No One Way

If some of this talk about spirituality doesn’t make sense for you, remember that we bring our diverse personalities to our experience of spirituality. We will not all resonate with every approach to spirituality. My colleague, Rev. Peter Richardson, outlined four possible approaches to spirituality corresponding to traits from the Myers Briggs personality inventory.  His framework is just one example of how our spiritual experience might be diverse. We all have natural inclinations to tune into different frequencies.

He suggests that those of a more intellectual bent may be primarily drawn to the search for great truths. Einstein is one such mystic of the scientific realms. He felt awe and wonder at the mysteries of life revealed through science. A first step for an intellectual might be to appreciate the intricacy and beauty of the natural world, to pay attention to those moments of wonder.

Those of a more practical bent may be drawn to the works of goodness. They might find inspiration in the path that Gandhi shaped, to live out the connectedness of life by organizing for justice on behalf of the oppressed. A first step might be to volunteer for a soup kitchen, to pay attention to the larger reality in the gift of soup that connects us to someone who is hungry.

Those of an emotional bent are more likely to be drawn by love and devotion to divine or spiritual beings. The Sufi poet Rumi wrote thousands of love poems to the divine Friend, whom he felt most closely through his relationship with his human friend Shams. These are the folk who might especially benefit by reading the poems of the mystics, by music and incense and sacred ritual.

Finally, there are those of an intuitive bent, who may be drawn to the unfolding and transformation of the self into the larger self. The writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson might be a guide for those in this visionary orientation. These folk may be drawn to a diversity of practices and rituals, and may find their spiritual experience changing greatly over time.

There is no one way to practice spirituality. We begin by being aware of the present moment, by inviting our hearts to pay attention. We can notice those activities that help us to feel a sense of connection and wonder and gratitude, that help our hearts to feel most alive. We can invite the larger reality into our lives, by choosing to bring more of these activities into our daily lives.


Photo by Margy Dowzer

Peter Richardson, Four Spiritualities, (1996.) Find it here.


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