In this dharma talk from 1982, Ram Dass tackles the problem with personality, exploring how we need to honor the power of our personality without identifying and being attached to it.
The Problem With Personality
What is the problem with personality? Ram Dass explores how Earth is a school, a curriculum for the soul, and how a spiritual framework helps us to be less identified with our neurotic personality patterns. As we evolve spiritually, we have a more rooted awareness that is independent of our personality.
“The problem with personality stuff is it’s like having a stone under a carpet, and then putting more carpets on top. They just all have that little place where the stone is; they just keep getting like that all the time.” – Ram Dass
Personality and Relationships (23:27)
Ram Dass talks about how personality stuff comes up most dramatically in relationships. He shares how he works to not identify people with their personality problems, instead, creating space for them to come up for air when they’re ready. He explores how personality is our vehicle, our form, and to deny it is just as bad as being attached to it.
“In other words, getting caught in reactivity; reinforcing the reality of personality. The question is, how much do we reinforce each other’s personality? We enter into these conspiracies, ‘I’ll make believe you are who you think are if you’ll make believe I am who I think I am.’ And we keep strengthening our personalities all the time.” – Ram Dass
Delight in the Neuroses (34:51)
Ram Dass shares more about relationships, and how some couples are able to achieve unity through duality. He talks about the cosmic giggle behind the seriousness of the spiritual journey, and how he delights in his neuroses. Ultimately, we need to develop compassion for our personality so that we can live with it in a spacious way.
“You get so that you must honor the power of your personality, that’s a very powerful karmic ingredient. If you are busy hating yourself for having a personality, it merely perpetuates the whole process of attachment.” – Ram Dass