The Polished Personality
Joseph Nolen (1997)
A well-polished personality” has been suggested as the means of “attaining” the great work. Does this mean that a personality is considered polished when it is suave, slick, convincing, and smooth in its interactions with others and can turn on charm at will like a faucet? That is the conventional image of the term – yes, but certainly not when it is used to describe the means to the goal of the Great Work. It involves total depth of consciousness, not just a surface performance.
The Great Work is expressed more effectively through a truly polished personality, but why and how? In the aspirational sense, an unpolished personality would be one that expresses negative patterns- the usual personality glitches, zits, blemishes and immaturities that we all have in common and seem to continue to express on the Path – to our dismay. ”When will I ever be rid of these patterns?”
The personality that has not expressed these so- called unspiritual patterns would not be human. They are totally extant in the human Yesodic pattern world and we have the world will continue to feel their pressure to be expressed as long as we are in a physical body. Master R. said that even they have to carefully observe their reactions when they are working in a body on the physical plane- so pervasive are these patterns of expression.
One of the main problems of the aspirant is unrealistic expectations regarding the transmutation of these unwanted patterns. We expect these nasty impulses that chew away at our spiritual self-image to just disappear – not even to be felt any more. But they don’t disapprove and a sense of frustration and failure usually results.
So what is the solution to reducing their expression? The secret is wanting to be more aware. This may seem like a very common thing but it is not! It is the essence of the inner motivation that unfolds the Great Work, which is simply the realization of Who and What we are. When the Inner Teacher bring Its instrument. through pain, discomfort and frustration, to the point of willingness to see their causal patterns, the negative impulses remain but with the over-riding desire to control their expression. Subconsciousness alerts us to the immanence of a negative expression, and conscious awareness can choose to expressor not express. When subconsciousness is convinced of our desire to be aware of and control our undesirable impulses, it be- comes a dependable, alert partner in warning us before we become uncool!
Our negative expressions actually have many important gifts to bestow, such as patience, humility, charity and the capacity to empathize with others. Many very good aspirants suffer under the delusion that these expressions are spiritual failures. They are not, but they are incentives to be more aware. As long as we are unconscious of our motivations, we will express them and be their seeming victim. Conscious awareness gives us a choice.
A naturally secure, compassionate, alert personality is the result of water awareness and those qualities would be considered a desirable polish. Ann Davies had the most polished personality I have observed. She could change her expression from Mercy to Severity in an instant when needed. Her personality was clearly used as an instrument, rather than identity, and was extremely flexible, responding to the circumstances.
Most personalities are quite fixed and predictable in their responses. Flexibility in responding to the needs of others is a mark of a truly polished personality. The desire to be more aware is where the motivating effort should be and is the only thing that produces that so- called spiritual polish.