Those people who embrace a serious spiritual journey with commitment build for sure a personality in themselves. But what does “personality” mean, especially in our context of spirituality? A dictionary is of little use in this case, because we would find definitions that are either too simple or too complex; encyclopedias take psychology as a reference, but, from a spiritual point of view, we sense that personality is something more than what psychology can determine. In this case the most popular perception about personality can be helpful: not rarely people consider personality as a synonym of stubbornness, or, more precisely, clear knowledge of what we want. We can observe that certain children, or even certain animals, show able to make their choices with greater decision and greater ability than other ones at defending them. Obviously, knowing what we want has a very different value between those who are sure they want a candy and those who, for example, definitely want to grow in their ability to love. There can be those who believe they have a great personality simply because they have particular tastes regarding fashion, or the songs they like, or what they prefer to buy at the supermarket; in short, industry is able to deceive us deeply, turning us into consumer machines that believe they have a marked personality just because of the simple fact of choosing one product over another. Thus we understand that depersonalization is enormous all over the world today, because now industry is armed with an arsenal of psychological shrewdness, capable of making us want what actually enslaves, standardizes us, turns us into a flock. On the other hand, even the complacency of philosophical parlor speeches can constitute a great self-deception about perceiving oneself as having personality.
So, once deception regarding being gifted with a strong personality can be hidden at every corner, what can guide us to something that is truly original, valid, creative? The path that I have lived and I have been pursuing for years in my life keeps telling me that the way is… the way, that is: the way to have personality is walking. This is due to the fact that walking means a continuous work on self-criticism, therefore a continuous effort to grow and to evaluate the criteria that we are using to do it. If one walks, they do not need to be scholars, or stubborn people, or people who make decisions quickly, in order to have personality: if they walk, they have already the maximum personality and everything they need to make their personality grow continuously .
In this regard, I find the indication of Jesus “Blessed are the poor in spirit” quite meaningful (Mt 5:3). The poor in spirit can correspond exactly to those who are perceived as lacking, poor in personality. However, we can consider that often Jesus’ sayings become clearer and more meaningful when they are understood in a context of self-perception: blessed are those who self-perceive themselves as poor in spirit. In other words, our thought goes quickly to Socrates, who was intimately proud of being able to say “I know that I know nothing”. The matter is not about being modest, but about considering ourselves people on the road, people who have a way to walk through and who get in walking a personality that grows inside.

Hello, everybody. Today’s meditation is about “Having personality”, so, as usual, I will add some more notes to what is already in the post, in the article on the website. Now we will add this kind of reflection: having personality in a context of suffering and, we can even say, of death, of dying. So, the question is: how or is it possible to show, to experience, to have personality in a moment when we are suffering, hard suffering, or, according to the situations, even when we are dying? This question is suggested actually by some experiences that we know. I’m referring, for example, to the victims of mafia, or we can have a look at the history, to Jesus Christ, a person who, as I said, apparently was able to show a lot of his personality exactly when he was mostly, most suffering and even when he was dying, or we can think about Socrates or Gandhi.

An idea about this is also suggested to me, although maybe it’s not really exactly how that text should be interpreted, I’m referring to the gospel of Mark. When Jesus dies on the cross, there is a Roman centurion, a head of military soldiers, who, seeing Jesus dying, the text says “...seeing how he died, the centurion said: truly this was the Son of God”. This made me wonder: exactly how did Jesus die? We can think: most probably the text refers to the marvelous things like thunders, earthquake, the veil of the temple that was broken. But this suggests to me something more general actually. This is what I’m going to reflect now in this meditation.

So, when we are suffering or dying, it seems that actually we are most deprived from our abilities, even our consciousness sometimes, our mastering, our behavior. So, how is it possible that, specifically in these situations, we can give, we can show to the world the best of our personality? It seems that those moments of suffering and dying is like they enable us to give even the best of us. How is it possible?

It is possible because we can think about a habit that we can build in our life, that is: if, along all of my life, I built an attitude, a habit of walking, researching, cultivating spirituality, we can realize that this spiritual walking, this spiritual experience, that is able to flow from us to the world, to the external environment, to the other people, we can think that this shows, this becomes evident even when we are suffering and dying, because, when something is an attitude, even when we are not mastering our life, even when we are taken by the extreme suffering, especially in those moments, what we have built in all of our life comes as an experience that flows. We can notice that, for example, Jesus, in dying, he just suffered, he cried, he even said “Oh, my God, why did you abandon me?”. But, for some reason, to people who have some sensitivity this becomes the highest point where his being God, his spirituality manifests, becomes evident, flows to us: exactly in suffering and dying. We can even consider how our life is entirely filled: it depends just on levels with suffering and dying. We can say this in some kind of grammatical joke, that is, we normally say “we are living persons”; instead of “living” we can say “dying”, that is, since when we are born we start dying, so that in the middle of joys, in amazing moments, in the middle of happiness, there is in the underground that going continuously towards our death. This is the idea of the philosopher Heidegger: we are being our death. But not to be just dramatic and tragic and pessimistic, but just to not ignore that our existence is marked with this sign, that is, suffering, unfortunately, is in our existence, in our life. This means that, by considering this, all of this, with the eyes of a sensitive person - sensitive means spiritually sensitive to the meaning of everything, to how everything is expressive of a deeper meaning - we can realize that, in those moments when we are mostly suffering and dying, we can say that, in the opposite, we are highly helping the whole world, because we are communicating the deepest, the highest point of our spirituality. We can even say: which moment of your life was when you most helped the world? We can even say: when I was suffering and I was going to die. For this reason: because spirituality has this magic, that expresses highly, in the best way, in, we can say, the darkest moments.

But this does not mean that now we become kind of masochist, people that is looking for suffering, looking for death, because we need to show how great we are. That’s not true: the spiritual person doesn’t want to die, doesn’t want to suffer, we hate suffering and dying. We do this just because, unfortunately, we are in this human condition, so, wanting to give the best and, as much as possible, to change, to turn evil into something productive, good, enriching, this can happen.

So, I would like now, once I expressed this essential idea, that is, showing our personality is not only possible, but even can become the highest point exactly when we are suffering and dying, I would just wish to ourselves, to everybody, to be able to be rich with this spirituality, that, as I said, it’s not cult of suffering, cult of dying, it’s just awareness of our human condition. The spiritual person is essentially a positive person, a person who wants to create as much as possible happiness and good life, health, love, friendship, but we recognize that our human condition has this mark of being made, in the underground, in the deep, unfortunately, by suffering and dying.

So, I suggest this meditation, this dimension of our existence and, as usual, if you like we can discuss this in the website, in the discussion forum, and I wish you so not just showing spirituality and suffering and dying, but actually a happy and rich life. See you in next meditations.