Marshall, Gene, The Enigma of Consciousness, Realistic Living Press, Bonham, TX, 2012. Chapter 15.
Nine Habits of Escape from the I Am (excerpts from Chapter 15 please read the original material for complete context)
1) As we move from infantile immediacy and build our habits of personality, we begin to confuse the habits that we have built with the essence of our nature. The I Am is not something we have built or can build or need to build. It is already built with our birth into humanness. Yet as an infant we are only a potential for realizing the I Am in a conscious and intentional way. The usual course of development is to confuse our potential to be an I Am manifestation with the habits of living we have built to survive. We have learned to call these habits ourselves. These habits are what we also call our personality. Having a personality is not bad; it is indeed necessary for the practical living of our lives in the societies in which we dwell. The issue for our consciousness is identifying who we are. We are more than our personality. We are the being that built our personality. We are that mysterious, courageous, awe-filled being that I was describing in the last chapter as the essential I Am.
2) So when we identify with our personality or with that part of our personality that we are aware of and with which we want to be identified, we have fallen away from our true being. It is this misidentification that is the core flaw we must overcome to be authentically human. It is this misidentification that is the root of our despair, malice, and compulsions. It is an escape from our essential being, from our best-case scenario for living. We call it an escape because we do indeed flee from our true greatness because we find it too demanding, or too grim as opposed to being happy-go-lucky, or too mysterious as opposed to having a more reasoned belief about who we are.
3) Our functional and dysfunctional personality habits can function as a place to which we can escape. The Introverts: The Greed of Mental Aloofness Type 5
4) As a mode of escape personality type 5 is an escape from the Transparent Attention aspect of the I Am. Everyone can manifest this mode of escape to some extent, but certain people have a gift for it even a passion for it. Personality type 5 persons are the shy wallflowers, the recluses who are also busy-minded people. Their busy mindedness can be busy about almost anything. A personality type 5 might be like Howard Hughes busy with airplanes and old movies. A more moderately talented 5 might spend most of waking time with face-in-a-book or scanning six news magazines every month. When challenged to begin an intense, intimate relation these aloof ones experience a discomforting demand to come out of their shells. This is especially hard if the challenge includes emotional honesty and accurate reporting on their secret lives. The 5s escape has to do with hiding in the forests of the mind. The typical 5 tends to come out energetically only in groups that express interest in whatever is the preoccupation of that 5s mind. Often that mental preoccupation is so specialized or so unorthodox that only a few satisfying companions can be found. And even those companions may feel it necessary to provide most of the initiative to have a real relationship. Type 5 persons may be talkative on many subjects, but they tend to be postponers with regard to putting their talk into action. The exceptions to this, like Howard Hughes or Georgia OKeeffe, move out into the world in a whirlwind of genius and then retreat almost completely from enjoying the celebrity they may have occasioned.
5) Having a personality that overemphasizes mental gifts need not mean that such persons cannot access their profound life and use their intellectual gifts in compassionate ways. A. H. Almaas is a good example of a 5 with such intelligent compassion. The escape is identifying with the mental gifts and the mental products of those gifts as a substitute for the type of knowing that is transparent to the deeper matters of consciousness. Living in their minds rather than in their whole mysterious being results in being functionally stupid and also cruel thorough a neglect of other people, social concerns, and even ones own self.
6) Greed is a quality of this estrangement because the 5 is hoarding information and because living in the mind requires protection from the slings and arrows of ordinary life. This mode of escape requires some sort of ivory tower in which to retreat from that full round of life that might challenge too deeply some treasured mental construction or perhaps some lack of thoughtfulness in an arena where wisdom was assumed. The 5 personality fears the insecurity of ignorance. The Believers: The Lust of Trust Avoidance Type 8
7) As a mode of escape personality type 8 is an escape from the Universal Forgiveness aspect of the I Am. Everyone can manifest this mode of escape to some extent, but certain people have a propensity for it even an obsession with it. These are the outgoing, often warlike individuals who seem to live a life in constant conflict with other peoples wrong-headedness, deemed so from the perspective of their truth. The type 8s truth may not include the openness to new truth that a complete lover of truth might manifest. These persons are in an estranged state because they insist on being leaders in terms of their all too confident conclusions. They get things done, but on their own terms. It is difficult to oppose them without engaging in some stubborn argumentation. And however great the wreckage they may cause, they tend to have little remorse, for they see themselves as the truthful ones, however deep their lies may be. They can drop one lie and go on to a next lie without ever admitting fully that the abandoned position was tragic. They dont stop to learn fully from their mistakes and thereby probe to that depth of truth that would make a deep difference in their living.
8) Having a personality that overemphasizes strong leadership need not mean that such persons cannot access their profound life and use their leadership gifts with compassion. Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of an 8 who used his leadership gifts compassionately. Susan Sarandon and Franklin D. Roosevelt may be other examples of the compassionate 8. The escape means identifying with this personality pattern in order to avoid the Truth of Universal Forgiveness. Personality type 8 tends to avoid experiencing their own flaws seriously enough to need forgiveness. And the very notion of a universal forgiveness for all persons, including the enemies that the 8 is fighting, comes as a special offense.
9) Lust is a quality of this estrangement in the sense that these persons tend to insist upon their success, their pleasure, their way, their goals, their perfection, their leadership, their needs, and so forth.
Read one of the lines from this reading that caught your attention and that you would like to have the group discuss in more depth.
In Paragraph 1, what is the confusion within which we can become caught [Habits vs. I Am] What do we call these habits How have you experienced this dynamic in your own life
What is the message conveyed in Paragraph 1 [We are more than our personalities.]
Read each sentence of Paragraph 2. What is the message of Paragraph 2 What is misidentification all about
What does Paragraph 3 suggest we can do with aspects of our personality [Escape into them.]
What is the personality type 5 described in Paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 How do you experience this dynamic in your own life
What is the personality type 8 described in Paragraphs 7, 8, and 9 How do you experience this dynamic in your own life
How might I live my life differently because of the awareness provoked in this material