THE MASK OF PERSONALITY
IN ANCIENT TIMES when the Greek Nobleman wished to enact a role upon the stage he donned a plaster mask, representing either tragedy or comedy, thus saving himself the trouble and displeasure of distorting his features, and instantly conveying to his audience the character he represented. If he wore a tragic mask, he passed through the play on that note and was recognized as a tragedian, etc. Yet all the while he might be smiling behind the mask.
When you left the Garden of Eden, you took on a mask or persona (from which comes our word personality), and since that time, you have changed from one mask to another throughout the ages. You chose the particular mask or character that you are now playing, because you saw in it a possibility of accomplishing that which your soul desired to express, irrespective of what that mask contained within itself. A thousand actresses have played Lady Macbeth, but each has brought out a different character. The Immortal You, or Permanent Identity, took' on mortality in order to bring to the surface a clear manifestation of soul. But so often, in entering into the character of the mask, the You is hypnotized by the appearances of that character to such an extent that it finally is ruled by the mask; thus we see it very much in the same light, as if the Greek Nobleman who was actually free from most cares of life, suddenly took on the tragic aspect of the mask he wore, thereby putting himself through all sorts of evil situations; or if he wore the comic mask, becoming the fool or "nit-wit" represented by that mask. Jesus, the Carpenter, discovered the limitations and inability to cope with life or personality (in His case called Jesus) "I can of Myself do nothing."
Discovering His true identity, He appropriated His heritage (made in the image and likeness of God), thereby freeing Himself from the limitations of (the Mask) Jesus. He became so conscious of His Permanent Identity, with its fourth-dimensional power-God-that He was willing to go through all problems and beliefs of the "Mask" of Jesus before He finally stepped it up to the place of Oneness---the "Touch me not" place above all human law or contact. By this recognition He was able to cause the Mask (Jesus) to do things that it could not possibly do. His field of expression and activity was always in the direction of the impossible.
So conscious of this "Mind which was also in Christ Jesus" was He, that He even allowed the "Mask" to be crushed, broken, crucified and put to death, in order that I He might prove the power which lay within the Permanent Identify, and which is indigenous to every man, when he is able to recognize it. As soon as you discover this, you will understand the power to "pick it up or lay it down." Only by discovering or recognizing the Permanent Identity of you, the changeless creation of God, will you be able to assume command over the personality-mask.
Once you grasp this fundamental truth you will really go within and shut the door-ceasing to judge further from appearances, because you will have recognized the truth regarding them, as revealed by Jesus Christ "Judge not from appearances."
Anything you then discover in your Permanent Identity becomes a reality in the relative world. In other words, whatever you discover as being true in this God Consciousness makes itself manifest in and through you. Jesus became conscious of substance unlimited, and was able to bring through the increase of bread and fish, after having clearly stated "I (Jesus) can of Mine own self do nothing." The Mask, Personality, "John Smith," can do nothing outside its own limitations. It has a very limited destiny and must and will follow it through. There is no escape unless the recognition of the Permanent Identity, the Christ within, or the rather Consciousness, is made. At no time can the Jesus-mask cause the rather to do His bidding, or to work "wonders" for the gratification of human curiosity. In every instance, He must "go unto the Father"-ascend to His God Consciousness or Permanent Identity.
The "Mask" or personality has already done everything it could to make it a success. Only after the recognition of the Permanent Identity (you), are you able to cause so-called miracles or the impossible to take place.
All this is above the reasoning or thought-taking process of the personality. "The wisdom of man is foolishness," etc. The Mask of tragedy can play only tragedy. The Mask of sickness can produce only sickness, so with poverty, maladjustments, etc., there is very little that can actually be done about it. You may in some manner change the outside appearance a little, but if you wear the tragic Mask, tragedy will mark the entire expression of your personality. This "thinking" or rather mis-thinking mind, is designated as "a liar and the father of it"-its intelligence is exactly the same grade as that of a person who would consider any character or situation on the stage as real and unchangeable. The moment the play is over the whole picture breaks up, the actors throw off their Masks and become themselves. The moment you understand the law of Jesus Christ, you discover the same ability within yourself, and begin to throw off the Mask of personality, and you are not so easily taken in, as it were, by what the character in the play is apparently doing. You begin to see---even if vaguely-that you have power "to pick 'it up or lay it down" by reason of the Permanent Identity which changes not, and which is "a temple not made with hands eternal in the heavens."
There is nothing very strange about this-the fact of the matter is, it is so simple it is "given unto the child" and withheld from the adult (adulterous man), who is hypnotized to the extent that he builds everything on what the tragic Mask represents, hence his sin, sickness and death.-'It is glorious and wonderful when you first glimpse this revelation, for suddenly you feel a real awakening, a real movement towards your Permanent Identity. In this consciousness you discover, or rediscover that which was always yours.
This discovery brings forth many things you have forgotten which were "shown to you on the Mount," and' will change manifestations with lightning rapidity and ease-"in the twinkling of an eye all shall be changed," 'the moment you see it in this Permanent Identity, it becomes visible in the manifest world.
Literally then comes the revelation "Whatsoever you tell the Father in Secret shall be called from the housetops." 'Whatsoever you can accept in the Permanent Identity as real and true will be made visible in the manifest world. The Greek Nobleman knows the difference between himself and the Mask and is free-so with you. You are beginning to see the difference between your personality and your individuality. You are "being born again." It is wonderful!
Who are you then---answer me? Are you tragedy, are you comedy, are you sickness, poverty, ingratitude, or are you the "Christ of God"?
"Who do you say that I AM?" Answer me. Judging by the Mask, some say you are John Smith or Mable Jones, that you are a thief, a liar, a crook, a holier-than-thou, etc.---but "WHO DO YOU say that I AM?" Do you begin to see why it is necessary actually to go within and shut your door?
This time you are returning or entering into the Father Consciousness, and you need not be surprised at the many wonderful things taking place. Things will now happen with ease and dispatch, and you will find yourself moving in new levels of manifestation.
Small wonder then-"Judge not from appearances but judge righteous judgment." Judging from appearances leads only to a conclusion of evil, for the Mask is tragic, the role is cast and nothing can be done about it. The sooner you realize this, the quicker you will stop trying to do anything with the Mask outside, and will enter into the Courts of the Lord, and be your Permanent self; and from that point on you will sec the useless and inane measurement of things by human thought. Human thought is a capacity of the personality or Mask, and is concerned almost wholly with evil; filled with anxiety and fear, which are without power to stop evil.
"When I would do good, I do evil." This is a sample of human thought-taking. No matter what be the power behind the Mask, so long as you are hypnotized by it, you cannot manifest anything but the limitations of that Mask. A lion has been raised to be afraid of a poodle dog. Maybe you are afraid of something equally simple.
Ceasing to judge from appearances then, is not merely hiding from your eyes so-called pictures of evil, as if the so-called lion were to hide from the picture of the poodle;' but it is a sudden ability to "Judge righteous judgment"--that is to see the pictures of sin, disease, etc., for what they are instead of what they appear to be-to look through the Mask of personality, and discover what is within. The Nobleman may be smiling radiantly behind this Mask. Your Permanent Identity may be doing the same thing. So "Look again" and see through the Mask and enter into your true fulfillment. It is the recognition of this that saves you from the sudden thrusts of other personalities or Masks in the Play of Life, and protects you from the ugly and apparently inevitably disastrous results of human destiny.
So hypnotized have you been by this Mask-Personality which you are wearing, that you even consult it regarding all the issues of life, and this Mask then assumes such complete authority that it holds you against all desire and better judgment into a place of evil. No wonder Jesus said, "Awake thou that sleepest, and Christ (Permanent Identity) shall give thee light." "Awake and arise from the dead!" (Mask of Personality-John Smith) and go into the New Day with confidence! You will understand how it is that the "King can play the beggar, but the beggar cannot play the King." The beggar may take on a veneer of spirituality or Kingliness---show a few tricks of this pseudo-power, but his terrific handicaps are seen and discovered, and he is cast out as false. The Mask or Personality can never become the Nobleman-he may take on a certain semblance of power and authority, but it is only an appearance which he cannot long sustain.
You cannot change the Mask from without, you cannot heal it. Its innate capacities will stay with it so long as it must depict a role separate from the Nobleman's Identity. Every time the Nobleman puts it on, he is temporarily, at least to the world of appearances, that thing. Every time Jesus allowed Himself to operate under the Jesus-Mask He was a carpenter. The moment He made His assumption, He became Jesus Christ, and did what the world called miracles, or things He could not otherwise have done.
Unlike the Mask, the Personality is in its essential nature plastic and fluidic, and that is the reason why Jesus in entering into His Permanent Identity could change the Mask and cause it to sidestep its own destiny or limitations. So the hard, set Mask of you which appears- so destined to perform evil, can be changed and its hateful destiny obliterated. To the human thought this is impossible, and it cannot be done by thought. "Take no thought."
Do you begin to see why Mary "Magnified the Lord within her," instead of trying to change anything about the Mary-Mask? Do you begin to see why you will suddenly stop trying to change things on the outside? Then you will find the real place of revelation and thereby control the situation, causing the Mask to change its appearance likewise. All this is filled with Light.
I am writing to you at dawn, and at this very moment a terrific noise assaults my cars. Looking out, I perceive that the great walls of the old Hippodrome Theatre, a former landmark of New York City, have crashed to the ground. Workmen are razing the building that seemed so massive and enduring. Now even as I watch, it is no more. Five minutes ago, it was there. Now, as I return to my writing it is done away with-gone forever. So, one day will the walls of your personality, in their hard-set form, give way to the Christ Consciousness so completely that the belief in sickness, age, poverty and hurt shall be wiped out forever.
"You shall run and not be weary---" Why? How? Do you know any athlete who can do it? Just what is it we are talking about anyway? Was Jesus a soothsayer or a liar? You answer it. When you discover your Permanent Identity, if it be necessary, you shall run and not be weary, for you will know that the Mask-Personality has no longer intelligence or power of its own, no capacity to become tired, worn-out, sick, poor, unhappy, aged, or any of the so---called evil. None of this can be proven for the idle curiosity of disbelievers, or people who want a sign---it is not for this purpose---it is a natural law, which functions along natural lines when it becomes natural to you, and ceases to be some fantastic, intangible, invisible power. The use of the Mask by the Nobleman does not diffuse the Mask in any way and so you begin to sense-feel your fatigueless body. It cannot be overworked, for this newly recognized power can work faster through it than the body can possibly work by itself with its muscular and mental limitations. The Power can speed up the use of muscles and nerves to such a capacity as is entirely impossible humanly. We are moving to the realm of the capital wisdom of God, which is our heritage---otherwise the teachings of Jesus are vain. Are you beginning to appropriate this power, and experience the direct and instant action of it? "Be still and know that I am God." You can know this only in the place of your Permanent Identity, hence if "I am to speak" the Jesus Mask is used to see through, and actually his mouth becomes the mouth of God for the moment. If you can once see this, you will never again begin any task or work without a moment's pause for the recognition that it is "already done." With this recognition a super-capacity comes to you which makes it possible to accomplish the hitherto impossible.
Walter C. Lanyon