Lessons In Truth
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[Lessons In Truth]
[Emily Cady's Works] [Unity on the Web Home Page]
Personality and Individuality
1. One of the greatest beauties of the Sermon on the Mount
is the childlike simplicity of its language. Every child,
every grown person, be he ever so uneducated, if he can
read at all can understand it. Not a word in it requires
the use of a dictionary; not a sentence in it that does not
tell the way so plainly that "the wayfaring men, yea,
fools, shall not err therein" (Is. 35:8). And yet the
Nazarene was the fullest, most complete manifestation of
the one Mind that has ever lived; that is to say, more of
the wisdom that is God came forth through Him into
visibility than through anyone else who has ever lived. The
more any person manifests the true wisdom, which is God,
the more simple are his ways of thinking and acting; the
more simple are the words through which he expresses his
ideas. The greater the truth to be expressed, the more
simple can it (and should it) be clothed.
2. Emerson said, "Converse with a mind that is grandly
simple, and all literature looks like word-catching."
3. In the metaphysical literature of today a good many
terms are used that are very confusing to those who have
not taken a consecutive course of lessons on the subject.
It seems to me wise to give here a clear,
simple explanation of two words frequently used, so that
even the most unlearned may read understandingly.
4. The words personality and individuality present distinct
meanings to the trained mind, but by the untrained mind
they are often used interchangeably and apart from their
5. Personality applies to the human part of you--the
person, the external. Your personality may be agreeable or
disagreeable to others. When you say that you dislike
anyone, you mean that you dislike his personality--that
exterior something that presents itself from the outside.
It is the outer, changeable man, in contradistinction to
the inner or real, man.
6. Individuality is the term used to denote the real man.
The more God comes into visibility through a person the
more individualized he becomes. By this I do not mean that
one's individuality is greater when one is more religious.
Remember, God is wisdom, intelligence, love, power. The
more pronounced the manner in which any one of these
qualities--or all of them--comes forth into visibility
through a man, the greater his individuality.
7. Emerson was a man of large individuality, but retiring
personality. He was grandly simple. He was of a shrinking,
retiring nature (or personality). But just in proportion as
the human side of him was willing to retire and be thought
little of, did the immortal, the God in him, shine forth in
8. John the Baptist represents the illumined intellect, the
highest development of human conscioussness.
We may think of him as standing for personality, whereas
Jesus typifies the divine self or individuality. John,
recognizing the superiority of Jesus, said, "He must
increase, but I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30).
9. One's individuality is that part of one that never
changes its identity. It is the God self. It is that which
distinguishes one person from another. One's personality
may become like that of others with whom one associates.
Individuality never changes.
10. Do not confound the terms. One may have an aggressive,
pronounced personality, or external man, which will, for a
time, fight its way through obstacles and gain its point.
But a pronounced individuality never battles; it is never
puffed up; it is never governed by likes and dislikes and
never causes them in others; it is God come forth in
greater degree through a man, and all mere personality
instinctively bends the knee before it in recognition of
11. We cultivate individuality by listening to the "still
small voice" (1 Kings 19:12) down deep within us, and
boldly following it, even if it does make us different from
others, as it surely will. We cultivate personality, in
which live pride, fear of criticism, and all manner of
selfishness, by listening to the voices outside ourselves
and by being governed by selfish motives, instead of by the
highest within us. Seek always to cultivate, or bring into
visibility, individuality, not personality. In proportion
as one increases, the other must decrease.
12. Whenever we fear a man, or shrink before him,
it is because his personality, being the stronger,
overcomes ours. Many timid persons go through life always
feeling that they are inefficient, that others are wiser or
better than they. They dread to meet a positive,
self-possessed person; and when in the presence of such a
one, they are laid low, just as a field of tall wheat is
after a fierce windstorm has swept across it. They feel as
though they would like to get out of sight forever.
13. All this, dear timid ones, is not because your fellow
really is wiser or better than you, but because his
personality--the external man--is stronger than yours. You
never have a similar feeling in the presence of strong
individuality. Individuality in another not only produces
in you an admiration for its superiority, but it also gives
you, when you are in its presence, a strange new sense of
your own inherent possibilities, a sense that is full of
exhilaration and comfort and encouragement to you. This is
because a pronounced individuality simply means more of God
come forth into visibility through a person, and by some
mind process it has power to call forth more of God through
14. If you want to know how to avoid being overcome and
thrown off your feet by the strong personality of others, I
will tell you:
15. Always remember that personality is of the human and
individuality is of God. Silently affirm your own
individuality, your oneness with God, and your superiority
to personality. Can God fear any person?
16. If you are naturally inclined to be timid or
shrinking, practice of the following will help you overcome
it. As you walk down the street and see anyone coming
toward you, even a stranger to you, silently affirm such
words as: "I am a part of God in visibility; I am one with
the Father; this person has no power over me, for I am
superior to all personality." Cultivate this habit of
thinking and affirming whenever you approach any person,
and you will soon find that no personality, however strong
and aggressive, has the power to throw you out of the most
perfect poise. You will be self-possessed because
17. Some years ago I found myself under a sense of bondage
to a strong, aggressive personality with whom, externally,
I had been quite intimately associated for several months.
I seemed to see things through another's eyes; and while I
was more than half conscious of this, yet I could not seem
to throw it off. This personality was able, with very few
words, to make me feel as if all that I said or did was a
mistake, and that I was a most miserable failure. I was
always utterly discouraged after being in this presence,
and felt that I had no ability to accomplish anything.
18. After vainly trying for weeks to free myself, one day I
was walking along the street, with a most intense desire
and determination to be free. Many times before, I had
affirmed that this personality could not affect or overcome
me, but with no effect. This day I struck out farther and
declared (silently of course), "There is no such
personality in the universe as this one," affirming it
again and again many times. After a few
moments I began to feel wondrously lifted, and as if chains
were dropping off. Then the voice within me urged me on a
step farther to say, "There is no personality in the
universe; there is nothing but God." After a short time
spent in vigorously using these words, I seemed to break
every fetter. From that day to this, without further
effort, I have been as free from any influence of that
personality as though it had never existed.
19. If at any time the lesser affirmation of Truth fails to
free you from the influence of other minds, try this more
sweeping one, "There is no personality in the universe;
there is nothing but God," and you are bound to be made
20. The more you learn to act from the "still small voice"
within you, the stronger and more pronounced will be
individuality in you.
21. If you are inclined to wilt before strong
personalities, always remember that God has need of you,
through whom, in some special manner, to manifest
Himself--some manner for which He cannot use any other
organ--what need have you to quail before any person, no
matter how important?
22. However humble your place in life, however unknown to
the world you may be, however small your capabilities may
seem at present to you, you are just as much a necessity to
God in His efforts to get Himself into visibility as is the
most brilliant intellect, the most thoroughly cultured
person in the world. Remember this always, and act from the
highest within you.
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[Lessons In Truth]
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