Seven Qualities of the True Self

  • Spontaneity
  • Reasoning
  • Creativity
  • Free Will
  • Spirituality
  • Discernment
  • Love   

Human beings uniquely possess these qualities, and they are given to each of us.  The true self is not reserved for those who have devoted their lives to becoming mystics.  We are born with these resources which are available to all of us at any time.

These seven gifts guide us from within and define our unique nature.  We may nurture these qualities or we may or take them for granted; if we choose the former course, our life will be opened and filled by meaningful opportunities–if we choose the latter, we will remain wanting and helpless, functioning at a level far lower than our potential. Nevertheless, even if we fail to utilize them, these qualities lie dormant, for we never lose them.  They exist within us, waiting for us to awaken them:

  1. Spontaneity  

Children are born true scientists.  They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again.  They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences–“which is the mostest? Which is the leastest?”  They smell, taste, bite, and touch-test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness:  they heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart.            – R. Buckminster Fuller

Spontaneity is our ability to express our self without hindrance.  We preserve and develop spontaneity if we feel safe, cherished, and free from distress.  Spontaneity captures the innocence, readiness, and freshness of a child.  The spontaneous person embraces joy and affectionate humor just as children, who are less inhibited and socially constrained, naturally express their authentic and visceral feelings.  Those who are spontaneous beyond their childhood years retain honest access to the full range of their emotions.  People may attribute spontaneity to those with a youthful character; but while spontaneity involves innocence, child-likeness, and having fun, it also entails resilience and the ability and readiness to heal, mature, and develop, to expand our competence. Our spontaneity spurs us to growth because we are destined for expressing our aliveness.

Psychologists have identified six universal emotions that we express cross-culturally:  happiness, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, and fear.  While we often associate access to the positive emotions as a sign of maturity, awareness of and access to the full range of one’s feelings more accurately characterizes one who is spontaneous.  To assess our spontaneity, we must ask:  Do I feel openness and readiness in my activities?  Do I possess a freshness and enthusiasm in life?  Do I have access to only certain emotions?  Do I feel greater restraint or greater ease with these emotions?

     2. Reasoning

The first reason for man’s inner slavery is his ignorance, and above all, his ignorance of himself.  Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave, and the plaything of the forces acting upon him.  This is why in all ancient teaching the first demand at the beginning of the way to liberation was: Know Thyself.                                      –George Gurdjieff    

Reasoning is sound thinking; it accounts for our understanding of life and our progress in it.  Through reasoning, we can discover more about the world and about ourselves and participate in life in endless ways.  With the potential depth of our ability to understand, we are designed to explore, engage the world, and find solutions to our problems.

     3.     Creativity

Creativity is…seeing something that doesn’t exist already.  You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.             – Michelle Shea

Creativity is a unique expression of our ability to make something out of our “originality of thought.”  Although we cannot, like God, create ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), we have the power to generate and transform things:  to convert our ideas into new forms, to make our dreams realities, to shape our self and our world–to inspire, excite, incite, calm, and originate.  When we create in connection with God, we feel inspired and empowered.  Through creativity, we can develop skills which we often do not fully understand or engage.  By applying our abilities to new possibilities, creativity builds self-awareness and strengthens identity.

When we create, we take risks and embrace new possibilities.  The creative process taps the source of both our intrinsic nature and our individuality. This permits us to discover and express more of our other intrinsic gifts and more of our self.  It helps us to recognize those qualities and to harness their power.

We generate creativity from within rather than accepting external formulations of it.  For this reason, we often feel that what we create is who we are–it is part of ourselves.  When our work permits us to create, we often call it art and equate the product with our self-worth.  One of the miracles of each of our lives is the possibility of leaving our distinct — creative — mark through the expressions of our creativity.  Creativity is a unique expression of our own experience and achievements.          

    4. Free Will

The most tremendous thing granted to humanity is choice, freedom.

                                                                             –Søren Kierkegaard

Free will is our ability to choose.  Moreover, it is our ability to think outside ourselves–to gain an observational sense of our situation.  Exercising free-will, we recognize that we can draw upon our own voice, rather than echo what we have been told.  By examining the choices we have, we can establish our voice in relation to others and feel integrity in our position.

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