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Essential Endowments

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Essential Endowments?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Essential Endowments

All the Fixations are Present in Every Ego

Yet the more we study, the more we notice that the type does not seem to fit as neatly as it did at the beginning. We come to see in our experience and behavior the traits and dynamics of other types. Sometimes it feels as if we are moving around the Enneagram, and we might think our typing is wrong. In time, we might learn that we are actually the totality of the Enneagram. Even though one type will dominate as we begin studying ourselves using the tool of the Enneagram, all the fixations are present in every ego. This becomes apparent as we go deeper in our inner exploration and appreciate the nuances of our inner dynamics. We discover traits that don’t fall under the pattern of our primary fixation. This means that if we are genuinely interested in spiritual learning and liberation through the Enneagram, we need to study all the fixations—their cores and their shells—as they manifest in our lives. That is how I taught the holy ideas; students learned to work with each point of the Enneagram, exploring the holy idea and the core of each point. I will follow the same methodology in this book. Learning the shell and the key of one’s type can unlock the fixation, but having access to all the keys will unravel the totality of the ego, which is patterned by all the fixations.

Ego Ideal Seen as a Facsimile, an Imitation of Something Else

The insight into the ego ideal of each type is that it is a facsimile, an imitation of something else, at best an approximation of something real and authentic that is beyond ego. The ego ideal does not simply arise out of our conditioning. Nor do we learn it from idealizing somebody else. It is not born from our longing to be like our childhood hero. In fact, it is the other way around: we find the hero who corresponds to our ideal. What I saw was that we were not only born with one holy idea being dominant but also with a particular quality of pure consciousness or true nature. In this path, the inner spiritual truth inherent to all beings is referred to as true nature. True nature is more subtle and more innate than what most people think of as spirit. Spirit is usually seen as distant and of another world. In this teaching, spirit is nothing but an old term for what I refer to as our true nature, the true nature of our consciousness, the consciousness that makes experience possible. There are many ways of viewing or experiencing this true nature, depending on the path. In this path, the emphasis is on recognizing true nature as the presence of Being, as the being of our consciousness. The presence of Being, or the being of consciousness, appears in many forms that we call qualities, or aspects. So it is not simply presence but the presence of love or the presence of intelligence, and so on.

Investigating the Dominating Enneatype

It is important to remember that each ego self contains all the types. One type dominates, but when we investigate this type deeply, we find that our personality also includes all the other fixations. In other words, the ego self has all nine fixations, all nine delusions, in its inner core. By exploring each fixation as it appears in our sense of self, we may access its idealized aspect. This means it is possible for us to access nine idealized qualities by studying our fixated ego self, which in turn will make penetrating the inner core of our type much easier since we have many powerful qualities of presence to aid us. It is rare that an individual will access all nine of the idealized aspects, and I am not saying we need to do this in order to be able to penetrate our inner core. But the more essential qualities we integrate, the easier it is for us to open up the core of our type and access its holy idea. In fact, there is the potential for us to penetrate the cores of all nine types and access all their holy ideas. In this way, the Enneagram map functions as a powerful tool for spiritual realization and liberation.

We are Born with One Quality of Being, or Authentic Presence, as a Particular Essential Endowment

Within this context, we recognize that we are each born with one quality of true nature, or essential presence. This quality of authentic spiritual presence is related to the holy idea in an interesting way. This connection expresses how the spirituality of nonduality relates to the spirituality of the ordinary dual world. The important insight is that we are born with one quality of Being, or authentic presence, as a particular essential endowment, which means we can access it more easily than the others. In many cases we experience it as children without knowing it; later all that remains is some feeling of it, some appreciation of how it affected us. This feeling—whether intuitive or unconscious—combined with our appreciation of the quality’s characteristics becomes the nucleus of our ego ideal. Thus, the ego ideal imitates the essential quality. We try to be someone who embodies this quality, but we don’t know the quality of presence directly and consciously. We just have a sense—an intuition of it or of some of its main characteristics. This becomes what we idealize, what forms the ego ideal for our type’s fixation. In other words, as the shell develops, rather than embodying the essential quality, we end up idealizing a facsimile of it. The shell develops around the idealization, which is a shadow of the quality, not the true quality. We develop a shell around our core instead of realizing the quality that can help us penetrate the core and dissolve it. 



Particular Essential Endowments


Essential Endowment


True Strength


Personal Will


Merging Love




Personal Essence


Essential Identity


Pleasure Vehicle


Boundless Love


Diamond Guidance


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