The spirit’s virtues are the highest values of the human soul. When we learn how to open these gifts, we can transform our lives.
Western culture focuses on commercialism, conquering, and controlling. This mindset puts the individual in a state of continual tension, so there’s not much room for cultivating our higher virtues. Let’s do it, anyway.
The Virtues of the Spirit
Virtues are the highest moral values. These are the gifts of our nature that make us well-adjusted and healthy. We are not talking about philosophical principles but fundamental elements of psychic structure. These gifts are the legacy of our ancestors; they are part of our DNA.
When we channel these virtues, we empower the highest values. To find them, we must embark on our inner quest. You begin your soul’s journey when you learn that the spiritual truths you seek are in your soul.
“Truth is not to be found outside. No teacher, no scripture can give it to you. It is inside you and if you wish to attain it, seek your own company. Be with yourself.” — Osho
There is a concept within the Enneagram of Personality known as integration. To become more integrated means that we have opened these virtues. When we remove all the roadblocks within our psychic structures, we can access all the higher virtues. Integration opens the door to more options, so we are not confined to our default personality type’s default settings.
““Your soul path is revealed when you open the virtues of the spirit. These are Gratitude, Love, Appreciation, Serenity, Joyfulness, Happiness, Thankfulness, Blissfulness, and Mindfulness. 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. No matter your primary personality type, there is a doorway through which we can reach these higher ideals. These doorways are not within our default personality type. Instead, we find integration at the personalty type at the point of integration. We must move beyond our default patterns of thought to integrate, and this isn’t easy.
Your Soul Path
This quest is the inner call, what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1). It is that inner voice urging us to explore the unknown. When we start on our quest, we must realize that growth is not always linear. We digress and progress, but we will succeed if we keep on our path.
Sometimes growth comes in great leaps. However, most of the time, change is incremental. These are small, sometimes imperceptible steps. So, it’s vital to keep a spiritual journal. Using a journal will help us see our growth. This simple tool allows us to spot patterns that may be holding us back.
The virtues of the spirit are not goals. They are the higher values possible for each of the nine basic personality types. Each type has its path and its own set of challenges. Presence is the common element that will help all personality types move toward integration. Presence is what enables the real you to show up. To do serious inner work, we must be present.
You enter your soul path when you walk your path. The dominant cultural narrative is against this. In particular, Western organized religion does not want you to do this. They want to keep you as a paying customer. If you find your way, you threaten their cash flow.
What Exactly are the Virtues of the Spirit?
Below is a simple way to describe these virtues:
Appreciation is a virtue that enables a greater understanding of self. It helps us see and understand the qualities we possess. It is similar in effect to thankfulness but different in focus. This virtue enables us to accept our flaws as unique expressions.
Blissfulness is a virtue of the spirit we equate with transcendent silence. It is a state of awareness we associate with the absence of internal dialogue. Bliss is pure awareness without the roadblock of the Ego. It is a place of healing, which facilitates the flow of energy.
Gratitude is a virtue of perspective. It helps us to see and appreciate value. It allows us to see our situation in a way that shows us the lesson we would otherwise miss.
Happiness is a state of well-being. It is living with a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction. This virtue results from living with a sense of playful purpose.
Mindfulness allows the “virtues of the spirit” to direct the mind’s activities. It is observation without judgment. It combines thought and action and a positive purpose.
Serenity is the inner peace and balance state, a quiet place amidst the activity. It is the quality that helps us balance the mind’s intuitive and analytical aspects.
Thankfulness is an awareness of the fragile nature of life on this planet. This virtue helps us to overcome our existential fears.
The Enneagram and the Virtues of the Spirit
Each personality type has several default components. This system uses a questionnaire to determine our default personality and instinctual types. Finding your default settings 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 while enhancing our inner observational ability.
Our personality’s essential elements are our default personality type plus the two types at the integration and disintegration points. The first doorway to the “virtues of the spirit” is the point in the direction of integration.
We should not discount the point of disintegration. The “point of disintegration” is a second doorway to the spirit’s virtues. We can gain entrance to this higher value once we fully open the door in the direction of integration. 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 “type one” integrates by moving to “type seven,” and type one’s direction of disintegration is toward type four.
Personality as a Doorways
The movement between integration and disintegration 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 personality type, Serenity is the “virtue of the spirit” that the most readily available. The Reformer, type one, has a passion for order. Because the world is not orderly but sometimes chaotic, serenity grounds this type. It enables the “type one” to move more freely toward “type seven.” They learn to embrace Appreciation for what they are, what they have, and 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 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. It’s is the discovery that joy exists beyond and despite 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, so feeling like they are a part of the world is the key to Thankfulness. Finding the calm sea of emotion and life enables movement to the Serenity of type one. At the same time, they gain 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. It 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, and it is the first doorway for the loyalist. The anchor of Happiness awaits the loyalist at type nine. It 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 its 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 personality types more naturally than any other personality type. Happiness is the anchor and hardest door for this type to open. Once the first door is open, they can find Joyfulness at point three. Blissfulness is often a surprising revelation for all types, but point six is the perfect complement to balance this type.
All nine types are labels to describe common traits of personality. The triads above are the starting place. We have access to all nine personality traits and so too all nine virtues of the spirit. Personality and instinct are 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 learning to fine-tune an instrument of experience as we awaken and undertake the journey of spiritual exploration.
The “virtues of the spirit” help us conquer our failings and balance our lives. In this way, we do not need to dominate others; it is 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 is what fuels our journey. You do this as you create a path of your own. Mythologies are signposts that show us that we can do it. They point the way, but we all have different lives. We must find our way.
Your soul path is unique. Don’t get distracted or sidetracked by religious dogma. Above all, regularly connect with the source of being. Learn about and use the ancient spiritual technologies of spiritual exploration to forge your path. Namaste. “Blessed Be.”
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia