Part Sixteen of The Unseen Sea
Jason Rowbrook, our Foreign Office diplomat, is an example of an Enneagram Type Four.
We talked about the three primary figures on the enneagram’s nine points: Nine, itself, Three and Six. These three express the primary polarities of personality in the underlying trinity of how the self is formed.
To the left and right of these lie two other points, referred to as ‘Wings’. The Type Three, therefore, has Types Two and Four as its Wings; the type Six has Types Five and Seven as its Wings. Finally, the Type Nine has Types Eight and One.
These are illustrated below.
These are not simply arbitrary. Type Three is the home of the Image. Type Six is the home of Fear. A Type Three ‘pulled’ towards the characteristics of Type Six, is a good way of describing the Type Four, and would be a person who was strongly image-centric but fearful. This is simplifying things, but still sufficiently accurate for our purposes in this overview.
It is important to remember that these Types – expressed as characters in our narrative – are not separate within us, but form constellations within our psychological and spiritual makeup. We each have all nine of these types. But we have them in different proportions. One of them, however, will be dominant, and that will form the entire personality’s Outlook on the world and its life.
The detailed formation of that adult personality is beyond the scope of this series of posts, but it does conform to both psychology’s mapping of development and to what knowledge we have of the soul, which shares the journey through life with the body, in a beautiful dance of shifting polarities.
We may think of ourselves as a body which aspires to contact its soul, believing that the soul embodies that higher level of being and goodness. As we travel the landscape that is the magical enneagram, we find that we are, in fact, a Soul that has a body, rather than the other way round. The complex possession we call a self is really an artificial centre, formed in the brain after countless interactions between the body and the world, each of which produced a reaction, thereby obscuring the pristine world of the Soul which lies at our heart. The ego is made from reactions. Little wonder, then, that it is so fragile…
The ‘recovery’ of this true-self perspective is not as difficult as it may sound, since we are already that soul. We do need to be prepared to see the personality – the ego – for what it is. It has done what it was supposed to do, equipping us for the difficulties of adult life, in an often brutal and demanding world. Few people walk a truly spiritual path, for to do so is to cast off the familiarity of ego, and to work to see things as they are, which can be uncomfortable – though a much deeper level of comfort awaits us at the end of that rainbow of personal truth.
We have to start somewhere, and the enneagram gives us a good mapping as to our dominant Type and the relationship of that type to its world and the other aspects of our psyche. From there, we can work our way backwards into deeper and deeper realities – as long as we are prepared to counter the force of ego which colours our beliefs and perceptions and does not want its dominance threatened.
There is nothing negative about the ego; it does what it’s supposed to do. But those whose life has brought them to know the ego’s increasing weight cry, “enough!” and are on the verge of a new world when they view their egos as fuel for the spiritual journey, rather than the centre of life.
The enneagram is both precise and exacting in its instruction. It is worth learning the basics to make sense of what follows. It is a map–a map of a journey home. There can be nothing more spiritual than that.
Next time we will consider how the enneagram integrates the ideas of the Soul-Child and the Heart-Point. We will use all of this to reveal the true nature of Jason Rowbrook, and the challenges he faces with Maria, to whom he seems strangely bound…
End Part Sixteen
The Unseen Sea is an innovative, serialised introduction to the magical enneagram.
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©Copyright Stephen Tanham, 2016 images and text. All rights reserved.