What is our Relationship with our Personality after Awakening?

We sat down for a chat with Eckhart one afternoon and asked him some questions.  In this issue, Eckhart reveals his thoughts on our relationship with between our ego and personality.

Question: What is our relationship with our personality after awakening & does it change?

Eckhart Tolle:  Strictly speaking, before awakening, to a large extent, you don’t have a relationship with your personality; you are your personality.  If you can have a relationship with your personality – which is the ego, with its way of reacting and thinking, and emotions – who is having a relationship with the personality?  What that means is you are witnessing it.  There is a witnessing consciousness there, and if there is a witnessing consciousness, then you can have a relationship with your personality.  What that really means is, you can be there as a witnessing presence when your ego is doing something silly.  And you can laugh at yourself, maybe in the moment, maybe afterwards.

If you are totally in the grip of your personality, or your ego, then of course there is no relationship because you have become it.  You’re so one with all your reactive patterns and all your conditioned thinking, that you don’t even know that there’s anything else in you.  You are it.

As you awaken spiritually, the awareness that is nothing to do with your personality increases, and the power of the personality, with its conditioned patterns, decreases.  Gradually, the personality is no longer opaque; it is transparent to the light of awareness, or consciousness.  It loses its solidity.  This is why you find that in people who are awake, or people who are awakening, there is more of a lightness to them.  If there’s only personality, then there’s heaviness, a psychic heaviness in you.  Everything is dreadfully serious, and [you are] defensive, always wanting something, or defending yourself against something.

When you’re relating to somebody in whom there is no awareness, then you always get a slightly uncomfortable feeling, because that person is completely ill-at-ease.  Ultimately, all personalities are ill-at-ease.  They may pretend that they are very confident, but underneath the role of ‘confidence’, there’s always a person who feels ill-at-ease.  They need to prove something, or they want something from you.  That’s the personality.  As you awaken, that part become a little less opaque and it becomes lighter.  There’s more of an awareness that shines through the person.

Ego is complete identification with your thinking and your emotions.   When you are unconscious, personality and ego are one thing.  As you awaken, you become more aware of your patterns, which may to some extent still operate.  I’m choosing to define personality as something that you can be aware of.  It was the ego before, but you can be aware of it as patterns that still operate within you.  If there is no awareness, and you are it, then it’s totally ego.  As you become aware of your ego, the ego becomes the personality, and then you can have a relationship with your personality in the sense that you can be the witness.

If you have a difficult relationship with your personality, that’s a delusion.  Then your personality has split itself into two, one part is having a relationship with another, and one part says “You should be better, why can’t you be more conscious?”  That means there is no witnessing presence there.  One part of the personality is arguing with another.  The witnessing consciousness doesn’t judge.  You don’t judge yourself in any way, you just see behavior.  There’s no good or bad, it just is.  The need to be right, for example, is a very common thing with the ego.  If it’s a deep-seated need, then you can’t be wrong in an argument.  There’s a compulsion to defend yourself.  Then suddenly you can see it in yourself.  Ultimately, having a relationship with your personality implies that there is a witnessing presence.



Acceptance101 11th March 2010 10:14 am

Thank you soo much. This clears up quite a bit of confusion in my path at the moment. I have been asking for help in relinquishing my self imposed habits. I knew I was the cause/blockage but could not fiqure out which voice to listen to. Neither.

naturaljoe 14th March 2010 3:26 pm

To witness without judging can be challenging but what is is.

Elyon 18th May 2010 12:45 pm

I was not consciously aware of my witnessing presence before I read your book 'The Power of Now', and I am forever grateful. What a relief to discover I am not my thoughts, emotions and desires!! What a relief to know I don't have to prove myself to anybody. Because ~


Customthesis 11th May 2017 11:52 pm

Very informative article that conveys many ideas of personality. It provide room for self motivation. We can understand many things and develop the qualities that we lack. Buy dissertation proposal online is the best place to develop your writing skill.

Thesis writing service

bonniemoran 29th May 2017 2:02 am

For the success of every person personality and relationship plays great role. Good personality helps to maintain good relationship. For a successful life we must have good way of communication and it can boost up through continues writing and reading. Boost up these habits along with dissertation writing service reviews

CraigYoung 31st May 2017 3:16 am

I complete a game that is a relic cutout and what I did was put a letter on each one and it is called dine script and what you do is put the cards face up on the floor or table and you say ok Johnnie find the letter E and he has to look and find the letter E and you do that we all the kids until game is over and that helps them learn their letters so that they are ready for playschool. Next thing you can do is middles/role play you can do like a fruit marketplace or get cute little t-shirts that have like essay writing service UK, police and more and you can teach the kids how to do those jobs and how to be communal like with the fruit marketplace have some kids come and buy fruit and have 1 kid take the cash and 1 kid bag it up and that teaches them how to be social and how to interact with others. You can also make up corresponding games which teach them how to match so that they can study how to match clothes and paraphernalia for when they go to school.

cook90 19th August 2017 10:04 am

Being in relationships with yourself is actually hell sometimes and it's VERY complicated. Either you dislike yourself or like yourself way too much so that ego grows and grows. And you will never be able to build relationships with others until you accept yourself. At some point it's better not to think about yourself. Leads you nowhere actually. If you want to read essay about psychology and how self-esteem affects people around you just go to this site


Keep updated with Spirit Library

Author Information

Eckhart Tolle

Spiritual Teacher and author was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.

Books from Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth Cover image
Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now Cover image
Eckhart Tolle