Faith / Spirituality / Religion

Issue 08 | The Spiritual Leader

Idealist Counselor INFJ - Mohandas Gandhi

Spiritual Disciplines

They say that most human beings (irrespective of their temperament type) become spiritually engaged during times of difficulty, challenge, loss, or because of some kind of awakening. In our research, we have found that different temperaments practice their spirituality in different ways. They are often referred to as spiritual disciplines. We like to think of them as default “go to” ways to express their spirituality. Depending on one’s temperament, one engages spirituality in a specific kind of way.


When the Artisan decides to become spiritual, their reflex reaction is to move toward restraint. Many religions call this fasting. It is where an individual chooses to eliminate certain worldly pleasures from their lives in an effort to purify and cleanse themselves. Artisans by nature have a heightened sense of awareness of their physical senses. The five senses—(see, hear, taste, touch, smell)—are far more stimulating and pleasurable for the Artisan than anyone else, and so instinctual lust for all that the world can offer them is highly motivating. So, for Artisans, the spiritual journey starts with the act of restraining themselves from engaging their hedonistic nature. These sensual individuals decide to trade in sensuality for spirituality when they are seeking to live a spiritual life.


When the Guardian decides to become spiritual, they naturally move toward engaging in rituals. For Guardians, spirituality is addressed in a manner where the first question that comes to mind is, “What do I need to do?” So their “go to” way is to find out what the established authorities say. Whether it is a prayer, reading sacred literature, attending a worship service, listening to a religious teacher, or participating in religious ceremonies, Guardians find rituals comforting. Knowing that there is a prescribed way of doing things when approaching the divine makes the Guardian feel assured that their efforts will be recognized. Guardians want concrete activities that they know have been done by others and that have led to success.


By nature, most Idealists see themselves as being spiritual, and they engage spiritual practices on a regular basis. They see all of life as being spiritual, where there is purpose and meaning in life that all of us are meant to find and live out. When faced with difficulty, Idealists are the first to rely on relationships. They find their beloved and engage heart to heart, supporting and uplifting each other as they share stories and confessions. Being involved in a spiritual community where one can be authentic is the highest need for Idealists. They see spirituality as a journey to be taken together and never alone. Idealists engage rituals, restraint, and reflection, but such engagement becomes that much more meaningful when it is engaged in relationship. Doing rituals together, restraining together, reflection together is where it’s at for the Idealist.


When Rationals engage spiritually, they do so through reflection. Religious teachers sometimes refer to this as silence and solitude, contemplation, meditation, or journaling. Reflection can simply be thought of as thinking. It is to pause, analyze, and gain clarity. In its essence, we see reflection as setting aside time and space to slow down and to listen to your thoughts. It becomes a sacred space to do some self-analysis. Rationals by nature, get so busy using their brains—analyzing, strategizing, diagnosing, and consulting others, that they so often lose sight of the needs of their hearts. When Rationals take time to reflect, it is the starting place for gaining perspective on what matters most. It allows them to evaluate their current state, and to measure the gap between where they are headed, and where they may need to realign their lives toward.

Temperament and the Inner Life

All of us have inner voices. We listen, ignore, resist, or yield to them all the time. Some believe in hearing from God directly, while others believe that it’s just self-talk, or it’s the residual of past influences imprinted on our psyche. Irrespective of what you believe, what is certain is that we all have thoughts.

Faith, Spirituality, Religion

Some refer to themselves as “religious,” some as “not religious,” then there’s “spiritual, but not religious,” a “person of faith,” and let’s not forget about the “atheist,” or “agnostic.” At Keirsey, our research indicates that depending on your temperament, you are likely to approach faith, spirituality, or religion differently.