Psyche, soul, and personality, a mystic’s view

Eros and Psyche

Psyche and her husband, the god Eros

The word psyche” is often used as a general term for the soul, the unconscious, and the inner world of humans. Kyriacos C. Markides provides us another way of talking about the psyche in his book The Magus of Strovolos: The Extraordinary World of a Spiritual Healer (1985). He gives us the words of the wizard or magus, whom he refers to as Daskalos (Teacher), on a visit to his native Cyprus. The Magus of StrovolosHere’s what Markides wrote,

‘The soul,’ Daskalos explained, ’is that part of ourselves which is pure and uncolored by earthly experience. The soul is beyond the Idea of Man, beyond all manifestation. It has never been born and it will never die. It is that part of ourselves which is qualitatively identical with the Absolute. If the Absolute is the ocean, we, as souls, are drops in the ocean. The soul is our divine essence, unchangeable and eternal. The permanent personality is that part of ourselves upon which the incarnational experiences are recorded and are transferred from one incarnation to the next. The present personality is made up of the noetic, psychic and gross material bodies. It is what ordinary people consider their personalities. The present personality is the lowest expression of ourselves which is constantly evolving and tends to become one with the permanent personality.

‘Let us assume,’ Daskalos said, ‘that the permanent personality is a large circle. Imagine another circle outside without a periphery. We call that the soul which is within God, within infinity and boundlessness. It is always pure and unspoiled. There is also a small circle inside the other two which I call the present self-conscious personality. All three circles have the same center. As the small circle spreads out, the distance between the periphery of the small circle and that of the larger circle merges until the two become one, the smaller circle being absorbed by the larger. The point at which the periphery of the smaller circle rests is the degree of one’s perfection. The center of the present and permanent personality, as well as the self-conscious soul, is the same. “I am,” says the present personality. “I am,” says the permanent personality. If you ask them both which of the two says, “I am,” you will hear one voice, “I.” But which “I”? It is the same voice with its echo. In reality it is the selfconsciousness in its totality that says “I am.” And it is the experiences within gross matter that caused the separation of the two conditions within ourselves.

‘The more the present self-conscious personality opens up as a circle, the more the permanent personality penetrates into the present personality. The higher you evolve on the spiritual path, the greater the influence and control of the inner self over the present personality. We habitually say, for example, that this man has conscience whereas another one does not. In reality there is no human being who does not have a center. The level of conscience of an individual depends upon the extent to which the present personality is spread out inside the permanent personality.’ (pp. 58 & 59)

To summarize and reflect on this passage,
The soul is immortal. For it to incarnate it must pass through the archetype of what it means to be human, the Idea of Man. The soul is qualitatively the same as God, the Infinite, the Absolute. This sounds a lot like Leibnitz and Kant. What we carry from one incarnation to the next is the permanent personality. The individual’s experiences are those of the present personality. As we evolve spiritually our present experiences and what we have learned from those experiences become engraved on the older part of us, the permanent personality, which is a composite of all the incarnations our soul has made.

Of course there is the problem of how we go about remembering what we learned in previous incarnations, but that doesn’t stop us from using the wisdom we have gained. The experience is there. We act upon it. We create ourselves in this present reality by our choices. We can start to recall what we have learned from previous incarnations. Usually this process begins by remembering dreams, noticing how we are attracted to certain people, as if we knew them from some former time. Eventually we may begin to recall details from previous lifetimes. This is how the Dalai Lama was chosen, by what he remembered from his previous incarnation.

Dalai Lama as a child

Dalai Lama as a child

Perhaps this has been helpful for you. I found it quite interesting and could see how it fits into analytical psychology. The Self is the Divine, which is both within each human and outside as well. Since we cannot know the Self directly, as Kant pointed out, we can nonetheless know It by the symbols and events It creates. These occur both within us and external to our perception. These occurrences could be experienced internally, on the psychic and noetic planes, or externally, on the gross material plane. The language of Daskalos and Jung are interchangeable, so they seem to be attempts to describe phenomena from different points of view. The human being is experiencing life in three ways at the same time, hence the gross material, psychic, and noetic planes of existence are just ways of talking about the same thing. But from the perspective of the Spiritual Healer, the distinction is helpful and accurate. It is how he experiences his world. Knowing this language may help us to understand the views of healers and become open to their way of talking. Perhaps this is what Markides means to be a Researcher of Truth.

About Michael J. Melville

People describe me as a Spiritual Catalyst because their spiritual evolution speeds up when they share their process with me. Discussing dreams, addictions, sacred medicines, family histories, or personal relationships moves one closer to the core, where the inner child dwells. Once contact with her/him is made, growth resumes.
This entry was posted in Jungian Psychotherapy, Philosophy and Psychology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Psyche, soul, and personality, a mystic’s view

  1. some says:

    IMO your interpretation of Daskalos’ passage is very far from truth for most of his knowledge came directly from live spiritual experience unlike Kant’s and Jun’s theories which are a product of limited mind.

    • Michael J. Melville says:

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. I don’t think you have read Jung’s work. He speaks from experience and knows what he was talking about as a reseearccher of truth. I don’t know about Kant, but I have studied his work extensively. He laid the foundation for modern science and research. It is unfortunate that Daskalos cannot speak for himself. He left us an invitation to search for the truth and a way to begin our studies. That was an amazing gift in itself.

  2. some says:

    Michael, I see you’ve misundersood my post. It appears we are on different lenth of waves. Good luck in your intelectual endeavours.

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