It’s hard to find teaching about this subject. Our Western culture focuses on expanding, conquering and controlling. This mindset puts the individual in a state of continual tension. Not much room for cultivating our higher virtues. Let’s do it, anyway.
The Virtues of the Spirit
Virtues are the highest representations of the human spirit. These are the aspects which shine inward and outward. They are not just philosophical principles but way our character channels the most fundamental aspects of the human spirit. We find them when we embark on our own inner quest, when we create your own path.
There is a concept within the Enneagram of Personality known as integration. To integrate as the term suggests is a sign that you are making progress. In theory, when we are fully integrated, we access the higher virtues of all the main personality types. This gives us more options. We are not confined to the default settings of our original personality type.
“Gratitude, Love, Appreciation, Serenity, Joyfulness, Happiness, Thankfulness, Blissfulness, and Mindfulness; these are the virtues of the spirit. With these tools, we are able to conquer … not the world, but ourselves. And, so then … the world does not need to be conquered.” — Guru Tua
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that there are nine personality types in the Enneagram. That means there are nine doorways through which we can open these virtues. That’s good news. So, no matter your main personality type, there is a doorway through which we can reach these higher ideals. These doorways aren’t found our main default personality type. Rather contained within the personality type where we integrate. We must move beyond our default patterns of thought to integrate.
Create Your Own Path
This is the inner call, what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. This is that inner voice that wants you to explore and grow. When we start on our quest, we must realize that growth is not always linear. We digress and we progress. But, if we keep on our path, we will grow.
Sometimes growth comes in great leaps. However, most of the time it is incremental. These are small, sometimes imperceptible steps. So, it’s vital to keep a spiritual journal. This way we see our growth. And, we can also spot patterns of that may be holding us back when we engage in inner work, And, if we have patience and persistence, then we will realize results.
The virtues of the spirit are not goals, they are the higher values which are possible for each of the nine basic personality types. So, each type has its own path and own set of challenges. There is one common element that will help all move in the direction of integration. That element is “presence”. Presence is what enables the real you to show up. This is where cognitive inner work is accomplished.
You can create your own path. Organized religion does not want you to do this. They want to keep you as a paying customer. If you find your own way, you threaten their cash flow.
What Exactly are the Virtues of the Spirit?
Below is a simple way to describe these virtues:
- Gratitude helps us see our situation in a way that lessens panic and opens up our thinking. Gratitude is a virtue of perspective.
- Joyfulness is an inner condition of well-being and good spirits. It’s key to our health and wellbeing.
- Happiness is a state of well-being that we are living with a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction.
- Love is a sublime virtue of connection. A sense of deep and authentic caring, empathy for everyone and all things.
- Thankfulness is a virtue that is the supreme awareness of the fragile nature of life on this planet and our benefit from its bounty.
- Blissfulness is a virtue of the spirit that is a state of surrender enabling energy to flow freely.
- Appreciation is a virtue that enables a greater understanding of self, and recognition of the qualities we possess, this extends outward and so is similar in effect to thankfulness but different in focus.
- Mindfulness in the sense of a virtue of the spirit is both observing and directing the activities of the mind. It is observation without judgment. It is thought and action with the right purpose.
- Serenity is the state of inner peace and balance. Serenity is a quiet place amidst the activity. It is the quiet place of the mind.
The Enneagram and the Virtues of the Spirit
Each personality type has several default components. The basic personality test will determine our main default personality type. This is the first step when you begin working with the Enneagram of Personality. Next, we learn about the thought triggers which send us on a path of integration or disintegration. We can traverse in either direction rather quickly. So, inner work investigates both directions. This enhances our inner observational ability.
Our default type plus the two types at the points of integration and disintegration give us one of the triads that are helpful in understanding our personality. The virtues of the spirit are found in the personality type in the direction of integration. So, this is the first doorway to these higher values.
However, we should not discount that the point of disintegration also contains this higher value. In fact, the point of disintegration is also a second doorway. We are able to gain entrance to this higher value once we fully open the door in the direction of integration. And, then the higher values of our default personality type are also available. Therefore, the basic triad becomes a corridor between all three points.
One of the easiest ways to understand how our personality types relate to one another is by a graphical representation of the Enneagram. Below is the Enneagram show direction of integration for the nine types.
This chart shows how for example type one integrates by moving to type seven. And, type one’s direction of disintegration is toward type four.
Virtues of Spirit as Initial Triad Doorways
The movement between the two easiest pathways provides the initial doorways to the virtues of the spirit. This is one way to describe the relationship. It’s not the only way.
Type One — The Reformer
If this is your default home personality type then Serenity is the first virtue of the spirit that is most available. Reformer type ones have a passion for order. Because the world is filled with chaos serenity is what helps to ground this type. This enables type one to move more freely toward seven where embrace Appreciation for what they are, what they have. And, also the freedom to move to type four to the balance of Thankfulness.
Type Two — The Helper
Type two. These are the helpers of the world. Love is the natural virtue to resolve here. This expansiveness enables the movement to the balance of Thankfulness at four. It also provides the stability to move in the direction of point eight where strength becomes Mindfulness.
Type Three — The Achiever
The achiever longs to open their hearts to Joyfulness. This is the door that opens when joy is discovered beyond and in spite of achievements. This virtue of the spirit enables movement to type six where Blissfulness is the key to calming anxiousness. It also provides the road to type nine where Happiness anchors life.
Type Four — The Individualist
Type four is the individualist but feeling like they are a part of the world is the key to Thankfulness. It’s finding the calm sea of emotion and life that enables movement to the Serenity of type one and the strength to move towards the trust of Love within type two.
Type Five — The Investigator
To the investigator, it’s the truth that matters, but Gratitude is the virtue of the spirit that enables them to “let go” and be grateful. This provides the fuel to find Mindfulness at type eight. Moving to the virtue of Appreciation at seven is also more available.
Type Six — The Loyalist
Blissfulness is the doorway to quench the fire of anxiety. This is the first doorway for the loyalist. The anchor of Happiness awaits at type nine. This complements the Joyfulness of life at point three.
Type Seven — The Enthusiast
The enthusiast finds Appreciation and the balance needed to find meaning in everything. Gratitude opens the heart further at point five. Serenity is the perfect virtue of the spirit to balance life for the seven.
Type Eight — The Challenger
The challenger needs Mindfulness to begin opening the virtues of the spirit. The often “tough” projected energy finds it’s a purpose in the Love of point two. Moving to point five the challenger finds Gratitude to let go instead of controlling.
Type Nine — The Peacemaker
Type nines are the most likely to misidentify their type. The peacemaker naturally sees themselves reflected in the other types more naturally than any other type. Happiness is the anchor and hardest door for this type to open. Once the first door is open, then they can truly find the Joyfulness at point three. Blissfulness if often a surprising revelation for all types, but point six is the perfect complement to balance this type.
All nine types are labels we use to describe common traits of personality. The triads above are simply the starting place. We have access to all nine personality traits and so too all nine virtues of the spirit. Personality and instinct are simply necessary mechanisms that connect our consciousness to our bodies.
The Observer is that part of us who “is” listening, watching, feeling as we live out our experiences. It’s the person who you are talking to inside your mind. It’s that part of us the triggers our “gut” feelings. So, in a way, we are simply learning to fine-tune an instrument of experience as we awaken and undertake our own path of spiritual exploration.
The virtues of the spirit help us to conquer our own failings and balance our lives. In this way, we have no need to conquer others. In fact, just the opposite. We can then open our hearts and lives to promote friendliness, compassion, and happiness to everyone and everything.
Our inborn spiritual desire to seek the unknown and explore our awareness, You do this when create your own path. Mythologies are signposts that show us it can be done. They point the way, but we all have different lives. We must find our own way.
Above all, connect regularly with the source of being. Develop your own path. Learn about and use the ancient spiritual technologies of spiritual exploration to forge your own path. Namaste. Blessed Be.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia