TOPIC: Practice With Personality
Sufi Spiritual Practice begins with learning to understand and appreciate the Human
"Arc of Descent", in which each Human Being develops his one specific personality
from all possible Personalities:   Mentally, Emotionally, and Bodily.
There are multiple, overlapping perspectives used by Sufi Practice to orient us to this
process of embodying as a Human Being.
One such basic perspective is the traditional division of Human Personality and its
experience into three "Centers":  Bodily, Emotional, and Mental.  Practice with these
three Centers includes an understanding of how they inter-relate:   how the Mental
affects the Emotional, the Emotional affects the Bodily, and the reverse.
It also includes an understanding of how each Person typically favors one Center over
the others and how that distorts and limits objective experience.   It continues with
methods for broadening and balancing the Personality across all three Centers.
A further, and more sophisticated, perspective about Human Personality used by Sufi
Practice is that offered by the Enneagram:
The Enneagram is an understanding of Human Personality that, in its most fundamental
insight, identifies all Personalities as being one of nine basic Types.
Each Type is understood to have characteristic psychological features (life roles, activities,
fears, desires, virtues, vices, etc.).   Each Personality Type is at the same time also
understood to have, at a corresponding level of Presence, an underlying Latifa that
patterns those features disproportionately.
Resources for exploring the Enneagram are readily available elsewhere, so detailed
discussion of it is not offered here.
But in general, since each Personality Type has recognizable characteristics, it's possible to
readily identify each person's Type, which includes the features that characteristically limit
Life experience to that Type.
With this understanding, it's then possible, for example, for us to "work the Enneagram":
intentionally adopting roles and activities of the other eight Types.
Doing so provides us a familiarity and confidence in these other ways of psychological
experiencing, which in turn reduces our dependence on our characteristic Type and its
way of experiencing.
It simultaneously prepares us to experience the underlying Lataif -- at first indirectly and
eventually, directly -- that pattern the experience of not only our own Personality but that
of all Human Personalities . . .