Three Natures of People
Three Natures of People
Pataganli, one of the foremost masters of the ancient system of Yoga said, “The purpose of yoga is to manifest the divine self (Purusha) into the world of nature (Prakriti)”. His advice was to bring our whole self into our awareness, bodies, daily lives, and the world in general. The ancients were grappling with the same dilemma many of us do in modern times: how to achieve self-actualization. Techno whirling dervish, Steve Jobs, commented on this dilemma when he said, “’Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary’”.
Other than “heart courage”, how do we become what we truly want to become? What stops us, what gets in the way? One answer may lie in our conscious and unconscious patterns that make up the nature of who we are. These patterns, which we inhabit as part of the human experience, can show up in various ways: individual, cultural, collective, spiritual, genetic. They can reveal themselves in very deep and personal ways in our bodies as energy knots, disease, emotional content, breath patterns, mental constructs, and physical symptoms. These patterns can get in the way of our whole selves coming into play in our lives - with understanding, they can also set us free.
Our ability to recognize and ‘artfully’ move through these conscious and unconscious patterns holds a key to unlock and reveal a Self- Actualized life. Some of these psychological, spiritual, and scientific methods used to identify these patterns date back thousands of years. They include the 12 astrological types rooted in the west, yoga, the three Dosha natures from Ayurvedic India, the tarot, acupuncture and the 12 Chinese zodiac characters. We have quantum physics that reveal the unseen nature of energy and pattern. New branches continue to emerge from the systems of western psychology pioneered by Freud, Jung, Fromm, and Reich, which describe the intricacies of character types and archetypes. There are systems that map the personality: from Myers Briggs, to the Ennenagram, and Birthorder theories. We also have NLP communication types, eating right for your type, right brain- left brain types, masculine-feminine types. And so on…
The word nature describes a little bit deeper essence than say type, character, or personality. Look at a dog. You can see it has a distinct “dog nature” not a “cat nature” or “elephant nature.” It’s difficult to change one’s nature. Perhaps this is why we don’t see zebras intermingle with dogs, cats or elephants, though I once met a donkey that shunned other donkeys to hang out with horses. Our nature envelopes us. Few people attain mastery over their nature’s undertow. However, those who do, can bring out their full potential to bear on their lives. Sometimes we’re too close to see our predominant nature, like a filter on a camera separating us from the world. To know this filter exists is one thing; to surmount it is a entirely different matter.
A first step in unraveling our nature is to identify what 'nature pattern' is dominant within it, then to recognize what aspects from other patterns are absent. Recently, when describing dominant aspects of his nature, a friend responded with, “You mean not everybody experiences this the same way?” The obvious answer is: No. Thus continues the process of depersonalizing and freeing ourselves to live out the already established aspects of our nature, but also live out our potential to experience the whole arc of human nature. Understanding other people’s natures can offer an opportunity to borrow their strengths and gifts, see where we have fallen short or been living in reaction to another’s nature-pattern.
Think, Feel, and Do
Ancient seers and modern psychologists agree there are three primary groups that make up the nature of what and who we are. To one degree or another we all THINK, FEEL and DO. Every human being is a thinking-feeling-active creature. Most of us favor one of these natures, some might two, but we all hope to learn and combine all three into our experience. It’s hard to plumb the depths of the self, to think soberly, to feel deeply, to do the right thing when life calls for us to experience varied ways. We can get lazy, turn on the automatic pilot and stay with what is comfortable and familiar. We defend our choice by saying, “This is just the way I am.”
There is a knowledge system that can help us get a glimpse our own nature—ancient wisdom handed down from teacher to student via oral and written traditions. The American psychologist, William Herbert Sheldon researched and wrote about an aspect of this teaching in the 1940’s under the umbrella theory that he called Constitutional psychology. This theory associated body types with human temperament types that he called Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. Dribs and drabs of this teaching also show up in the works of the Russian mystic, P.D.Ouspensky, with hints of its more ancient Sufi roots. Although my father was a Sufi practitioner and teacher, I first heard of this teaching through my teacher Laura Hart, who received this insight from her female mentor and neighbor in the 1930’s. It is the “little engine that could” type of knowledge, pieced together over centuries. It is still relevant today, perhaps more so.
The foundation of this wisdom teaching is that there are three distinct natures of human that have evolved over time on the planet. They each have an inherent and unique way of perceiving and interacting with the world. Not only do these three natures correspond to our psychological outlook, but to our physical appearance as well. Yes, you can see the difference, so much so, that it’s sometimes possible to learn more about someone’s nature from their appearance than from studying the complexity of their psyches. They can be identified, with some exceptions, by distinct facial and body structures.
Someone belonging to one of these groups can still master aspects found in another and potentially be rich in the ways of all three. However, let’s be aware that each pattern has his/her gifts and burdens, strengths and weaknesses to overcome. Awareness of these three natures is only scratching the surface in terms of overcoming the boundaries of their categories. To transcend these requires enormous effort and resolve. It’s been compared to swimming through concrete…set concrete, not the wet stuff.
The term “knower” is used here instead of “thinker", which implies an ability or quality of thinking. It’s not a prerequisite. The knower’s predominant nature involves experiencing life through the mechanism of the mind. The thoughts of the unfocused knower are always spinning from one to the next, rarely stopping long enough to focus on one thing. They live mostly in and through their head. They can be sensitive, have a strong sense of justice (Rosa Parks, Gandhi), and are able to stimulate energy (Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson). In appearance they are generally slight with long and narrow facial features.
Barack Obama / Computer Nerd / Julia Roberts
Mind - The knower perceives the world through the mechanism of the mind. They are under a constant barrage of thought stimulation from within and the world around them. Like a stone skimming across the surface of the water, they rarely allow their thoughts to slow down, and take them deep. The way the knower can resolve this limiting tension of his nature is to learn how to focus. To the knower’s scattered mind, focusing feels like death, as it cuts into and through his nature. The knower will often avoid focusing, or will practice ‘just in time’ focusing, or ‘enough to get by’ focusing, all of which limit his capacity to live a self-actualized life.
This tendency is seen in our modern technocratic culture saturated with 300 channels to choose from, and the constant checking and rechecking of iphone and social media. There are many more knowers born today than ever before who are right at home in this over stimulated culture of ours. Nature always provides - nature! The Knower will do best to borrow heavily from the other two natures and muster up all the ‘Doer’ will power and the ‘Feeler’ focusing talents. Doing so will give him the tools to bring out his full potential in the world. No other way around it.
Sensitivity - Knowers can be sensitive to the world around them. They are often blown by the wayside or bullied by less sensitive Knowers, Feelers, and Doers. Sensing the world too harsh and brutal to their nature, Knowers can become consummate victims and whine too much. The Knower can balance out this energy by understanding and accepting other natures. Don’t expect other natures and the world to be as sensitive as you. Knowers can have a tough time taking a stand for their lives, what they want, who they are, and what is acceptable to them.
The Knower needs to learn new negotiating/communication skills to better engage the world. Dr Pat Allen has great tools available to help in this area. Laura Hart, my teacher use to admonish, “ Don’t explain, justify, seek approval for, or look for permission.” Stand up straight, in your being and your posture.” She always be checked and corrected my posture, no slouching with her around. A variety of yoga and energy based techniques also allow the Knower to be grounded in their being, while part of the world, or not.
Knowers also need to be aware of there own bullying , protective posturing, and coping strategies, all designed to shield their own sensitive natures.
Addictions - Highly sensitive and easily overwhelmed by the world, the Knower can spend too much time trying to numb their sensitivity by retreating behind a myriad of addictions. These activities increase the sensitivity and set in place a malicious merry go round. Detox and recovery is one way out of this cycle. To begin to feel and learn coping strategies to navigate the complexities of relationships and the world.
Justice - Knowers often come alive when they take a stand for justice. With their heightened sensitivities and cerebral nature they are keenly attuned to the scales of right and wrong. Some of the greatest injustices in our world have been addressed by knowers who took a stand for Justice and Truth; Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. Before they embark on a cause or crusade they should question why and what they are trying to change about the world. Is it to try to make it more sensitive to their sensitivity, to reflect more of their nature? 'If the world would just be sensitive to my sensitivity, I would be ok.' Or can they see the world for what it is, and begin to change themselves and their responses to the world? If they choose to amour up for the cause, they have to watch out for a tendency towards zealously and self – righteousness. This is usually a symptom of wanting the world to change before they do.
In order to have a lasting effect on rectifying the injustices of the world, knowers have to drill down into the practice of “Being the Change” ala Gandhi. “Walk the talk,” as my teacher was fond of saying, “or zip it!”
Some knowers who focused around issues of justice.
Abraham Lincoln / Gandhi / Garry Adams
Energy - Because of their cerebral, sensitive natures, Knowers can often appear to be energetically dead. Living up in their heads, they are easily cut off from their vital bodies and passions. This is compounded by the vast amount of Knowers who currently sit in chairs and stare at computers all day. There are a lot of dead energy Knowers walking around, just look in their eyes. Also, to get an energetic charge from the body, Knowers think about sex constantly. Feeling the hit of reminding them momentarily that they have a body. To break through this deadening state of being and invigorate their lives, again requires focus and will power, which can cut through the minds’ obsessions. Focusing and willpower channel our life purpose and energy. The Knower needs to find ways to align with his/her body through exercise, yoga, dance, massage or deep sex/passion.
Voice - The Knower will try to talk as fast as his mind thinks, often not being coherent and understood in the process. The challenge for the Knower is to slow down his vocal pattern and speak slowly, deliberately, and with authority. Speak on the breath and from the belly. My teacher would encourage us by saying,“ Slow down, speak up and speak out.”
To master their nature the Knower can:
Learn to focus, relentlessly.
Be a little less sensitive to the world. Don’t take things so personally. Learn techniques to be in the world and not of it.
Pursue other means to feel alive other than thinking about sex. Get energy out of the head and into the body. Dance, yoga, boxing, sports.
Detox the body from drugs and other mind/mood altering substances.
Take a stand of their lives, dreams goals, boundaries
Adopt the positive qualities from the other two natures.
Slow down speech pattern , speak up, speak out. Be heard and seen.
The feeler predominately experiences the world through emotions. They feel deeply and often, swinging from mood to mood. They go to great lengths to overcome or calm these sometimes maddening moods, including over eating and other compulsive disorders. One method the use to bring their attention out of their moods is to focus deeply on something else. They have a great gift of focus (almost all of them), Salesmanship/Charisma/Charm (Bill Clinton, JFK or MLK), and have the gift to sooth energy (Elvis or Sarah Vaughn). In appearance this type tends to be round, heavy set with round facial features.
Bill Clinton / Orson Wells / Dalai Lama
Feelers, Feel. Not to be mistaken with sensitivity which is the domain of the Knower, the life of the feeler is governed by their “own” feelings. These feelings are not necessarily associated with anything in particular, as in, “Look at the beautiful sunset that makes me feel good.” They just plainly feel deeply, gregariously, and often. They are anchored in the world of feeling. They are under a seemingly constant barrage of the ups and downs of the tidal waves of feelings that can emerge out of nothing and turn on a dime. The word moody could be an understatement here. They think these mood waves are normal, and to them they are.
Focusing - Feelers aren’t burdened by the scattered mind stuff of the Knower, and that is where lies their main power and energy, which seems boundless. The Feelers greatest gift and asset is their ability to Focus. They are unparalleled in that ability. Focusing allows them to rise above the pit and sometimes murky world of emotion that is their default resting ground. And focusing works. It feels like relief, albeit temporarily.
Feelers go deeper into concentration than any of the natures, and concentration is power. A power that drives a career, talent, business, and empires to succeed where others often fall short. Many of them have been described as genius in their chosen fields, and they are relentless and can often master a number of areas in their life time. They can be an awesome force of nature to behold. Orson Wells, the 26 year old genius Director of “Citizen Cain,” was also a violin prodigy as a child. When asked, “ How it feels to be a prodigy?” he curtly responded, “I’m not a prodigy, I just practice (focus) more than everyone else!”
Consumption - Their emotions also lead to an excessive consumptive nature. To escape their emotionality, they will consume anything in their paths, whether it be people, food, or drugs/alcohol. This is why many of them are overweight to obese. “They can’t help themselves.” The food or substance feels momentarily better than the mood. They are often the ones who suffer from Diabetes (a consumptive disease) and often die early from other consumptive related causes. Marlon Brandon, John Belushi, Jerry Garcia, Chris Farley, Elvis, Orson Welles.
Control - The emotional pit also leads to an excessive need to control, and feelers are capable of going to great lengths and use any tactic to exercise that control. They are not necessarily against lying, particularly if it helps them achieve their goal. To the feeler Bill Clinton, “it technically wasn’t sex.” They can be manipulative and bully at the drop of a hat just to get out of their emotions and have a moment of rest. They have peace from their emotions when they’re busy controlling the world around them.
Power - Feelers can easily develop a God complex, seeing their own ego at the center of the world—an inflated sense of power which pulls them out of their emotions. It can border on psychopathology and extreme narcissism. They often gravitate toward the number one position and be at the center of power in business, government, family, and relationships. The feeler is typically a heavyset man or woman counting the money at the back (The Godfather), while everyone else runs around being busy. Feelers have also been the worlds nastiest dictators or headmen including Hitler, Mussolini, Idi Amin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il. Here is a look at the leaders in Africa. Almost all feelers.
Jovial - Occasionally you will come across a Feeler who’s not putting the bulk of their effort into controlling others or relentlessly focusing in order to sooth their moods. The Jovial kind like “Friar Tuck” or the “Dali Lama, just seem to rise above the mood tides (at least outwardly) through Joy and laughter.
Voice - Feelers are the charmers and smooth talkers. They are the best salesmen, and can easily sell ice to Eskimo’s. They like to soothe you to get your full attention. They will talk slowly or even whisper to pull you in. Think of Clinton, Elvis, Bing Crosby or Dean Martin—all great soothers.
Salesman.- They are the great salesmen. .
They can sell ANYTHING. It doesn’t matter what it is.
Dali Lama - Compassion
Sarah Vaughn - Jazz Song
Pavarotti - Opera
Weinstein Brothers - Movies (And as a note, Harvey is a classic feeler.)
Marylin Monroe - Feminine beauty
Clark Gable - Male virility
Bill Clinton and JFK - Political Vision
MLK- A dream
Amma - Hugs
Hitler - Hate
Lying - Feelers will lie at the drop of a hat. For many of them it becomes way of life. Lying becomes a way to “Mood Surf” They enjoy it.
Sex Symbols - Because they can be naturally charismatic, feel everything, and tend to go deeper into anything they focus on, Feelers are often aligned to be Iconic Sex Symbols. While the knowers grace the pages of the fashion magazines, plugging their sex appeal, the feelers can move past that to the realm of cultural icons. Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Bridget Bardot, Marlon Brando, Angelina Jolie, and Megan Fox, the last two being of the more slight knower body type, but feelers nonetheless.
Service - Feelers, if they move away from using their focusing powers to consume more, can be of great service to the world. The Dalai Lama points to a different way out of the mood swings for the feeler. “We are driven by self-interest, it’s necessary to survive. But we need wise self-interest that is generous and co-operative, taking others’ interests into account. Co-operation comes from friendship, friendship comes from trust, and trust comes from kind-heartedness. Once you have a genuine sense of concern for others, there’s no room for cheating, bullying or exploitation. “Some of the most compassionate, justice seeking and creative contributors to society have been feelers. No need to look any further than the, MLK, Amma (The hugging saint), or Glenn Clark, the creative Genius who wrote, ”The Man Who Tapped the Secrets of the Universe,” which coincidentally point to how the feeler (and others) can live a more balanced life.
Mastery - Feelers are at their best when they positively share their authentic and mastered gifts with the world, which includes integrating some of the sensitivity of the Knower. They need to watch their diet and keep away from the sugars. The feelers need to curb their consumptive nature before it consumes them. Exercise, yoga and mediation can be very beneficial to the Feeler to help calm the mind and burn off the excess and seemingly infinite energy that they have.
This type experiences his/her life through their will. They act first and ask questions later (if at all). They can inspire themselves and others to achieve great things. They use their stealth and relentless will power to get their way, sometimes at great cost to themselves and others. If put in the same room as a knower and a feeler, it will often be the doer’s agenda that rises to the fore, and the first two won’t even know why or how this happened. Doer’s like to enforce justice/rules (most of them), have the gift of a steel will (Dick Cheney, Napoleon), and can inspire the energy of those around them (Oprah or Picasso). In appearance this type is more square and stocky with similarly square facial features.
Shirley Maclean /Police Officer /Joan Crawford
Doers do. They are driven to act out their own immense willpower to influence the world around them. There’s no question that fortitude, will-power, and desire to succeed play an important part in propelling people to excel and be their best. WiIlpower is the cornerstone of all achievement, whether it be on the material or spiritual level . Willpower is the domain of the Doer. It is their greatest gift and burden. Their motto is, ”My will be done!” or ““… follow or get out of the way”. If something engages their willpower very few people can stand in their way of getting it - and survive! The Doer is compelled to exercise their will power, even if it doesn’t make sense or has a negative impact on those around them. I have seen more doers run right through others with their will power without even blinking an eye. This steam rolling will power is normal to them.”They get their will done”
Either / or Black and white thinking. They are the cops and border guards. They like rules as it gives them a socially constructed place to exercise their will. Although they sometimes don’t follow the rules they promote to others.
Inspire - The Doer has a great gift to inspire others to get things done. They are an amazing specimen to watch as they can accomplish a vast amount in a single day . I can only imagine the will power it takes Oprah Winfrey to move and inspire all the people she works with.
Emotions - They tend to be emotionally immature, unable to quickly access feelings or sensitivity, both of which can be somewhat foreign to the Doer. They have to develop that sensitive empathetic quality if they want to learn to play well together, and harness the willpower and creativity of others in the pursuit of common objectives.
GROUPS OF THE THREE NATURES
Often times the Three natures will appear under the same circumstances and balance each other out to achieve their common objectives. Or they will appear together for awhile and move in different directions.