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Enneagram and the Diamond Approach

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Enneagram and the Diamond Approach?

"The Enneagram's deeper function is to point the way to who we are beyond the level of the personality, a dimension of ourselves that is infinitely more profound, more interesting, more rewarding, and more real."

— Sandra Maitri - The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram

The Enneagram is a personality typology system that describes nine interconnected personality types, also called ennea-types. Each personality type has a distinct set of character traits and patterns that describe its fundamental view of reality, beliefs about oneself, thought processes, emotional patterns, and behaviors.  

By studying each of the nine personality types associated with the points on the Enneagram symbol, we gain deep insights into our own personality structure, and that of others, which can lead to deeper freedom, connection, and recognition of our spiritual nature. 

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Enneagram and the Diamond Approach

A Structure Which Facilitates the Revelation of Truth About Being and About Human Beings

As our work, the Diamond Approach, developed, we observed that one’s self-understanding can be simply and systematically organized with the help of the Enneagram. This enabled us to understand some of the Enneagrams in a new and sometimes deeper way, and also led to the formulation of new Enneagrams. Our understanding of the Enneagram, then, is the product of experiential integration of the commonly understood body of knowledgeof the Enneagram, learned primarily from Naranjo, along with our own discoveries. The transmitted view is that the Enneagram knowledge is an objective knowledge of reality. We find this to be true. We understand the objectivity of the Enneagram to mean, among other things, that it can be perceived directly by anyone with the necessary capacity, who inquires effectively into the nature of reality. And since it is a true model of reality, one cannot exhaust its knowledge. Knowledge of reality is both unlimited and inexhaustible: Each teaching has a specific way of describing reality and none of these ways exhausts all possible experience. The Enneagram is a structure which facilitates the revelation of truth about Being and about human beings as part of this Being. We view the present book as a new contribution to the knowledge of the Enneagram.

Arising of the Emotional and Behavioral Patterns of the Enneatypes

The loss of the sense of holding will lead to the loss of contact with Living Daylight, and this will result in a sense of deficiency particular to each ennea-type. The absence of holding is experienced in a certain way that is determined by the particular Holy Idea that is lost, and it is then experienced as a specific painful, deficient, and difficult state we call the specific difficulty for that ennea-type. The specific delusion, the distorted view of reality resulting from the loss of the Holy Idea particular to each ennea-type, shapes the specific sense of deficiency. That sense of deficiency is the embodiment, as it were, of that conceptual formulation. The delusion also shapes how each ennea-type reacts to its specific difficulty. We have seen how the absence of holding leads to a lack of trust, which in turn causes the soul to react rather than to continue its spontaneous unfoldment, and each ennea-type has a particular way of responding to its deeply painful sense of deficiency. We call this the specific reaction of each ennea-type. Out of the interaction of the specific difficulty and the way it is responded to, which is the specific reaction, the core of each ennea-type is formed. Out of that core arise all of the emotional and behavioral patterns associated with that type.

Facets of Unity, pg. 72

Impact of Losing Basic Trust

The inadequacy of the early holding environment leads not only to the loss of contact with Being, as reflected in the loss of a particular Holy Idea, but also to the loss of basic trust, which is an innate, unquestioned, and preverbal confidence in reality. This loss leads to specific distrustful reactions determined not only by the inadequacy of the holding environment, but by the particular delusion that results from the loss of the particular Holy Idea. The specific delusion, the specific reaction of distrust, and the particular way in which the self experiences the inadequacy of the holding environment (the specific difficulty, which is again qualitatively determined by the particular delusion), form the elements of each fixation’s particular core. These three elements develop simultaneously as a consequence of the loss of Being, which results, at least partially, from the inadequacy of the early holding environment.

Facets of Unity, pg. 14

Mapping Certain Levels of Reality

We use the Enneagram as a tool and a map at specific junctures in our work of spiritual unfoldment. Initially, we use it as a psychological map that aids self-observation and study. Students also work with our theory of holes (see Essence, Almaas, 1986), which describes the loss of Essence and the consequent development of the personality. Then the work of uncovering the essential aspects proceeds. The theories of depth psychology on object relations, narcissism, and the like, constitute a major portion of the tools used to access the various essential dimensions. The Enneagram is then used at particular points as a map of certain levels of reality, in order to facilitate spiritual transformation. For example, work on the Passions and Virtues helps students in the process of purification of the soul. The Enneagram of Holy Ideas is most useful at the juncture between personal and cosmic realization of Being, as previously mentioned. As with other concepts from various schools, our approach utilizes the Enneagram for the purpose of direct, experiential understanding. It is not used only for psychological observations and typology, nor only for guiding various spiritual practices, but specifically for guiding and supporting open inquiry into one’s experience.

Facets of Unity, pg. 16

Nine Delusions Arising from the Loss of the Nine Holy Ideas

The nine delusions arising from the loss of the nine Holy Ideas are the seeds around which the cores of the nine ennea-types develop, and while each is most dominant for the ego structures of that type, the nine are present in all ego structures. The delusions, then, form the nine principles inherent in all ego structures and lives informed by ego. We have seen how the loss of Holy Truth leads to the delusion of duality, and how out of this loss of true reality—this state of “the fall”—arises the painful sense of badness, guilt, and original sin. Self-blame ensues for not being divine, which becomes self-punishment and the attempt to avenge oneself. This constellation forms the core, the major psychological constellation related to this point of the Enneagram, out of which the whole ennea-type develops.

Facets of Unity, pg. 95

Nine Holy Ideas Represent One Reality

While it is useful to know and to have explored one’s ennea-type, this is not the basic orientation of this study. Our orientation is that the nine Holy Ideas are representations of one reality, each highlighting a different facet of its direct perception. The nine delusions are principles inherent in all egoic structures; they underlie the totality of egoic existence. Understanding the delusions inherent in one’s experience is useful not only to penetrate and understand one’s own fixation, but more importantly, it is useful for understanding the principles that form the foundation of egoic experience. Regardless of one’s particular ennea-type, it is important to observe all the nine cores in one’s experience, and to penetrate experientially into all nine delusions which keep one’s egoic experience going. In our experience, this is more important than recognizing one’s particular delusion, because the deeper we penetrate into what determines our experience, the more the universal principles and the barriers to realizing them are recognized in their entirety. At that point, one’s particular ennea-type becomes less significant.

Facets of Unity, pg. 16

The Core Psychological Constellation Exemplified with Point Eight

The core constellation is actually one unified process with three facets: 1) As we saw in Part One, the loss of an Idea is the same process as the loss of a sense of holding in the environment and the loss of basic trust. So the loss of Holy Truth leads to the specific delusion of duality. 2) Loss or inadequacy of the holding environment results in the painful egoic state that we call the specific difficulty. Here, the loss of holding, filtered through the delusion of duality, results in the specific difficulty of a sense of badness, guilt, and fundamental sinfulness. 3) The loss of basic trust, filtered through the delusion, results in what we call the specific reaction of each point, and just as the loss of a sense of holding results in the loss of basic trust, the specific reaction is an attempt to deal with the specific difficulty. Here, it is the reaction of self-blame, which, as we have seen, is based upon the sense of duality and opposition, and which ultimately blossoms into the attempt to get revenge that is characteristic of ennea-type Eight.

Facets of Unity, pg. 96

The Perspective of the Holy Ideas

As we have noted, the present work expands on the understanding of the Holy Ideas as it has unfolded in the context of the development of the Diamond Approach. At the same time, the perspective of the Holy Ideas actually provides a context for understanding some of the underlying basis for the method of inner work that constitutes the Diamond Approach. The Diamond Approach developed in a context that included the understanding of the Enneagram as a map of reality and a sacred psychology.

Facets of Unity, pg. 10

The Perspective of Unity

As will become clear in the course of this volume, the method of the Diamond Approach is based from the outset on the perspective of unity, as revealed by the Holy Ideas. At the same time, the student is not expected at the beginning to understand or appreciate this view; on the contrary, students begin by working with the actual, limited egoic identifications they find themselves in. Truthfulness about, and openness to, the limitations of the deluded ego state are central to the method. Thus, for example, a central attitude encouraged in the student’s exploration into her character is the attitude of allowing, that is, attempting to take a nonjudgmental, noncontrolling position with respect to whatever arises in her inner experience.

Facets of Unity, pg. 12

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