Meditation is being introduced to people throughout the world more and more of late, for everything from total enlightenment to relieving daily stress. Meditation has been around in many forms throughout human history and has been a staple for many centuries in the Eastern world. However, recent media attention and research around finding inner peace, and health benefits, through meditation have caused an upsurge in those who practice in the Western world as well.
In our survey, the question was not about regular practice, instead specifically asking respondents to state whether “You have tried meditation in the past” or not. Rather than asking about sticking with a meditation practice, it simply addresses whether the responder had explored it, speaking to a willingness to try rather than to a commitment.
The widest gap was between the people with the Intuitive and Observant traits (64.52% vs. 49.67%), with a lesser difference between people with the Feeling and Thinking traits (60.82% vs. 54.63%). The prominence of Intuitive and Feeling traits means that Diplomat personality types are more likely to be interested in meditation than others.
This makes sense in that Observant types are practical, and may see something like meditation as a “fuzzy” activity that lacks a real purpose. How do we account for the almost 50 percent of Observant types who have tried meditation then?
It’s hard to pick up a magazine without finding some new expert touting the benefits of meditation inside its covers. Perhaps the continuing and well-publicized research showing the physical and mental benefits of such practices gives it an air of respectability for those who embrace practicality.
Type strategies also seem to influence willingness to meditate, to some extent – types falling under Social Engagement strategy (Extraverted and Turbulent personalities) were most likely to have tried meditation (60.98%), while Confident Individualists (Introverted and Assertive types) had the lowest percentage, 55.46%. However, type roles showed more significant differences in this case, as evidenced by the simple chart below.
Analysts fell closely behind Diplomats, with 60.85% of them agreeing with the statement. We distinguish both Diplomats and Analysts by their Intuitive trait, and this speaks again to being open to new ideas. Statistically, ENTJs (“Commanders”) would fit in with the Diplomats in this poll, with 65.88% of respondents stating they have tried meditation in the past. INTPs (“Logicians”) had the lowest score in the Analyst group, with 58.43%.
Analysts are likely to take a more intellectual and scientific view of meditation. They are more likely to look at the research and to allow the positive outcomes found there to inform whether they try meditation or not. A higher percentage of Feeling types than Thinking types may have endorsed the statement, but the decisive influence was the Intuitive trait and the openness that comes with it.
Diplomats, with their Intuitive and Feeling traits, were the most likely group to have tried meditation, with 66.25% of them signing on to the statement. The combination of these two traits contributes to Diplomats’ openness to novel ideas and invests them with an interest in spiritual things and human potential. These qualities may attract them to less conventional methods of dealing with stress and life than those in other groups. In this group, results were relatively consistent, with the biggest gap being between Assertive ENFJs (“Protagonists”) and Assertive INFJs (“Advocates”) – the percentages of respondents who have tried meditation were 68.38% and 64.35% respectively.
Meditation is often about mindfulness and noticing one’s thoughts. This too may be attractive to Diplomats because of their more cerebral approach to the world. Others often describe them as “living in their heads” and meditation typically invites one to notice what is going on there.
While Sentinels fall about 16% behind Diplomats, 50.32% still state they have tried meditation. There may be many reasons that so many of them say they have tried it. For some, it may be a part of a religious or cultural tradition – we know that Sentinels act as guardians of such things. They also respect trustworthy sources and good causes, and may be aware of the many expert suggestions that meditation is good for their health.
Yet Sentinels fall statistically behind Diplomats and Analysts here, because while some cultural traditions might encourage trying meditation, others might view it as a fringe activity. Influenced by their reluctance to try new things or to do things differently than they are used to, Sentinels may be dissuaded from trying to begin with.
In this role group, Assertive ISTJs (“Logisticians”) were the least interested in meditation (45.78%) and Assertive ESFJs (“Consuls”) had the highest percentage, at 53.71%.
Perhaps this is the most counter-intuitive result. We know Explorers, with their Observant and Prospecting traits, as individuals who like to seek out new experiences. Some might see trying meditation as just that. And yet, in our poll, we find Explorers the least likely group to have done so, with 48.46% of them supporting the statement.
The likely reason for this is that the Observant and Prospecting traits also give Explorers a bias toward action – but “non-action” is the hallmark of many meditative practices. Some Explorers may feel that sitting and following one’s thoughts is a low-action solution to whatever problems meditation might solve. While their Prospecting trait encourages Explorers to seek novelty, their practical, action-based orientation may overshadow that impulse when it comes to meditation.
Among Explorers, Assertive ISTPs (“Virtuosos”) had the lowest score, 41.77% – however, interestingly, it climbed up to 47.59% for Turbulent ISTPs. Turbulent ESFPs (“Entertainers”) were the type most interested in meditation, with 53.66% of respondents stating they have tried it in the past.
At least half of respondents in each group stated they have tried meditation. What’s your experience? Do you find that your reaction to trying meditation conforms to your overall approach to life or personality or is it outside those lines? What’s your opinion on trying meditation in regard to what you’ve been discovering about your personality? Please leave comments. We’d love to hear from you.