We met at our usual coffee shop on the seafront–it having become anything but usual over the past few weeks; when our short, Monday adventures had taken us out in the landscapes around the bay.
“Ah, normality! – So, at least I’ll get to London on time,” said Alexandra, sitting down at the table and looking glad to be enjoying a less hectic Monday morning. “My partners in crime were beginning to doubt my continued excuses . . .”
“Ah, yes . . . normality . . .” I said, looking up, just as our coffees were brought over. We often collected them from the counter – Monday morning being a busy time for the small cafe. “Thank you.” I said, looking up at the lady delivering our drinks. “And the danish pastries?”
“Be right along – haven’t forgotten them!” replied Rose, brusquely. She was the elderly owner of the place. She marched back to the wall of glittering machinery beyond the counter. The old building had retained a kind of untidy Art Deco charm and was stocked with some of the most ancient-looking espresso machines I had ever seen – one of the reasons we loved it so much.
I watched Alexandra as she sipped her hot and frothy latté, looking very happy with life. “A quiet Monday and danish? I am being treated!”
“Richly deserved,” I said, savouring my own hot, milky drink.
Just then, Rose, returned, carrying a tray; containing, not what Alexandra was expecting, but another two lattés. Alexandra looked at them, suspiciously, and seemed about to speak.
I intercepted, quickly. “They’ve introduced a new hazelnut syrup – it’s delicious,” I said, continuing to drink my existing coffee, noisily. “I know you have a sweet tooth and thought you might like to try it?”
“Well, that’s very kind, but . . .” The confusion was visible on her face. Before her, now, were two coffees. “Do we have time?” she asked, plaintively.
Rose’s second arrival, with six danish pastries, occurred a second later, and perfectly on cue. This was going to cost me, I thought, and not just in breakfast funds . . .
“Six!” blurted out my companion, spraying the froth from her coffee across the table top as she surveyed the growing excess of food and drink. “We’ll never eat three each, they’re huge!”
“But they’re baked to one of Rose’s new recipes . . . and they are absolutely gorgeous!”
“I don’t care how wonderful they are,” Alexandra said, looking forceful. “I can’t possibly do justice to this tableful of . . .”
She broke off. “It’s the seven, isn’t it?” she snarled, already beginning to laugh at the chaos before her. “It’s the bloody seven!” She coughed, some of the froth lodged in her tightened throat. “Don’t tell me – gluttony!”
“Of course,” I replied, gently. “We met it briefly, before, on our cursory initial look at the enneagram, but you weren’t involved with it then . . .” I look at the overburdened table top, smiling ruefully. “Now you’ve no choice!”
She sat back, looking calmer, sipping her original coffee. Her taut body language suggested she was going nowhere near the rest. “Too much of everything? – The Type Seven behaviour?”
“Yes,” I said. “Too much choice, too much selection, too many things on the go, too many projects . . .”
“And all impossible to do justice to?”
“I know lots of people like that . . .”
“Me too.” I said. “Why do you think people do this? Think where it is on the enneagram . . .”
“It’s still in the ‘fear’ corner, centred on Station 6, yes?”
“So what’s he frightened of, our Mr Seven?”
“You tell me.” I said. “It’s all there – in her behaviour . . .”
She sat back and became very thoughtful. Sipping the coffee. “He gathers – everything. He stockpiles it all, but, unlike Mr Five, he’s less concerned about ‘keeping’ it than acquiring more and more . . .”
“Very good.” I was not being patronising – that had truly been an excellent analysis of this aspect of human experience.
“And all this is driven by the basic fear that . . .?”
“That the world won’t feed us, in every sense of the word.”
“And therefore a complete lack of . . .?”
“Trust in our own lives; and the fortune that actually shines on us all. We fill our lives with too much because we are frightened; and in turn the excess makes us choked of freshness, miserable and more frightened . . .”
She looked at her watch and stood up, surveying the scene, and ready to head for the rail station. Rose arrived with a small army of pastry bags. “You’ll be needing these, I take it,” she said, looking daggers at me. “And the bill?”
I nodded into Rose’s accusing eyes. I had been a regular for a long time, but this behaviour had been stretching it a bit. “Yes, please,” I said. “But I think the bill is the least of my worries . . .”
When it came, the amount did make me wince. Alexandra, who would have enjoyed the moment, was long gone, though I could hear her chortling over the airwaves . . . Danish for lunch, I thought.
Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.
Steve Tanham is a founding director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness; a place of companionship, sharing and the search for the real in life, using the loving techniques and insights of esoteric psychology. He retired from a life as an IT entrepreneur to establish the School in 2012, and, having persuaded Sue Vincent to . . .