Many believe transformation comes from within. Change your thoughts, the saying goes, and you change your world. Some say it’s the other way around – that if we change our behaviors, the mind will follow.
At a quantum level there’s actually no difference. Our inner lives and outer worlds are one and the same.
As we undertake the seemingly arduous task of transforming ourselves, the illusion that our inner and outer lives are separate and irreconcilable can be dispiriting. When we focus on one area – be it the outer or the inner – we may feel the other becomes intractable and unyielding, resisting our efforts every step of the way.
We meditate. We pray. We fill our heads with positive images and sayings. We think we’re seeing things more clearly, we think our attitudes are shifting. But the people in our lives treat us as they always have and we find ourselves reacting in our old familiar, self-defeating ways. The illusion of change is shattered.
Attempting to change at a behavioral level can be even more frustrating because we are confronted with the incredulity not only of those around us but our inner selves. We find it difficult or impossible to keep smiling and sitting up straight and speaking in superlatives when our actions aren’t supported by belief from within or without.
But if you are open to the idea that outer life is but a reflection of inner reality – that all is One – you can make your illusions of the “outer” and “inner” worlds work in harmony.
It may be useful to think of those worlds as having common ground in your Persona.
The Concept of The Persona
Many of our behaviors can be seen as elements of this archetype. The Persona is the version of ourselves we present to the outside world.
Though we have certain personal characteristics that remain more or less constant through our lifetimes, we are always making adjustments to the Persona. We make them as our situations and environments change, the people in our lives change and our perceptions of ourselves change.
Some of these adjustments take place at a conscious level. We reach a certain age and decide to stop dressing the way we did when we were younger. We go on a diet or dye our hair. We get a tattoo or have one removed. We toss out our glasses and opt for laser surgery or contacts.
Other elements of the Persona develop without conscious deliberation: the way we walk, the inflection of our voices, the nervous tics or defeated postures others notice but we don’t see. Even our conscious choices about clothes, hairstyles, aftershaves or perfumes are based to some degree on preferences we don’t consciously choose. The Persona archetype is stitched together by the other archetypes, including the Shadow – where unconscious impulses, suppressed fears, dark desires and untapped creativity influence us in ways beyond our ken.
If you seek to transform yourself, you needn’t wait for inner changes to work their way outward or vice versa. Moving your attention inside, out, and back again – using the Persona as both a portal and a proving ground – is an excellent way to keep the momentum of change going and “keep it real.”
The Reality Check
The problem with focusing all your attention inward is that it isolates you. The world still turns while you mitigate your negative self-talk by mumbling meditative mantras.
You can balance this by mapping out external changes that mirror the changes you seek to effect within. Ideally it will be a change others won’t be able to help but notice and respond to positively. But even if they don’t, the external change should be something you are aware of every day, something that will both reinforce and symbolize your inner work.
Change Is In The Air
A good start might be a new scent. Splurge on a cologne or perfume you’ve never worn before. Switch to a different soap or shampoo. Buy a “new-car-smell” deodorizer for your car. Change the air in your office or home with something surprising and different.
Though not often discussed in connection with the Persona, the scents we choose – or don’t choose – for our bodies and environments send an indelible message to those around us. Our sense of smell is the most powerful and evocative of our senses. Put conscious, focused thought into your aroma. Shop around and find scented products that call to mind of the positive changes you seek within yourself.
As your inner work waxes and wanes in effectiveness, breathe in these new scents to keep your belief in what you’re doing alive.
Change Is In The World
Add to this change gradually, over time, with a new item of clothing here, a change in hairstyle there. Space out these tweaks and adjustments to your Persona, letting them work on you and the people around you gradually, over time. When the newness of one external change wears off, add another to it.
Be conscious of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways these changes affect how others respond and relate to you. People are often doubtful of others’ ability to change; this is a projection of their own fears about becoming stuck and stagnant in life. But when these same people sense that real transformation is taking place in another person, they are drawn to it.
As people relate to you differently, your perceptions of and feelings about them will no doubt begin to expand. Nurture this expansion, moving your attention freely from transformation without to transformation within.
Transformation is always possible. Taking an holistic approach to life changes, using the Persona as a medium, keeps the reality of transformation at the forefront of consciousness.
Using the Persona as a bridge between your outer and inner worlds can help you see their interconnectedness and bring about a powerful change in your overall awareness.
The separation between yourself and the Universe around you is merely an illusion. Use your Persona to put this concept to the test and discover its truth.
It will look like this: The Conscious Path of Oneness Within the Persona