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Getting beyond appearances with Intuition

Isabel Myers believes that just because we get good use out of some elements of our personalities doesn’t mean we can’t get use out of all the elements. If accessing Intuition helps Intuitive Introverts fend off loneliness but Intuition hasn’t been put to much use by Sensing Extraverts, it doesn’t mean they can’t learn to use it. Isabel says so in her book Gifts Differing. Sensing Extraverts have Intuition and can use it to put an end to sadness living alone. Their personality type doesn’t take much interest in people’s internals and it’s time it did.

Sensing Extraverts are gifted with externals. They look outward rather than within to establish what’s real for them, to find Worth and affirm it, and to meet their needs. Sensing types identify with the body rather than with mind which is not matter. They rely on their bodies’ senses to tell them what’s real when they look outward. They do not rely on Intuition. This deprives them of attributes of mind – the inner guidance of Logic, insight, and wisdom – we all need to see beyond appearances. To get at the Truth and Meaning of things that lie behind the distractions and facades imposed on us by our bodies and their physical environment.

Sensing Extraverts get by without concerning themselves with internals, but that changes when they age and social connections dry up. Their internals tell them that this is so. Every time they feel the anguish of loneliness and abandonment, it’s their internals reminding them that they have work to do: to let go of attachments to externals which are only appearances. To get serious about attachments to what aren’t appearances: their real Self, their real Worth, their real companions. Their inner Guide who loves them, wants them to be happy, and will lead them there if they let her know that’s what they truly want of their own Free Will.

"Happiness is an inside job"

If they truly want companionship that will end the anguish of loneliness then they should know that what they truly want is to connect with their Self. With their inner Guide who’s there for them if they choose to connect with her through their own Intuition. In their youth, they may have suspected that “happiness is an inside job.” They may have written it, recited it, without reflecting on it. What it means is when other people can no longer provide companionship, there’s an alternative. An even better source of companionship than other people that Intuitive Introverts are blessed with: the Truth that we are never alone. That no one, including Sensing Extraverts, need ever be alone.

I’ve spoken in the past of the inner Guide that Christianity refers to as the Holy Spirit. I’ve suggested that Sensing Extraverts reach out to their inner Guide – to connect with their Self so they don’t have to be so dependent on others – by putting their thoughts and feelings of the moment into words. By bringing them to the surface and working with them. Teasing implications and meaning out of them by letting their minds reflect on them. Realizing that every thought, every feeling, is led forward by their implications to a deeper understanding of where they’re coming from and what they mean. To the message of Love and Hope they have for us when we delve into them and allow them to speak to us.

Experiencing emotions like grief and abandonment without inquiring into them is missing opportunities. To find and articulate the purpose and meaning of Life. The purpose that Life has for each of us subjectively, individually. Inquiring into feelings means being with them, letting them speak to us of their own accord, unforced, through the spontaneity, the Free Will of our Intuition. Through the Memory that all of humanity shares.

Serving a cause worth living for and not being alone

Where our inner Guide is to be found is not in anything to do with “social.” With professional resumes that detail our service to groups and their agendas. With social connections and the broad sweep of history’s flawed ideologies. With the “broad sweep” of anything. It’s in the specific circumstances of our individual lives in the moment. Accompanied by our most intimate thoughts and feelings. These frame the context Logic needs to answer the questions that trouble us: Where are we and what are we doing here? What is our Purpose? Where is Meaning? How can we turn the pain and despair of loneliness into fulfillment instead of emptiness? Into a sense that we serve a cause worth living for and in doing so we are not alone?

The key to getting started is putting thoughts and feelings into words. Composing sentences that require thought, that open us up to what’s going on inside our minds where the questions are, where the pain is coming from. Letting them lead us forward through their implications to deeper understanding, deeper connections, until there is reciprocation. Until our minds open and become accessible to another Self hearing us, responding to us. Until our awareness is no longer limited to bodies taking up space in rooms but is instead liberated by Mind to explore an expanding universe of possibilities. Our other Self, our Real Self, is there because our Intuition is there. The Sensing Extravert’s Intuition is there.

I describe what Intuition is and what it does. We all have Intuition. Sensing Extraverts’ Intuition hasn’t been exercised much over the years not from negligence but simply because of their personality type. Isabel’s theory is well served by Intuition and it tells us that they can fix that.

Questions of purpose and meaning always begin with circumstances

When Sensing Extraverts write what’s on their minds what they will be bringing to awareness is their circumstances in the moment. They will be examining their lives in all their extraordinariness and banality down to the last detail, as if they were looking at them through a magnifying glass. If they wonder what they would have to say to their typewriters, their computers, this is my answer. Getting at purpose and meaning must begin with where we’re at. Because without context Logic has nothing to work with. The philosophy built on this premise has a name: it’s called “existentialism.”

When Alice B. Toklas asked Gertrude Stein on her deathbed, “What’s the answer?”, Gertrude is said to have answered, “What’s the question?” It’s taken as a joke but it’s right on. Questions of purpose and meaning always begin and end with circumstances. With circumstances that are experienced, i.e. lived. Subjectively not objectively: with personal hopes, fears, desires, ideals, passions, pleasures and hurts, vulnerability and wounds, perceptions and beliefs, rationality and craziness. A point I’ve tried to make in Origin and Meaning: the Logic of Everything (April 4).

It’s hard for Sensing Extraverts to be subjective rather than objective. Being Introspective, self-aware. They can change that by accessing their Introvert. Any Introvert can help.

Our circumstances are raw material for purpose and meaning and there’s plenty of it in every life. Getting a handle on where we want to be headed now begins with being intimate with our situation, the details of our circumstances. With the specifics of what our mind-Logic and our heart-feelings have to say about them. Every observation we put in writing will lead to another observation. We will be led by Logic and by value, what our minds’ reflections produce and by the feelings they evoke.

The dynamic of conversation with our Self

Our individual worlds may seem static at first. Not being used to this Sensing Extraverts may even feel resistance. But as our Intuition opens up, as reflections come of their own accord, there will be movement. Our worlds will expand. They will be less and less anchored to concrete physical reality and more and more attuned to conversation, a dynamic-reciprocal flow of thoughts that won’t let us rest until the points our inner Guide wants us to have are made. Until the gifts of insight that incubate with yearning are brought to life through Intuition.

If I were the inner Guide of a Sensing Extravert suffering with loneliness I would be encouraged. Because I would know that I’m loved. That my host wants to be close. Yearns to connect, to communicate, and be involved with me. Other people fill hearts with love, too. But they come and go, don’t they? They’re not always available. And even when they are they can make us think we’re better off alone.

Our inner Guide is our connection to our Real Self, our Real Parents, our Real Home. She’s always available. My inner Guide has expanded into a spiritual-personal family: spiritual, human, and animal friends inhabiting a Temenos of soaring moonlit clouds, lakes, mountains, forests and streams. Lighthouses and great trees all connecting me with Mind and Love. Aligning my thoughts with Logic that leads me purposefully, joyfully back Home.

Feeling better

Want to feel better? That’s what our inner Guide is all about. It’s her whole purpose. So if you’re a lonely Sensing Extravert get to work! Your Intuition is waiting. She’s waiting.

Not long ago, I asked a friend for a favor. It was a bit unusual and I knew it would require some thought, but not so unusual that it could upend a friendship. But it did, at least for a while, quite emphatically. The way my friend and I interpreted what happened was a study in contrasts. It was as if we lived in two separate realities, spoke different languages, and transacted business with different currencies, hers as worthless to me as mine was to her.

It was one of those things, a train wreck in a relationship we’re all familiar with. And yet it turned out to be very interesting. It revealed that my friend and I, who have been close over the years, are exact opposite personality types. I’m an INTJ and she’s an ESFP: INTJ for Introvert-Intuition-Thinking-Judgment, ESFP for Extravert-Sensing-Feeling-Perception. These are from Isabel Briggs Myers’ Gifts Differing, not as “scientific” as other theories some might prefer, but my Intuition trusts her Intuition.

The holidays are all about one universal value: everything that makes us family. Forgiveness is one of those things, and let me be the first to admit: If you’re reading this it probably means you’re a big nuisance but you’ve been forgiven – many times. “I love you in spite of your many faults” my dad liked to joke, usually to a good laugh. But it’s no laughing matter, because real forgiveness is beyond reach. At least it is for me. Especially if the big nuisance happens to be my exact opposite personality type.

My instinct in this case was to bail for good. I was on my way out the door. Then I read Gifts Differing and discovered that Isabel’s theory doesn’t stop at showing us how opposites wreak havoc with relationships. It shows remarkably how opposites can be used to bring us closer together and, in the process, promote personal growth and self-awareness. What philosophy, what faith, couldn’t use an analytical tool like this to bring about peace and forgiveness!

It’s done by accessing the opposites of your weak personality traits – mind-Intuition, for example, if you’re a body-Sensing type, -- preferably in consultation with someone who’s your opposite. You “pool your resources,” and at the end you’re both more fully developed, better balanced personalities, more sympathetic, more adaptable to change, and better equipped to forgive. That's the theory and, so far, it's working for me.

Isabel’s theory is inspired, not least because the metaphysics of A Course in Miracles calls for its practical application to individual circumstances, and students of the Course intent on practicing forgiveness will find that it’s a big help. If my friend is reading this she might be incensed that I’m talking about us, but not if her Feeling has accessed Thinking, and Perception has accessed Judgment. You see, what this is all about is making everyone more like me. Proof that what I've learned from her is the joy of spontaneity and laughter. Pity the poor INTJ Scrooge who never learns it!

Wishing you the Joy of Life and laughter for the holidays and all through the New Year.