In I Am My Own Ancestor, Margaret Laird explains exactly what it is that gives rise to personality. This led me to question if I could get rid of disagreeable traits?
It’s not nature or nurture. It’s your individuality, the “great I AM,” infinitely individualized, that makes the image called personality, whether you see it as Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. A concept such as a “high-strung” or an “easy-going” personality (whether seen as yourself or others) is an opportunity to see Life as whole and undivided.
“Oh,” you say. “I have work to do to see Life as whole and undivided.” But in Ancestor, Laird explains there’s no work or thought-taking to be done, no ignorance to be disposed of. It’s the “radiant energy of individuality,” she says, that continually shifts you to a new level of perception and a new personality.
In fact, the appearance of self-image as personality is strengthened by the concept of disciplining yourself to make improvements or rid yourself of disagreeable traits. You see yourself in limbo, repeating experiences that are distressing.
Misidentifying my current concept of personality as a presence and power apart from the one Mind appears as concepts that won’t deliver what I expect from them.
A problem that’s seen to have a life of its own has, by necessity, a personality or a “me” afflicted with the problem. There’s a wonderful illustration of this in the film The Empire Strikes Back, one of the popular Star Wars episodes about a fictional galaxy in which a rebel alliance is battling an evil empire.
In the film, the young Jedi knight-in-training Luke Skywalker is on a planet called Dagobah with his spiritual guide, Jedi Master Yoda. Instructing Skywalker in the ways of the Jedi, Yoda tells him, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Yoda leads him to a cave that is supposed to be the epicenter of dark forces on the planet.
“In you must go,” Yoda says. “Your weapons, you will not need them.”
“What is in there?” Skywalker asks.
“Only what you take with you,” the Jedi Master replies.
Inside, Skywalker sees his enemy Darth Vader, who attacks him. Skywalker—young, impulsive, and fueled by his hatred for the dark side of the Force—pulls out his own light saber.
But when he strikes and mortally wounds Vader, splitting Vader’s black helmet in half, Skywalker is stunned to see his own face inside the helmet, not Vader’s.
Did the filmmakers intentionally create a metaphor for what Laird is talking about—a problem (an archenemy) seen as possessing a life of its own—having, by necessity, a personality afflicted with the problem?
Who knows? But as students of Science, our takeaway after watching this scene might be, “Well, yes! My point of view goes with me wherever I go.”
Laird puts it another way: “Everything in your phenomenal world is in your point of view and is as real or unreal as you make it.”
I Am My Own Ancestor is about the demand the Science of Self places on us to see that we truly are our own ancestors, in the sense that, as Laird writes, “there is no scapegoat, no one to blame for one’s sorrows or one’s diseases. Every problem is self-caused and self-solved and teaches us to embrace the one infinite, undivided perception.”
– Melinda Swenson
I Am My Own Ancestor