Tuesday, June 30, 2009

MPOW #23 - Your Spiritual Task

Once you understand your basic Buddhist Personality Type, you can use this as a vehicle for awakening. I refer again to the Which Buddhist Personality Type Are You? quiz from Tricycle: The Buddhist Review magazine. If you haven't read this already, it's quick, easy, and a bit fun, too. The article defines custom mindfulness practices for each type.

Each type has a spiritual task to accomplish. The spiritual task of the greedy type is to transform the desire for sense objects into a desire to know the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Greedy types need to balance their optimism with an awareness of suffering. Practices that can help the greedy type include: contemplation of old age, sickness, death, and impermanence, meditation on the 32 parts of the body; generosity; renunciation; noticing the ending of experiences; putting oneself in uncomfortable, unpleasant situations (in order to become disenchanted with sense pleasures); slowing down; and taking the Three Refuges.

The spiritual task of the aversive type is to transform the critical mind through wisdom and insight. Aversive types need to learn to relax, question their beliefs about being “right,” and notice joy in addition to suffering. Practices for the aversive type are: lovingkindness, compassion, mindfulness of mind, humor, faith, patience, open awareness, and putting oneself in pleasant surroundings in order to soften the heart and connect with life.

The spiritual task of the deluded type is to transform spaciousness into a state of rooted equanimity. Deluded types need to learn how to reel in their minds. Practices useful for a deluded type include: noting (labeling); mindfulness of the hindrance of doubt; body awareness; somatic experiencing; qigong or yoga; precision; mindfulness of the earth element, and putting oneself in safe and pleasant surroundings to prevent dissociation.

This week, mindfully take at least one small step on your spiritual task each day. We are all created different from each other and no single personality type truly defines. We also change from moment to moment. The personality type is not meant to completely define you. It simply serves as a guide on your path of awakening, or a helpful tool to increase your mindfulness. Have fun with it and bring yourself a little bit closer to your edge.

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