I remember studying a module on Human Resource Management at UCL. The lecturer emphasised the necessity of understanding people’s personality in order to maximise individual potential and create synergy in teams. I came across the “DISC model” a few days ago and decided to asses myself. The results clearly indicated that I was a “steady-cautious” type (as opposed to dominant or influential). The descriptions corroborated with my observations; I appreciated the opportunity to discover more about the strengths, weaknesses and fears I may have. Try scribing a word with your non-writing hand – it takes twice as much time and effort, feels uncomfortable and awkward, and usually comes out quite shabby and unclear! Similarly if we engage with the world in a way that is foreign to our natural personality, we end up struggling, sweating and falling short of our true potential.
We are spiritual beings on a human journey. Having passed through many chapters of existence, we are left with strong impressions from the myriad of experiences we go through. This, along with our childhood and upbringing, forms our ‘material personality’. Nature and nurture leave us with a body and mind that are wired to act and respond in a certain way! Aspiring spiritualists can also take advantage of understanding the material framework within which they exist. When committing oneself to spiritual practices, roles and responsibilities in a devotional community, it helps to be aware of our personality and the potential pitfalls we may encounter.
The Bhagavad-gita, however, goes further than modern psychology. Krishna explains that beyond our psycho-physical makeup, is an eternal spiritual personality endowed with its own divine and attractive traits. If one connects with the ‘higher self ’, to that extent one can also transcend the temporary material personality we receive. If one comes to the profound realisation that the body and mind are simply coverings of the soul, the limitations of their psycho-physical makeup can somewhat diminish. It’s comforting to know that each one of us has a unique, pure and perfect character that we simply have to reawaken. The trick is to suitably engage and absorb our temporary personality in eternal spiritual practices. Then we can really be ourselves.