“It’s the fear thing, isn’t it?” Alexandra had me pinned into the corner of the coffee shop as though she was about to administer the final legal blow in a key case. I was even worried that my glass of water, bought to wash down the final sip of coffee, Italian style, would get spilled.
“Whenever you really think about fear, you realise that it’s at the heart of so many things that people–that I–do!” She continued. I watched her become conscious, not just of what she was saying, but of how defensively she was saying it.
Seeing this happen to her, sharing the act of deeper consciousness, was a catalyst. It always was with people taking this path for the first time. Still saying nothing, I looked on, a passive and friendly observer, letting her have the space to come to terms with how central ‘fear’ was to her life; and to everyone else’s.
Then I saw the glow of self-knowing dawn in her eyes. I watched her relax as, mentally and emotionally, she stepped back from identifying with what was happening to being the watcher of someone to whom it was happening.
“So who the bloody hell am I, then?” she blurted out, laughing, as though I had verbalised my thoughts. “If I can watch myself getting tied up in knots about the revelation of the power that fear has over me?”
It was the question of the month. It was probably one of the questions of her lifetime, though I was certainly not going to say that. I was not driving this encounter – she was. I was simply the safe space in which it could happen . . .
He finger was pressed firmly on the ‘6’ corner of the core triangle at the heart of the enneagram. It had been so for several minutes, while the emotion she was showing as enthusiasm raged through her. The crushed white paper was wearing thin . . .
“Hold it,” I said softly.
“I’ve just started–” she blurted out.
“No, hold it – how you feel at this instant – hold on to it and explore it!”
Again, I watched the initial moments of self-knowing wash over her.
“Something extraordinary happened, didn’t it?” She sipped furiously at her tea. She must have been hungry, before I arrived, as the remains of an impromptu breakfast involving ice cream lay in front of her. “Just then . . back then.”
I reached over and gently touched the white fingers that were clutching the cool cup. Professional people, who were used to the rigours of constant ‘have tos’ often react in this way. The touch broke the spell of her tension and she laughed.
“It’s not just the initial glimpse of a deeper level of ourselves,” I explained. “It’s often the shock that something so fundamental to our very lives has gone unobserved for most of that time.”
She freed one hand, then placed it over my calming fingers and squeezed. Her breathing returned to normal and she finished her tea, looking at me, intensely.
“So the whole of the ‘6’ corner is about fear?”
“And its variants . . .”
“Yes, ” I said, not wanting to cover too much, too soon. She, on the other hand, was very fond of darting around.
“Variants that people know under different guises.” I said, drinking some of my coffee, thoughtfully, to slow down the pace; watching her relax a little more as she waited, patiently.
“We’re jumping around a bit,” I said, eventually. “But, for example, one form of fear is what is found in the ‘5’ point, which is not a corner.
“But is connected to one . . .”
“Yes, as are–”
“–all the other points which are not corners!” Her right finger jabbed at the ‘8’ then the ‘1’; then, gathering speed, the ‘2’ and the ‘4’.
I didn’t need to speak then, I just watched her get the connections, the sets of two qualities either side of each of the three corners of the core triangle.
“So the five and the seven are both variants of fear.”
“Yes. the five is known, in the language of our ‘sins’, as avarice.
“The thirst for things – material possessions!” she looked triumphant.
“Yes, but it’s the keeping of them that’s the crucial driver of this point – ‘stations’ is the word I prefer, rather than ‘points’.”
“Stations, as in railway stations?” I could see this might be a step too far.
“Well, yes – any sort of station really.” I replied, finishing my drink and embarking on the water.
“And there are trains?” she giggled.
Revelations do that to us – make us giggle. It’s a healthy sign.
“Well, now that you–”
“–Can we come back to that?” She interrupted in a very legal way. I’m keen to know what the other point–station, related to the ‘6’, is?”
“As in seven?” I asked.
“As in seven minutes past when you were supposed to be out of here?” I tapped my watch and listened to her shriek. She would still make the train, I knew – she was a very careful planner and always allowed contingency; something tightly coupled with the ‘7’, I suspected she was; but I wasn’t about to tell her that, until we met again, or maybe not for many weeks, yet.
Five minutes later, with a fresh coffee, I was still chuckling at the memory of her flying out of the door, swearing, and with two bags in one hand, the coat in the other, and her glasses wedged between her teeth . . . and looking the happiest I had seen her for years . . . It can do that to you, the ennea-thingy.
Nine Deady Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.
Contact details and an outline description are on the other pages of this blog and via the website at www.thesilenteye.co.uk