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Knowing our natural personality is the movement from identity to the natural self and forms the foundation of Naturality. It’s a door to our freedom With this core of understanding, we can learn from diverse sources and traditions without confusion.
We can learn from a guru and teacher but we should not become dependent on them. By exploring our own nature we will discover the teacher and guru within—our source of insight and wisdom. By understanding the levels of consciousness, we learn about the world and nature. This will give us a clear understanding of evolution and involution, from both a biological and psychological perspective.
In this chapter, we will focus on the first of these two foundational ideas: natural personality and our natural self. We are each born with a unique nature, which expresses itself in our natural personality. The mind and body are the two expressions of the natural personality and orient us in the world. While natural self is the essence of a person, natural personality is the expression of it in the world.
The natural personality of a person often remains unrealized and unexpressed because of the social and cultural forces which want the person to fulfill an assigned role and duties. We agree to fulfill those roles because we are fearful of our own individuality emerging from natural self.

Natural self is formed through the combination of three influences:
  1. Genes from parents (genetics)
  2. Influence of ancestors, family members and environment, which modifies the genetic expression in an individual (epigenetics)
  3. Memories (Karma) from past lives (NOTE: A belief in rebirth is not necessary in order to understand this concept. We could also say that memories and tendencies are encoded in one’s genes.)
As we explored in the previous chapter, the emergence of the identity, conditioned by culture, buries our natural self deep within our being. However, the identity can’t suppress our natural self entirely, which results in a mind-body conflict and a lack of well-being. Such an imbalance disturbs the rhythms of life, including sleep, appetite, and sex, resulting in a lack of fulfillment and natural pleasure in life. We then begin to search for pleasure in external sources, which can lead to dependence and addiction.
Yet underneath the identity, our natural self remains alive and intact. The recovery of our natural self requires self-observation and diligent practice. As we become more closely in touch with our natural self, we can feel something deep and true beginning to emerge. If we are allowed to blossom fully, wholeness and well-being is experienced.

Natural Personality
The ancient Indian system of Ayurveda (means knowledge of life) suggests three basic natural personalities with numerous combinations and permutations which are the expression of the natural self. These basic natural personalities are:
  1. Wind (Vata),
  2. Fire (Pitta) and
  3. Earth (Kapha).
These personalities are in a delicate balance and can easily be disturbed if proper care is not taken.
Knowing our natural personality is the door to our unique natural self.
To know one’s nature requires observation as well as knowledge of the body’s physical features, emotional responses, feelings and patterns of thought. This knowledge can then be refined and expanded through ongoing and spontaneous self-observation.
In other words, to know our natural self means opening the book of our life and studying it.
 
Besides the concept of the three basic natural personalities, we must also understand the concept of the five fundamental material constituents of the universe and five elemental feelings which they generate. These material elements and feelings are earth, water, fire, air and space. These five elements can be used to describe not only the physical world around us, but also the human body and mind.
Looking more closely at the human body, various combinations of the elements form unique natural personalities. So the elements and feelings form both the individual (microcosm) and the expansive (macrocosm) nature. As we learn more about our natural personality, we can also learn to live in a more relaxed and healthy manner in the world.
 
In the following section, the five elements and feelings will be described, along with the corresponding natural personalities. It’s important to note that nobody’s personality is composed of only one type; we all have a blend of various elements and feelings that make up our unique nature. But usually one basic personality is predominant. By learning about the underlying personality types, we can begin to balance our personality through making deliberate changes in our lifestyle.
The Five Elements and Feelings
  1. The first element and feeling is Earth and is felt as solidity. Earth is solid, stable, cool and calm. It roots and nurtures. All smells emerge from the earth so it is connected with our sense of smell and the nose.
  2. The second element and feeling is Water and is felt as fluidity. Water is lighter than earth and is fluid, cool, and calm. Without water, taste cannot be experienced. Therefore, water is connected with our sense of taste and the tongue.
  3. The third element and feeling is Fire and is felt as energetic and passionate movement in body and mind. Fire moves quickly. It is lighter than water and it is hot, dry and passionate. Fire produces light and without light we cannot see. Therefore, fire is connected with our sense of vision and the eye.
  4. The fourth element and feeling is Air and is felt as lightness and quick movement. Air is lighter than fire. It is ever moving, cool, dry, unstable and connected to our sense of touch and the skin.
  5. The fifth element and feeling is Space and is felt as expansiveness.. In space all other elements live and grow. Space is the lightest, coldest element and is present everywhere simultaneously because of its infinite movement. Without space, sound cannot travel and therefore, space is connected with hearing and the ear.

Formation of Natural Personalities
When the five elements and their feelings combine, three natural personalities emerge. The various combinations of these personalities shape the unique nature of each human being.
  1. When earth and water element and feelings combine, the Earth personality is born. The parasympathetic nervous system is more active in this personality.
  2. When water and fire element and feelings combine, the Fire personality is born. This personality is a combination of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
  3. When the air and space elements and feelings combine, the Wind personality is born. In this personality, the sympathetic nervous system is more active.
There is no pure personality—each individual has components of all the three main personalities.
However, in most people one personality tends to dominate.We can learn about our own unique personality blend by reflecting on a variety of physical and psychological characteristics. In the next section, each basic personality type will be described.
By studying these descriptions, we can begin to identify characteristics that reflect our own mind and body. As we learn more and more about our inherent personality, we can make changes to our lifestyle in order to balance the personality elements that may be causing ill-health.

The Natural Personality Types and the Autonomic Nervous System
The basic personality types can be linked to the human nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for survival and dynamic balance (homeostasis) of the body and brain. It does not need the conscious mind for its functioning.
Emotions and feelings are intimately connected to the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system.
  1. The sympathetic nervous system is the emergency response system of the body and brain. It elicits the fight, flight or freeze reaction when faced with internal or external danger. It diverts blood from the skin, the digestive and reproductive organs to the heart, brain and muscles in order to prepare for action. The heart rate and blood pressure rise, the muscles tense, digestion and reproduction slow or shut down entirely and breathing becomes rapid and shallow. One feels nervous and tense.
  2. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system creates a state of rest and relaxation, the opposite of the sympathetic response. Blood goes to the skin, digestive and reproductive organs. The muscles relax and the heart rate and blood pressure drop. One feels calm and grounded.
In some people, the sympathetic nervous system is more readily activated, while in other people it is parasympathetic nervous system that predominates. We can now make a linkage between the personality types and the autonomic nervous system.