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Enneatypes: Direct Approaches to Understanding

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Enneatypes: Direct Approaches to Understanding?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Enneatypes: Direct Approaches to Understanding

Point 1 - Brilliancy: Seeing that as Individual Souls We are Each an Offspring of Being, Our Spiritual Nature

A direct approach to brilliancy is to inquire into our ideas about the absence of perfection and rightness in our lives—why we always find wrongness and incorrectness and then get angry and resentful. We can look at the fact that we do not know perfection that is constant and incorruptible. This can lead to experiencing the disconnection from perfection and, in turn, to the deficient emptiness that opens the door to the true quality. On the other hand, a more effective inquiry can be to explore our relationship to intelligence and find out if we feel we have it or we lack it. If we feel we have it, we want to find out what that intelligence is. If we feel we lack it, we want to understand this lack. Most people have to work on their relationship with their father in this process, for something about brilliancy impels us to project this quality onto our father—not in all situations but in most. To the soul, our father tends to represent brilliancy, just as mother represents merging gold. (Although this is true for the majority of people, there are certainly exceptions.) Brilliancy turns out to be the real father, just as merging gold is the true mother. They are the essential parents, representing the fact that as individual souls we are each an offspring of Being, our spiritual nature. By integrating brilliancy—the essence of intelligence and the true perfection—we learn about our being in a significant way, and we know presence with more depth. Brilliancy is powerful for gaining synthesizing insights from many dimensions because it brings us a capacity for synthesis that is not available to the ordinary mind. And brilliancy also provides the specific key that can unravel the shell of the One type and help penetrate its deeper core.

Point 2 - Merging Love: Feeling the Loneliness, Emptiness and Impoverishment that Go with Disconnection is the Most Direct Way We Can Reconnect with the Merging Love

The best way for Twos to access the idealized aspect reflected in the ego ideal is to specifically investigate their disproportionate investment in relationships. This includes looking at their codependent position to reveal the inner dependency and need for a nourishing connection. Most of Twos’ traits point to this need for connection; their underlying dependency reflects the absence of connection. By becoming aware that they are lacking the connection they always seek—which can appear as pursuing specialness in a community or group—they come close to disconnection from the essential quality. Disconnection from merging gold is not easy to tolerate, and Twos end up feeling bereft and lonely, abjectly indigent, and sometimes even abandoned and forgotten. The qualities of strength and will can be helpful here. They make it easier to stay with this lack and to feel the disconnection. Feeling the loneliness, emptiness, and impoverishment that go with the disconnection is the most direct way we can reconnect with the merging love. But first we need to experience and be comfortable with feeling not connected and not having the love and pleasurable nourishment that our soul needs. We must be aware of our manipulation, especially the way it happens in codependency. When we arrive at this point in our inner experience, it is easy for the disconnection to reveal itself as an emptiness that has loneliness and a lack of love and richness.

Point 3 - Personal Essence: We Need to Look at Our Capacity to be Personal, at Our Capacity for Contact and Relating in a Real Way

The direct approach is straightforward. We need to look at our capacity to be personal, at our capacity for contact and relating in a real way, and at our functionality. We also need to look at how we function. Do we function efficiently as a machine or as a human being with a heart? Do we attain with truth and integrity or with lies and half-truths? Do we consider others as persons in their own right or are they only a means for our success or mirrors for our excellence? We discern these questions by exploring what it is to be a person, a truly autonomous individual, not the self-made man or woman. A real person is a human being, free from the mind, the exigencies of time, and the influence of culture and family. It is not that one doesn’t care for one’s culture or family but that one relates to them as what we all truly are: as members of society, of course, but also genuine and authentic human beings before anything else. We are human before we are a man or woman, Black or white, nationalistic or ideological . . . or anything. We look to see if we are this kind of person or can make this kind of personal contact. This inquiry may lead us to compassionately recognize the fact that we are not, that we are a fake or an imitation. As we see our fakeness and our falsehood, we arrive at the disconnection from being a true person. We discover the emptiness underlying the fake, empty shell.

Point 4 - Essential Identity: Feeling Ourselves as Being True and Authentic

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. By being patient and compassionate with ourselves in remaining with this kind of emptiness, it can transform into a peaceful spaciousness where there is no sense of self, yet also no suffering about it. Remaining in this silent peacefulness, the point of light can then arise or descend in our consciousness. This allows us to either recognize it as our true sense of identity or become it, to feel ourselves as being true and authentic. We feel we are being who and what we truly are. There are many permutations of our sense of the point. We can experience ourselves explicitly as a point of light and presence. We might feel the sense of preciousness that does not require external mirroring and reflection, or even the sense of timelessness of our true being. We are then certain of who we are and free to be ourselves—not the product of our history, but spontaneously and naturally what we are in the very moment.

Point 5 - Diamond Guidance: Allowing Ourselves to Not Know and to See that Not Knowing is Not Only True but Peaceful and Quiet

As with the other Enneatypes, there is a more direct way of accessing essential intellect. This is by first allowing ourselves to not know and to see that not knowing is not only true but peaceful and quiet. By recognizing that we do not know how to understand our experience directly—especially by recognizing that we can have spiritual experience but still find it difficult to have insight into it—we become primed for the emergence of this true emissary of truth. We must also see through our position that knowing and understanding are only mental, otherwise it may obstruct the arising of this presence. 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.

Point 6 - Personal Will: Experiencing the Presence of Personal Will that can Emerge and Fill Us from Inside

As we remain with the lack of will and understand the circumstances that cut us off from it, the lack shows itself as a particular state of deficiency. This deficiency generally manifests as an emptiness, an empty hole in the solar plexus or an emptiness in the belly indicating a castrated or absent will. Yet, staying present with a curious mind and having the courage to be with the direct experience of the deficient emptiness will tend to dissolve the sense of deficiency and reveal the emptiness as a clear spaciousness. From within that spacious emptiness—which is transparent and clean, without any ideas or beliefs or expectations of what might happen next—the presence of personal will can emerge and fill us from inside. It might descend into us or well up inside us. The point is that the true will arises now that the obstacles preventing it have been cleared. It can be the full moon of will, the white light presence of will, or the metallic silver of will, whether solid or liquid. It can arise in the solar plexus or in the belly or fill the whole body. As it arises, we feel erect and tall, present and solid, secure and confident, and definite in knowing we are embodying our authentic being. If we are a Six, we now have the key to unraveling our fixation and tackling its core with more capacity. It is the appropriate tool from the invisible world, and it helps us liberate ourselves from all the distorting, crippling, and problematic patterns and traits.

Point 7 - Pleasure Vehicle: The Satisfaction of the Heart and the Happiness of the Soul, Delighting in Being Ourselves or Simply Enjoying Reality and Life

At some point, we reach the place of experiencing this emptiness as the absence of pleasure. It is helpful for us to recognize that this is a transitional state and not the final end. Otherwise we will tend to be too scared to approach the absence with an open mind and heart. Welcoming this state as a desired guest can help ease our fear and provide a more helpful antidote than trying to cover the absence over with activities that make us feel good, distracting ourselves by planning for better futures, or avoiding or denying the suffering inside. We remain with it and question what its content and origins are. The history behind it can emerge, at which point we will need a lot of sincerity in our curiosity to inquire into what arises. This can be difficult for Sevens as they have built so much of their identity on denying their suffering. Remaining in this emptiness, lacking pleasure, love, or happiness and not fighting or avoiding it in any way allows the deficient emptiness to transform on its own into a clear emptiness, spacious and pleasant. While it can feel good, we still need to stay there and not assume this is the end of our inquiry. As we sit with this state, the actual quality of pleasure has a chance to emerge and pervade the spaciousness, helping us feel the quality or presence of an unadulterated delight and deep satisfaction. This is the satisfaction of the heart and the happiness of the soul, delighting in being ourselves or simply enjoying reality and life. This can carry over to enjoying the particulars of our life but now as an expression of our true being instead of a defense against a hungry emptiness. We find that each situation evokes a different quality of pleasure, with its own color, sweetness, and texture. Even when we have arrived at this place, we can keep exploring here and there whenever the manifestations of the fixation arise, until this quality of pleasure in its variety becomes a station, accessible to us naturally and consistently. Now we have the key to the type, which gives us a great deal of power and skill in tackling the shell and penetrating the core. If we have explored types Six and Eight, we might also have will and strength, respectively, providing us with two more of the nine keys and giving our inquiry and study a greater efficacy and power. 

Point 8 - True Strength: Use and Transformation of Energy for the Sake of Evolving Spiritual Being

While understanding the Eight ego ideal can point to essential strength, it is not the easiest or most direct path. Certain spiritual practices can lead more directly and completely to its experience and integration. One of the simplest methods is the tantric approach, which refers to the use and transformation of energy for the sake of evolving spiritual being. Energy can be erotic, even sexual, or it can be emotional, mental, or simply energy itself. Whether we are a type Eight or not, when we feel angry or vengeful the tantric practice is not to act it out or express it by yelling, blaming, or cursing anybody. Instead, we sense the feeling of anger or rage and stay with it in its purity. We don’t try to change or suppress it. We do not side with our justifications for it or listen to our stories about it. We just feel our anger in our body, as completely as possible, while containing it so the energy does not seep out or dissipate. If we feel the anger this way, it reveals itself to be a strong energy that is aggressive and bristling. Over time, by not expressing it, we can recognize the source of this energy and instead of the affect feeling prickly, we experience it as a fiery quality. If we stay with it longer and repeatedly—making it a practice, in other words—we end up experiencing it as the presence of strength with its courage and expansiveness. We might not recognize it as presence at the beginning, but we can recognize the sense of heat, energy, and expansiveness that feels natural and organic, even primordial. To know the sense of presence takes more discrimination of what this strength is exactly.

Point 9 - Boundless Love: Once Nines Integrate Boundless Love as Loving Light they Can Recognize Many of their Patterns as Attempts to Express or Seek this Quality of their True Being

Nines do not need to experience boundless love on this level of divine love to be liberated from the confines of their fixation. Experiencing and integrating its expression as loving light impacting the individual soul will be quite sufficient to reveal what they are after. It is much easier to experience loving light than divine love, for the latter requires the transition from ordinary to nondual experiencing. Once Nines integrate boundless love as loving light, they can recognize many of their patterns as attempts to express or seek this quality of their true being. The movement toward no conflict and no confrontation is a reflection of the action of loving light. It makes things easy and relaxes whatever the situation is so that action can simply arise and express itself. There is no avoidance or denial of difficulty in this process. Loving light simply holds the situation in a loving way so that the basic trust that comes from this quality provides the ground needed to deal with that situation. When we feel loving light, we feel it is easier to deal with whatever the difficulty or conflict is. It is not exactly confidence, which arises from will. It is a trust that things will work out. This is one of the characteristics, or functions, of this essential quality. It is a love that holds and embraces the soul so that it feels tranquil and comfortable, even at times of challenge and conflict. We can understand now the seeking of the Nine for comfort, peace, and the absence of challenge. This presence is a real expression of the consciousness that makes even the body feel relaxed and at ease. Everything feels as if it goes smoothly and effortlessly, and the more we embody this quality, the more smoothly and effortlessly things go in our lives. There is actually, then, less strife. Even when there is conflict or threat, we feel the inner relaxation necessary to allow us to clearly discern what is happening, which in turn allows the other essential qualities to arise, offering their capacities for courage, intelligence, confidence, and so on. The state of ease allows the soul to open to its inner capacities, which can then aid it in dealing with the difficulties of life. The result is a kind of comfort that is more a freedom from concern and anxiety, with an inner ease that makes us feel settled.

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