Me, Jung, and Patanjali on personalities

In my working life I was once unfortunate enough to have been given a personality test, the Myers Briggs test. It used to be quite fashionable I think. I came out as INTJ which is apparently a pretty rare personality type (nothing in it about smugness — but I feel weirdly proud to be such a rare bird!).

Wikipedia defines INTJ like this:

I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INTJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).

N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INTJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.

T – Thinking preferred to feeling: INTJs tend to value objective criteria above personal preference or sentiment. When making decisions they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations.

J – Judgment preferred to perception: INTJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability, which to perceptive types may seem limiting.

I can’t evaluate the MB test or the supposed Jungian archetypes that underlie it by any means other than how I think this stacks up as a description of me.

And I have to say it’s spookily accurate.

So this is me. Is me? Was me? No, it has to be present tense, we don’t just change our underlying personalities, right? Isn’t that why they’re called archetypes? They exist from the beginning as something fundamental about ourselves.

And yet while I recognise this as a pretty good description of myself, it sounds almost like the opposite of what yoga teaches. The introversion bit sounds OK, but look at all that thinking, judging, controlling, analysing! No wonder yoga so often makes me feel like Alice in Yoga Wonderland. So much about it seems against my nature. You know that thing they say in coaching and development circles about learning happening outside your comfort zone? Well I’m usually so far out of my comfort zone no wonder I’m learning so much.

If I were to consult my Patanjali (but right now I’m too tired to do that after last night’s travelling escapades) I think his idea is about unveiling your true self by removing all the layers that your habits, culture, upbringing etc lay over it.

No wonder Jung wasn’t a big fan then.

All too much for my tired brain. But something’s a-happening through my yoga. I feel the same yet so different.

Clearly still analytical though! 🙂

Goodnight all!

One thought on “Me, Jung, and Patanjali on personalities

Add yours

  1. Same yet different. Me too!

    It’s like cleaning the mirror and just seeing myself, good, bad and ugly. Increasingly, I find that a lot of my thought patterns are not really what I think but a play of the gunas and doshas. All I can do is be aware and use the tools to gently make small changes until it becomes second nature. I still fall but the voice inside is less harsh. One of Guruji’s phrases “compassionate truth” sums it up perfectly.


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