Individuality and Personality. What the Self really is. What is the Individual which manifests the Power of the Self. The Master in the Brain.
In our last lesson we stated that we considered the “Secret of Success” to consist principally of the Free Expression of the Individual—the “I.” But before you will be able to apply this idea successfully, you must first awaken to a realization of what the Individual—the “I” within you—really is. This statement may appear ridiculous at first to many of you, but it will pay you to acquaint yourself fully with the idea behind it, for upon the true realization of “I” comes Power.
If you will stop and take stock of yourself, you will find that you are a more complex being than you had at first considered yourself to be. In the first place there is the “I,” which is the Real Self or the Individual, and there is the “Me,” which is something attached to and belonging to the “I”—the Personality. For proof of this, let the “I” take stock of the “Me,” and it will find that the latter consists of three phases or principles, i. e. (1) the Physical Body; (2) The Vital Energy; (3) The Mind.
Many people are in the habit of regarding their bodies as the “I” part of them, but a little consideration will show them that the body is but a material covering, or machine through which and by means of which the “I” is able to manifest itself. A little thought will show that one may be vividly conscious of the “I Am” part of himself while totally oblivious of the presence of the physical body. This being so, it follows that the “I” is independent of the body, and that the latter falls into the “Me” classification. The physical body may exist after the “I” has left it—the dead body is not the “I.” The physical body is composed of countless particles which are changing places every moment of our lives—our body of today is entirely different from our body of a year ago.
Then comes the second principle of the “Me”—the Vital Energy, or what many call Life. This is seen to be independent of the body, which it energizes, but it, too, is transitory and changeable, and readily may be seen to be but a something used to animate and energize the body—an instrument of the “I,” and therefore a principle of the “Me”. What, then, is left to the “I” to examine and determine its nature? The answer that comes naturally to the lips is, “The Mind, by which I know the truth of what you have just said.” But, stop a moment, you have said, speaking of the mind, “by which I know”—have you not, in saying this, acknowledged the mind to be a something through which the “I” acts?
Think a moment—is the mind you? You are aware that your mental states change—your emotions vary— your feelings differ from time to time—your very ideas and thoughts are inconsistent and are subject to outside influences, or else are molded and governed by that which you call “I”, or your Real Self. Then there must be something behind Mental States, Ideas, Feelings, Thoughts, etc., which is superior to them and which “knows” them just as one knows a thing apart from itself but which it uses. You say “I” feel; “I” think; “I” believe; “I” know; “I” will; etc. , etc. Now which is the Real Self? The Mental States just mentioned or the “I” which is the subject or Real Cause of the mental phenomena? It is not the Mind that knows, but the “I” which uses the Mind in order to know.
This may seem a little abstruse to you if you have never been made a study of the subject, but think it over a little and the idea will clearly define itself in your mind.
We are not telling you these things merely to give you an idea of metaphysics, philosophy, or psychology—there are many books that go into these matters at length and in detail—so it is not for that reason. The real reason is that with a realization of the “I” or Real Self, comes a sense of Power that will manifest through you and make you strong. The awakening to a realization of the “I”, in its clearness and vividness, will cause you to feel a sense of Being and Power that you have never before known. Before you can express Individuality, you must realize that you are an Individual. And you must be aware of this “I” within you before you can realize that you are an Individual.
The “Me” side of you is what is called Personality, to the outer appearance of yourself. Your Personality is made up of countless characteristics, traits, habits, thoughts, expressions and motions—it is a bunch of peculiarities and personal traits that you have been thinking was the real “I” all this time. But it is not. Do you know what the idea of Personality arose from? Let us tell you. Turn to the pages of any good dictionary, and you will see that the word originated from the Latin word “Persona”, meaning “a mask used by actors in ancient times”, and which the word in turn was derived from two other words, “sonare,” meaning to “sound,” and “per,” meaning “through,” the two words combined meaning “to sound through”—the idea being that the voice of the actor sounded through the mask of the assumed personality or character.
Webster gives the following as one of the meanings of “Person,” even to this day: “A character or part, as in a play; an assumed character.” So then, Personality means the part you are playing in the Great Play of Life, on the Stage of the Universe. The real Individual concealed behind the mask of Personality is you—the Real Self—the “I”—that part of you which you are conscious when you say “I am,” which is your assertion of existence and latent power.
“Individual” means something that cannot be divided or subtracted from—something that cannot be injured or hurt by outside forces—something real. And you are an Individual—a Real Self—an “I”—Something endowed with Life, Mind, and Power, to use, as you will. A poet named Orr wrote:
“Lord of a thousand worlds am I, And I reign since time began; And night and day, in cyclic sway, Shall pass while their deeds I scan. Yet time shall cease ere I find release, For I am the soul of Man.”