Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Personality Types and Spirituality

Psychological profiles seem to be cropping up a lot this month. My Diocese newspaper had an article on personality types and prayer. It tied the Meyer Briggs Types Inventory (MBTI) to different methods of prayer and suggested several for each type. I'm an ESTJ and it was suggested that I would enjoy body prayers in beautiful surroundings. Music was suggested and also incense and candles to create a sensual environment for prayer. This is a very accurate view of how I prefer to pray. When I am in the mood, dancing can be a kind of physical prayer, an exultation of life. Singing can do the same and, for that reason, I'm working hard to bring back some music skills I once had but have sadly let lapse for life style reasons. The Personality and Prayer article came out of a book on the subject, Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types. My PC recognized it when I brought him the article. I may get it someday. In the meantime I have the article to tell me more about something I was already somewhat familiar with...good ways for me to pray.

The other psychological profile came in the form of enneagrams. I'd never heard of them till I had a discussion with my PC on the MBTI. He told me about these and I looked for a page and took a test. The test was free and probably not the entire battery of questions, still I liked the results and learned a little bit more about myself. If you are interested in taking the same test I took go here. There are two different forms of the test on this page. One is the RHETI which may be the oldest version of the enneagram test and someone declared the least accurate (only 65%). I took it anyway. The second form is not labeled except as the New Test by Tal. It has a broader range of answers for you to choose which I thought made the results more personal. It also gives broader ranges of scores in each of the 9 types so it might conceivably be more accurate.

Among the 9 types, I turned out to be a peacemaker. From the page's description, "Peacemakers are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them." That pretty much describes me. I'm accepting and accommodating. My secondary type is that of artist/romantic. For this one the site declares, "Romantics have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive." Well, I'm not sure about that description but the rest of the page told how to get along with a romantic and what was cool and not so cool about being one. Those bits I did find sensible and pretty much accurate.

Being the good client that I am, I took this new info about myself with me to the latest PC session and learned more. It seems that these types can be used to connect to faith functioning as well as life and social functioning. That was more interesting to me since I am trying to see ways to make my faith work better for me in both private and social areas. My PC gave me a web page which described that in some detail. If you are interested in reading more about that go here.

Did all this new info change me? Not really. But it gave me food for thought and plenty to discuss with friends and PC alike. It also gave me something in common with my sister. She too is a peacemaker. That's nice to know. What can come of all this? Well, if you want you can go find your type and look for ways to use it to make your spiritual life better or more conducive to growth. You can also try to use it to avoid the bad side that each personality seems to have. For me it is enough to learn a bit more about myself and how I function. Plus I plan to use the prayer guide a lot. That part of my life definitely could use some improvement. In the meantime, there is lots of cool stuff out there about enneagrams, and personality types that you can learn and connect to whatever suits you. Go ahead, find your personality type, and explore! And in the nature of my type, "Peace!"


jsd said...

thanks for sharing the links

Lee said...

You're welcome, JS! Hope your vacation preparations are moving along smoothly.