“Tell me about the ‘wave’?” Alexandra asked, excitedly. “I get the idea of the now, though I think that’s something we all take for granted; but the wave sounds like something to be discovered, something fundamental to existence . . .”
I sipped my coffee and looked back into those excited, bright eyes, and considered how to fill her with the sense of joy that the idea of the wave always generated in me.
I began slowly, almost hesitantly, “The wave is the substance of the now; just like the soul has been called by some the substance of consciousness.” I watched as she absorbed this challenging concept. Both these ideas were seldom comprehensible to the beginner, and yet, in what the Buddhists called ‘Beginners Mind’, lay the simplicity of comprehension that could make great leaps through not being bogged down by the weight of accumulated thinking. To the Buddhists beginners mind was not something belonging solely to the beginner, but a state to be sought by all of us.
She sat back and drank some of her coffee. Her brilliant mind was working hard at this. Eventually, she said, “So this wave, which is the now, radiates from the centre – in this case the centre of the enneagram, giving us this moment in time, presumably, in which we can choose to live . . .?”
“We have no choice but to live on the wave, there is nothing else. The choice is whether we give it the attention it deserves and stop worrying about the phantom constructs of the process of thought.” It was as direct as I could make it. I could see her reeling slightly from the mental force behind it.
She was gentle in her reply, sensing that these concepts were at the heart of what she found fascinating about our whole direction of investigation. “I can see that in our circle of the enneagram the wave originates from the centre and radiates outwards . . .” She paused, then, “But how does this relate to the character types we have been discussing on the outer rim, the Nine on the perimeter of the circle?”
It was an excellent question. Now, I had to reach into the now, my wave, and see what lay there, what could be taken at its most potent and used, with gratitude, to put more light onto the subject. Suddenly, it was in front of me – a perfect analogy for Alexandra’s vast and educated mind.
“The whole of the inside of the enneagram’s circle is a sea,” I said, leaning forward. “Around the outside are nine islands. Parts of this sea are calm and parts of it – the outer regions – are stormy. Life sweeps us from the centre, on our own wave, to the extremities; and the journey makes us fearful and changes us.”
She sipped her coffee, draining the cup, then smiled at me in a very beautiful way. “Full fathom five my father lies . . .” She winked, enjoying the allusion to The Tempest.
She had found the trail which had been in my mind seconds ago. “Perfect!” I beamed back at her. So, now, shipwrecked on a foreign island you meet–?”
She was close to giggling, again, with the excitement of real discovery. “Ummm . . . a wise old man named Prospero, his daughter, Miranda, and a beast of a man called Calaban.”
She was great. The barrister’s mind had retrieved the context, swiftly – doing what minds do best. I added more encouragement, “This is not specific to the enneagram, of course, but here you have a set of human characters which represent what we might call the ‘levels’ or centres of our lives: Prospero, the wise but impotent old man, who we could rightly say might represent the intellect; Miranda, his daughter who could be both heart and soul; and finally Calaban, the very potent but unregenerate ‘savage’ who is the very essence of instinct, appetite and human energy!”
“But these are not the ‘types’ we drew around the enneagram’s circle?” she asked, certain of her ground.
“No,” I responded, nodding my approval. “These are what we might call the vertical elements of each; the Nine are something entirely different – and each of them has the three levels, or centres in which their humanity – in all its vulnerability – is focussed.”
“A whole cast of players . . . ” she said, softly, speaking to the inner stage she had just discovered.
“Yes . . . and all unique to the wave that washed us ashore, that continues to wash us ashore, to the land of exile of our outer facing lives!”
She stood up. I looked at my watch and reached to get my raincoat – it was raining hard outside; not unusual for a Monday in May.
“No! Stay!” Her hand came down softly on my shoulder. “I need another coffee. You need to stay here and tell me more,” she grinned. “In return for yours . . .”
“But your train?” I laughed at her departing back.
“To hell with the train!” she laughed, her heeled feet dancing across the cafe’s wooden floor as she made her way to the counter.
Nine Deadly 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 of the Silent Eye School are on the other pages of this blog and via the website at www.thesilenteye.co.uk