The boxes in the diagram below represent different parts of our personality separated from one another for the purpose of distinction.
The arrows in the diagram depict the “direction of drive” or the outflow of impetus, which comes from consciousness and runs out through thought, emotion and behaviour.
Our personality is made up of the sum total of our habits and inclinations of thought, emotion and behaviour.
Following are descriptions of these three component parts or layers, which make up our personality.
The physical nature or layer:
This is the entire physical part of our self; the physical body and its senses; physical responses, physical action, conduct, behaviour, speech, physical aches, pains, discomforts and sensations.
The emotional nature or layer:
This layer consists of all our emotions, moods, sentiments and feelings. Such as feelings of attraction or aversion; all our likes and dislikes of every sort; wants and not wants; desires for and desires against; all our sentiments; all of our emotional preferences this way and that.
The mental nature or layer:
This is our layer of mind. It is that part of our self in which occurs all thoughts. Thoughts are formations in the mind, and we notice their activity in the head. Thoughts may be visual formations such as mental images, or they may be in audio form such as in mental words, music or sound, or they may exist as both of these together.
The personality is these three layers all together. It is the sum total of all of our inclinations, tendencies, patterns and habits of thought, emotion and behaviour. The personality therefore, has three aspects or areas of activity: the mental, emotional & physical.
Consciousness is our core self. It is that part of our self that is aware of our own existence. It is that part of our self that is aware of itself and its surroundings. It is the central “I” within our self. It is the central observer.
Consciousness is not found in thought. Consciousness is that part of our self that is aware of what we are thinking; that can decide what to think; that can observe the thought.
If you imagine a thought, a mental image, then consciousness is that place from which you imagine it. Consciousness is not the thought; it is the thinker of the thought, the creator and observer of the thought.
Consciousness is our real self; the layers of thought, emotion and body are just surroundings.
Consciousness – awareness – self – “I”– observer – decider – thinker – creator.
Direction of drive
In the middle of our thoughts and emotions is our awareness of them, this awareness is our consciousness. With practice, we can observe and become more aware of what we think and feel and do. We can become more aware of our self and our surroundings. This is being attentive, or being more conscious.
Our consciousness is not only comprised of awareness, it is also the part of our self that makes choices. And choice rules thought. Not necessarily immediately, and not without knowhow. But with knowhow and practice, our consciousness not only has the ability to be aware of our thoughts but also to direct our thoughts, govern our thoughts.
And, thought precedes emotion, or in other words, emotion follows thought. No emotional feeling or emotional reaction or sentiment of any sort towards any thing is possible without first that thing being registered in the mind.
Emotions can be powerful forces; and they are beyond our ability to directly control. We have more direct control over our thoughts (and our behaviour) than we do over how we feel emotionally. And because emotion follows thought, by changing our thought patterns we change our emotional patterns.
Although we can directly decide what to think, we cannot directly decide what to feel. Consciousness cannot directly tell our emotions how to feel; we cannot say to our emotions to feel happy or to feel sad; the command must go via thought to emotion.
Imagine three cogs in a line, one cog turning the next cog, which then turns the next cog. The first cog that turns by its own volition is consciousness, the second cog that gets turned is thought, the third cog to turn is emotion. The cog of consciousness turns, which turns the cog of thought, which turns the cog of emotion. There are many thought cogs and many emotional cogs. The particular emotional cog that turns depends upon which thought cog gets turned. It is via thought that emotion is controlled.
Regardless of our emotions, our thoughts and our behaviour can be controlled by our will.
Observe – notice – distinguish between the layers of mind, emotion and physical action
Practice observance, become familiar with the qualities and characteristics of consciousness, thought, emotion, and behaviour. Become familiar with and conscious of the workings of your machine.
The practice of observing and distinguishing between these different layers of our personality will help us become more conscious of their action and their interaction.
And by making use of the natural direction of drive that runs through the layers, we can more readily exert our will upon the personality layers and take more conscious control over our surrounding personality and our situations. There is more to cover though on this.
So far, these have been relatively chunky blocks that we have covered, but important ones to distinguish between and be familiar with. Ponder on them lightly, let them settle in, and casually observe them. For in coming articles we will move into finer and finer detail and into deeper and finer layers of our self. We must consolidate our understanding at each stage, for we cannot venture further in fineness than we can discern clearly. But whatever we can discern clearly, we can divide and go even finer and venture further. We are heading towards the soul.