A Happy Personality Does Not Signal Peace

Sometimes I get comments from students of A Course in Miracles students along these lines: “I have a friend who is always happy and peaceful even though they aren’t spiritual”; “Here I am miserable on this path and I look around at all these people who are content with their lives without working a spiritual path.”

Some people just have happy personalities. I used to clean the house of a woman who had such an upbeat disposition that as a child she was given the nickname “Sunny”. But I was in her home and saw that she was just like everyone else with her concerns and worries and judgments, etc. Her sunny disposition was genuine for her personality but it was a superficial trait. She was really no happier than anyone else.

A friend of my wife had a large personality that seemed to fill the room when she entered it. She was funny and bubbly and chipper. Her upbeat personality was not a mask; it was genuine. But those close to her also knew of the darkness within her mind. A year ago she killed herself. A happy personality in not an expression of true happiness and lasting peace.

Just as some people have a naturally happy personality others naturally have a more quiet, thoughtful, and rational mind. These traits do not always come from an awareness of Truth. A mind can be quiet, thoughtful, and rational and still be immersed in the world-as-reality.

“Mistake not truce for peace, nor compromise for the escape from conflict. To be released from conflict means that it is over. The door is open; you have left the battleground.” (T-23.III.6)

Many people have made a truce with the ego (personal thought system) in their mind: “Don’t look within or question me (ego) and I (ego) will leave you alone.” They don’t experience the ego attacks that students of ACIM do because they are not threatening the ego. In fact, if your goal is to release yourself from guilt and fear, you can look at ego attacks as a sign that you are on the right track.

A bubbly or quiet personality or a truce with the ego does not lead to an end of conflict. The bubbly or quiet personality experiences conflict beneath these superficial traits. And the one who makes a truce with conflict has merely found a way to adapt to it. But none of these personalities have actually transcended the conflict.

I say this often and I’ll say it again: When peace came to this mind it did not change the personality of this self. Nor has this mind’s awareness of Truth changed the conflict in the ego thought system in this mind. An awareness of Truth has made this mind quieter, more thoughtful, and more rational and this no doubt presents the self differently to others. But the self’s personality has not fundamentally changed. It is not an ongoingly happy personality. In fact, this mind gave up the pursuit of personal happiness when peace came to stay. Peace is peace, after all. The fact that peace did not change the ego or the self only made it clear to this mind that those must be released for there to be only peace in this mind.

Do you want to change the mind or the ego and personality? Here is the choice for any mind: Being aware of Truth and at peace; or pursuing personal happiness. It can’t be both. Yes, the distinction can be very confusing as long as the ego and personality seem to be what mind is. That’s why growing your awareness of Truth is so important. Only in an awareness of Truth can you learn that the self, its personality, and the ego are not you so that you can detach from them.

Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace.


Anonymous said…
OMG, Liz, thank you for writing this! This is the clearest, concise explanation of what remains of the personality after Truth/peace is "known".

So poignant are the words:

"Do you want to change the mind or the ego and personality? Here is the choice for any mind: Being aware of Truth and at peace; or pursuing personal happiness. It can't be both."

hannah said…
ive thought about this a lot since reading of your surprise that when peace came it didnt come to the personal self. starting the process of accepting that trying to fix my ego wont bring me peace has been quite astonishing. relaxing, relieving. domino effects of letting go.

i recognise that im still doing this practise because i want happiness though, i still associate peace and happiness. maybe not happiness as personal fulfilment, but with non resistance to whats showing up. but then.. i think that non resistance would be happiness, would be fulfilling.

um, what im wondering is, what does acim mean by 'happiness'? what exactly did you give up?
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, true happiness is the same as peace. It's a deep knowing that the Truth goes on untouched by anything that happens in the universe of form. So it's being aware of the Constant and Eternal no matter what it happening in the universe of form. What I gave up was the need to be a happy person.
Susan B said…
Wow, thank you Liz. The Course often talks to us on different levels and that can get confusing. Your explanation of peace and happiness has helped to clarify this for me. And now I can let go of the discouragement, disappointment and frustration I have been feeling. I have been expecting peace and happiness to come to this (my) personality as a result of studying the Course. Now I see I have been looking in the wrong place. happiness and peace is in the one Self, always has been, always will be. Now I can let go of finding it in personality. What a relief!
MB said…
This is more a comment to Will on last weeks blog. I just wanted to thank you. Will, for sharing the title of Perfect, Brilliant Stillness. I had a two hour drive today and was able to get the audible version on Amazon Audible. I'm loving it! I wanted to share the name of a teacher who has brought me much clarity about truth...Rupert Spira. He has so many you tube videos that present non-dual teachings with a profound clarity....he has books as well. Just wanted to share that in return for your putting out the above book title. :). Michelle
will said…
MB, We can both thank Laurie who was the one who mentioned it. I'm looking into too.
Unknown said…
Oh, my mistake! Thank you, Laurie!!! :)
will said…

You mentioned releasing the ego or the self. Do you feel like you are headed in that direction?
ACIM Mentor said…
Will: Yes.
hannah said…
so liz.. im wondering, what framework do you make choices on the level of form within then? your one goal of awareness of truth is always present right, no matter what you are choosing. so you dont need to make choices which keep you mindful of that goal, its just.. part of you?

and you have no need to make choices to fix anyone or anything, to effect worldly outcomes? so, how do you choose things in life? do you mean that you gave up the NEED to be a happy person, but still make your choices based on what feels ..um, good? but with no attachment to any outcome??
ACIM Mentor said…
Choice is not involved, Hannah. I just let things unfold for the self as they will. I let "Liz" live in the unfolding, rather than being self-driven.

As for this mind, yes, the awareness of Truth is always here. If this mind wanders off it eventually returns to Truth.
hannah said…
live in the unfolding.. so does this mean.. going with the flow of the universes happenings, letting the choices of those youre in contact with direct the flow? apologise if im being dense! this just feels pivotal really, and i cant quite get a handle on what you mean. um.. you still use the word no to people if it feels more loving to do so? i dont get what you mean by no choice is involved, that sounds impossible.. do you mean just no self-driven choice?
ACIM Mentor said…
Hannah, when I share what I am now experiencing I am not suggesting that others "try" it. This has just unfolded naturally to me. I did not make this happen. I am at another level where I no longer live through the self for fulfillment. So I can just let the self go into the flow of the universe without judgment. I recognize that its desires and decisions are part of the flow of the universe. The self is not autonomous from the universe as a whole. So rather than think about "What do I want? How do I make this happen?" I just wonder how it will unfold and keep an open mind. I'm not attached to outcomes. I let the self go where it will go, decide what it wants, etc. I live intuitively, knowing that whatever the self does is part of the unfolding story of the universe (and always was).
will said…
Hannah, the questions you are asking good questions. The answers Liz is giving are excellent answers. Having someone who is experiencing the transition talk about it is very rare. Liz is only one of two people I can think of off hand that I believe is really going through the process. You and I want answers that fit into the ego's world of reality. Last week I had a miracle that gave me the insight that Will the person is not really involved in this spiritual journey. I know that now at a gut level. It's written on virtually every page of the Course. But now it's not something I'm reading about, it's something that I know to be true. But the 'experience' of it is down the road with more miracles. I tried to explain what happened to a friend but gave up after a few minutes.
hannah said…
thank you Liz, and Will :)

that last answer really rounded it all out for me, so very helpful.

i get what you mean about some things simply needing to unfold naturally in time, you wrote a blog about that which began a relaxing and letting go of control process for me, it was like a weight had been.. pointed out! and the 'dropping the control' process continues.

this answer reminds me again that it seems we .. well, 'work our way' back to truth with less struggle by acceptance of current self identification, while remaining aware that its not the truth.
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