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Enneagram of Avoidances

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Enneagram of Avoidances?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Enneagram of Avoidances

Enneagram of Avoidances



General Features

The avoidances refer to nine behavioral manifestations that each of the nine points prefers to avoid for fear of exposing vulnerability and of undermining the ego ideal. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 17)

We learn these avoidance strategies in early childhood as we interact with the important people in our environment. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 36)

The avoidance for each fixation refers to the deficient way the person experiences the loss of connection with essence.  (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 53)

Specific Features

Point 1. Ones tend to feel a strong need to be right. As the brilliant presence we don’t need to be right; we can be wrong and when we are, we are willing to listen and learn. However, we are rightness itself, the rightness of true Being. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 76)

Point 2. Frequently Twos experience this deficiency as neediness, as the Enneagram of avoidances indicates. There is the distinct sense of neediness for loving connection that can appear as an emptiness in the lower part of the chest, for the center of merging essence is at the left side of the sternum. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 65)

Point 3. The Enneagram of avoidances describes the avoidance of type Three as failure or hopelessness. This is reminiscent of the specific difficulty that is part of the core of this fixation. Valuing this emptiness and welcoming it as the truth helps us free ourselves from the way we pretend. We become open to the arising of the true person that we are. We are perhaps ready and mature enough to become the pearl beyond price. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 93)

Point 4. If we can recognize our usual sense of identity and see its constructed mental nature, it will bring up, as usual, our disconnection from our essential identity. We usually do not know what we are disconnected from; we simply feel not real, fake, false. If we can sense into the disconnection more completely, we will feel lost, not knowing who or what we are, or disoriented, not knowing how to act in our lives. That is why the Enneagram of avoidances identifies despair and feeling lost as the things that Fours most try to avoid. If we have skilled support or are able to tolerate such states and stay with them as part of our ongoing inquiry and practice, we might begin to feel the emptiness that signifies the absence or lack of essential identity. It is a feeling of being empty and without substance, coupled with a sense of not knowing what our real identity is. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 105)

Point 5. Fives tend to avoid “emptiness,” according to the Enneagram of avoidances. But emptiness will arise as we see the mental knowledge we have accumulated as abstract and lifeless, which is what knowledge is when acquired without being in touch with one’s feelings, as a product of a schizoid defense. Also, by seeing that our clarity is only clarity of thinking, not a state of clarity, we can be prepared for this essential vehicle, which has the clarity of presence. In this state of clarity, the medium of presence is transparent and clear. Essential intellect is an embodiment of this clarity but utilizes all qualities as forms of clarity. Recognizing the absence or ignorance of this capacity can open us up to a barren emptiness, a lack that when allowed brings a new possibility. This is the diamond guidance arising with its exquisite presence and subtle lights of spiritual illumination. It is both a presence and an instrument of understanding at all levels of being. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 47)

Point 6. Deviance and delinquency, the traits used to describe the Six in the Enneagram of avoidances, do not seem to clearly reflect the truth of this disconnection. The avoidance for each fixation refers to the deficient way the person experiences the loss of connection with essence. Deviance and delinquency can be due to a disconnection from will, but I have not personally observed them much in Six types. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 53)

Point 7. We need to feel what is behind these traits and/or what is happening in our consciousness when we engage in such behaviors, thoughts, or desires. Looking at the feelings and the inner states that the Seven’s traits and behaviors defend against, we may come upon the underlying emptiness, the hungry barrenness devoid of pleasure, sweetness, and light. The Enneagram of avoidances identifies “pain” as the main avoidance of the Seven. The only way to deeper truth is to confront this emptiness that makes us feel depressed and heavy, unhappy and sad. Becoming friends with our sadness and our wounds helps lead us to this emptiness, which is the doorway to the true delight of being. We can use our curiosity in an earnest way to delve deeply into our need and our avoidance of pain in order to find out what these deep feelings are about. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 119)

Point 8. Weakness is the trait of type Eight mentioned in the Enneagram of avoidances, and it implies the disconnection from the presence of strength, which means there are obstacles in its way. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. p35)

Point 9. The Enneagram of avoidances succinctly identifies that what they avoid most is “conflict.” Other ways they may tap into the absence of the quality are to feel the inner deficiency as a feeling of being disconnected from the ground of Being or of not ever being held adequately or as the lack of the feeling of selfless generosity. It can feel like a painful absence of loving holding, which is usually an aching, even scary, emotional and existential state. (Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 34)


Keys to the Enneagram, pg. 164, Others Cited

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