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TOPIC: Different spiritual temperaments and the Path

Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 21 Dec 2010 23:05 #789

Hi everyone!

http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/12_Spiritual_Temperaments.html

I just came across this website after surfing around researching some of the issues raised in Andre's account of participating in Andrew Cohen's community, as referenced on another thread . This page details the author's work identifying twelve types of "spiritual temperament" or global orientations to spiritual life and practice. I found it surprisingly interesting and I actually found the questionnaire quite illuminating. I had to admit that reflecting on my dominant types according to his classification has been amusing and useful to my practice. As with any sort of personality test, I take it with a grain of salt; but the fellow whose site this is seems to have some solid credentials and a track record of interesting graduate and postgraduate work in emperical and theoretical research of spirituality. The link to the questionnaire is right at the top of this page, which details the temperaments. I found it worked well to type myself first and then read the descriptions.
I bring this up here for a few reasons. One, each of us as individuals have certain tendencies and styles of being human which play out in all areas of life. It can be quite helpful to use this sort of tool to gain insight into blind spots, whether pertaining to strengths or weaknesses, and to reflectively clarify our sense of who we are on the relative plane. Two, having this sort of self-understanding, and extending it in a light-handed, light-hearted way to others (not "diagnosing" them or ourselves, just using the tool to increase our intra- and inter-personal understanding), can really facilitate amazing communication between two people who might otherwise rub each other the wrong way, coming from very different orientations.
A really key insight of this fellow's work is that all the major religions contain sub-cultures and individuals who gravitate strongly to each of the types, or to some mixed style. This is one reason why communities like this one arise, I think: there is enough overlap between a few types of orientation that, even if we practice in different traditions, we can understand each others' basic concerns and purpose for practicing.
I think his system could be refined and critiqued in many interesting and useful ways as well, so whether you simply read the descriptions, or take the assessment too; and whether you find this useful or severely flawed or whatever, I think it might make for an interesting conversation!
Jake
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Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 22 Dec 2010 00:05 #790

Wow, religion versus temperament. That's an interesting way to get to the intersection of spirituality and psychology.
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Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 22 Dec 2010 02:33 #791

Hi Chris!
Yeah, I think it's all too easy to over-generalize that tradition x is this way, tradition y is that. An approach like this seems better able to model the great variety within and among traditions by showing how various movements may co-arise with various temperaments. I find it particularly interesting that many if not most of these temperaments are practice oriented, suggesting that even among those who are dedicated to practice and transformation there may be many different approaches in terms of style of practice, and style of goal!
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Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 02 Jan 2011 15:41 #792

Right, so, this is what I found interesting and personally relevent about this link. I answered and scored the questionairre and discovered that tied for first place I have two temperaments:

the mystic-sage who
"At the highest level, [...] employs an
exquisitely refined, subtle intuition, a kind of “wise unknowing
Understanding” which dissolves egocentrism and allows for a simple,
unpretentious abiding as Pure Awareness or Pure Spirit. This liberating
wisdom is variously called gnosis (in contemplative
Christianity), jñâna/vidyâ (Hindu Vedanta), paññâ/prajñâ (Buddhism),
ma'rifa (Sufism), ming/ta chueh (Taoism), and so forth. The Mystic Sage
may formulate into words the awakening wisdom and the profound
Realization it engenders, but s/he is not at all attached to such words,
and may even use them playfully, poetically, and paradoxically to
induce an identical “wise unknowing Understanding” in any listeners."

and the Intellectual which "is concerned with theologizing and philosophizing.
Classification, criticism, comparison and/or dialectical synthesis of
ideas and propositions are the Intellectual’s forté."

I find this interesting because while superficially these temperaments could be seen as opposed to each other, understanding how they relate and can support each other, opening each other up, and balancing each others' tendencies to extremes, has been instrumental to my path.

My sub-dominant types, the two tied for second place, are the Yogi (cultivator of states/experiences/stages) and the Cynic, who values complete freedom from all structures internal and external. Again, these two seem to dovetail in an interesting way rather than conflicting with each other.

In fact, I can see how this fourfold temperament operates on my path in terms of these facets either supporting each other so that synergy arises greater than the parts, or by blocking and competing with each other when I express these temperaments in a more egocentric way.
More later---
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Re: Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 15 Jan 2013 18:06 #8504

Hi
I came across this thread while searching for something else... I tried out the questionnaire for the Spritual Temperaments via the link
(here it is again: http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/...al_Temperaments.html )

I generally find psychology questionnaires are presumptive and I cannot answer half the questions because there is no "something else" box, leading to a distorted answer. They also usually

Tried this one, and I did find a fault... My top 3 were Yogi/Psychic Experimenter (1.14); Hermetic (1.2); and Intuitive Mystic (1.25).... however, these had 7, 5, and 8 questions respectively. This meant that although all three were answered with all '1's + one '2' each, their ranking didn't come out as the same. From this point of view, I'd have to say it is only a guideline.

Having said that, it does seem to be quite accurate as far as my own answers are concerned. My 'style' of spirituality could be said to fit within these three traits, although as with a lot of these things, I'd only agree with some-but-not-all of the descriptions. In fact the description for the Yogi/Psychic Experimenter didn't describe me until the last line; "A person aiming for more peace through Yogic means is the contemplative, whose downside is the much-maligned “quietist.”"

No big insight for me, but I suppose it could be a useful tool for someone who hasn't worked out it is OK to be contemplative (for instance) and find the singing and chanting arduous, but this doesn't make them less 'spiritual' just because everyone else seems to find the 'rituals' essentual, or vice-versa.

I think, to aknowledge there are various temprements that lead people to different ways of expressing their spirituallity is useful also - for one's own equinimity, as well as for teachers.

Worth a bash - even if it's just for personal entertainment value.

Colin :-)
Last Edit: 15 Jan 2013 18:08 by All One Planet.
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Re: Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 15 Jan 2013 19:11 #8507

That's actually pretty entertaining and somewhat accurate. Here are my results. (1 = very much in line with one's personality, 5 = not at all in line with one's personality). I used 3 as my choice for "question seems irrelevant" (it was half way between "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree"). I reordered the final results from most pertinent to least pertinent:

Devotee - 1
Mystic - 1
Monastic - 1.5
Ritualist - 2
Prophet - 2
Compassionate - 2.5
Hermit - 2.5
Yogi/psychic - 3
Intellectual - 3.5
Cynic - 3.5
Dogmatic - 4.5
Sensual - 4.5
Last Edit: 15 Jan 2013 19:20 by Ona Kiser. Reason: typos
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Re: Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 20 Jan 2013 09:35 #8564

Although I feel this is a useful tool, I am finding the grandeous titles to be a bit missleading.

If I take my own case for instance....

Apparently I come under the titles: Yogi/Psychic-Experimenter + Hermit + Intuitive Mystic-Sage (all three are very close and any could be the most prominant according to the questionnaire).

With the Intuitive Mystic-Sage questions I was able to claim a 1 (agree strongly) to 7 of the 8 questions by ignoring the word "intuit". This is because I have studied the subject of the ultimate nature of reality, non-dual, etc. and come to some intellectual recognition of their meaning (possibly some realisation/insight also since I'm pretty sure there is something in it even though I have no personal experience). Not withstanding missfortune, I have not completed my journey/learning so hope to go beyond the downside...
Downside: the would-be mystic-sage becomes lazy and content merely with an intellectual realization of certain timeless truths.
Since this "merely with an intellectual realization" is where I am at, I'd hardly call myself 'Intuitive', 'Mystic' or 'Sage'.

As mentioned in my earlier post, most of the description for The Yogi/Psychic-Experimenter doesn't describe my temperament. I'm not particularly psychic and have no interest in manipulating psychic energies per-say. So again, the signifier of 'Psychic-Experimenter' doesn't fit and 'Yogi' only fits by virtue that I'm engaged in trying to make headway with samatha....
"A person aiming for more peace through Yogic means is the contemplative"
So the real signifier for me here should be 'Contemplative', at least until I've actually gained calm abiding with which to truely dive into the truth of non-duel reality. haha

Anyway, the point of all this self-revealing is to mention that with the titles as they are:
  1. they hide a lot of nuance and gradation of each temperament - highlighting only the highest level;
  2. one could easily build a nice big EGO to go with the title and descriptors!
With these caveats, I think the 12 temperaments (with sub-divisions of levels) is a useful tool for teachers and self-discovery.

It must be said that maybe the author has sub-devided the temperaments with less grandeous titles, as he indicates with a note just before the descriptions:
Note: The following is a much shorter and slightly less academic and thus more readable treatment of the subject that I make available for students.
:)
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Re: Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 20 Jan 2013 16:45 #8566

Funny to see this thread pop back up :)

Retaking this test I decided I could write much better, less loaded questions that would get at the same stuff.

I agree that forced choice tests often have questions that are falsely dichotomous-- either you want to help people at a soup kitchen, OR you wanna sit in formal practice. There is a better way of constructing the questions: just lay out a statement like 'I enjoy helping people in soup kitchens or other similar places' and let the test taker agree or disagree, right?

Yet all that considered I had to laugh after re-taking the test as again I resonated with the results and found them pretty accurate, and a potentially useful tool for reflecting on my process.

This time the Cynic temperament was at the top, with Mystic close behind. Tied next were Compassionate helper and Hermit, which make a funny circle of inner-outer activity, or replenishing energy and working in the marketplace to be helpful. Then intellectual was right down at the bottom this time, with only dogmatic believer having a higher score (being less characteristic of my temperament).

Funny, probly explains why I post less! ;)
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Re: Different spiritual temperaments and the Path 20 Jan 2013 18:18 #8567

jake wrote:
Retaking this test I decided I could write much better, less loaded questions that would get at the same stuff.

I agree that forced choice tests often have questions that are falsely dichotomous-- either you want to help people at a soup kitchen, OR you wanna sit in formal practice. There is a better way of constructing the questions: just lay out a statement like 'I enjoy helping people in soup kitchens or other similar places' and let the test taker agree or disagree, right?
Hi Jake
I agree with you. I also find questions that are in fact two questions (or statements) in one, create room for 1/2 agree + 1/2 not agree.jake wrote:
Yet all that considered I had to laugh after re-taking the test as again I resonated with the results and found them pretty accurate, and a potentially useful tool for reflecting on my process.
You have reminded me to mention the up-front temperament that is prominant in us today may be different in the future - either because of context (eg: I know an ex-monk who is now married with a job, etc.), or because we have made a shift in our practice so different temperaments are now being emphasised.

Colin :)
Last Edit: 20 Jan 2013 18:19 by All One Planet.
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