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Selected from
The Wisdom of the Overself
by Paul Brunton


The 8th PB e-teaching deals with Individuality. The Wisdom of the Overself, chapter 3, speaks of individuality on many levels: karma is both general and specific. The individual and the world arise together at the same moment out of the past which trails behind both. The World Mind’s memorization makes individual activity possible, subtly supports and sustains it. PB writes of a triune stream of life current, intelligence, and individuality that runs through the universe. In category 1 of the Notebooks he says a prime purpose of the Quest is to create a true individuality, where, at present, there is only a pseudo one. The following paras from Category 1 explain more on this fascinating topic.

In every individual there is an original, mysterious, and incalculable element, because his past history and his prenatal ancestry in other lives on earth have inevitably been different at certain points from those of other individuals. His world-outlook may seem the same as theirs, but there will always be subtle variations. There is no single path which can be presented to suit the multitudinous members of the human species. There is no one unalterable approach to this experience for all men. Each has to find his own present understanding and past experience-and each in the end really does so despite all appearances to the contrary. For each man passes through a different set of life-experiences. His past history and present circumstances have constituted an individual being who is unique, who possesses something entirely his own. It is partly through the lessons, reflections, intuitions, traits, characteristics, and capacities engendered by such experiences that he is able to find his way to truth. Therefore he is forced not only to work out his own salvation but also to work it out in his own unique way. Every description of a mystical path must consequently be understood in a general sense. If its expounder delimits it to constitute a precise path for all alike, he exaggerates. Although there is so much is life which the aspirant shares with other beings, there is always a residue which imparts a stamp of individuality that is different from and unshareable with the individualities of all others. Consequently, the inner path which he must follow cannot be precisely the same as theirs. In the end, after profiting by all the help which he may gain from advanced guides and fellow-pilgrims, after all his attempt to imitate or follow them, he is forced to find or make a way for himself, a way which will be peculiarly his own. In the end he must work out his own unique means to salvation and depend on himself for further enlightenment and strength. Taught by his own intelligence and instructed by his own intuition, he must find his own unique path toward enlightenment.

Each case is different, because each person has a different heredity, temperament, character, environment, and living habits. Therefore these general principles must be adapted to, and fitted in with, that person’s particular condition.