Humans are always masked. Persona, from which we get the word personality, is Latin for “the sound that comes from behind the mask.” Every time we speak, it's from behind some kind of mask.
Halloween is coming. The common question is: "What mask will you wear this time?" Make Osho proud by asking that question twenty times a day, as you enter each room. Becoming aware of the mask you are wearing at each moment is the first and most important thing you can do on your spiritual path.
Our early life is all about being taught to craft and wear our masks. Then we spend our adult spiritual lives learning to take them off one after another - to find out which ones are false for us, or, if we are truly adventurous, who we really are under them all.
Sometimes our mask is pried off (or ripped off) through losses like divorce, illness, or job loss, or when we enter a deeply intimate and honest relationship. Intimate relationship puts great pressure on the mask we learned to wear, which is why 70 percent of couples break up by the nine month mark. The mask wins; it won't be removed for this person. Many relationships continue as a long term agreement between masks.
What do I find when I take off mask after mask? What is under all those constructed layers in me?” This is a question Osho would like.
The psychologist Carl Jung tells a story of meeting a “venerable personage,” a seemingly perfected soul. He spent four days and nights following the saintly man, watching him closely and never once did the saint exhibit a single human failing. Jung’s sense of inferiority grew steadily by the hour in this living saint’s presence. On the fourth day, the venerable man’s wife came to Jung for a private session. She was an absolute wreck. Jung saw how when we don’t see our own mask (in this case that mask of the “perfected human-saint” worn by the venerable man) we radiate unconscious toxins into our environment and they are absorbed and then manifested by those around us.
So today’s life-changing question for me is “What is the mask I’m wearing right now?” Asking that twenty times a day can change your life. And the follow-up question is even better: “What is this mask covering up?” This is a question you can take into your daily meditation or into shamanic journey work. Ask your helping spirits to come and remove the current mask and show you what is under it. And under that. And under that...
One of Jung's most chilling ideas is that the biggest influence on a child is the "unlived life of the parent." Children carry the weight, the (unspoken) grief, or the poison of the parent's unlived life. The masks we are taught to wear are very often designed to cover up the life we want to lead, the person we want to be. In your prayer work with the West, you can ask Spirit, or the Spirit of the West - the spirit that releases us from the past illusion, releases us from the poisonous, shrunken story of ourselves, to give you the courage and discipline and support to live the life that shines from under the mask.
Blessings of the West be on you.
If you are interested in doing the work described above, take a look at my class "Unblocking Power."
(Osho was an Indian mystic also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. A controversial, figure, he argued that socialism, communism, and anarchism could evolve only when capitalism had reached its maturity. Rajneesh emphasized the importance of meditation, mindfulness, love, celebration, courage, creativity, and humor—qualities that he viewed as being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious tradition, and socialization. In advocating a more open attitude to human sexuality, he became known as "the sex guru.")