What makes one personality type different from another? Is it primarily the way one type communicates with or relates to other human beings, or is it what individuals of that type value most? Is it the kind of work which that type prefers, the fears typical of the type, or the neuroses that such a type is most likely to fall prey to? Or perhaps some combination of these variables, or ones we have not yet mentioned?
Some rather complicated personality theories consider it necessary to detail how personality varies as a function of preferences made by individuals across a set number of variables. The MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) maintains that each of its 16 personality types can be derived primarily from the comparative weight given by representatives of each type to one of four mental 'functions' (intuition, feeling, sensation and thinking). One type will utilize feeling as its dominant mental function, another intuition. For this system there is a complicated set of rules governing which function is primary, which is secondary, which is tertiary and which is the 'inferior' function for each individual personality type.
It is easy to see from this that personality theory can quickly become quite complex. And there is obvious benefit from increased complexity. But we can also become mired in it, and overwhelmed. Sometimes, in reading descriptions of enneagram personality types one can get the impression that each type is merely a complex composite of traits. We are told, for instance that the Six is prone to procrastination, has amnesia with respect to pleasure, and is fearful of direct anger, but it is not clear, on the face of it, exactly why these traits coalesce in the Six.
It is helpful on occasion to wipe the slate clean and return to simplicity. This is what Abraham Maslow did when he allowed himself to imagine a psychology based not on the multitude of illnesses and deficiencies observable in the human being, but on a rather simple vision of the ideal human, the fully realized being. What I propose to do in this article is take a fresh look at the enneagram, inspired similarly by a quest to discern what is highest and most developed in each personality type.
In order to accomplish this I would suggest that we temporarily set aside what we know about the enneagram and try to imagine that its primary purpose is to describe nine 'enlightened' qualities, one quality associated with each 'point' on the diagram. The fully enlightened being might be imagined to possess all nine qualities, in more or less equal measure. But for all of us who are less than fully enlightened, one of these qualities is more likely to draw the individual toward it, and to the personality type associated with it. Each individual, in her developmental journey, re-discovers her personality type afresh, as the special mode of being in the world that promises to bring her closest to an experience of self-transcendence or enlightenment.
Although each of the nine qualities might therefore be considered to be a unique door to self-actualization, associated with each is also a personality 'drawback', which can be described as a stunted version of that quality and an obstacle for the individual. For instance, associated with the enlightened quality of Inner Completeness that is characteristic of Type One (the 'perfectionist'), is the drawback of Pedantry , overconcern with detail and correctness. A compulsion toward being pedantic plagues the One who has not fully realized herself and achieved the profound spiritual state of inner completeness and peace.
The following is a brief excursion into the nine types and nine associated 'enlightened qualities' as I see them. My motivation is simply to see the very best in each type, its most profound expression, most sublime accomplishment. My hunch is that each of the Enneagram types contains, at its core, a kernel of primordial wisdom related to advanced spiritual paths capable of bringing individuals to enlightenment (although this core may not be readily apparent, especially to individuals of a different personality type). The spiritual paths and imagery that I use in the following descriptions will mostly be Buddhist, simply because it is with Buddhism that I am most familiar and comfortable. The reader is invited to draw on her own spiritual experience and knowledge of alternate paths to supplement this discussion.
Type One is sometimes referred to as 'the Perfectionist'. What is the epitome of spiritual perfection? Perfection in spiritual literature is sometimes associated with purity and purification processes (such as the Vajrasattva practice in Vajrayana Buddhism). Sometimes perfection is alternately described as 'completeness'. Krishnamurti, for instance, speaks of :
Describing an experience of his own, Krishnamurti says:
Maslow destinguishes two fundamentally different ways of being-in-the-world. In fact, his entire psychology is based on this distinction. In the first way of being-in-the-world, one operates out of what he calls a 'deficiency mode'.One's actions are motivated by a neediness that compels one toward acquisition of what one thinks will assuage one's needs. In contrast, those individuals who operate according to the second way of being-in-the-world feel an inner completeness , and are at one with themselves, at peace. Their actions are not motivated by a sense of inner deficiency, but rather are experienced as overflowing out of this inner sense of completeness. Maslow refers to these two psychological realms in abbreviated form as the D-realm (short for Deficiency-realm)and B-realm (Being-realm). The self-actualizing individual, of course, lives more often in the B-realm, and acts according to 'B-values' (such as the 'love' which Krishnamurti likewise associates with the realization of inner completeness in the above quote). Both 'perfection' and 'completion' are listed by Maslow as amongst the B-values that the self-actualizing individual embraces. The 'peak' experience that is characteristic of advanced self-actualizers is, among other things, an experience of the state of perfection and completeness. Maslow defines these terms in the following way:
Completeness: (ending; finality; justice; its finished; no more changing of the Gestalt; fulfillment; finis and telos ; nothing missing or lacking; totality; fulfillment of destiny; cessation; climax; consummation; closure; death before rebirth; cessation and completion of growth and development; total gratification with no more gratification possible; no striving; no movement toward any goal because already there; not pointing to anything beyond itself. (page 92, Religions, Values and Peak-Experiences).
Might this not be what the perfectionist is ultimately seeking? Like Maslow, Krishnamurti contrasts the inner completeness experienced in the B-state, with a state of need or deficiency. In describing his own experience with this he says:
Philip Slater recently writes about what it is like when one's actions flow out of a sense of inner completeness, as opposed to being motivated by a sense of innate deficiency. Some therapists who use the 12 step approach similarly describe 'recovery' (from addiction) in terms of a movement of the individual from a deficiency mode to a state of inner completeness. To achieve such completeness might be considered the epitome of wholeness, and the ultimate goal of any healing processes. Describing his own transformed state, Krishnamurti says:
Using Maslow's convention, we might distinguish between B-perfection (or B-completion) and a degenerate form that we might call 'D-perfection'. D-perfection, then, would be the need to be right, in perfect order, finished. It would involve being pedantic, laying excessive emphasis on details or upon strict adherence to formal rules.
The enlightened quality associated with Twos (who are sometimes called 'helpers') is the quality of Egolessness . John Harper's article in the first issue of EM describes the emptiness at the core of ego, the discovery of which constitutes a 'realization of egolessness'. Emptiness, in Buddhism, is commonly associated with selflessness and compassion. It involves skill in 'mothering' -a nurturing attitude in which one 'holds' the other person, creating a container for him or her [see also the Jungian idea of 'temenos', the sacred container in which the therapeutic relationship takes place]. The therapeutic 'mother' acts as a temporary substitute self for the other, much as the biological mother does while the child is in utero. The act of mothering is closely related to the Buddhist practice of 'exchanging one's self for others', which the Dalai Lama frequently recommends in his public appearances. It involves taking on the problems of the other as if they were one's own problems. It is linked to a formal meditation practice called 'tonglen practice' in which one visualizes breathing in the darkness and difficulties that others are suffering, and breathing out lightness and spaciousness. This is a key practice associated with Mahayana Buddhism, effective in developing compassion and loving kindness toward others, empathy and concern.
The enlightened Two transcends personal ego, through a process similar to the one described by Harper, Jung, and others.
If egolessness is the B-quality associated with Twos, then insufficient identity (or 'chronic identity crisis') might be considered the D-quality version of egolessness. Absense of identity and lack of autonomy is experienced. One sees oneself as auxiliary to someone else, dependent upon them for one's self-definition. Jean Paul Sartre eloquently describes how individuals, in order to establish themselves as REAL, rely on how others see them, and do not feel that they exist without this 'look of the other'. R.D. Laing later called this 'ontological insecurity'.
The enlightened quality associated with Threes('performers') is the capacity for spontaneous appropriate action. Taisen Deshimaru describes such action as operating from a pre-conceptual level:
Compare this to the way that Helen Palmer describes the Three at work:
According to Jungian therapist Marie-Louise Von Franz, action of the sort the Zen master accomplishes after years of practice, despite its spontaneous and non-conceptual nature is nonetheless appropriate to the situation, perhaps even more appropriate than action resulting out of deliberation. Von Franz takes the zen masters' accomplishments as the apex of human development and the 'individuation' process. She explains their achievement as the result of having withdrawn the psychological projections that we characteristically put on the world, tapping into a way of being in the world that transcends the subject-object split.
The zen master, in achieving this state, is considered a 'master of illusion', and the epitome of creative action. Zen Master Suzuki Roshi writes about three types of creativity, associated with three levels of the creative process. The following description begins at the most fundamental level, when the world is created anew each time that we arise from meditation:
This passage provides us with a hint as to what the D-quality associated with this creative and spontaneously appropriate action might be. To the extent that one identifies strongly with the product of one's creation, one risks becoming only the performance itself, nothing but the illusion that one is actively creating. One begins to 'believe one's own P.R.' and falls prey to the self-deception that is typical of the Three. Associated with the self-deception arising from attachment to the product is the feeling of being a fraud , someone who is always putting on a mere show for others.
The enlightened quality associated with Fours (sometimes called 'Romantics') is what in Buddhist terminology is called 'insight into emptiness '. In Buddhism, 'emptiness' is a technical term that does not have negative connotations. When it is said that things are fundamentally empty it means that they lack 'inherent independent existence'. The direct experiential appreciation of emptiness is called 'Vipassana' (literally, 'insight') and it is a primary goal of certain forms of 'sitting' practice in meditation. This insight involves a direct appreciation of the mind's capacity for pure awareness, that is - the capacity to experience consciousness without an object.
In Eastern thought, it is out of the holistic objectless form of consciousness that everyday dualistic, object-oriented, consciousness arises. Objectless awareness is the ground state (alaya). To become aware of this level of consciousness it is necessary to drop habitual frameworks and patterns of perception, if only momentarily.
To discover the reality of being is to discover that it is no thing. As no thing it is like a crystal mirror that reflects everything. The narrowness of perception hemmed in on every side by ideas, opinions, and bolstered by fear, rarely allows the experiential realization that it is out of this being that is no-thing that one creates the reality of experience. Intuition provides insight that sees through the filtering screen of thoughts, images, and feelings to the formless context of experience. (Page 185, Awakening Intuition, Frances Vaughan)
Sometimes this 'no-thing' is described as 'pure awareness', the 'clear light' experience, or 'intrinsic awareness' (see Tarthang Tulku). It is reputed to be continually present even in ordinary consciousness (although we are typically unaware of it), and is sometimes experienced as the ineffable quality of awe, wonder, or mystery associated with everyday awareness. The phrase 'unborn mind' is often used to point to this aspect of experience. C.O. Evans, a contemporary western philosopher, uses the term 'unprojected consciousness' to refer to it.
In 1690, Zen Master Bankei spoke of 'the unborn' in this way:
..In the Unborn, all things are perfectly resolved....If anyone confirms that this unborn, illuminative wisdom is in fact the Buddha-mind and straight away lives, as he is, in the Buddha-mind, he becomes at that moment a living Tathagata [Buddha], and he remains one for infinite kalpas in the future. Once he has confirmed it, he lives from then on in the mind of all the Buddhas... (Page 35, The Unborn)
I would maintain that it is an attraction to the experience of emptiness and unborn mind that is at the core of the Four's fascination with that which is 'absent'. Fours appear to have a natural inclination toward experiences of formlessness and emptiness, and some understanding of intrinsic awareness. But enthrallment with objectless awareness can lead to the undesirable state described by some Zen practitioners as 'quiesence meditation' or 'the deep pit of liberation'. Zen Master Ta Hui implores his disciples, 'Don't cling to stillness':
Even worse is the degenerate form of interest in emptiness called 'nihilism'. This is the D-quality associated with Type Four. The nihilist despairs that reality is devoid of meaningfulness, a mere 'nothingness', in the negative sense of the term . Insofar as the Four is especially susceptible to nihilism, she is also prone to depression. Confusing an interest in the 'presence of an absence' (emptiness) with the 'absence of a presence', the Four might mistake positive feelings associated with a glimpse into emptiness as a feeling of desire or longing for a something that is missing . A fascination with emptiness, when projected outward, can result in romantic cravings for objects not presently available, accounting for the common caricature of the Four as a 'tragic romantic'.
The enlightened quality associated with Type Five ( the 'observer') is often referred to, in Buddhism, as 'equanimity '. Equanimity, in the Buddhist sense of the term, is the capacity to transcend attachment and revulsion. Attachment is the attraction we feel for objects that we crave, things that give us pleasure. Revulsion is what we feel for objects that repel us, things that give us pain or discomfort. Attraction and rejection are both to be avoided, along with the derivative emotions of lust and anger, according to Buddhism. A third alternative, which might be called 'dispassionate observing' is recommended. If one is to successfully adopt this attitude, both attraction and rejection must be transcended rather than repressed or suppressed. Sometimes equanimity is also described as 'detachment', although for Westerners this term can connote dis-engagement, apathy, or indifference.
'Indifference', indeed, is the best word to describe the D-quality associated with equanimity. The enlightened individual who is in a state of equanimity is not unconcerned, insensible, or disinterested, as is the indifferent Five, who may also have withdrawn from life and from making decisions. Trying, at all costs, to maintain her posture as a purely objective observer, the profoundly indifferent Five may lose contact with her feelings (and the subjective aspects of experience), becoming aloof and unresponsive to the needs of others.
In order to transcend attachment and revulsion (and the associated 'conflicting emotions' ), a series of meditation practices are prescribed, beginning with what is called 'calm abiding' or 'pacification' practice. It involves silently sitting in such a way as to learn, by merely observing thought as it arises and permitting it to naturally disperse, the process through which the mind pacifies itself, achieving equanimity.
According to Buddhism, it is attachment and aversion that are responsible for all suffering. Attachment/aversion is a primary characteristic of the D-realm . In order to eventually transcend the D-realm, and live more often in the B-realm (as enlightened beings), it is helpful to practice the kind of meditations that are associated with looking inwardly and observing the mind. The Five seems to intuitively appreciate the importance of this kind of activity.
The enlightened quality of the Six (who is sometimes referred to as 'the Devil's Advocate') is the capacity to see through the illusory world, the world of Maya. There is a penetrating insight into the illusory nature of what Buddhist's call the 'samsaric' (everyday, unenlightened) world, the D-realm.
Various buddhist practices prescribe seeing the phenomenal world as 'like a dream'. In much the same way that a dreamer in a lucid dream (as a result of practicing dream yoga) can achieve control over the content of dreams, yogis learn to master the phenomenal world, but only by penetrating the illusions of ordinary consciousness, seeing through them. A similar skill is involved when scientists, through their creative efforts, effect a paradigm shift. The old paradigm reconfigures into a new framework, in much the same way that we experience a 'gestalt shift'. What was previously anomalous in the old paradigm becomes explicable in the new paradigm and is relevated like a new 'figure' bringing itself into relief out of the old gestalt.
This profound capacity to see through the dominant reality, the prevailing paradigm, has been alternately called 'deconstruction', 'decontexting', and the 'depontentiation of the conscious set' by various psychologists. It can involve a dark-night-of-the-soul dissolution of the prevailing paradigm, and a subsequent incubation stage (a gap-like stage in which no framework exists, as the prior frame has been dissolved, and the future frame has not yet appeared).
This intermediary stage, a stage of deep uncertainty, involves an attitude characteristically associated with the Six : doubt. The dictionary defines doubt as a 'state of uncertainty as to the truth or reality' of a situation or thing. Profound doubt is a characteristic state of the scientist in the throes of a paradigm shift, as demonstrated by the following passage from Thomas Kuhn's Scientific Revolutions , describing the state of mind of physicist Wolf-gang Pauli just prior to one of the greatest paradigm shifts that has ever occured in physics:
Doubt, whether it is doubt about one's self, one's profession, or the world at large, is associated (by definition) with dread, apprehension, and fear. Seeing through a current reality or paradigm, one risks dis-integration, and this can arouse fear , the characteristic emotion of the Six. We might call the D-quality associated with seeing-through 'extreme doubt'. Consider the following passage, which describes the disposition, deeply embedded in Sixes, toward dissolving their realities, their paradigms - even when this may not be practicable:
The enlightened quality associated with the Type Seven (who is sometimes referred to as the 'Epicure') is the capacity for 'peak' experience. The term 'peak experience' was introduced by Maslow as a secular synonym for what, in religious traditions, are usually referred to as 'mystical' experiences (or 'transcendental experiences'). According to Maslow, peak experiences are especially frequent amongst a particular group of 'self actualizers' who are the epitome of human evolution and personal development. A peak experience is basically an experience in which the 'infinite' (alternately described as god, the divine, the mystery) is experienced in the finite. Formlessness is embodied in form (despite the paradoxical sound of such a thing). The universe is 'experienced in a grain of sand'. The utlimate experience according to one school of Tibetan Buddhism (the Karma Kagyu) is 'mahamudra', which can be described as a simultaneous experience of form and formlessness, extrinsic (object-oriented) and intrinsic (objectless) awareness. In Maslow's words:
What has been called 'unitive consciousness' is found in peak-experiences - there is a sense of the sacred glimpsed IN and THROUGH the particular instance of the momentary, the secular, the wordly. (Page 68, Religion, Values and Peak-Experiences)
We need to teach our children unitive perception, the Zen experience of being able to see the temporal and the eternal simultaneously, the sacred and the profane in the same object. (Page 183, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature)
As the infinite can be equally expressed in multifarious forms, the Seven (who suspects that this is the case), naturally seeks and appreciates a wide variety of experience, cultivating a refined taste for a multitude of pleasures. The D-quality associated with peak experience is, of course, gluttony, the propensity to indulge oneself greedily, saturate oneself, fulfill one's desires to excess. A quest for peak experience can readily degenerate into a glut of 'spiritual materialism' about which we are frequently warned in the spiritual traditions.
Section Eight: Enneagram Type Eight
The enlightened quality associated with the Type Eight (who is sometimes called 'the Boss') is spiritual power , a kind of power that comes from the primordial depths, from the real (albeit 'empty') center of the personality that Jung calls 'the Self'. It is sometimes referred to as 'siddhi', a kind of magical power to effect things in one's environment. Siddhis can be the product of advanced meditation practices, according to the scriptures describing the mental yogas. Practitioners are encouraged to ignore them if they arise, and forego striving to attain them, due to the extreme dangers involved in attachment to them. They are symbolized by mythical objects such as the Holy Grail, in the presence of which grass springs up spontaneously and flowers bloom in mid-winter. Things fall synchronistically into place around individuals with such power, and the mental agitation of others is calmed.
Spiritual power readily degenerates into dangerous forms of spiritual materialism, a need to be in control of the situation, as the master of one's environment. Consider Helen Palmer's description of how the Eight, in the following passage, is connecting with the energy , the power, that underlies anger:
The energies that the Tantric practitioner taps into, the energies out of which anger and lust emerge, are obviously dangerous and can burn one who gets too close to the fire. The Eight, who 'plays hard' engages sometimes to excess in the pleasures of the body, according to Enneagram psychologists, and can be equally extravagent in asserting control over others, becoming a danger to both herself and them, a tyrant. Inner Power (and mastery) can degenerate into autocratic control over others and over the external environment - with rape, extortion, and exploitation resulting.
The enlightened quality associated with the Nine (who is also known as 'the Mediator') is a capacity for reconciliation of opposites, synthesis, integration . It is symbolized by male and female deities in yab-yum position (what Jung calls the 'Mysterium Coniunctionis'), and by the Yin/Yang Diagram (which depicts the yin half of the diagram arising out of a yang core, and the yang half of the circle coming from a yin essence at its center). There is an interpenetrating nature to opposites which is recognized by the Nine in her wisdom.
The capacity for reconciliation originates in the appreciation, at the core of one's humanity, of what Thich Nhat Hanh calls 'interbeing', our essential interconnectedness with other human beings and with the rest of the universe.
According to Von Franz,
Thich Nhat Hanh has in mind this 'mysterious something that makes any deep real encounter of two human beings possible' when he reminds us:
The fact that, at some profound level, we 'inter-are' accounts for how it is possible, according to Von Franz, to mediate conflicts occuring between external parties through an internal reconciliation of opposites. By being able to maintain opposites in a state of dynamic synthesis within oneself, the outside world is brought into harmony.
This capacity for facilitation that seems to come naturally to the Nine can, however, degenerate into compromise and collaborationism . Instead of peace and harmony we have static states in which standoff, indolence and indecisiveness prevail, preventing positive change and creative movement. Let us call the D-quality associated with reconciliation and harmony 'stagnation, compromise and indolence'.
It is possible to see the nine enlightened qualities we have identified above as overlapping qualities, or even as alternate descriptions of one unitive enlightened state. The fully enlightened individual would, of course, have all nine qualities as a result of immersion in such a B-realm. And the enneagram itself could be taken as a symbol of enlightenment, a multifaceted jewel that refracts the light of realization into nine component colors, the nine types.
This framework might also help us in our encounters with less-than-enlightened beings to perceive in them the enlightened quality that forms the core of their personality (even if that quality is presently dormant). In Buddhist terminology, this attempt to see the sacred in the mundane is sometimes called 'sacred view'. Sacred view helps us to help others to realize their own latent enlightened qualities and bring them to fruition.
The following chart summarizes the nine enneagram types. I have taken the liberty to suggest changes in all of the Type Names, with the exception of the Nine. I was impressed with how apropos the term 'devil's advocate' was for the Six - recalling how those scientists that are paradigm shifters are often 'outsiders' in their own disciplines, and must suffer the unenviable position of advocating on behalf of positions that are not popular. Nonetheless, an equally attractive alternative might be 'Outsider'. For the other types I felt that the new titles used words that seem to better bring into relief what it is at the spiritual core of the individual that makes her a member of that type.
Grouping the Types
In considering the nine Enneagram Types as I have described them in the earlier sections of this paper, it occured to me that they fall into three groups of three: 9-3-6, 5-8-2, and 7-1-4, for reasons that I will explain shortly. When I connected these points on the circle I was surprised to see the following symmetrical diagram emerge:
This figure diagrams what I will call the Latent Structure of the Enneagram, as opposed to the Manifest Structure depicted in the more familiar diagram:
Is it possible that the key to understanding the Enneagram is in the (invisible)latent structure? The symmetry of this invisible pattern implies an underlying harmony and reconiliation of types, as opposed to the assymetry of the manifest structure, which seems to connote dynamism and constant change.
Let us give names to the three goups of three:
- The 'object' oriented group (7-1-4)
- The 'subject' oriented group (5-8-2)
- The 'co-emergence' group (9-3-6)
Let us consider the 'object' group (7-1-4) first. Whereas the Four is intrigued with 'emptiness', the presence in consciousness of 'unborn awareness', this emptiness is just as easily described as a 'fullness', the 'completeness' with which the One is fascinated. In its aspect of 'fullness', It is the 'plenum' (or the 'holomovement' about which Bohm speaks). When this emptiness is experienced 'within' form, within specific objects, we have the peak-experience which attracts the interest of the Seven.
The Four, One, and Seven thus comprise a family of types - there is a certain 'family resemblence' between them. As the Four's insight into 'emptiness' degenerates into nihilism a move toward One is in order (an appreciation of the 'fullness' quality of objectless awareness is the antidote to nihilism). Or as the Four falls into the 'deep pit of liberation' that is an unhealthy immersion into objectless awareness, a move toward Seven is called for (as in Seven there is an appreciation of 'emptiness', but as it occurs within form).
Likewise the Seven, who is characteristically liable to fall into gluttony, needs (as a remedy) an enhanced appreciation of the 'emptiness' quality (associated with Type One) of the objects which he has become so desirous of. Similarly, the Type One who becomes trapped in a degenerate form of 'perfectionism' (and thereby is giving undo attention to the 'form' aspects of the experience - ie, to detail ) may likewise seek an antidote in a renewed appreciation of emptiness (associated with the Four).
All of the types in this first group share their primary fixation on the 'object' of experience - hence the name of the group.
If we take the second group of Types (the 'subject' oriented group, 5-8-2) we see a similar family resemblence. But whereas the Ones, Fours, and Sevens are predominantly interested in the 'objects' of their experience, the Fives, Eights, and Twos focus on the 'subjective' side of experience. Twos dive to the core of ego, where they find its essential emptiness and make the discovery of 'egolessness'. Eights find that that inner place is not only empty, but also a place of immense power. The Five, in equanimity, transcends the 'conflicting emotions' that would inspire a merging with the object of desire, either through blending with (or 'attachment to') the object(ie, 'lust') or through the annihilation of the object (via 'rejection' and anger). In doing so, the five (not unlike the seven) delicately straddles the fence between non-existence of the ego and complete 'inflation' of the self - between being 'egoless' and being an embodiment of the divine, the 'Self'.
So, as an antidote to the 'ontological insecurity' that may occur in the Two, a move toward the Eight is in order (ie, an appreciation of the 'divinity within'), or toward the 'Equanimous Witnessing' stance of the Five. The inflation that the Eight is susceptible to (in identifying with the divine, the whole, the 'Self') calls for a compensatory 'deflation', a move toward the 'egolessness' of the Two, or the dispassionate observing of the Five.
In the third group of Types (which I have called the 'co-emergence' group, 9-3-6), again there is a family resemblence. All three of these types seem to be dealing with the emergence of a kind of 'everyday' consciousness that is based on the subject-object split (what we can call 'bifurcated' consciousness). The Type Three 'creates' the world anew, the master of the 'illusion' which is everyday consciousness. The Six sees through that illusion, to the empty core of the created reality, the paradoxical black whole at the center of that reality's structure. The Nine mediates these fundamental opposites, the opposites of 'creation' and 'destruction' of one's world.
For the Six who degenerates into extreme doubt and fear, the antidote is a move toward Three, in which emphasis is put on the beauty of the illusion (as opposed to its empty center). Likewise, for the Three who is too attached to his creations a move toward Sixness and an enhanced capacity for doubt and penetrative insight into the illusion is called for. When he begins to feel as if all of his creations are empty and he is a fraud, a move toward Nine is in order, as it is the quality of reconciliation of the fundamental opposites (of creation and disillusionment, hope and doubt) that is called for.
Likewise, the Nine who stagnates in a static state (as opposed to being in dynamic harmony) is renewed by moving toward the creativity of Threeness, or the skepticism and penetrating insight of the Six (which can bring the unproductive stalemate to an end by pulling the rug out from under.
In each of these three groups or families of types there is a 'form point', a 'formless point' and a point which attempts to reconcile form and formlessness. The 'formless' points are Four (which focuses on emptiness of the object), Two (with its focus on egolessness, or emptiness of the subject), and Six (which dis-integrates subject-object frameworks, dissolving them into formlessness). The form points are One (with its emphasis on fullness, form, detail), Three (with its focus on creation of product, through spontaneous action), and Eight (with its emphasis on the power within the self). The three points that attempt to reconcile form and formlessness are the Seven (through seeking peak or 'unitive' experiences, which involves an experience of sacred formlessness experienced within the secular form), the Five (that transcends the duality of attraction and revulsion through 'witnessing'), and the Nine (who mediates by synthesizing the opposites of 'construction' and 'deconstruction').
One can imagine the 'enlightened' being appreciating not only the remedial capacities inherent in each type, but also the need to identify with all three 'families' in order to maintain a threefold balance in perspective - toward the objects in the world, one's own subject(or self), and the subtle relationship between the two. In Buddhist psychology form and formlessness (in objects), power and egolessness (of the self), and harmony and chaos (in the 'illusion' that is the world) are delicately balanced. The enneagram appears to symbolize this intricate balance of apparent opposites which is at the core of enlightened being.
© John Fudjack - Summer, 1995