Saturday, September 22, 2012


Perhaps the most practical way to address this topic of spirituality with respect to its development in students is to talk in terms of behavior and to ask the question: If students were more spiritually developed and mature, how would they behave differently from those less well developed?  Then, having determined the chief behavioral characteristics, consider how best to facilitate their development while at Rollins.

Consider spirituality then as a state of consciousness that needs to be cultivated, but that is largely inhibited by the mundane culture of the secular world: materialistic, rushed, scattered and self-centered— rather than balanced like clay on a potter’s wheel: a traditional image of dynamic tranquility, of serenity and poise in the midst of a whirling world.

In these terms, some would say that spiritual persons have learned how to center themselves, how to come back “home” to the core of their personhood or soul, to their essential Self. 

Instead of being torn, scattered, fragmented, frazzled and bewildered by the blows and buffets of mundane mindlessness, they learn to become mindful and peaceful without resorting to pills and palliatives.

Calm down.  Get centered.  Breathe deeply and slowly.  Seek the Bliss-point within.  Glow.  Radiate.  Fiat lux.

Then go back into the bustle better able to cope, more serene and stable, animated by good will and generosity because your own essential needs have been cared for, your energies recharged.

What else can facilitate such centering and thus expand one’s repertoire of spiritual practices?  Music.  Helping others.  Tending a garden or caring for pets.  Studying various spiritual methodologies, perhaps including entheogens.

The point of aiming to enhance students’ spiritual consciousness is to elevate their full-functioning as human beings to the further reaches of human possibility—beyond body and mind and toward soul.

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Of the sixteen Myers-Briggs personality types, I would infer that the INFJ personality is the most spiritually inclined: Introspective (able to turn inward and reflect), Intuitive (alert to subtle signals beneath the sensory range), Feeling (emotionally attuned) and Judging (prioritizing according to a scheme of values).

Although this Jungian typology indicates a person’s current orientation toward one of sixteen personality-type categories, Jung supposed that with growing maturity and wisdom, one would ideally become increasingly able to function across all four ranges: from Introverted to Extroverted, Intuitive to Sensing, Thinking to Feeling, Perceiving to Judging.

Therefore, while different areas of Rollins’ curriculum and co-curriculum support the twelve other orientations, any college programs addressing students’ spiritual development should lead them to develop and enhance their Introspection, Intuition, Feeling and Judgment.

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How Spiritually Advanced Are You?

In order to determine the degree of your spirituality, answer the following questions with regard to your own attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.  Each question points to one or another personal characteristic indicative of spiritual orientation and development.

Extraordinary Spirituality
  1. Do you converse with God?
  2. Do you converse with angels or spirits?
  3. Do you feel guided by spiritual nudges or inklings?
  4. Are you sometimes mysteriously comforted and calmed by what seems to be an invisible but palpable presence?
  5. Do you suffer from hallucinations?
  6. Do you believe that “things happen for a reason”?
  7. Have you experienced clear instances of synchronicity?

Ordinary Spirituality
  1. Do you sometimes have warm and tender feelings for others, not only human beings?
  2. Are you normally attentive, kindly and generous toward others, concerned about their interests and well-being, even strangers?
  3. Do you at times feel exuberant, uplifted, joyful or “spirited,” for unselfish reasons, as when others succeed or thrive?
  4. Are you sensitive to beauty in nature and in art and emotionally exalted by it?
  5. Does the ancient triad—Truth, Beauty and Goodness—appeal to you as provocative ideals worth pursuing?