How should we measure spiritual progress and depth? What concepts and words do we have to describe qualities of spirit? The biblical tradition (as in Galatians 5:22) suggests that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Some may dispute this, I suppose, but on the whole most people would see these qualities as good.

But the problem as always comes with overuse – words losing their meaning. As they become clichéd the potential to experience G-d diminishes. Besides, G-d must be definition be much larger than 9 words.  So, let double that – here are 9 more, largely unsung virtues which I would hope will expand our vision of who G-d could be in and through us. 

1. CuriosityThe key to knowing and learning, and something we tend to loose as we settle into adult safety. 

2. Imagination and creativityI have felt for some time now that faith and imagination are converging into the same thing. Imagination expands, it generates, and it is key to anyone’s being a co-creator with G-d. 

3. GenerosityNot so much to do with giving, but with giving room, opening to those dissimilar to ourselves, and acknowledging that we need each other, and that no one POV has a monopoly. Think Bishop Tutu, Leonard Cohen. 

4. HumorNot just a trivial nice-to-have but a core element of healthy spirituality. 

5. ParadoxAppreciation for mystery, ambivalence is a key to understanding the spirit, whose ways are mysterious and who will never be defined by a single point of reference. 

6. SubversionThe active and ongoing deconstruction of that which inhibits the spirit, this takes the familiar and twists it forcing rethinking and reevaluation. 

7. PlayThe mode of being which is freed from goal-orientedness and often resulting in humor and happy accident.  To the musician, play is work. 

8. SustainabilityThis applies not only to economics – long(er) term planetary growth, justice – sharing of resources, but also to righteousness – in right relationship with all that is – a model of spirit which holds true in the short medium and long term. 

9. Enthusiasm / PassionThe Key to all creative Human endeavor. Nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm. The basis for love and compassion, which is a force combining will, awareness, truth, everything. 

So go forth, and be ye Curious.

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