8. Personality Sketch
I want to give you a conceptualization. It is about Non- identification and the nature of one of the 'I's that may happen to be with you. You have many, many 'I's, but I am going to pretend, just for today, that you only have one 'I' or one associate spirit. (It is not true that you only have one, but this is for the sake of role playing). I will be the associate spirit. Someone named Ned is sitting in his car. He was at work and a secretary asked him if he would drive her quickly down to the drugstore because she had to pick up some pictures. Now he had planned to have a nice lunch. He had brought some reading which he really enjoys and he was to have an hour for lunch. But he said, "Yes, I'll do that. It's only a ten-minute drive." In fact, he took off ten minutes earlier in order to get her to the drugstore, help her out, and get her back, and then have his reading and nice lunch. So everything is fine. Ned is happy. And right now Ned is in the car looking out in front of him where he can see the drugstore. He can see the lady inside, and he can see the cashier. He notices his watch. It took him five minutes to get down here, and he figures five minutes for her to pick up her pictures, so everything is okay.
Now I'm the associate spirit. I'm the one 'I' referred to and I have a sphere about this big, say three feet around. My sphere for this conceptualization is irritation, and it may even turn into anger or whatever. Ned's sitting there fairly happy. Nothing's going on. Maybe he's daydreaming, or thinking about his watch. Now as it's getting to be a few minutes before the hour, I (the spirit) start to move in, because I see in the external world something that I can convince him is a good reason to make him feel irritable. It's me! I'm irritation in essence. I am all irritation. I am just irritation waiting to happen. So I see something out there in the physical world that looks like an opportunity for me to manifest myself. It's a perfect situation for me.
Ned's there and now it is five minutes after the hour and I get a little closer. But he's fighting me so I'm not going to rush in there and have him kick me out. Ned thinks, "I still can get back and have forty-five minutes left. It'll still give me fifteen minutes to eat and then time to read. Yeah, it's all right."
Then Ned starts to feel some discomfort. "Boy, geez, look at her! I thought she was picking up her pictures. What is she doing? What's she shopping for? Geez! She's not picking up her pictures at all. See her over there? She's picking out some kind of flowers or candy or something! Golly! I help someone out and...can you believe this? I hope I have time for lunch. This is really getting irritating. WHAT? Look at that! Someone got in line in front of her! Gosh, darn, this is really going to be bad! I should know better! What the hell? The pharmacist is on the phone. Now what? Ah, gosh, this is going to take all afternoon, this is terrible! What's he doing? He's filling a prescription! Geez.." and so on and so forth.
I'm real close to him now, see? My sphere has enveloped him. He feels irritation, anger. The longer she's there, the closer I'm going to get, and the more I am in my element. Now, you heard me talking, but Ned thinks that was his thoughts, but that was just my conversation, my dialogue. That wasn't his thought. I used to say to prospects like him, "Geez, you should be angry!" "You have every right to be irritable!" Then I found it was easy just to talk as if I was him! So I say, "Geez! I'm mad! I'm really irritated! This is really driving me crazy! I hate this kind of thing! In fact I hate her! She always was a lousy secretary. I'm going to get rid of her! I'm not taking this! This is it. I'm not helping anybody ever again in my whole life. I'm going to become a recluse!"
So this internal dialogue is me, the associate spirit, my sphere. Now, if halfway through this conversation, Ned suddenly turns and looks at me, right in the middle of me saying, "Geez, am I mad! This is really getting me angry! I hate this sort of thing. This drives me crazy," then I behave differently. That's because I don't want him to realize that I am using him. When the Work says you have to give up your likes and your dislikes, you have to give up me! I have tremendous likes and dislikes! Because I am irritation. I like what I like and I hate what I hate. And I want to share my sphere with Ned. I want him to identify with me! I want him to attribute my sphere to himself and have him think it is himself.
So, the conceptualization is this: If, anywhere along the line you suddenly feel a sphere, a negative emotion, just realize that an associate spirit has just come and his sphere is starting to hit you. Then if you start to have an internal dialogue, listen to what that spirit is saying, but realize that it isn't you! He will use your voice, but it is a spirit! He wants you to agree, "I'm irritated!" But if you use right thinking you may say to yourself: I don't have to be irritated. I'm giving up likes and dislikes. I'm giving up irritation." And you'll notice the sphere starting to get really different. Right there is Non-identification; it happens the moment you look at that spirit, and see that it is that spirit's sphere, called negative emotion, and that it is that spirit's dialogue, although called your internal dialogue, and that his statements are not yours unless you want to join him in that negative sphere.
Now we cannot change our level of being if we are in the sphere of the same spirits that we hang around with all the time. And after observation you may want to turn around and look for another sphere, a different kind of associate spirit, somebody else you might want to come close to, who you might want to let talk for you. So, just use this conceptualization. When you feel something negative, realize it is the spirit that just got close to you. If it's a negative sphere, listen to the story line, but don't get into it. You'll notice that what's really happening is that irritation spirit doesn't care about that lady in the drugstore, he doesn't care about lunch, he could care less! What he wants to do is be near you! You are a place for him to express hatred. You are irritated? He loves to have you irritated, to have you angry! That is the delight of his life! All that internal dialogue is just trying to convince you that he has a right to continue to have you in his sphere. That's all he wants; to have you in his sphere because that is his delight. Don't try to argue with him - only the Lord could win an argument with him - and as soon as you realize where the spirit or sphere is from, start to separate and find a different sphere. This one you don't need!
...evil spirits are in such deadly hatred, and desire nothing so much as to destroy man both soul and body... most spirits are not aware that there is any other world than the one they are in, and therefore they are unaware that there are men anywhere else and this is why man is not permitted to speak with them in return. (Heaven and Hell 249)
Ask yourself, when you are in a bad mood or upset, who is having the effects of a negative sphere? When you start to realize you don't want to be in his sphere you may think, "I want to be free of him!" Then you might read something in the newspaper that is upsetting and he may suggest, "Wasn't that disgusting?" Thoughts enter you and you feel they are you. You remark,"It is really disgusting how they did that!" Now whose disgust is it? You're the one feeling disgusted, not the paper, not the politician. Do you want to go around feeling disgusted? Is it a good feeling? You will notice that the sphere of disgust is disgusting and there is no reason to be with it. You might want to feel differently. And you have a choice. You can ask yourself: "Do I want to hang around with this sphere? No, no thank you." And then you leave. He'll try to sneak behind you - he doesn't want you to see things the way they really are. But we must want to see things as they really are. Swedenborg tells us how it is:
A man becomes guilty when he believes that he acts from himself, whether in doing good or evil, and not when he believes that he acts as if from himself; for when he believes that the good is from himself, he claims as his own what belongs to God, and when he believes the evil to be from himself he attributes to himself what belongs to the devil. (True Christian Religion 621 )
The task of observing your associate spirits is useful when done in the same way the interior man observes the exterior man. We need to observe the rationalizations, justifications, internal dialogue, etc. going on. Evil spirits are not aware of being with us (when with us they think they are us) and we are told this is a great protection. At times they just flow in, uninvited, at other times we feel their presence when we provide an environment conducive to them. We have, however, the choice to make efforts to separate. Our refusal to maintain an environment suitable for the spirit's delight is usually enough to cause them to leave. The Lord is near and in charge. We can also state a truth from the Word, which they despise. The Lord said, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"
I am going to give you a task, however, in which you just observe the personality and character of one of your associate spirits that you are especially aware of due to his negative sphere. It is important to observe that sphere and recognize where it comes from, because until you are aware, you cannot separate from it.