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Spiritual Quiz

Detailed Explanation of the Nine Spiritual Inclinations

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The following is a description of each of the Nine Spiritual Inclinations on which the quiz above is based. The classification was created by crossing two basic and commonly-known classifications:

  1. the classification to 1st-, 2nd– and 3rd-person spirituality (also referred to as Subjective, Collective and Objective spirituality and as Inward-, Sideways- and Upward-oriented spirituality) – see “Spirit in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Person“); and
  2. the classification to Supernatural, Natural and Paranatural spirituality (also referred to as Transcendent, Immanent and Mystical or Occult spirituality) – see “Supernatural, Natural and Paranatural Spirituality“.

Each of the nine spiritual inclinations is discussed in some detail below. First the Supernatural 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-Person Inclinations are described, then the Natural 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-Person Inclinations and finally the Paranatural 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-Person Inclinations.

Comments, corrections, additional information, etc., about the classification will be most appreciated and can be added as a reply at the bottom here or sent by email to amirf @t amirfreimann . com.

Supernatural / Transcendent Spirituality

1st-Person Supernatural Spirituality

One’s spiritual center of gravity concerns who one really is: consciousness, the Self, which is identical with the Absolute (God, the Numinous, Oneness, Eternity, Emptiness, etc.). One’s deepest, most profound experience and insight is that the Self, who is one’s most fundamental identity, is perfect, eternal, and transcends the world of time and space.

The main practices associated with this spiritual inclination are meditation, contemplation, solitude, and renunciation (e.g., celibacy). The inner states associated with it are referred to as unitive consciousness, Self-realization, wholeness and small-self/ego transcendence.

The main spiritual question here is “Who (or what) am I?” and the corresponding spiritual imperative is “Know you are the Self Absolute!”

Examples of spiritual/religious paths and people with this inclination include Advaita Vedanta (Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, HWL Punja, Mooji), Dzogchen, Jainism, Gurdjieff, Sri Aurobindo and Theravada Buddhism.

 

2nd-Person Supernatural Spirituality

In this spiritual inclination, one’s spiritual center of gravity leans toward unity, togetherness, love — with Gaia/Nature, with another, with “one’s people” (family, community) and with the whole of humanity. The inclination is toward transcendence, yet transcendence means nothing if it is not in relationship: in the recognition of the Divine in another, in I-Thou relationship, in the coming together of the many, and in union with nature.

The main practices associated with this spiritual inclination are connected to one’s being part of a community. That’s where the most important spiritual work takes place; it is where one’s challenges are and where one experiences transcendence.

The main spiritual question here is “How can the many become the One?” and the spiritual imperative is “Come together!”

Examples of spiritual/religious people and paths with this inclination include Buber, Levinas and Nature mysticism.

 

3rd-Person Supernatural Spirituality 

In this inclination, one’s spiritual center of gravity leans toward the Absolute Reality (God, Consciousness, the Numinous, Oneness, Eternity, Emptiness, etc.) that exists beyond the world of time and space. In the “pure” form of this inclination only the Absolute is real; humankind is nothing before it and bodily/worldly existence — indeed the world itself — is illusory and an obstacle.

Although the Absolute is ungraspable by the human senses and mind, it can be connected with and even united with through meditative and contemplative disciplines, solitude, prayer, devotion, and small-self/ego transcendence.

The main practice associated with this spiritual inclination is focus on, remembrance of, and union with the Absolute. The inner states associated with it are surrender, humility, intoxicated love and bliss, mystical experiences, states of unitive consciousness, and rapture.

A main spiritual question here is “What is beyond?” (beyond the world, beyond time, beyond the human senses and mind), and the essence of the spiritual imperative is “Surrender to the One!”

Examples of this inclination we find among mystics of different religions, such as the Christian mystics St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross and Meister Eckhart and the Sufi mystics Rumi, Hafiz and Rabia.


Natural / Immanent Spirituality

1st-Person Natural Spirituality

In this inclination, one’s spiritual center of gravity leans toward oneself as the culmination of the entire cosmic creative process. In fact, the spiritual impulse one is experiencing is understood to be an expression of the same impulse in the universe. And one is consciously aware of it.

The main practices associated with this spiritual inclination are body wisdom, mindfulness and other self-awareness practices, sacred sexuality, rebirthing, self-healing, and psychology.

The inner states associated with it are creativity, the urge to develop and evolve on all levels, and experiences of ecstatic and dynamic one-ness with nature and all of creation.

The main spiritual question here is “What is my deepest motivation?” and the spiritual imperative is “Evolve!”

Examples of philosophical/spiritual paths with this inclination include romanticism, transpersonal psychology and evolutionary spirituality.

 

2nd-Person Natural Spirituality

Here one’s spiritual center of gravity is in your love and care for humanity and nature — in the awareness of being a member of the human race and a creature of nature. The essence of spirituality is goodness and the highest spiritual goal is collective human flourishing.

One deeply values love, intimacy, relationships and a sense of belonging; what is espoused are the humanistic values of equality, justice, care, compassion, and tolerance forall human beings, as well as respect and responsibility for all living beings and for Mother Earth.

The main spiritual question here is “Who or what are WE?” and the spiritual imperative is “Love thy neighbor!”

Examples of philosophical/spiritual paths, communities and individuals with this inclination include the Western Enlightenment (Voltaire, Hume, Kant), Transcendentalism, Dark Green Religion (Bron Taylor), permaculture (Findhorn), ecology and peace work (Tamera).

 

3rd-Person Natural Spirituality

In this inclination, one’s spiritual center of gravity leans toward the created universe, which is seen as not separate and not different from the Absolute (God, Consciousness, the Numinous, Oneness, Eternity, Emptiness, etc.). The universe or the cosmos is perceived as a living, breathing whole, permeated with consciousness, purpose and love, which are manifested and revealed through it.

The main practice associated with this spiritual inclination is focus on the wholeness of creation. Humanity’s highest calling is to realize and serve the Divine or cosmic purpose in the manifest universe, in awareness of and obedience to its laws.

The main spiritual question here is “What is all This?” and the spiritual imperative is “Obey the Law!”

Examples of philosophical-spiritual paths and people with this inclination include integral philosophy, evolutionary spirituality, Spinoza and Deleuze.


Paranatural / Esoteric Spirituality

1st-Person Paranatural Spirituality

Here one’s spiritual center of gravity leans toward oneself as the creator of reality by thought and intention.

Knowing that all the powers of creation are contained in oneself and provided with knowledge and the right intention, one is able to use the laws of the cosmos for growth and development.

With the right training and practice one can possess paranormal or miraculous powers such as clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, perception of auras, levitation, mind reading, healing powers, and so on.

The main spiritual question in this case is “What can I be and do?” and the spiritual imperative is “Go beyond any perceived limitation!”

Examples of philosophical/spiritual paths with this inclination include shamanism, astrology, classical yoga, and Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi).

 

2nd-Person Paranatural Spirituality

In this inclination, one’s spiritual center of gravity is in the awareness of and interaction with non-material or spiritual beings such as nature and ancestral spirits. The main practices associated with it are astral travel, channeling, lucid dreaming, etc.

The main spiritual question here is “What is the Guide’s advice?” and the spiritual imperative is “Follow the guiding spirits!”

Examples of philosophical/spiritual paths, communities and individuals with this inclination include Wicca, the Great Goddess worship, druidism, Thelema (Aleister Crowley), Ramtha (JZ Knight), and Damanhur.

 

3rd-Person Paranatural Spirituality

One’s spiritual center of gravity leans in this instance toward the intricate and complex nature of the spirit world, formed and inhabited by spiritual beings (spirits, angels, gods) with different powers and intentions. A clear map and reliable guides are recognized to be needed to navigate through life and develop spiritually.

The main spiritual question here is “What is the structure of the spiritual realm?” and the spiritual imperative is “Follow the map!”

Examples of philosophical-spiritual paths and individuals with this inclination include Kabbalah, Theosophy, Anthroposophy (Rudolf Steiner), Gnosticism, Hermeticism (Hermes Trismegistus) and Scientology (Ron Hubbard).

5 Comments

  1. Tristan

    In your description of 1st Person Supernatural Spirituality, you stated, ….”Examples of spiritual/religious paths and people with this inclination include Advaita Vedanta (Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi)…” It would have been nice if you had included Mooji here.

  2. Julian Bates

    I have yet to read the 9…I am sure it will be interesting when I find the time…

    But – regarding the quiz,, honestly, how can we label or identify a person’s ‘Spirituality’ centre on a quantitative set of questions?
    Surely, which would be painstaking and need a wise and understanding human to go through the answers, one needs to ask questions and get individual answers, when the person s free to be articulate.
    Also, some of my answers were ‘safe balances’ between 2 poles, that I both love and have experienced about equally, so I placed myself in the centre…But I am one of those, huh… ‘difficult’ people who is – or seems a ‘collection’ of types more than one…

    • Hi Julian,
      I’m sure hardly anybody fits right into one “box” – most people would find (had the quiz allowed for such complexity) that their “center of gravity” is in one area, but that they are also “spread” over a few other areas. I wish I could find a platform that would show, at the end, a star-like image of how we score in each of the different areas.
      Nevertheless, I think it’s a worthwhile excercise and one may learn something while doing it. That’s the real purpose of it.
      Thank you,
      Amir

    • Ron Bell

      JULIAN, I have not taken the quiz, precisely for some of the things you mention here, plus I think I already know my own “inclinations” better ane more nuanced than any quantitative or qualitative instrument might purport to analyze.

      Still I find the typological classifications helpfully creative and of thoughtful interest.

      Ron

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