One of the points that should stand out by now is that each psychological type has its own unique "take" on reality, and its shadow or blind side as well. In previous conferences, we have discussed ways to compensate for this by learning to develop one's own third and fourth functions, and by taking more seriously the perspectives of people who embody these functions as their primary and auxiliary ones. Now we consider the relationship between one's psychological type and lifestyle considerations -- including spiritual pathways.
First, we note that it is important to find a good match between one's primary type and one's occupation. If one's job requirements, for example, draw one to work more out of the third and fourth functions, there will most likely be energy depletion -- maybe even burnout. I'm convinced that this is a common problem, along with dysfunctional work places in general.
A personal example in my life might help to illustrate. I've shared several times now that my type is INTJ -- IN as primary, ET as auxiliary. You also know that I do quite a bit of web site development -- e.g., shalomplace.com. A web site can be a marvelous way for NT types to express their ideas and opinions, but its development calls for an enormous amount of exercising the sensate function. This is fun and recreational, up to a point. As noted in previous conferences, using the fourth function can be an energizing experience and a way to "balance-out," as it were. But too much dependence on it can also wreck the delicate balance between the conscious and unconscious, depleting energy from the primary and auxiliary functions. That's exactly what's happened to me, at times, when I've done too much web development. I become drained of energy and don't experience any creativity; sometimes it can take days before I feel my old self again.
So you have to be careful about over-exercising the third and fourth functions, and, especially, about committing yourself to a career that calls upon these functions most of the time. I'm sure you get the idea by now. Let's hear some of your experiences on this.
The following links provide further study of the relationship between type and career:
A. http://www.keirsey.com/sixteenroles.html - click on each type to see what kinds of jobs in general are best suited for its expression.
B. http://www.discoveryourpersonality.com/careerreport.html - this one will give you a professional evaluation of career aptitudes in terms of the types. You have to pay for it, but it's not too expensive and will provide helpful information.
Related to the issue of career is that of spiritual pathways. We've already noted the different prayer styles of the types in an earlier conference, so now we affirm that different spiritual pathways suit each as well. By a spiritual pathway, here, I am referring to the overall lifestyle, and manner in which spirituality is pursued and expressed. This in itself is a very broad topic, and one that we shall pursue in much more detail in the course on "Basics of Christian Spirituality," which will begin May 1. Let us note the obvious, however, namely that each of the four functions has a different mode of approaching the divine, and that the two attitudes also significantly influence our lifestyle.
One very general breakdown of spiritual pathways in Christianity would be the three approaches listed below. I will attempt to designate type correlations, knowing that there are many exceptions.
A. Monastic - highly structured communal life; contemplative focus; most introverted types would do well, here.
B. Contemplative / psychological - Dominicans, Carmelites, etc. Contemplative focus, but also somewhat active in the world. Action flowing from contemplation. Introverts and EN types.
C. Apostolic - Jesuits, Franciscans, Diocesan Priests, Protestantism, laity. Extraverted types.
Again, these are general correlations, but I think you can see how, in the history of Christianity, there has been an implicit recognition of psychological types in these highly developed spiritual pathways.
We find similar accommodations in the East, especially in the yogic pathways, which seem to be almost directly related to the four functions. What follows is a description of these, with correlates in Christian spirituality.
1. The Way of Loving Devotion. Loving God with one's whole heart.
a. Most natural for feeling types (24%)
b. Committed relationship with the Beloved. Recognizing the
Beloved in all people and creation.
c. Ethics implicit in the demands of relationship.
d. Self-centeredness killed in love for the good of the Other.
e. Song of Songs. Devotional Christianity. Bhakti yoga.
2. The Way of Service. Loving God with one's whole strength.
a. Most natural for all extraverted and sensate types (74%).
b. Selfless action for the glory of God.
c. Ethics implicit in the demands of service and daily work.
d. Self-centeredness killed in detachment from results of service.
e. Mother Theresa. Jesuit/lay spirituality. Karma yoga.
3. The Way of Knowledge. Loving God with one's whole mind.
a. Most natural for IT and IN types (8%).
b. Discovery of God as the Source of all Truth.
c. Ethics implicit in the order of the universe.
d. Self-centeredness killed by detachment, discrimination, and
disidentification with Egoic elements.
e. St. Thomas Aquinas. Jnana yoga.
4. The Way of Insight. Loving God with one's whole soul.
a. Most natural for IN and IS types (14%).
b. Discovery of God as the Source of one's being. Intrapersonal
exploration. Somewhat impersonal mysticism.
c. Ethics implicit in the requirements of inner silence.
d. Self-centeredness killed by absorption in deep Silence.
e. Eckhart. de Mello. Trappists. Raja yoga.
Reflection and Discussion
A. How have you experienced the demands of your career / vocation interacting with your psychological type?
B. How do you experience the relationship between spiritual pathways and your psychological type? What is your pathway? What happens when you have tried to follow a different one?
C. Questions or comments about the conference
A number of years ago when I was working in parish ministry, every year we would get report forms from the diocese to complete: the names and data of persons who were baptized, received the sacrament of confirmation, were married, etc. My ISFJ just loved filling out these reports. It was time consuming, but I really enjoyed doing that kind of detail work.
More recently, a couple of years ago those of us on the administrative staff of the diocese had a conversation with the bishop about our responsibilities and ministries. Prior to the interview we were asked to consider what parts of our job energize us, do we find satisfaction, etc., as well as what parts of our job depleat our energy and are less than satisfying.
While many of the activities of my job are okay, my reflection led me to realize one particular activity that I am asked to do on occasion really energizes me. That activity is doing canonical research. Occasionally the bishop or others need some background information on a canonical issue, and I am asked to research and provide the inquirer with the results of my study. I really get energized doing this kind of research. Not only is it an introverted activity, it also taps into my sensate function.
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