influences that shape us
Jan 20, 1994 07:56 AM
There are a number of ways that we can categorize our personalities,
a number of influences that help shape them and make them the way that
Ultimately, the personalities arise out of ourselves. They contain a
portion of our overall qualities, but one small facet of the overall
jewel that we are.
Coming into life, and fashioning a personality, we interact with our
environment and *negotiate* what we will become. There is an
interaction between us and the beings that compose our environment, an
interplay of forces, a battle of wills, leading to the final outcome
of whom and what we will be in life.
There is an interaction between us and our parents, over the type of
child that they would have, their values, their preferences for us, and
the way that we would be. We are partly fashioned out of this interplay.
Other forces in life appear to influence us too, and to help make us
what we become. But we pick our influences, and choose which ones we
are subject to, and we allow ourselves to be affected by them.
Consider astrology. When we are born, there were certain planetary and
celestial forces active. We are said to be under the influence of the
forces at work at our moment of birth. These forces help build our
body, our personality, and they affect the circumstances of our lives.
Some celestial influences may come from the seven sacred planets, with
one perhaps stronger than the others. That influence might be called
one of the "seven rays". Another influence might be considered from
one of the twelve astrological signs, or rather sidereal constellations.
Closer to home, we have the affect of the subrace or culture that we
are born into. There is the affect of being born into a body of a
particular sex--male or female--and the social and psychological
differences of experience that go along with it. There is the affect of
being born into different social or economic classes. We could be poor
or rich, exploited or powerful, materially impoverished or advanced,
lacking in a spiritual tradition and literature or rich with one.
There are many differences of outer circumstances that we can be born
There are many affects and influences. All these and the many more that
we draw to us, that we associate with, that we enter into interaction
with, make us the personality that we've become. But we are, in our
inner nature, above all of it. We are the individuality, pure Manas,
the human Ego, and the personality, the particular mask that we've
crafted for ourselves in this lifetime, is only skin deep. The
characteristics of this mask leave us untouched. We are above any of
these outer influences.
Consider our sexuality. It is a passing phase of human (and animal)
evolution, and does not rise beyond the personality, beyond Kama-Manas.
We may have a personality, for instance, that is a woman, but being a
woman gives us no special insight into earth and mother nature. Having
a female form, and that particular bias for our personality, we may be
able to express certain of our qualities easier, perhaps, than when
born as a man, but those qualities have to *exist in ourselves*. And
being born in a man's body, we do not necessarily lack any particular
Regardless of our outer form, there will be certain aspects of ourself
that we find easy to express, and others that are difficult, if at all
possible, to express. Nothing is given to us from outside, simply by
taking on a certain type of body.
The differences that we find in us, due to the formation of a
personality, under the influences of our world, Globe D earth, all only
go as deep as Kama-Manas. It is at Kama-Manas at which our sense of
self takes on a concern with outer activities in the world, and
acquires a need to do and accomplish things. And it is in this need
that puts us under the affect of external influences.
An astrological chart, the influence of being born into a certain
culture, being a man or a woman, the influence of the seven sacred
planets or rays, on us--all these deal with the fashioning of the
personality and, in the higher triad, Atman, Buddhi, Manas, we rise
In Manas, pure Manas, untouched by Kama, we are not under the influence
of the planets, and astrological charts say nothing about ourselves.
We are neither man nor woman. We are not on any particular "ray". And
we are ourselves, unbiased by our particular culture or subrace. All
the influences that shape the personality cannot reach us; we are
When we may speak of higher influences that affect deeper parts of
ourselves, we must take care what we consider to be ourselves. In
active, manifest existence, we are a collection of associated Monads,
including a Divine Monad, a Spiritual Monad, and a Human Monad. And we
are the Human Monad, or rather the Human Ego, an evolved ray of
consciousness coming out of it. There are influences that help shape
and fashion the natures of the higher Monads within us, but that is
Just considering us as the Human Monad, and leaving the other Monads
out of the picture, it is correct to say that outside influences only
fashion our personality, but do not condition or qualify our essential
sense of self, which arises from within.
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application