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Concept of personal development: Our inner and outer lives March 21, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal development.
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As we work on our individual programs of personal growth and self-improvement we soon realize that there are two major components involved in our efforts to realize or maximize our human potential.

These two factors are the inner work required and the outward manifestations of this work.

We come to understand that we will not achieve genuine personal growth such as growing intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, if all we do is the outward, without changing our core being or inner consciousness.

While it is true that deeds speak, we are not being honest with ourselves if we enact principles outwardly, but do not embed our principles as an essential foundation for the growth of our inner or core consciousness.

For example, we are short-changing ourselves in terms of real growth, if our program results in many acts of kindness, tolerance, and acceptance, but inside we still harbor feelings of resentment towards any group of people. Unless we truly feel compassion for the circumstances of others, we cannot with honesty say we are compassionate.

However, changing our core consciousness is truly difficult and challenging work.

Yet, our personal development will only make true progress if we do the work intellectually and spiritually on our thinking, on our attitudes, and on our beliefs. To do the external deeds without doing the inner change-work is to remain ultimately unfulfilled in our personal growth efforts.

What prompted my thinking on this was my reaction to reading Carl Jung’s autobiographical book, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. This was written/compiled while Jung was more than 80 years old and was therefore looking back on his entire life.

I would like to share some excerpts with you. In the prologue to this work, Jung says:

“Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. [the underground root structure of a plant] Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lives only a single summer. Then it withers away – an ephemeral apparition…I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The Rhizome remains…I can understand myself only in the light of inner happenings. It is these that make up the singularity of my life, and with these my autobiography deals.”

In terms of the concept of personal development, we might extrapolate from Jung’s words that our outward accomplishments, either in the world of things or deeds, is “ephemeral” and constantly changing, but our inner accomplishments – our intellectual, spiritual, and emotional growth, and our principles – are the ongoing guiding constant; the rhizome.

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