Last week, I challenged us to activate our spiritual DNA. The question, however, is how does one do that. While there are some questions we can each meditate on and explore, the journey to activate our spiritual DNA is different for each of us. This is not a one size fits all kind of journey. One of the books I have been reading is called Soul Types by Robert Norton and Richard Southern. They suggest there are four soul types, which are the ways in which we live out our identity, values, purpose, and vision. All four types reside within each of us as possibilities, but most of us choose one or two to focus on more directly. Each one is centered on something different: heart, mind, soul, and strength. Which ones strike a chord for your sense of personal identity, values, purpose, and vision?
One soultype is heart-centered spirituality. Those who are heart centered practice gratitude. Heart centered spirituality tends to appeal to people who see life as something to be gratefully experienced and embraced in the here and now. Being in touch with the heart, feelings, and emotions is important to those who are heart centered, not just to understand the heart, feelings, and emotions cognitively but to use them as a way to make one’s life more sacred, more joyful, and more filled with gratitude. Personal renewal or transformation is central on this path. There is a hunger for a sense of the Sacred Source, the Divine, to live in one’s heart. Heart-centered types grow spiritually by incorporating gratitude into all aspects of their lives, the good, and the difficult. They are often very adept at turning negatives into positives. (Soultypes, 67 and 75)
Another soultype is soul-centered spirituality. Those who are soul centered tend to be very contemplative. They believe the purpose of life is to achieve union with the sacred and prefer to listen for the sound or experience of Ultimate Oneness, known by many names. For those who are soul-centered, the real world is the interior world. You might think of them as intuitive, introspective, and contemplative. Often those following the soul-centered spiritual path see themselves on a mystical journey into a sense of Oneness with All, the holy, and they value opportunities to pause on the journey for quiet renewal of the spirit. They appreciate times of retreat and daily meditation. Their goal is to empty the mind of the concerns and chatter of the outer world and to be in the presence of the Sacred Source. (Soultypes, p. 79) To achieve this presence with the Sacred they include any number of practices in their spiritual discipline including meditation, centering prayer, sacred contemplative reading, sacred sound, and sacred movement.
There are also those who have more of a mind-centered spirituality. The mind centered are focused on the practice of awareness and the combining of the intellectual and the spiritual. Those who are mind-centered see life as an unsolved puzzle, and prefer intellectual exploration and orderly thought. Discovery based on knowledge is significant to those on this spiritual search, so words, mental constructs, and complex ideas provide spiritual and philosophical nourishment. Those who are mind-centered expect intellectual substance from a spiritual community. Listening to others and having others listen to them is important them. The mind-centered are interested in the meaning and intent of sacred and philosophical and scientific writings and literature, they are likely to be attracted to an in-depth study and discussion of various topics. (Soultypes, 100) Mind-centered spirituality invites one to see the wonders of existence and the Creative Source all about without preconceptions. This path invites us to be more open to the potential for a shift in the way we view the world and not to remain locked in our present mode of perceiving life and situations. Those who are mind centered recognize all paradigms are in truth illusions and that clarity of vision requires the courage to drop such illusions. There is a willingness to look at the world in completely new ways.
The fourth soul type are those who embrace a strength-centered spirituality. Those who are strength centered embody and embrace an active commitment. They see their life purpose as an opportunity to create a better society, to transform this world so that all have access to basic human rights. For those who are strength centered, spiritual growth means being able to serve others, and it begins with a personal and clear commitment. Serving others may take the form of support, advocacy, or direct action in relation to a moral or ethical issue, or it may be manifested through helping others in compassionate service. Formal belief systems are less important than the vision of a transformed world.
Once we have a sense of what soul type(s) we are, then we may find it easier to understand how we operate in the world, how we activate our spiritual DNA, and how we live our life’s purpose. As we evolve in our understanding of who we authentically are we gain an understanding and wisdom that comes from within. The external does not determines who you are, what your character is, what your attitude is, or the circumstances of your life. As we gain more understanding of our own approach to spirituality, we are better able to decode and activate our spiritual DNA. We come to realize that all the spiritual teachers and teachings have no purpose other then to help us become aware of our own consciousness and encourage us to evolve in our own journey.