What is Personal Development?

To understand what we mean by personal development,
we first have to recognize two factors:
Essential Consciousness and Egoic Consciousness.

Essential Consciousness is the truth of who we really are, alive and connected with all of reality. When we are in this awareness, we are naturally in touch with the core qualities of strength, faith, will, courage, compassion, and love. We experience being supported by existence itself, trusting that internal guidance will come to us as needed, having a positive view of the unfolding of events in our lives, and able to move forward with passion and purpose.

Egoic Consciousness is the identity we falsely believe we are as a result of the pressures of childhood experience, educational and religious systems, and the media. It is based in fear, shame and pain and leads us to the experience of separation, opposition, and conflict. When we are gripped by Egoic Consciousness – a “false self” – we experience ourselves as lacking something – deficient, unworthy, not good enough, for example. Egoic Consciousness has been noted in many systems – it is called Maya in Buddhism, Satan in Christianity, and The Parasite by the Toltecs.

My name is Rob, and this process has saved the rest of my life. Awakening was a interior journey into terra incognito – unknown territory. This experience was the most richly satisfying, cathartic and revealing journey I have even been on. For the first time in my life I have been liberated from the bondage of a seductive story and it feels great! I love it! I am luxuriating in this feeling of freedom, of choice. I am enormously grateful. –  Rob, Management Consultant

Personal development can then be seen as the transformation from Egoic-based Consciousness to Essential-based Consciousness. It is not merely learning better coping skills from within the terrain of this Egoic self; rather, it is stepping outside of the safe, known parameters of habit and making the jump into the truth of Being itself.

Obviously, the journey must take us through the places where fear, shame, anger or grief are stored, as these are the “emotional glue” that hold Egoic Consciousness in place. They must be brought out of the unconscious into awareness so they can be met and liberated. Breaking identification with Ego is like waking up from a dream – if you have ever had the experience of becoming aware that you were dreaming while in sleep, you know the feeling of liberation, freedom, and power that accompany this Awakening. You are no longer subject to the realities that existed a moment before when you believed the dream was real. You can soar, go through walls, feel waves of love – you experience being free.

This freedom to be our authentic selves is the core intention of all religions and is the deepest desire in human experience. Attaining it is not the right word, it is already there, whole and complete, waiting only for our attention to be freed to stabilize there. This is the height of personal development.

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