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May 07

The Fourth Tenet – The Truth of Impersonality

The fourth Tenet: The truth of impersonality

The fourth tenet is called the Truth of Impersonality. This tenet points us to a perspective on human experience that radically transcends the personal sphere of the separate ego.  The truth of impersonality compels us to begin to make the effort to see every aspect of our own human life not merely as a  personal experience but as an expression of a vast, impersonal, evolving universal process.

Evolutionary philosophy and evolutionary spirituality are based upon the recognition that this miraculous process has existed and has been developing for billions and billions of years.  It reveals to us that our own personal experience of that process in all of its many dimensions – inner and outer, gross and subtle – is only a very small part of an infinite unfolding.  Thoughts and feelings that arise in individual consciousness reflect emotional and psychological structures or habits that have slowly developed over tens of thousands of years.

In order to practice the fourth tenet, you simply have to begin to pay close attention to the nature of your own experience  and ask yourself:  Is this really just a personal experience, or is this the expression of an impersonal process?  You may feel that whatever  you are thinking or feeling  is very unique and special, and I may feel the same , but your feeling that it’ s personal to you and my feeling that it’s personal to me  are exactly the same sentiment.  Isn’t even the fact that experience appears to be personal a universal impersonal human phenomenon?  When you contemplate the nature of your experience from this perspective, you begin to have intimations and breakthrough insights which, over and over again, you see through the illusion of the personal sphere and recognize in many different ways that it is not real.

When I say that it is not real, that doesn’t mean that your experience doesn’t feel personal.  What I am saying  is that even the experience of it feeling personal is completely impersonal.  It sounds simple, but this is something that most of us have to see repeatedly, not once or twice , but thousands of times.  When your own perspective becomes reoriented in this way, you will begin to see  emotional and psychological responses of others  in the same way that you would see the eruptions of a volcano in Hawaii or a shooting star at night  – it’s all part and parcel and an expression of the life process. If you want to evolve , if you want to become an enlightened person, this is the perspective that needs to be cultivated until it becomes habitual.

There is nothing more powerful than this impersonal perspective  to help us see through the veil of narcissism, the attachment to egoistic self importance. The impersonal view reveals to us that the separate self- sense, or ego, it ultimately nothing more than an illusion of uniqueness , created moment by moment through our compulsive habit of personalizing almost every thought, feeling, and sensation we have.  This insight , even if only temporary, can profoundly undercut the conviction that we are each a unique individuated entity living in a separate bubble, isolated from everything else that exists. You are a process. And your process is a very small part of a larger process.  Dare to face this and you will become transparent to yourself.

The personal is simply the veil that creates the illusion of separation that is ego. And it’s a mighty illusion.  It’s powerful and profound. Most of us live our entire lives behind that veil, never stepping through it except perhaps  in brief experiences of higher  states of consciousness. But if you are willing to face the truth  of impersonality and have the courage to see beyond your own personal self – sense, your identification and allegiance will begin to shift from the personal concerns of the ego to the impersonal passion of the Authentic Self, which is the energy of intelligence driving the whole process. When you pierce the veil of the personal, you discover a radical objectivity that liberates you from the endless self-preoccupation of the ego and makes you available  right now, to consciously participate  in the highest level of that process which is the evolution of consciousness itself.

Some people , when they hear the word  “impersonality ” interpret this as meaning inhuman. But it is actually quite the opposite. I’m referring to a process in a flat mechanical, materialistic sense. This process is alive. And its you. The process is you. What is so important about this shift of perspective  is that you begin to see your own sense of self as part of this vast unfolding stream of development. Your understanding of what it means to be human expands almost infinitely because you start to see your own humanity and your own potential for greater humanity as a result of this process, and ( as far as we know) the highest expression of this process.  In this way, the truth of impersonality  enhances and enlarges to almost infinite proportions  your sense of the significance of what it means to be human.

Article donated to the helping hands by A. Cohen