Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for a beautiful day. The nature proclaims the glory of God and the sunshine symbolizes His merciful kindness because God gives sunshine and rain to both sinners and saints. His unconditional love permeates through the beauty of His creation. Let’s treasure and enjoy it today. Amen? We have been reading from Kelsey’s book on “The other side of silence.” I hope you find this guide to Christian meditation interesting. I like his explanation on how our personality relate to our spiritual formation. I wish somebody told me this when I began my baby walk with God. I still found his teaching beneficial in reviewing this again…
Besides such differing attitudes (introversion and extraversion) toward the outer world as a whole, most of us develop at least one of four functions that we use in dealing with the realities we encounter. Two of these are functions of perception, which involve taking in information about the world, usually about parts of it in which one is interested. The other two relate to judging, deciding about how to organize and use this information.
A mature individual generally develops one of these functions highly, an- other to a lesser degree, and then leaves at least one buried in the unconscious and seldom consciously used. We can sometimes learn to work with this fourth function, but this is usually not wise until we have developed the ones that are easy for us to use.
The first pair of functions, by which one receives information, are the perceptive ones that are called the sensing and the intuitive functions. Those persons who prefer to use their senses, the sensing type, are interested in individual details. Generally they like repeatable situations and are more comfortable in a well-known environment. They live in the “now” time wise and are usually “get-it-done” persons, doers. Action is their response to prayer and also to the rest of life. They often find religious pictures, crucifixes, icons helpful. Their prayer life will tend toward structured and familiar prayers, some often-used Meditation. They are likely to be conservative in their meditational practices. They have real need to go out from their meditation into social action and correct what needs correcting.
In contrast, the intuitive persons are more often interested in unconscious data, in perceptions that are received in some way other than by sense experience. The unconscious is their ballpark, and they enjoy it, either observing its influence in the outer world or directly in the inner one. They are likely to be innovative religious leaders, interested in renewal in the Church. Their time sense is in the future and they are “thinker-uppers.” They seldom can handle the details of what they think up, however. The inner life is very meaningful to them, and since they use images and understand their meaning, they will probably be bold in trying new ways of meditating. They find themselves at home in imaginative praying.
The other pair of functions have to do with two essentially opposite ways of organizing the data that one receives. These are the rational or judging functions that determine how we deal with the experiences that come to us, and they are known as thinking and feeling. The person of thinking type likes to classify and arrange things according to logical or intellectual values, while the feeling individual prefers to base decisions and actions upon human values.
The first term is easy for us to understand. The thinking person is essentially interested in logical relationships and how the world fits together into a total scheme of meaning. The description of a “feeling type,” however, is harder for most people to understand. This term has nothing to do with feeling in the ordinary sense of either emotion or physical sensation. Instead, it means making evaluations on the basis of how things affect people. What is important to the “feeling type” individual is the personal value or the value for others of the act or thing or person or idea. People are important to “feeling type” individuals, and they organize their actions and thoughts around human values. Their sense of time is rotary. Moving from present to past to present. They arrive at their values by matching experiences that are meaningful to them in the present with those that have been meaningful in the past, and they organize their lives according to these values. They are generally quick to grasp and understand the values of others and the meaning of what is happening to them, while ideas and logical connections are seldom important to them.
The thinking types usually build their meditational life through connections with ideas and theology. They find philosophy important and value the effort to understand God within a framework of ideas and in the historical process. To them God can be apprehended by the mind as well as through experience. Feeling individuals, on the other hand, find the greatest religious value and meaning in personal service and intimacy. The intimate Eucharist, where there are horizontal relations between people, is often very important to them and probably more significant for them than a majestic liturgy or a finely constructed sermon. Much of their meditational life is expressed in loving action toward others. But at the same time, they also need help to awaken their thinking function, first simply to evaluate the results of their actions, and then to see their place in a more total framework so that they will be able to communicate to others the meaning they find.
Silence and meditation are dealing with spiritual perception. How do we perceive God in our encountering with Him. In church history, we have a tendency to uplift the intuitive and thinking type of person, as though they alone perceive true “insight” from God. The sensing and feeling type usually become “deacons” who take care of the physical needs in church. Unconsciously, many of the sensing and feeling types of Christians agree with this assumption, and settle with the idea that they will not be able to perceive any true “insight” from God by doing things with people – their conclusion is doers can’t draw very close to God than the thinkers. I hope we will change this mindset after reading Kelsey’s explanation of different perceptions in life.