Personality & Enlightenment

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“That the personality of enlightened beings and advanced mystics remains largely intact is obvious when one examines biographies and autobiographies of adepts, past and present. Each one manifests specific psychological qualities, as determined by his or her genetics and life history… What these awakened beings have in common is that they no longer identify with the personality complex, however it may be configured, but live out of the identity of the Self. Enlightenment, then, consists in the transcendence of the ego-habit, but enlightenment does not obliterate the personality. [This] raises the crucial question of whether enlightenment also leaves untouched traits that in the unenlightened individual might be called neurotic. I believe this is so… The traditional spiritual paths are by and large grounded in the vertical ideal of liberation from the conditioning of the body-mind… This may explain why so many mystics and adepts are highly eccentric and authoritarian and appear socially to have weakly integrated personalities. Unlike transcendence, integration occurs in the horizontal plane… Having discovered the Divine in the depths of his or her own soul, the adept must then find the Divine in all life.” — Georg Feuerstein in Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision

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