on earth. Who we truly are cannot live on earth because we are nonphysical and have no form, so for true nature to have a window on creation, it manifests as a person. When you realize the true person, the essential person, then you realize one of the essential aspects. This means that sometimes you are person and sometimes you are not. Just like when you experience your true nature as love, you don’t have to have love all the time. Sometimes there is love, sometimes there is compassion, sometimes there is will. You can’t say, “I have to have love all the time. I have to have will all the time.” The same thing is true of the person: sometimes there is a person, sometimes there isn’t a person.

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