Personalities can be endlessly fascinating. I know–I spent half a lifetime dissecting one, trying to improve her, understand her, make her behave, tame her into something controlled and acceptable.
Personality tests can assist us in understanding these fascinating characters. What makes them operate the way they do? We might discover we’re an extrovert or introvert, and that information eases and relaxes us deeply. Ahhh, that’s the way we are. We might honor this creature we call “me” a little more.
Yesterday, I discovered there is a category which explains this personality more accurately. I am an “ambivert“. An ambivert has both introverted and extroverted characteristics. One takes a little test with questions like “I start questions with people I do not know” and “I enjoy spending time with my own thoughts”. You rate your response between “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree” and discover your type. You can find an assessment here.
I have always thought myself an introvert/extrovert. The assessment confirmed it. I strongly agreed with both introvert and extrovert characteristics. I love being with people a lot. I love being alone a lot. I am energized by others. I am energized by silence. Go figure.
The test made the “me” sigh in relief and relaxation. Ahhhh, they’ve validated me. I see a bit better what’s operating in the world. This is fun!
On the other hand, what truly feels interesting these days is not the personality, except in momentary quizzes. What feels so interesting–what makes me glow–is the realization that we are not really our personalities. For so much of my life, I was 99.6% convinced that I was this personality.
Although the personality is definitely part of it, what we are is so much larger, so much simpler, than a personality with its likes and dislikes, its inclinations and reactions and tendencies.
When we glimpse, even momentarily, the entire spectrum of possibility–the whole scene–then the fascination may turn toward the entire spectrum. The “I” that we are is not limited to the personality. Ahhh, we realize, I am that building, that drone of the motor, this check, that timecard, this bowl of cucumbers, that Facebook status, this stapler. We encompass paradox. We are all of these/we are none of these. Eventually we may realize that it’s quite arbitrary whether to focus on personality or oneness.
How utterly fascinating and how impossible for the mind to fathom–the immensity of it. The excitement and utter peace of it. The mystery of not knowing anything–and how calming that not knowing can be. (Even though the mind can be convinced that not knowing is the worst possible predicament.)
What is even more interesting is that we’re all–every one of us–experiencing this entire spectrum every moment. Yet we’re so fascinated with this small aspect, the personality. We’re mesmerized by it. So focused on its movements and tendencies and beliefs. We focus on one small aspect of the whole and often is how we exist in everything we see, hear, smell and taste. Sometimes we miss it for a whole lifetime.
People who die and return to us often speak of looking down on their bodies. They often tell of unfathomable feelings of unconditional love. What perhaps happens is that perspective has shifted from within-the-body to within-spirit. Freedom from personality reveals itself as spaceless, timeless, eternal. That knowing is also available right here, right now, in this very moment.
One moment I’m delighted discovering that I am an “ambivert”. The next minute the perspective shifts and it’s possible to see that I am in no way limited to an ambivert. I am the entire dream, the entire unfolding And perhaps not even that…