Personality and Soul

meditation pond - Tanis HelliwellMarriage between the Personality and Soul: An excerpt from Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose

by Tanis Helliwell

Personality and Soul Defined

The word “personality” is derived from the Greek word persona, meaning mask. Our personality is a construct we use to experience the world, but it is not the essential part of us. Whereas the soul is eternal, the personality is transitory. It’s the clothing that our soul wears in this
life. Carl Jung, in describing the different strengths of the persona and soul, said that persona facilitates relationship with the outer world as the soul does with the inner world.

Unlike the personality, our soul has no fear, pride or attachment to the things of this world, no concern with time and no judgment of right and wrong. Its perspective is eternity. The soul knows the divine laws of creation and sends down a part of itself into our personality, so we can learn to manifest these laws in the world of time and space. Whether we believe that the soul does this in one life, or in a succession of lives, is ultimately not important. Whether our lives are easy or difficult, whether we are a Caucasian man or an Asian woman, a carpenter, a homemaker or a mathematical genius, what is ultimately important is that we learn to manifest our gifts and encourage others to manifest theirs.

Not limited by space or time, the soul is infinite. It has many viewing points on how our individual life fits into the overall divine plan for humans. Our personality, on the other hand, has one point of view because it is finite and anchored in the physical world. Fortunately, the infinite is attracted to the finite and the finite to the infinite and, as we become a soul-infused personality, we merge these two principles in our life and work.

Personality and Soul Roles

The personality can use its free will to dominate the soul, but this is not the path to happiness. Some people’s souls come knocking in their twenties and are told to go away. For others, the knock at the door happens in their thirties or forties. Even then the soul maybe rejected. The personality believes that the soul leaves and returns occasionally to see if we’ve changed our mind. Our personality may fight what it sees as its opponent; and if the personality is too strong, the soul may never gain “legitimate” entrance. What the personality fails to realize is that the soul is already inside. Although we are free to ignore our soul’s call, we cannot evolve as conscious creators until we act on our soul’s desires.

Yet we must not sentimentalize the soul. It is not a soft romantic lover. It has, as Carl Jung observed, an objective, distant quality, and merging the soul with the personality is not an easy task. When our personality falls in love with the soul, it initially sees only the positive aspects and has many illusions as to the relationship. One by one, as we painfully confront our projections and shadows, our soul destroys these illusions. The soul is unmoved by our psychic pain and accepts no bribes offered by our personality. However, as with any good marriage, through commitment, hard work and love, our personality and soul can eventually find a healthy and loving relationship through which both are able to accomplish their task better than either by itself. This relationship is not always equal. Some people are dominated by the soul and have not mastered the reality of their everyday world. They find it impossible to have relationships, cook meals, pay bills and are incompetent in “real” life. However, it is much more common for people to be personality-dominated and to live too much in the everyday world while shutting out the soul’s call. We see this in ego driven individuals who strive for the outward trappings of success at the expense of their family, their own soul and their relationship with the world that supports them.

The soul and body need to work together as equal partners. If the soul consciousness does not work in harmony with the body consciousness, we become ill, but it is equally unhealthy to exaggerate the importance of the soul. If we see our soul as being better than the body, then we lose touch with the sacredness of the body and of all matter. If we do this, we may find peace in meditation and seclusion, but will be unable to live and work amongst our fellow human beings.

You may have forgotten your spiritual purpose at this moment, but it is encoded in your blood and cells. The soul continually helps the personality recall its purpose by whispering. If whispers don’t work, the soul increases the volume until the shouting gets so loud that it becomes difficult for the personality to ignore. In heeding the soul, the personality will often need to re-define its relationship with life and work. We may need to learn to listen and to practice listening to our soul just as we practice anything at which we wish to excel.

Excerpted from Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose by Tanis Helliwell