Creating A Flexible Personality

“The only thing that needs preservation is your physical body. Your personality does not need preservation.” —Sadhguru

Sadhguru looks at how our personality is self-created, and how we would be more effective if we could redraw this “caricature” as the situation demands.

Sadhguru: For most people, a large part of their personality is created by them unconsciously. Just a small part of it may be consciously created. When you create your personality, in one way it means, you think the creator has not done a good enough job on you. If you think it is something that needs improvement, definitely according to you, the creator has not done a good enough job with you.

Why do you feel that such a grand creation – something that is so fantastic – is not good enough? It is because of the simple process of self-preservation. This is a basic process which is built into every cell in our body. Every worm, every insect, every animal has this. Human beings also have it. The problem is, we don’t know where to contain the process of self preservation. It has just spread itself everywhere and because of this, you have created a small person of yourself who will defend himself all the time.

The only thing that needs preservation is your physical body. Your personality does not need preservation. Even if we maul it everyday, it should be okay. You cannot live without a personality. You need one to exist here, to go about in the world, to do your work, to manage things. But if it is flexible, then you can put on the right kind of personality in different places as it is necessary for the situation. That would be fine. But right now, it is like a rock. It sits on you all the time. It makes you suffer anything that does not fit into its ambit.

A Self-drawn Caricature

Who drew this caricature that you call as “myself?” It was definitely drawn by you, but you have been influenced by so many people around you. When you were 15 or 16 years old, after watching some movie that you really liked, unconsciously you tried to walk like the hero, isn’t it? Sometimes maybe you did it consciously, but most of the time it happened unconsciously. This caricature came into existence because of all kinds of bits and pieces that you gathered.

When we were in school, there was a boy studying with me who had an excellent hand. He could just sketch anyone with whatever kind of distortion he wanted. There was one very hated geography teacher. Once, when he entered the class, this boy had a horrible caricature of him ready on the blackboard. It was badly distorted but everyone can clearly recognize who it was.

This man always walked into the class with a temper. Whether he is talking about the grasslands in America or the deserts in Africa, he was always in a bad temper. The moment he saw this, one thing was he was angry and another thing was he was somehow hit by the whole thing – the distortions. Then he asked, “Who is responsible for this terrible atrocity?” As usual, everyone suddenly became interested in geography and turned very studious. Then he repeated again, “Who is responsible for this atrocity?” Then somebody made up their mind and stood up and said, “We really don’t know, but, ah, it should be his parents!”

For this atrocity that you call as “myself”, it is not your parents. This is you. With life, you were offered an unbounded possibility. But by distorting yourself into this tiny possibility, you have committed an atrocity.

This caricature cannot exist even for a day without your support. You need to support it all the time. What meditation means is, in one way, you are just withdrawing the support for your personality, that’s all. Suddenly it collapses. Only the presence is there, the person is no longer there.

If you could walk on the street and operate with people in such a way that you put up a personality as it is necessary for the person before at this moment, then it would be so much fun drawing new caricatures every day! But once you get stuck to a particular distortion, it becomes a problem. If you have a new distortion every day, it’s called art! If you are stuck with one distortion, you are crippled. That’s the big difference.