Distinguishing between Ni and spiritual experience | INFJ Forum

Distinguishing between Ni and spiritual experience


Community Member
Mar 21, 2009
Where do we draw the fine line between the two?

Introverted intuition is a MBTI cognitive process and so pertains to personality. However, since there is no definitive measure of this function, it is difficult to limit its resultant experiences to the mind and define where personality ('of this world') ends and spiritual experience (commonly said to be 'not of this world') begins.

Of course, today, there is increasing evidence of common ground between science and religion, or in this case psychology and spirituality. Therefore, there is likely no fine line at all between the two, but an area where they dissolve into one another.

I'm focusing this topic on Ni out of all the functions since from what i've read so far, Ni seems to readily involve spirituality in much of its description. According to the book, Soul Types,

In unity, the 16 types create a spirituality that honors:

-The gifts of pragmaticism (Sensing)
-The gifts of imagination (Intuition)
-The gifts of reason (Thinking)
-The gifts of emotions (Feeling)

In short, a spirituality that leads to wholeness. (p. 4)

This is just one example in that book which aims to express that all the functions are pathways toward spirituality.

Then why is Ni thought to be so intrinsically linked to spiritual experience or why is spirituality more emphasized in the descriptions of types with dominant Ni?
Of course, today, there is increasing evidence of common ground between science and religion, or in this case psychology and spirituality.
What evidence?
As I understand it, Intuition (I don't know how its introversion would affect it, so I'm ignoring that) is the process that leads us to understand something based upon observation, without immediately recognizing what led us to that understanding (we see a pattern and tend to ignore the individual elements). However, upon reflection we can find the things and observations that led us to that understanding, or we can deduce that there was something there that led us to our conclusion. With a spiritual experience, the evidence can't be found (or at least, we had no access to it at the time). We simply understand something. Intuition is looking at someone you've never met before in your life and know nothing about and knowing how they're feeling, spiritual knowledge is knowing why (of course, this wouldn't be a spiritual knowledge if they're shouting about it.
What evidence?

i'm sorry, i should have written religious experience instead of religion.

this may be a topic of doubt for many people, however it is not my own opinion but a restatement derived from what i've read or researched. that's why i chose the word evidence as it is usually expressed that way from the sources.

in The Spiritual Brain by Beauregard & O'Leary, it mentions

Nonmaterialist neuroscience is not compelled to reject, deny, explain away, or treat as problems all evidence that defies materialism.
That is promising because current research is turning up a growing body of such evidence. Three examples are the psi effect, near death experiences (NDEs), and the placebo effect.
The psi effect, as seen in such phenomena as extrasensory perception and psychokinesis, is a low-level effect, to be sure, but efforts to disconfirm it have failed.

it goes on to describe the other two on and off onto the next page so i won't type all that out.

i haven't read too much into those particular examples, so i cannot discuss these in depth. the idea peaks my curiosity, so i wanted to see what you all thought.

Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science & The Biology of Belief by Andy Newberg, is another book that is along the same lines. it mainly describes the neurology behind religious experiences (e.g. satori).