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Holy Ideas for Each Enneagram type - taken from Facets of Unity by A.H Almaas

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  • Vive
    So to experience the helplessness without judgment and rejection is to accept our existential situation when we are not in the condition of enlightenment. It is the acceptance that, by the mere fact of being a human individual, you are helpless. This is analogous to the religious notion that it is only God who is mighty and capable, and the experience is similar to being genuinely immersed in prayer. If you really pray, you are acknowledging that there is a much larger force than you as a separate individual. The acceptance of your helplessness has the same sense of surrender and humility, and is in this sense a kind of prayer. Accepting and feeling your helplessness is seeing that you cannot free yourself, nor can you take away anyone else’s suffering. As long as you take yourself to be a separate doer, whatever you do is not going to make a difference, and helplessness is your objective condition.nt reason to explore the view of objective reality illuminated by the Holy Ideas: As long as we look at spiritual experience from the perspective of the separate self, this freedom will elude us because we will still be identified with the self that needs to be supported, protected, and enhanced. It is all too possible to have all kinds of spiritual experiences and realizations that are contained within, and therefore do not fundamentally challenge, the perspective of the egoic self. The view of reality shows how reality is when there is no egoic self; it shows how reality looks when it is free from that self-centeredness.

    It might take us a very long time to realize that this self-centeredness is really the cause of all suffering, and we might continue to believe for a very long time that we will be happier if we support that self, and enhance and protect it. If we don’t see that we need to be free of that self, we might use all of our understanding and experience in the spiritual realm to feed that self, which will only add to our problems. These problems are the problems of the self. If there is no self, we don’t have problems.

    Each of the Holy Ideas challenges and exposes one of the principles that is a foundation for that self—these are the specific delusions. Here, we are challenging the delusion that you are a separate and independent center of doing, action, and activity. The striving which supports that identity is pure suffering—there is no peace in it. We are usually not aware of the painful agitation of the striving as we are busily acting it out in our lives, believing that it will bring us something good. If we really saw the inner nature of this agitated, compulsive activity, we might not be so convinced that it will lead us to any sort of peace, happiness, or fulfillment.

    Working with Helplessness
    So we have explored the delusion of vanity and the striving that is the activity of the ego based on this delusion, and we will now focus more deeply on the specific difficulty of helplessness, which as we have seen, may appear as a sense of inability or inadequacy to do what is needed on one’s own. One thing we need to understand is that the sense of inadequacy is general and universal to ego. It is not as though some people are inadequate and others are not, nor is it that sometimes you are inadequate and at other times you are not. Nor is this inadequacy just a feeling: Ego, by its very nature, is inadequate. This inadequacy is what I have called elsewhere ego deficiency, and we have seen its origin as the lack of contact with the capacities of Being. (For an in-depth discussion of ego deficiency, see The Pearl Beyond Price.) The moment you take yourself to be a separate entity, you cut yourself off from your ground, from your support, from Being itself. As a result, you don’t have available to you the strength, the power, the will, the intelligence, and all of the other capacities that are inherent in Being. In this sense, the ego not only feels inadequate, but is indeed inadequate.

    At a more subtle level, we see that the inadequacy is due to the presence of ego boundaries. The fact that you believe you are a separate entity makes you feel unsupported and not held by Being, and leaves you with this sense of inadequacy. For a long time in spiritual work, when someone tells you that you need to look into your belief that you are a separate identity, you might feel that the person is trying to take away from you your most valued possession. In time, you see that it is really the other way around, that the person is acting compassionately, trying to release you from your suffering. It is an illusion that your sense of self is a good thing, and hopefully, your work will help you see that.

    So we have seen two levels of inadequacy or ego deficiency: the disconnection from Being and the fact of boundedness itself, which makes one unable to experience the support and the holding of Being. In working with the present Holy Idea, we can understand this phenomenon even more accurately as the lack of harmony with the unity of functioning, due to vanity—the conviction that one is an independent and separate doer. So the belief that one has autonomous functional capacity separate from the rest of existence is the deepest cause of the sense of lack. The fact that we believe we are separate doers puts us in a state of helplessness, which is experienced as inadequacy.

    When you feel the helplessness fully, without resisting it, you might feel that you are so helpless that you can’t even raise a finger. This experience is getting down to the truth of the delusion. It does not mean that you are an individual who is feeling inadequate when you could be feeling adequate, nor is there a judgment about the fact that you feel that way. If you experience the helplessness as a failure, it is because you believe that you should be able to be adequate, and since you’re not, you are ashamed and have a self-judgment about feeling that way. However, if you see that the helplessness is just an existential fact that is part and parcel of being an ordinary egoic human being, you realize that it is not something to judge and reject yourself for. Rather, it is something to accept with humility and surrender. It is a chance for you to finally see your condition accurately.

    So to experience the helplessness without judgment and rejection is to accept our existential situation when we are not in the condition of enlightenment. It is the acceptance that, by the mere fact of being a human individual, you are helpless. This is analogous to the religious notion that it is only God who is mighty and capable, and the experience is similar to being genuinely immersed in prayer. If you really pray, you are acknowledging that there is a much larger force than you as a separate individual. The acceptance of your helplessness has the same sense of surrender and humility, and is in this sense a kind of prayer. Accepting and feeling your helplessness is seeing that you cannot free yourself, nor can you take away anyone else’s suffering. As long as you take yourself to be a separate doer, whatever you do is not going to make a difference, and helplessness is your objective condition.

    Until you know yourself to be completely Being, you are objectively helpless; taking that prayerful attitude of acknowledging your helplessness in the face of the immensity of Being is not only useful—it also reflects the truth. The attitude of humility and helplessness is accurate as long as there is any remnant of self. From the perspective of pure Being, that prayerful attitude helps to expose the egoic self and to acknowledge its real situation. Then this acceptance of helplessness, without defense, without judgment, without striving, becomes the point of entry into Being and its dynamism.

    If you refrain from doing when you have the urge to strive, and merely accept the true condition of the ego, Being naturally acts through its optimizing thrust. Through your striving, you prevent, you block and oppose this optimizing thrust of Being. Striving for happiness or striving to attain any other goal is taking matters into your own hands instead of allowing the optimizing thrust of Being to make things happen. So accepting your helplessness is, in a sense, an invitation for the action of the optimizing thrust.

    We are seeing that allowing and understanding this helplessness is vitally important for spiritual development. Often, when we initially contact our sense of helplessness, it is the emotional helplessness that is the result of limitations in the environment—past, present, and imagined. This is the sense of helplessness we have when we are ill and feel helpless to move, or when we want a day off but have to work. It is also a regressive helplessness, shaped by memories of infancy when our capacity to do and to act were indeed limited and dependent. As we have said, this emotional helplessness is not the existential one that comes from merely having a sense of self. As long as you can find a reason for your helplessness, it is still not the fundamental helplessness. When you finally feel that your helplessness is not caused by someone holding you back, or by your lack of strength, or your smallness, or by any other specific circumstance, you will feel the existential helplessness that is present simply as part of the situation of being human.

    When we first feel it, this helplessness is a very painful state, one of profound vulnerability, fragility, inadequacy, and weakness. Allowing this level of vulnerability can be scary, especially in the harsh world we live in these days. But whether society supports it or not, those of us who are working to realize our true nature have no alternative. In time, the feeling of vulnerability is something that you can handle even in difficult situations, but in the beginning, you might need a particular environment in which you feel that you are not going to be attacked for being helpless. So we need to be intelligent and not expose our vulnerability in situations where it would hurt us rather than help us. This is why groups like those in our School are important. They provide a time and place where you can feel safe to go deeply into these areas within yourself. When you are by yourself, you need to find your own safe time and place to explore yourself. The concern about safety also reflects our early experiences when the environment was not empathic, gentle, and holding, in the face of our helplessness.

    This existential helplessness does not make sense unless you believe yourself to be a separate doer, or believe you are supposed to be able to do. As we feel this sense of helplessness and accept it, we are no longer trying to uphold the delusion that we can do. If we stay with the experience, we can penetrate this delusion. It may seem difficult to stay with because the state may initially be filled with pain and the fear that no one is going to take care of you and you are helpless. We have to remember not to completely believe these fears because believing them might cause us to react by defending against the sense of helplessness. Although it is painful, at some point we see that feeling the helplessness has a sincerity and truthfulness because we are no longer lying to ourselves. We are being authentic. This realization by itself can bring about an egoless state without our doing anything. The helplessness, then, opens the door to the action of Being itself.

    Most of us don’t let ourselves deeply feel this helplessness because we think it is a bad thing—that it means that there is something wrong with us personally. So we judge it, are ashamed of it, and don’t let ourselves feel it. But when you recognize that the helplessness is not about you personally, but is just the human condition, and that if you completely accept it, it becomes a positive state since it ushers you into Being, then you will welcome it whenever it arises.

    When you accept the helplessness, it means that you have stopped the efforting. When you see through the striving, you might become aware of how tired your heart is, how tired your mind is, how tired your body is, how tired your soul is. You feel a very old tiredness that exists because you have been trying for years and years and years to do something that you cannot do. The striving has been exhausting in a way you could never let yourself acknowledge before.

    The more you get in touch with the helplessness, the more you might also get in touch with a specific physical blockage against it, which is the same thing as holding on to the delusion of vanity, of separate doership. This blockage is a specific holding at the anterior fontanel (at the front of the head) which blocks the channel of Living Daylight. When we see through this delusion and surrender our striving and our belief in it, this channel opens up. Then we can experience the beginning of real holding, the beginning of blessing as a descent of light that is love. This loving light expresses the action of Being as it melts the rigidities and fixations of the soul.

    When this occurs, we see that vanity is the specific blockage against the channel of Living Daylight, because in believing in yourself as a separate doer, you are taking God’s place. In other words, vanity and striving are reflections of the position that one does not need real holding. You feel that you can do it on your own and so you don’t need nourishment—whether human or divine. It also means that you believe that you do not need grace, and therefore block it. Grace is the descent of Living Daylight, specifically in regard to dissolving boundaries, so it allows us to be held by the universe and to trust in it. When you connect with this level of reality, the degree of holding in the environment ceases to be an issue. The environment that allows us to dissolve is Being itself, and when we connect with that dimension of reality, we feel held no matter what situation we are in.

    This last Holy Idea is important in the Diamond Approach for two reasons. First, it is important because our approach recognizes and relies on the truth of the optimizing thrust of reality. This optimizing thrust is seen in our approach to spiritual work as the conjunction of understanding and unfoldment, which is a guided flow. Also, the open-minded and open-hearted optimism that is Holy Hope is reflected in our stance of allowing all that unfolds—within and without us—with an attitude of curiosity. This optimism is present in our work in our allowing of the presentations of Being’s dynamism, the openness to whatever happens, with an inquiring and a celebrative attitude. Understanding, which is the primary method in our work, needs this open welcoming of whatever arises: this both facilitates the unfoldment and is itself a product of that unfoldment.

    Relaxing into Being’s Unfoldment

    We have explored the nine specific delusions that describe the points of view that underlie and support the structure of the ego. This can help us to understand whether what motivates us is coming from a deluded perspective or from an objective view of reality. It should be obvious that most of us act in alignment with the delusions, and that these in turn generate the nine painful states that are the specific difficulties of the nine points. We have also seen how we characteristically try to resolve these painful states through the specific reactions, and how pointless this is since they are based on mistaken views of reality. We typically believe that by engaging in, and identifying with, these reactions, we will not feel our suffering. Through the course of our exploration, we have seen that these defensive reactions do not resolve the specific difficulties. Their resolution will happen only through letting go of the delusions underlying them. This means, first of all, that we must recognize the delusions we are operating from, and then we need to realize that they are the real cause of our suffering. In other words, they need to become ego alien, and we need to see that they constitute and maintain the egoic self.

    It is important for our spiritual development that we really understand what the deluded view of the ego is, and what the real view is as elucidated by the Holy Ideas. It is important that we do not deceive ourselves into taking a deluded way of seeing things to be what is objectively true. If you do not understand the view of reality, you will take your experience for granted as an unquestionable and unchanging, concrete reality.

    For example, most people have a difficult time because they believe that they don’t have enough money, or they don’t have enough love or enough security or enough of one thing or another. Most of these concerns are not realistic but are simply supports for the ego. How many friends you have, how many people admire you, how much financial security you have—this whole level of concern needs to be looked at and explored, rather than assumed to be true and acted upon. When you look at your life from the perspective of the objective view, you realize everything that happens is guided by an intelligence greater than your own. As long as you maintain that you want it to happen a certain way, you are striving toward an egoically determined outcome and you remain entrenched in suffering.

    Understanding the view of the Holy Ideas will create an attitude that is more open and more welcoming to the unfoldment. Holding on to the egoic view gives you a closed attitude, one that is narrow rather than expanded, inward looking rather than outward looking. The attitude of openness that the view of reality creates does not involve a judgment about the egoic view, since the moment you become judgmental and rejecting, you are again stuck in delusion.

    The attitude that arises through understanding the Holy Ideas is characterized by Holy Hope, the open-hearted optimism about how things happen. The more you develop this attitude, and the more the attitude is itself informed and supported by the view, the less concerned you will be about trying to change your state or fixing this or that inside or outside of you. You will become less concerned about tinkering with your mind or body, about doing this or that technique or method. There are many kinds of techniques and methods, and it is not that they are not useful, but the more you understand the objective view, the less you will rely on them. You will see more clearly what you really need, and will rely less on this or that method to open yourself up, amuse yourself, or change your state. People whose perception is very close to the view of reality don’t really do much. They just relax. This does not mean that they do anything to relax, since the moment you do something in order to relax, that becomes striving. But the more you simply relax, the more you find that you are open to what happens and have less judgment about whether it is good or bad. Over time, there will be less and less reflection of any kind on your experience.

    The attitude that comes from the view of the Holy Ideas is what is really needed to be able to trust the unfoldment of your soul, since it opens you up to Being with its optimizing thrust. This is what unfolds your experience and transforms it.

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  • Vive
    The loss or inadequacy of holding in childhood, reflected through this delusion of vanity, leads to the specific difficulty of ennea-type Three. The specific difficulty, as we have seen with each ennea-type, is how the environmental inadequacy in holding in early childhood is reflected in one’s personal experience. Here, there is the belief that one is a separate and independent doer, and at the same time, the experience that the environment is inadequate and unsupportive. You feel abandoned, rather than held and supported, and you have the sense that no one is taking care of you adequately. While feeling the deficiency, difficulty, and suffering of your experience, there is the growing conviction that you are a doer, that you can act. In other words, the inadequacy of the environment cuts you off from the experience that everything is occurring harmoniously without having to do anything yourself, while at the same time, you begin to believe in yourself as a separate doer. You take the inadequacy in the environment on yourself, believing that you should be able to take care of yourself, since through the delusion, you take yourself to be a center of action. So instead of seeing that the inadequacy is in the environment, you come to believe that it is within yourself. Since you aren’t able to provide for and take care of yourself, you not only take it to mean that you can’t do these things on your own, but you also take it as a failure, and feel unable, inadequate, and incompetent. If you did not believe that you are an independent doer, it wouldn’t make sense to believe that you are inadequate or a failure.

    Ego Helplessness and Striving

    So the painful emotional state of abandonment and isolation is compounded by feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, ineptness, and failure, all of which crystallizes during the first five or six years of life. The core of this complex of painful emotions is the specific difficulty itself, the very difficult feeling of helplessness. The sense of incompetence and failure is the helplessness characterized by self-judgment. Without this characterization, the helplessness is simply the existential predicament resulting from inadequate holding, filtered through this delusion. Without judgment, you wouldn’t feel like a failure, but simply helpless.

    This sense of helplessness is different from other states of helplessness that result when you cannot do something because of opposition in the environment: when you want to do something and you can’t. This helplessness is not specific to one incident, but is inherent in egoic experience. It is true of any ego, whether one is aware of it or not, and is the felt sense of oneself when one is subscribing to the delusion of independent doership. It is a deep inner feeling of helplessness that arises not because the situation is not right, but because you recognize that you just can’t do in a much more intrinsic and fundamental way. It becomes especially obvious and severe when the environment is not holding the individual, as happens in early childhood. However, this helplessness is nonsensical if one does not believe that one is an independent doer.

    The loss of basic trust is reflected in the mirror of vanity as the specific reaction of ennea-type Three. You feel abandoned, no one is taking care of you, and you feel that it is all up to you. Since you believe that you are an independent doer, the specific reaction is activity—the activity of the ego, both inner and outer. This activity is agitated, desperate, reactive, and also defensive, since it serves to cover up the specific difficulty of helplessness as well as its derivatives: the sense of inadequacy, ineptness, and failure. A good name for this reactive and agitated activity is striving. It manifests as an efforting, a pushing, a constant, obsessive and compulsive need to be active, achieving, doing, and succeeding.

    This striving is a reaction formation to the sense of helplessness, and at the same time, it is an imitation of the energetic dynamism of Being. Rather than being intimately connected to Being, however, it is an expression of, and a defense against, the deep sense of helplessness and emptiness experienced as inadequacy. So the striving is both an expression of the disconnection from Being and an activity that cuts one off from Being. It is the activity of the ego which does not trust that Being or God is doing everything, will do everything, and, if one surrenders to it, its optimizing thrust will spontaneously deliver us. This striving embodies egoic hope, as opposed to the flow that expresses theoptimism of Holy Hope. Egoic hope makes us react and disconnect from our experience, while Holy Hope makes us relax and open up to the unfolding that is carrying us harmoniously to fulfillment.

    True holding comes from the truth itself, from Being. The holding environment in a sense represents reality, whether it is manifesting in a real way—governed by truth, or in a false way—governed by egoic delusion. If it is manifesting in a real way, we experience holding. In the course of our development, the early environment becomes projected onto the totality of existence, so we tend to believe that all of existence is characterized by the lack of holding we experienced in childhood. This makes it difficult for us to see how Being, which is the totality of all of existence, can actually function to hold us.

    The more we have the experience of being held by reality, the more the sense of inadequacy will be healed. Such experiences generate more trust and help us understand more completely what holding is about. Initially, such experiences might expose previously unconscious memories of inadequate holding, which is part of the process of working through, and letting go of, those memories. In a sense, we have to re-experience the difficulties in the holding that we had—and feel their impact on us—in order to let them go.

    The more you understand the view of reality as seen through the Holy Ideas, the more you realize that the whole universe is holding you. The more you see that, the more you will trust, which in turn allows you to let go of more of your positions of deficiency. To really experience fundamental basic trust is not easy. Each of us already has some trust, so it is a matter of deepening and strengthening it, which requires confronting some difficult parts of ourselves.

    As with all of the nine specific reactions, the specific reaction of ennea-type Three exists to support the delusion. If you stop striving, you have to give up the delusion that you are a separate and independent doer. So, to prove to yourself that you are an independent doer, you have to always be engaged in activity, regardless of what it is about. Many people think that the most important thing to people of this ennea-type is success, but really, the most important thing is doing itself. Ennea-type Threes may be successful at meeting one goal and not successful at meeting another, but what characterizes them is that they are always striving. They don’t rest. So while success is important, it is not as fundamental as the striving itself. They are always generating their identity through activity. This striving is true of everyone living from the egoic perspective—it takes the form of control (ennea-type Four) and willfulness (ennea-type Two), for example—but is exemplified most clearly by those of this ennea-type.

    Ego activity always has a goal, whether the activity is internal or external. At some point, you see that even when the goals disappear, the striving continues, finding another goal to attach itself to. The goal itself, then, is not as important as the activity, because we see that the goals change while the activity persists.

    Eventually, when we see that the goals keep changing, we might recognize that the point was always the striving, not the goal. But the solution is not to try to stop striving, as this simply becomes another act of striving. To stop striving, we need only to fully realize the truth of the situation. This means we must first see how striving is constantly manifesting in our life and then see the reactive and defensive quality of it, how it is a response to our sense of helplessness.

    Ceasing to strive happens through accepting your helplessness. This helplessness is existential because in reality, you are not one who can do. This is the innate helplessness of the human being. In traditional religious terminology, awareness of this helplessness is described as “humility,” the recognition that only God is almighty. So recognizing your helplessness is, in a sense, recognizing that God is the one who is all-powerful and all-doing. This is why many spiritual traditions emphasize recognizing, feeling, and accepting your smallness and helplessness.

    This could be threatening or it might be quite comforting. To see that everything is being done regardless of you, and that things are happening in a harmonious way, can be quite a relief. If, on the other hand, you are trying to preserve your sense of identity, then the thought of giving up the sense of yourself as someone who does can be quite threatening.

    So accepting your helplessness is really a spiritual surrender. If you truly accept it, you know that it is really not up to you, and you are free. But if you believe it is all up to you, you will always be busy doing one thing or another and there will be no surrender. So the understanding and acceptance of objective helplessness is an entry into surrender to Being.

    Whether we feel threatened by this view of reality or not, it is how things really are. It might be alarming to begin to glimpse how things really are, but it is more alarming to realize that you have not been seeing reality as it is. You see that you have been interpreting what you perceive through various beliefs and concepts, and that these are delusions. If you do not interpret things through the filter of the delusions, you recognize that the world described by the Holy Ideas is the same world, but now without those limiting lenses. When you see that you have not had the vaguest idea about what reality is really like, you experience what is called “the fear of God.” Beyond this point, when you see the objective view in operation and let go of who you have taken yourself to be, the view is not only comforting, but very beautiful as well.

    Freedom from the Separate Self

    A good way to get a glimpse of the view of functioning elucidated by Holy Law is to look at transitional or intermediate experiences of it in which one perceives the functioning of reality, but without the complete loss of the boundaries that define most people’s experience. For example, you might experience it when you are in the midst of doing something and you realize that there is no striving—there is a sense of ease, a smoothness to the action that is like a slippery flow.

    Physical reality is the most difficult to perceive as part of a whole unfolding pattern. We usually think of physical reality as static, clunky objects outside of ourselves and we have the sense that time passes—both are very difficult perceptions to get beyond. But when observing your inner experience, it is easier to see that there is always an unfolding occurring that you are not making happen. Your sensations, thoughts, and feelings are unfolding and manifesting constantly. In fact, they are unfolding regardless of what you do. Can you stop your thoughts? There is a continual renewal of inner experience going on all the time. It is easy to see that it is not as though our inner experience is happening inside the body while time passes outside it. In reality, our body feels different in each moment. When you become aware of this, you begin to perceive the inner unfoldment of the soul. You might even experience the substance of the soul itself as a dynamic flow with an energetic aliveness. This is close to the sense of the overall unfoldment of reality, in which the flow is not happening just inside of you but everywhere.

    Another transitional experience that can move us toward an expanded view of reality is experiencing the soul as an effulgence, a flow. When you experience this fully, you might see that you cannot separate your soul from your body; they are one thing. Seeing this, you can experience the whole of your body as a flow that is continually renewing itself. You perceive, then, that your body is being recreated in every instant.

    As these types of experiences deepen over time, and the sense of boundaries dissolves, you being to see that what you have experienced within yourself is happening all around you. Then you recognize that there are not experiences, but peeks or glimpses of what is happening all the time. Having this kind of perception reveals Holy Hope. When you recognize through your helplessness that you are not the mover, that you are not really making things happen, things begin to happen in a different way. When you realize that you don’t have to do it all, there is a sense of release and relief, and you can allow things to unfold by themselves.

    For the soul to be free basically means freedom from the separate and individual self. This separate and individual self, in its attempts to support, protect, and enhance itself, accounts for all emotional suffering. This is an importa self that needs to be supported, protected, and enhanced. It is all too possible to have all kinds of spiritual experiences and realizations that are contained within, and therefore do not fundamentally challenge, the perspective of the egoic self. The view of reality shows how reality is when there is no egoic self; it shows how reality looks when it is free from that self-centeredness.

    It might take us a very long time to realize that this self-centeredness is really the cause of all suffering, and we might continue to believe for a very long time that we will be happier if we support that self, and enhance and protect it. If we don’t see that we need to be free of that self, we might use all of our understanding and experience in the spiritual realm to feed that self, which will only add to our problems. These problems are the problems of the self. If there is no self, we don’t have problems.

    Each of the Holy Ideas challenges and exposes one of the principles that is a foundation for that self—these are the specific delusions. Here, we are challenging the delusion that you are a separate and independent center of doing, action, and activity. The striving which supports that identity is pure suffering—there is no peace in it. We are usually not aware of the painful agitation of the striving as we are busily acting it out in our lives, believing that it will bring us something good. If we really saw the inner nature of this agitated, compulsive activity, we might not be so convinced that it will lead us to any sort of peace, happiness, or fulfillment.

    Working with Helplessness
    So we have explored the delusion of vanity and the striving that is the activity of the ego based on this delusion, and we will now focus more deeply on the specific difficulty of helplessness, which as we have seen, may appear as a sense of inability or inadequacy to do what is needed on one’s own. One thing we need to understand is that the sense of inadequacy is general and universal to ego. It is not as though some people are inadequate and others are not, nor is it that sometimes you are inadequate and at other times you are not. Nor is this inadequacy just a feeling: Ego, by its very nature, is inadequate. This inadequacy is what I have called elsewhere ego deficiency, and we have seen its origin as the lack of contact with the capacities of Being. (For an in-depth discussion of ego deficiency, see The Pearl Beyond Price.) The moment you take yourself to be a separate entity, you cut yourself off from your ground, from your support, from Being itself. As a result, you don’t have available to you the strength, the power, the will, the intelligence, and all of the other capacities that are inherent in Being. In this sense, the ego not only feels inadequate, but is indeed inadequate.

    At a more subtle level, we see that the inadequacy is due to the presence of ego boundaries. The fact that you believe you are a separate entity makes you feel unsupported and not held by Being, and leaves you with this sense of inadequacy. For a long time in spiritual work, when someone tells you that you need to look into your belief that you are a separate identity, you might feel that the person is trying to take away from you your most valued possession. In time, you see that it is really the other way around, that the person is acting compassionately, trying to release you from your suffering. It is an illusion that your sense of self is a good thing, and hopefully, your work will help you see that.

    So we have seen two levels of inadequacy or ego deficiency: the disconnection from Being and the fact of boundedness itself, which makes one unable to experience the support and the holding of Being. In working with the present Holy Idea, we can understand this phenomenon even more accurately as the lack of harmony with the unity of functioning, due to vanity—the conviction that one is an independent and separate doer. So the belief that one has autonomous functional capacity separate from the rest of existence is the deepest cause of the sense of lack. The fact that we believe we are separate doers puts us in a state of helplessness, which is experienced as inadequacy.

    When you feel the helplessness fully, without resisting it, you might feel that you are so helpless that you can’t even raise a finger. This experience is getting down to the truth of the delusion. It does not mean that you are an individual who is feeling inadequate when you could be feeling adequate, nor is there a judgment about the fact that you feel that way. If you experience the helplessness as a failure, it is because you believe that you should be able to be adequate, and since you’re not, you are ashamed and have a self-judgment about feeling that way. However, if you see that the helplessness is just an existential fact that is part and parcel of being an ordinary egoic human being, you realize that it is not something to judge and reject yourself for. Rather, it is something to accept with humility and surrender. It is a chance for you to finally see your condition accurately.

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  • Vive
    More exactly, creation or the flow of Being is basically replacement: One unified appearance is replaced by another unified appearance. The word creation might make you think that something new and different is being created, but from the perspective of self-revelation, Being is simply revealing itself through the innumerable manifestations of objects, beings, and events that we experience. So by seeing this flow as a self-revelation, we see that there is no distinction between what is created and what is creating.

    Here, then, the continuity of Being is its self-revelation, through which we are able to perceive it. As long as there is perception of Being, it is always perceived through the forms it manifests. When you perceive Being without any form, there is no perception. This is the divine coma, the cessation of experience. The forms through which we perceive it are the manifestations of Being itself, so it is not as though Being is manifesting us. Being is manifesting itself, and we are part of that Being.

    So we have seen Holy Law as a flow of Being, a creativity, and a self-revelation. Experientially, there is a different flavor to each of these perceptions, and they are progressively more subtle. The self-revelation has more of a magical quality: The whole of reality is Being, magically displaying its qualities and potentialities by making them appear just like that, out of nothing. But that appearance is Being itself, not something separate.

    This sense of the flow as a magical unfoldment is close to the fourth, even more subtle way of experiencing Holy Law, in which everything is experienced as a manifestation of Being. This perception is described by Longchenpa, in the following quote:
    All that is has me—universal creativity, pure and total presence—as its root.

    How things appear is my being.

    How things arise is my manifestation.

    (Longchenpa, 1987, p. 32)
    “How things appear” points to the Beingness, and “how things arise” points to the unfoldment, to the flow, the manifestation. So Holy Law here is the magical manifestation of the mystery. It is the spontaneous self-arising of all appearance. Everything, then, is seen as spontaneously arising, with no creator and no created. What is arising is nothing but the presence itself manifesting itself. This is the complete coemergence of Being and functioning. Longchenpa continues:
    [Because all buddhas, sentient beings, appearances,

    Existences, environments, and inhabitants]

    Arise from the quintessential state of pure and total presence,

    One is beyond duality.

    . . .

    Because all phenomena do not exist apart from me,

    One is beyond duality. I fashion everything.

    (Longchenpa, 1987, p. 35)
    Each of the ways of perceiving Holy Law adds a slightly different subtlety. Together, they provide a more complete perception of Holy Law. The difference between self-revelation and manifestation may appear very small when discussing it, but experientially, the difference is considerable. In self-revelation, Being is revealing whatever is in it, while in manifestation, Being is the unending spontaneous manifestation. This subtlety has a very different feel experientially.

    A fifth way of experiencing Holy Law takes the last quote still further. This is the perception that everything occurs according to one universal will. In other words, there is one reality whose will manifests through all events, movements, and changes. This perception is the closest to the notion of a creator God with a Divine Will. But here, we see that this God is not an entity separate from what is created, so the created and the inner nature of the created are experienced as inseparable. In addition to this inseparability, there is the sense of one unified will moving everything, the sense that Beingness with its own will is transforming itself.

    Through the sixth way of experiencing Holy Law, we gain a more complete understanding of it. Here, we experience Being as an inherently dynamic presence. The dynamism is completely inseparable from Being, so it is not as though there is Being and it has a creative quality. From the beginning, Being is constantly dynamic. So it is not only pure presence, but this presence by its very nature is dynamic, energetic, and in a constant state of aliveness and renewal. It is always transforming its appearance, without there being a transformed one and a transforming one. So Being is a living, seething, dynamic, energetic presence, whose dynamism and movement never detract from its stillness. To see the aspect of self-revelation of Being is to appreciate intimately the depth of awareness that appears as the forms of manifestation, to perceive that the Divine Awareness is never left as form arises.

    In the experiences of the Holy Law as the revelation or manifestation of Being, there is some sense of you being a witness in the experience, perceiving things unfolding. In the experience of the inherent dynamism of Being, you are not experiencing that things are manifesting; you are yourself in a constant dynamism. There is no distinction between the witness and the revelation or the manifestation. Witnessing itself is part of the dynamism. The dynamism, then, is inherently self-aware.

    To understand that the totality of the universe is constantly renewing itself radically changes our notion of death. Personal death is simply Being manifesting at one moment with a particular person as part of the picture, and in the next moment without that person. From this perspective, all the issues about death change character. Death disappears into the continual flow of unfolding, self-arising change.

    There are many other ways of experiencing Holy Law; we are mentioning just a few of them here. This is the most difficult Idea to understand intellectually, as well as to grasp experientially, because the entirety of our lives is based on a completely different perspective.

    Harmonious Flow
    Holy Harmony, the second name or nuance of this Holy Idea, points to two primary insights regarding Holy Law. It refers to Holy Law, but focuses on certain things about it. The first insight is that because everything happens as one action, as one unified flow, the pattern of this flow is experienced as the complete harmony of all the various happenings contained within it. The perception of this harmony is that it is beauty, it is love, it is grace, it is luminosity, it is abundance and fullness. So all movements, changes, and actions form a unified and harmonious patterned flow. This flow is aesthetically and absolutely appealing and satisfying, and on a practical level, is totally fulfilling. There are no incongruities, no inconsistencies, no contradictions between the various local changes and occurrences because they are not separate from each other. Contradictions can only exist from the perspective of an individual who sees one thing happen and then sees another thing happen, which she thinks is contradictory to the first thing. But if there is only one unified unfolding, how can there be inconsistencies? What we call disharmonies and inconsistencies are part of the harmony when seen from this larger perspective.

    Another insight that Holy Harmony reveals is the perception that this unified functioning has an inherent intelligence which gives it an optimizing thrust. In other words, this dynamic flow and creativity is not haphazard, erratic, or accidental, but rather, is a harmony that reveals an intrinsic intelligence. This intelligence manifests in the fact that the thrust of this flow and creativity is optimizing, in the sense that it spontaneously tends toward the revelation of this primordial and self-existing harmony. In other words, if we perceive the flow, if we perceive Holy Law, we also can perceive that this flow has an intrinsic intelligence, which can be seen in the fact that this flow is optimizing. It is optimizing in the sense that it is always moving in such a way that it reveals its truth. So the dynamism of Being is like a gravitational pull that always tends to pull our perception toward the revelation of its truth, toward seeing its harmony.

    From the point of view of the end of the journey, the state of egolessness, the perception of Holy Harmony is that the creative flow is always a harmony, in harmony, and revealing harmony. The harmony is self-existent and is always present. Its existence is not the result of someone advancing on a path; only the perception of it results from spiritual work. From the point of view of one traveling the path, the perception is that the creative flow manifests as an optimizing thrust, pushing one toward harmony. That is, if we let reality unfold without interfering with it, we see that our experience of it evolves spontaneously toward harmony and the awareness of harmony. The optimizing thrust of reality will move our experience of ourselves and the world toward the enlightened state, which is the perception of, and the abiding in, objective reality, as revealed in the nine Holy Ideas.

    We can see this Idea of Holy Harmony either from the perspective of the enlightened state or from that of moving toward it. From the enlightened state, we realize that the unfoldment of reality is always a harmony; one harmony is being continuously replaced by another harmony. From the perspective of the path, we realize that there is an unfoldment occurring. If we really attune ourselves to the dynamism of Being, instead of trying to take things into our own hands, we realize that the dynamism of Being has its own inherent optimizing thrust that will guide us and lead us toward the implicit harmony.

    This perception and understanding of Holy Harmony manifesting as an optimizing thrust can be seen as inner guidance, the guidance of Being, or as divine guidance or inspiration. Reality, then, is inherently moving our consciousness toward perceiving it as it is. It is always pointing toward its truth. When the ego is not informing our experience, reality is not only pointing toward its truth, but the pointing itself is the truth.

    Within ego, you perceive Being acting upon your consciousness in such a way as to draw you toward it. But when the veils of separation are gone, you see that nothing is acting on or guiding anything; the whole thing is Being revealing itself. So while the perspective from the path is a limited point of view of reality, that limited point of view is part of the whole, too.

    So we have described Holy Law and Holy Harmony. Holy Hope has two meanings. The first is that the very fact of universal and harmonious functioning is the true hope. The optimizing thrust inherent in this functioning is our hope. The fact that there is a harmony that is always drawing us closer to itself is the real hope. Hope here is not a feeling—it is a perception of the truth. The word hope is used as it is when saying to the Divine, “You are my hope.” The dynamism of Being is seen as our true hope. Whether you recognize it or not, this dynamism is the hope for any human being of living in the truth, in harmony with objective reality.

    Objective Optimism
    The second meaning of Holy Hope is the effect on the soul of seeing and understanding Holy Law and Holy Harmony. This, then, is hope in the sense of the theological virtue. It is the realization that Reality “does itself,” independent of our imaginary autonomy, and that this doing is a harmonious flow, which, most importantly, guides us spontaneously toward the harmony of enlightenment. This perception transforms the soul through impacting it in the specific way that we call Holy Hope.

    Again, this is not hope in the sense of hoping that things will get better. It is a sense that you might be experiencing right now if you have understood Holy Law and Holy Harmony. It is a state of trust that everything will be okay, which is slightly different than Holy Faith. Here, it is a feeling of optimism, an attitude of joyous openness and trusting receptivity to what the unfolding of Being presents to us. A trust in the dynamics of Being naturally makes us feel optimistic. If you recognize that Being is a harmony, that it always functions in a harmonious way, and that it is always optimizing our experience when we don’t interfere with it, an optimism about experience in general will arise. You will have an openness to whatever happens; whatever God or the universe presents you with, you will welcome happily because you know that everything is moving naturally toward harmony. This is not something that you conceptualize, nor is it about anything in particular that occurs. It is a general, open-ended optimism about life in general.

    The difference between Holy Faith and Holy Hope is that faith is a trust in the fact of the presence of Being, while hope is trust in the creative flow of the functioning of that presence. So faith gives you the sense of being supported and taken care of by the universe, while hope gives you the sense that as things unfold, everything is and will be fine. Holy Hope, then, is an openness, a curiosity, a receptivity, and an optimism about how things are going to reveal themselves, because you are certain that the optimizing thrust of reality moves toward harmony and fulfillment. Even putting it in this way makes the hope sound too specific—it is just an open optimism about life.

    It is obvious how this kind of hope is helpful and necessary on the path, since it is needed to allow the unfoldment of the soul to progress without feeling the need to interfere with it or direct it. We know that it is inherently guided, and this knowing is not an idea in our minds, nor the result of reasoning, nor a logical certainty. It is an experiential transformation of the soul that makes the soul progressively more open and happily optimistic, trusting that everything will transpire in the best way, beyond our preconceived ideas of what we think is best. It is not a hope for something specific, as we have said. If it were, it would be egoic hope based on judgments and preconceptions about what we think ought to happen, and on rejection of the present. It is, rather, the growing and deepening certainty that whatever happens will be part of the optimizing thrust of reality and its guidance. It is complete openness to the unfoldment.

    Many of us have had experiences in which we felt a sense of unfoldment that has happened naturally, without manipulation, or have had a sense of being guided. These experiences can help us understand this Holy Idea, in that this Idea is a larger, non-specific version of these experiences. To understand this connection will also confront our egoic view about functioning and unfoldment, which is necessary to expose our ego-based convictions.

    As we learn about the Holy Ideas, we might judge ourselves harshly because we don’t experience them. But believing that we should be experiencing from these enlightened perspectives is based on a judgmental comparison, which is not part of the Holy Ideas. It is the delusion of ennea-type One, as we have seen. There is nothing in the Holy Ideas that judges whether you are experiencing it that way or not. From the perspective of the view of reality that the Holy Ideas describe, there is no judgment and there are no comparisons. In fact, because it is the dynamism of Being, Holy Law includes and allows egoic experience. This, also, is the functioning of Being. You are not creating it, even though it might seem that way. Being allows itself to be experienced accurately and it allows itself to be experienced inaccurately, in both cases with complete compassion.

    The Separate Doer
    The absence of the Holy Idea that we have been discussing leads to the specific delusion of ennea-type Three. It is the belief in a separate and independent doer. We have seen that the delusion of ennea-type Five is the belief in a separate existence, the delusion of ennea-type Two is the belief in a separate will and choice, and the delusion of ennea-type Four is the belief in a separate identity. Here, it is the belief in separate functioning. It is the conviction that one can act independently from the rest of the universe, operating as a separate functional unity. This is an obvious consequence of not perceiving Holy Law, not seeing that everything is the unified functioning of Being. So it is not only the delusion that things happen separately and in isolation in the universe, but specifically, that you are a separate and independent doer, that you can function and accomplish things on your own.

    In the absence of Holy Law, you perceive things as separate and functioning separately, and so you believe that events happen in isolation. You also see human beings as separate and functioning separately, which means that you believe that you are doing things on your own, independent of everyone and everything else. So the delusion here is not just that everything functions separately, but specifically, that you are an independent doer, that you, as a separate individual, are a source of action.

    When we say that you are not an independent doer, this does not mean that in the objective view, there is no feeling of functioning happening through you—it is not that you don’t feel you are moving your arms or talking, nor is it the sense that someone or something else is moving you. It is a different perception in which you see that all functioning, all doing, all activity is happening as one thing. What you are doing and what everyone else is doing is all part of the same movement, so there is no isolated functioning separate from that one flow of activity.

    When you are driving your car and you see others driving their cars, instead of perceiving that each of you is engaged in a separate activity, from this perspective, you would see that you and everyone else you pass on the road are all manifestations of the same thing. There are not separate individuals at this level. At a still deeper level, you realize that not only are you and everyone else manifestations of the same reality, but the cars are also manifestations of that reality, and the road itself. The car and you and the driving itself are all the functioning of Being, and so in reality there is no one driving a car. Then you realize that you have never driven from one place to another, that reality has simply manifested in such a way that it appears as it you have driven a car on a road.

    When you watch a movie and see someone in it driving a car, is that person really driving a car from one place to another? If you forget that you are sitting in a theater, watching an image on a screen, you believe that someone is really driving. But in reality, what is happening is that one frame of film after another is being projected onto the screen, creating the illusion that someone is driving. Our situation is analogous to this. Your experience of time is part of this belief that you go from one place to another, or that things move from one time to another, but in reality, the pattern of the universe just keeps moving and changing.

    So in our analogy, the delusion of ennea-type Three is that the movie is reality and our actions are not part of a larger picture beyond the movie. It is said that ennea-type Three is trying to take God’s place by being a little independent god, making up his own laws. This is due to the delusion at the heart of this ennea-type that God is not the only doer. In the old theological language, this belief that you are like a little god, functioning according to your own independent laws, is called the “sin of vanity.”

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  • Vive
    Point Three

    The awareness that there are no exceptions to the natural laws which govern the Cosmos, and that these laws are completely objective, operating as an inter-connected unity. The highest law is the totality of Reality itself. Certitude in the objectivity and total applicability of those laws is true hope.

    —Ichazo, 1972

    Understanding what we have been calling the “view of reality” can and usually does make the difference between getting bogged down somewhere on the path, or continuously opening and progressing. This view becomes an important ground for our work, and if we do not have a good grasp of it, we could get stuck in one place or another and not even be aware of it. Because this view is not related to a specific experience, spiritual or otherwise, and is not dependent on experiencing a particular essential aspect or dimension of Being, it transcends all dimensions, and is a formulation of what is objectively true about any experience on any dimension. It is an understanding of how reality is, and how it functions, regardless of which state of consciousness one is experiencing. So the focus in this study is not on the specific content of experience, whether the experience is of the ego self, of emotions, of emptiness, of the essential self, of the body, or even of hearing celestial music, seeing angels, or being healed. The view is unconcerned with these specifics and applies to all of them. When you apprehend the content of your experience from the perspective of this transcendent view, you see that all your experience is part of the greater reality illuminated by this view.

    Without this perspective, your experience will be grounded in the egoic view, regardless of how exalted, sublime, or subtle, the state. So if you are ignorant of the objective view of reality, you might very well get trapped in one dimension or another, and never know what it means to be free from the ego. The Holy Idea of ennea-type Three, which we are about to explore, is particularly germane to this issue of stuckness versus continual unfoldment and realization.

    The view of reality that we are elucidating, then, clarifies whether one’s experience—whatever its content—is perceived from the egoic view or from the objective view. Understanding the objective view means understanding experience when there is no ego informing it. It shows us how any experience or dimension of reality will be perceived when seen objectively, in contrast to how it will be perceived when seen through the egoic filter of the nine delusions. For example, you might have a very profound experience of divine love and perceive it as being particular to one time, place, or person, and not to another—which is the egoic view—or you might perceive it as the nature of everything—which is the objective view.

    The objective view of reality facilitates progressive unfoldment by continually opening up our experience, while the egoic view tends to hold and fixate it. Through understanding how reality works, we develop basic trust in the nature of Being. Trusting the reality of Being is of primary importance in facilitating our experience to unfold and mature.

    It does not matter whether you like the view of reality or not. It is how things are. If you like it or don’t like it, that’s your business—it’s not the business of reality. If you don’t like how things are, the best you can do is to find out why, so that you can begin to harmonize yourself with it. Otherwise, you will suffer. This doesn’t mean reality is punishing you. It simply means that if you harmonize yourself with reality, you will experience a sense of peace and freedom, and if you don’t, you will experience discord.

    There are three ways in which we can understand the Holy Idea of ennea-type Three, and so it has three names: Holy Harmony, Holy Law, and Holy Hope. As we will see, all of these aspects of the Holy Idea are interrelated. Here again is Ichazo’s definition: “The awareness that there are no exceptions to the natural laws which govern the Cosmos, and that these laws are completely objective, operating as an interconnected unity. The highest law is the totality of Reality itself. Certitude in the objectivity and total applicability of those laws is true hope.”

    To understand what this means, we need to see that this Holy Idea is about functioning, meaning that it deals with activity, events, changes, transformations, movements, processes, the passage of time, and so on. In other words, this is the main Idea on the Enneagram that can help us understand how changes and movement actually happen. The other Ideas that deal with the perception of changes and transformation are Holy Will, Holy Origin, and Holy Work; but these are all dependent upon, and elaborations of, the Idea of Holy Law, as we will see.

    Holy Hope is one of the three theological virtues of Christianity, which are represented by the Holy Ideas of the Nine, Six, and Three ennea-types. As we have seen, each of these Ideas not only elucidates a particular experience of objective reality, but also describes the transformative effect on the soul of this experience. Holy Hope is the specific transformation in the soul that is the consequence of Holy Law and Holy Harmony. This is similar to what we saw in our study of ennea-type Six in which Holy Faith is the transformation of the soul that happens as a consequence of understanding Holy Strength.

    So to understand the theological virtue of Holy Hope, we need to understand what Holy Law and Holy Harmony mean. Holy Law is the completely egoless perception and understanding of functioning and activity, which means the dynamic characteristics of Being. It roughly corresponds to the Fifth Awareness or Buddha in the Vajrayana Buddhist system of the Five Buddhas: the “all-accomplishing wisdom,” which is related to the action of compassion.

    Dynamic Oneness
    Understanding the energetic, dynamic, and creative element of Being is vitally important as we travel the path, because many people become frightened when they experience presence, and realize that it involves non-doing, a state of deep rest. We become concerned about who is going to take care of things and how things will be accomplished if the truth of who we are is this non-doing. How will the rent get paid? Who will do the laundry? Who will get the groceries and how will dinner be prepared? If you don’t understand how functioning actually happens objectively, you will believe that if you abide in this presence, nothing will happen. You will have no trust that things will be taken care of. When people first recognize the profound stillness that manifests in being deeply present, and they become afraid about whether things will be taken care of, they try to use their experience to support their egoic view of functioning. They ask, “How is this useful for my daily life?” This is analogous to someone having a vision of Jesus Christ, and then asking his priest, “How can I apply this to my life?” These concerns indicate a lack of understanding about objective functioning.

    Holy Law shows the unity of existence when seen in its functioning, dynamic mode. This Idea is a formulation of the dimension that we call the Logos in the Diamond Approach, which is the dynamic and creative element inherent in the reality of Being. We have explored the idea of the unity of existence in Holy Truth and Holy Omniscience, seeing that all of reality is a unity, that everything constitutes one infinite and boundless presence. This is the basic spiritual perception: the unity and oneness of existence. This oneness takes the form of a multiplicity of appearance and experience, just as in ordinary perception, but there is no true separateness between one thing and another. In reality, there is no duality, no isolating boundaries or partitions. The separateness of various phenomena is only apparent, and discrimination only differentiates, rather than partitions. When we see this unity in process over the course of time, and understand how it moves and changes, then we understand Holy Law.

    From this perspective, what we see is quite different from the ordinary perception of the world of objects which is inhabited by living beings who are centers of action and filled with movements and transformations dictated by physical laws. The ordinary view is that we live in a universe of physical objects made up of physical matter that obey physical laws of various kinds, such as the law of gravity, chemical and biochemical laws, electro-mechanical laws, and so on. Inhabiting this inanimate universe are beings who do things and make things. This perspective completely ignores the fact of oneness and the unity of existence. If reality is one, if there are no separating boundaries between one thing and another, then there are no objects in the usual sense of the word, nor are there separate individuals. Believing that changes occur because one thing acts upon another—like the sun acts on the earth and the earth in turn acts on the moon, or you are doing something that affects someone else—assumes a belief in separateness.

    But if separateness is not ultimately real, how do these things happen? Exploring this question can bring about an understanding of Holy Law. From its perspective, we perceive a progressive unfoldment of the unity of existence, all of existence changing and transforming in unity, since everything makes up a boundless oneness. Changes are not seen as separate and isolated from each other, or even as causing each other. All of the universe, even those parts of it that we consider static and unchanging, is continuously transforming from one total and unified condition to another total and unified condition. That is Holy Law: the unity of all change.

    So Holy Law means that the whole universe changes and transforms as a unity, like one ocean whose surface is in a constant state of change and transformation, continuously rippling as one. It is not that things are changing in unison, but that one completely unified mass is moving without the possibility of any part going its own way or changing, independent of the rest. If one thing were to change separately, the unity of existence would be broken.

    Clearly, this view is a radical departure from our usual way of perceiving things. It challenges all kinds of assumptions. For example, we see that the so-called law of cause and effect does not exist, since causality means that one thing causes something else to happen. According to Holy Law, there are no isolated objects or events, so to experience one thing as causing another is not accurate. From this perspective, for instance, the experience that you are turning the pages of this book is not what is really happening—there is no separate book with a separate you turning the pages. There is actually a wholeness, a whole movement of reality in which the pages turn. You cannot walk from one place to another, since there is no separate you and there are really no distances to be traversed. The whole picture changes from one instant to the next. What we think of as walking from here to there is more like the changing arrangements of dots on a television screen; at one moment, they’re arranged so that you are here, the next, you are there, and so on. So there are no actual distances crossed. If you really understand the unity of Being, how else could it be? The moment there is separate functioning in any part of the whole, the unity is broken.

    Holy Law is more difficult to perceive than unity. To perceive it, you have to experience the continuity and the unity of Being for some time, and then you might begin recognizing Holy Law. From this perspective, we realize that the universe does not exist in time. It is continuously and instantaneously being created second by second. This is not the same thing as saying that God creates or moves everything, which is the traditional religious point of view that sets God apart from the rest of the universe, an indication that one is not seeing or understanding the unity of existence. Understanding Holy Law renders meaningless the religious belief that the universe was created by God at some moment in the distant past. The entire universe is being created anew in every instant, so it is not true that a creator created the universe at some point and then things began happening within it. The latter is an idea that falls within the view of ego. From the perspective of Holy Law, there is no such thing as time in the way we usually think of it; there isn’t a universe made up of discrete objects, nor is there such a thing as a God separate from it.

    The perspective of Holy Law, then, illuminates the fact that the unity of Being is not a static existence, but rather, a dynamic presence that is continuously changing and transforming as a unified field. Here, we see the aliveness of Being and the universe, its energy and flow and vigorous transformation. This Holy Idea confronts some of our very basic convictions about reality, but if we don’t understand it, we cannot really understand what unfoldment means. This is because the unfoldment of the soul is Holy Law operating in one location, so when we perceive it, we are seeing in microcosm what is happening everywhere all the time. Holy Law is not an easy thing to swallow, since in the process of perceiving it, you—as you have known yourself—get swallowed up.

    Perceptions of the Dynamic Flow
    This perception of the unity and the inseparability of all change and transformation can take many forms. First, it can be the experience of seeing all of existence as a presence that is patterned. This presence is not static but is, in its unified totality, in constant flow. This unified flow occurs in such a way that its pattern is continuously changing and evolving. It happens in this way because first of all, the unity according to Holy Omniscience, as we have seen, has patterns in it, differentiations and differences, which, while not separating, make a pattern. This pattern is always changing as the flow is unfolding. So, the unfoldment or flow of Being manifests as the changing of the pattern of the unity, continuously changing the patterns of how things appear. It is like seeing the whole universe as one river that is constantly changing as it flows. We not only perceive this change as changes, transformations, movements, and evolutions in the cosmic pattern, but we also see that these changes and movements include what we ordinarily perceive as our actions and the actions of other living beings.

    So Being is not only presence, but the flow of presence. It is a flow of nowness in continuous transformation of the universal pattern. This flow is what we usually perceive as the passage of time. In other words, what we call time is a limited way of intuiting the flow of Being. Since we ordinarily don’t perceive the unity of existence, and so don’t experience change as the flow of Being, we think of change as due to the passage of time.

    The flow itself is what I call real time. When we perceive all of reality in constant flow, then we are perceiving real time; otherwise, we see the situation in a distorted way, as separate changes happening in time. So the flow, the experience of Holy Law, is in a sense the source of time, since time is a concept arising from a distorted perception of Being or the totality of the universe in a constant state of flow.

    Being is very fluid, continuously arranging and rearranging the pattern of appearance. The contemporary Buddhist teacher, Tarthang Tulku, describes this in his book, Time, Space and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality, in which he calls this dynamic flow, “Great Time.” “When fully appreciated, Great Time is seen to be a kind of perfectly liquid, lubricious dimension—it is quintessentially ‘slippery’” (Tulku, 1977, p. 161). When you feel the flow, you realize that Being is not static, but constantly moving like quicksilver.

    So this is one way of seeing Holy Law, as a continuously changing flow of Being. A second way of perceiving it is as creation. In contrast to the Biblical creation story, this is the idea of continual creation, of the universe being continually created instant by instant, always new. The focus in this perception is not on the fact of the flow and process of change, but on the fact that the flow is not in time, not coming from the past through the present and into the future. The perception of the flow as creation reveals that it is from non-existence to existence, a flow that is continuously being renewed. When we think of water flowing, we usually think of the same water moving, but here, it is more the sense of a fountain of newly-arising water, constantly being created. Seeing that the flow is always in the now, you realize that it is a new creation. Everything is constantly manifesting, as in a magic show when a rabbit is pulled out of an empty hat. So when we talk about creation, we see that it is not a flow from the past to the future, but rather, a flow from non-manifestation to manifestation.

    This continual creation is not separate from presence or the Divine Being; it is Being manifesting through countless and varied forms. It is difficult to perceive this continual renewal, this constantly new creation, when one is still caught in the delusion of separateness. Being and what is being created are the same thing. It is Being outflowing, creating how it appears from instant to instant. This idea is prevalent in Sufism, and according to the Sufi philosopher, Ibn Arabi:

    Creation as the “rule of being” is the pre-eternal and continuous movement by which being is manifested at every instant in a new cloak. The Creative Being is the pre-eternal and post-eternal essence or substance which is manifested at every instant in the innumerable forms of beings; when He hides in one, He manifests Himself in another. Created Being is the manifested, diversified, successive, and evanescent forms, which have their substance not in their fictitious autonomy but in the Being that is manifested in them and by them. (Corbin, 1969, p. 200)

    This means that everything that we see is the manifestation of Being, which is completely inseparable from Being, because it is Being itself manifesting itself in the various forms that we see. So God is not something that creates the world; God is the world when we recognize it in its unity. Quoting Ibn Arabi again, he says:

    And His Creation springs, not from nothingness, from something other than Himself, from a not-Him, but from His fundamental being, from the potencies and virtualities latent in His own unrevealed being. . . . The Creation is essentially the revelation of the Divine Being, first to himself, a luminescence occurring within Him, it is a theophany (tajalli ilahi). (Corbin, 1969, p. 185)

    The latter quote points to the third way of experiencing the Holy Law. This is the experience that reality is inherently and constantly self-revealing. So everything that we see is nothing but the revelation of Being, the true reality of the universe. This self-revelation highlights the inherent creativity of Being, the fact that it is spontaneously creative, and that this creativity is continuously revealing its richness and its treasures. From this angle, all movements and transformations are seen as the spontaneous self-revealing creativity of Being. The focus here, then, is on the spontaneous magical unfolding and flowering, which is pure appearing.
    Last edited by Vive; 06-05-2020, 06:00 PM.

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  • Vive
    The Importance of the View of Reality
    An important part of the Work is to understand the view of objective reality. This understanding comes through discussions about it and through your own investigation, your own exploration and experience. This view is, in some sense, not one experience, but what unifies all experiences. It is the over-arching picture that makes all experiences intelligible and meaningful. The more we understand the view of objective reality, the more we know where we are in our journey. The more we understand the view, the more we know how distorted or how objective our experience is. Thus, understanding the view is a valuable guidance and an important orientation. In time, as our realization process progresses and deepens, our experience corresponds more with the view. When experience is exactly harmonious with the view, this is what is called total realization or enlightenment.

    The view is an elucidation of how things are, what our nature and the nature of everything is, rather than someone’s theory or perspective about it. Perspectives about reality vary because they are informed by the particular path one takes to arrive at that perspective, but objective reality is objective reality. It is not like anyone’s ideas about it. Different people may view it from different angles, but this does not mean that they are seeing a different reality. It is as it is; this is what makes it objective reality. We are trying to understand this view by working with the Holy Ideas, which, as I have said, is not the only way of realizing the view of objective reality.

    We have explored Holy Strength, which is the direct experiential recognition of Essence and its truth, its lovingness, and its perfection—the recognition that it is our essence, our innate nature. And we have seen how Holy Faith is the transformation that occurs in the soul consequent to the experience of Holy Strength. When the soul recognizes Essence, we see that this is what gives us strength and courage, and this transforms the soul through the action of what we call Holy Faith—not faith about a person or a particular thing, but faith in reality, in Essence. This faith is a heartfelt certainty, an unquestioned conviction that Essence is one’s innate nature. Along with this knowing comes the perception that it is constant and reliable, and you—rather than it—come and go. If you really know that Essence is your nature, to say that it comes and goes doesn’t make any more sense than saying that the atoms of your body come and go. Your perception of it might come and go, but that doesn’t mean that your inner nature comes and goes, as one often feels early on in the Work.

    The presence of Essence with its truth, its intrinsic blissfulness, and its intelligence, is there all the time—it cannot go. If Essence is gone, you are dead. You can’t be conscious or aware without Essence. So when we perceive that Essence comes and goes, we are saying that it is limited, indicating that we are projecting a past relationship onto it, relating to it as though it were our mother. It also means that we have not yet fully understood that Essence is our essence, as fundamental to us as atoms are to the physical body. It is not something detachable from the soul that can come and go. It is the actual substance of the soul. When we don’t know this for certain, it means that our experience is incomplete and that we need to keep inquiring into what is limiting our experience. We need to ask ourselves, “Why do I believe that Essence is something that comes and goes? Where does that idea come from? What’s that experience like?” If the view that we are discussing is accurate, if Holy Truth is the nature of all of reality, what gives rise to the experience that it comes and goes? Where could it come from and where could it go to?

    So if we have an understanding of how things really are—if we know the view of objective reality—then every time we experience Essence as coming and going, instead of believing this projected past relation, we can say to ourselves, “Wait a minute! That’s not how it really is, but I’m experiencing it that way. What does this mean?” We have some guidance, an orientation toward our experience. We recognize a distortion, even when it feels real; and the more we see our distortions, the more faith in Essence arises.

    The Holy Ideas of the central triangle of the Enneagram—love, faith, and hope—are what are called the three primary “theological virtues” in Christianity. These Holy Ideas form a group distinct from the others in that while all the Holy Ideas are perspectives arising from specific direct experiences of objective reality, those of the triangle also describe the transformative effects of such experiences on the soul. In discussing the other Holy Ideas, we explored the view of reality from each of those vantage points without much discussion of how that view affects and transforms the soul. Each of the theological virtues, in contrast, includes a specific and distinct experience of objective reality, as well as an understanding of the transformative effect of this experience on the soul.

    As we discussed at the beginning of this book, the Holy Ideas are views of reality that are perceived when the higher intellectual senses are open, when the mind experiences reality without the veil of ego. They are the “ideas” of the path center, the head center, and so are “real ideas,” or Holy Ideas. Basic trust, as we have seen, is an integration of trust on a nonconceptual and pre-verbal level. It is not an idea or a feeling, but a lived knowing, implicit in how one functions, and so is related to the belly center, the kath. The three theological virtues have to do with the heart center, the oth. They are attitudes and feelings engendered by the perception of the Holy Ideas.

    The Transforming Effect of the Ideas
    These three Holy Ideas are also distinguished from the others in that they are qualities that are specifically needed to travel the path, while the other Ideas are more accurately the fruits of the path—the realization itself, since they are facets of the view of objective reality. Love, faith, and hope, then, are the elements that the soul needs to make its journey home. Love of the truth motivates the soul to want to set out on the journey; faith sustains and supports it as it proceeds; and hope gives it the optimism that things will unfold in the right way. Objective love reflects the recognition of the intrinsic goodness of Being; objective faith reflects the recognition that Being is one’s inner truth and also one’s support, strength, and ground; objective hope reflects the recognition of the optimizing thrust of its dynamics, which will be discussed in the chapter on Holy Hope. Each of these Holy Ideas is a reflection of a certain facet of the view. They are not really separate; they are all one reality. They are like snapshots of reality from three different directions.

    Love, faith, and hope can develop and deepen because they are qualities of the transforming soul, and transformation is a dynamic process—not just an experience. Faith helps the soul to go deeper into experience, as the soul learns that it has a true, good, and intelligent nature or Essence, that its interiority is Essence. At the beginning of waking up, the soul can feel supported by the fact that there is true Essence within—that keeps you going. At deeper levels, as the soul develops and experiences deeper dimensions, especially the boundless dimensions of Being, we can no longer accurately speak of Essence as the soul’s inner nature. This is because, on the boundless level, we are experiencing the inner nature of everything, and all of reality is experienced as one thing. At this level, Essence, the nature of the soul, is superseded by Being, the nature of all of reality. Being is then experienced as the ground of the soul which makes it feel held and supported. This ground that gives rise to the soul is also seen as the ground of everything, the nature of everything. Faith, then, is the reflection of the certainty that there is a real ground for the soul to stand on and experience its reality and life. Our faith, of course, increases when we recognize Essence in its boundless dimensions, since we see that it is not just the nature of our soul, but the nature of everything, which enables us to have faith in all of nature, all of reality, all of existence.

    We have begun to explore the inner core of ennea-type Six, which is the reflection of the specific delusion of cynicism due to the absence of Holy Faith. In order to truly understand, and thus move beyond, identification with our ego structure and its perspective on reality, we need to see how this principle is crucial to the structure of ego operating in our consciousness. We say that the delusions are principles of the ego because they support the presence of ego. The more we see through the delusions, the more that sense of the ego dissolves. Without the delusions, the ego cannot maintain itself; the presence of the ego and the delusion are, in some sense, the same thing. As we allow ourselves to see through the specific reaction and the specific difficulty to the specific delusion implicit in them, the specific delusion becomes conscious and cannot be maintained. As the specific delusion dissolves, the state of Holy Strength arises, which is the recognition of your essential nature and the faith in it.

    The possibility of experiencing real holding arises as the specific difficulty dissolves, since it is the result of the inadequacies of holding in early childhood. The holding that arises is the natural holding that is always present, and that brings basic trust, which dissolves the ego’s distrust. As this happens, Holy Faith arises: the sense of trust and confidence and ease.

    We have seen how this delusion of cynicism underlies the specific reaction of defensive suspiciousness, and we need to also see clearly how the painful state of fearful insecurity that is the specific reaction of ennea-type Six is the reflection of inadequate holding in the mirror of cynicism. This state of fearful insecurity is painful, not in the sense that it hurts, but painful in that it is difficult to tolerate. It is a frightening state of groundlessness that can be very hard to remain present with, but staying with it is necessary if the egoic view is to be dissolved. The more we can experience and inquire into this scared and shaky place within, the more it can be transformed into a pillar of strength and faith inside us. As long as we are identified with ego, we cannot help but feel insecure—the ego is groundless, since it is a mental construct that structures the spaciousness of Essence and divides the one reality into parts. If the ego is who we take ourselves to be, we will inevitably feel shaky because we do not perceive that there is a ground—the ground of Being.

    As you let go of the ego structure, you see that its nature is empty, since it is actually conceptual and not ultimately real. This is when you feel the emptiness; the sense of emptiness is really just the revelation of the structure’s immateriality. As you stay with the emptiness, it reveals itself as spaciousness. Then the spaciousness brings out the fullness inherent in it, which is all the holding and lovingness and gentleness. It may seem that you have moved from one place to another, but that is not what happens. If you experience yourself as your real presence, you just see one thing dissolving into another in the middle of your presence. If you are identified with the structure, it will feel as if you are disintegrating, and then there is emptiness, and then presence arises. This impression is only because your attention is focused on a certain part of you, and so you are not experiencing your totality. You do not fall apart or disappear, although it feels that way if your ego is the part of you that you are identified with.

    People who work on themselves develop their inner vision so that they can perceive their essential nature. This is analogous to looking at matter in a microscope: If you look through the microscope, you will see the molecular structure of the material; if you don’t look, you will not see what it is made of. The more people see the essential nature they are made of, the more the actions in their lives are informed by that perception. If you don’t perceive your essence, it does not affect you or your life very much. A lot of work is required to refine one’s perception to become aware of Essence at all, much less to become aware of it as the essence of one’s consciousness itself. Because this is a very subtle perception, most people don’t have the sensitivity to see it or to understand its nature. Those who do perceive it usually think of the experience as a bit of grace that God throws you once in awhile, like a blessing that happens to hit you occasionally.

    To conceive of Essence in this way is not to see objectively. The objective view that the Holy Ideas explicate is that Essence is actually the nature of our consciousness and the nature of everything. The more we see this, the more faith develops in us. That is the work of self-realization—to become aware of, to become certain of, and to become continuously in touch with, the fact that Essence is one’s intrinsic nature. It is difficult work, but that is the Work.

    When I say that Essence is the essence of the soul, I am describing the initial experience of it. At the beginning, it feels like there is a soul and there is Essence inside it, like a container with its content. This is not really the situation, but it feels that way initially because of the limitations imposed on our experience by our identifications. If our minds are not identified with anything, we see that Essence is completely coemergent with the soul, just as the molecules are coemergent with your body. Essence is inseparable from the soul; it is part and parcel of it. Any sense of separation is due to a mental delusion, specifically, the one resulting from the absence of Holy Origin.

    The quality of Living Daylight that arises as we integrate Holy Strength is one of purity and support. There is a sense of strength and confidence. The feeling of holding is felt as a sense of support and security that is soft, gentle, and loving. Experiencing Holy Strength is experiencing the support, the strength, the confidence, and the relaxation and ease that come through recognizing that Essence is what you are made of—it is what is holding you and supporting you, and it is not outside of you but is fundamental to who you are.

    Holy Faith is a specific condition or state, a specific development of this sense of purity and implicit confidence or trust. It is needed to embark on, and to continue traveling the path, because as we journey on our path, we do not have full knowledge of reality. We do not have complete access to this view, and so most of the way along the path, we don’t know what’s happening. We don’t know where we are or where we are going, except for occasional glimpses. Because of this inevitable ignorance, faith is very important; in fact, it is necessary to keep you going when you can’t see the road clearly. When we have complete understanding and perception of reality, faith is no longer necessary. But as long as we are passing through what St. John of the Cross calls “the dark night” of not seeing reality clearly, we need faith. At times, the journey is easy, at times it is difficult, and at other times it feels down-right impossible; and for the most part, we don’t know why, nor do we understand what it is that is happening to us. In the face of this not knowing, our faith keeps us going; and when there is faith, we don’t need to know where we are going or how to feel secure. If we knew exactly where we were heading, there would be no discovery, no adventure, no magic. Holy Faith sustains us on our journey into the unknown.

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  • Vive
    For ennea type Six, when Holy Faith is lost, there is no faith, knowledge, or certainty that our inner nature, that of others, and of the universe, is an essence that is a true, perfect, and intrinsically good existence. This lack of faith is not exactly the absence of belief in God, which is what many people think, since you can be an atheist and still believe in the intrinsic goodness of humanity. The absence of Holy Faith is reflected more in the absence of faith in human nature or in the nature of the universe. This means that one does not believe in and trust human nature, including one’s own. This manifests in believing that how people are and act is purely electro-chemical in origin, that we are only physical entities, and that there is no intrinsic, intelligent essential nature that can be present and can operate. It also manifests in believing that whatever goodness human beings manifest is only the result of an adaptation to ensure survival. While it may be adaptive, believing that that is the origin of goodness reflects the lack of Holy Faith.

    This lack can manifest on three levels: You could believe that there is no such thing as Essence; you might believe that while some goodness might exist, it is definitely not your nature or human nature since man is basically corrupt, and goodness or Essence exists in some god-like entity somewhere else; or you might believe that while Essence is your inner nature, it comes and goes randomly. So just as there are three facets of faith—that Essence exists, that it is your inner nature, and that it is dependable—there are three varieties of the lack of it.

    Ultimately, this lack of faith is based upon the belief that human beings do not have an inner reality that is true, good, loving, and perfect, and so are inherently selfish, self-centered, and self-seeking. If you don’t have Holy Faith, you have this other kind of faith: the conviction that human beings are entirely made up of ego. Life then becomes a fight for survival, and if any goodness is shown to another, it is purely out of self-interest. This cynicism is the specific delusion of ennea-type Six. The dictionary defines a cynic as someone who believes that all people are entirely motivated in all their actions by selfishness, and a cynical attitude reflects a contemptuous disbelief in human goodness and sincerity. So the absence of faith manifests as cynicism, whether it is related to human beings or to the cosmos. It manifests as a doubting and a questioning of oneself, one’s nature, human nature, Essence, truth, God, or the universe in general. It is a suspiciousness that reflects the underlying cynical attitude, the absence of Holy Faith, and the consequent hopelessness, despair, and frustration. Doubting one’s own or others’ motivations may be implicit or explicit: Are they being loving because they are expressing an inner goodness, or is there some ulterior motive? Such constant questioning indicates the lack of faith in human nature. You don’t believe that it is possible for someone to do something out of the goodness of her heart, or for the universe to present you with something nice—you don’t believe in grace. If something nice happens, the cynic in us wonders, “Is this a test? What’s going to happen if I enjoy it? Am I going to be tricked?”

    Cynicism is beyond doubt. You might experience doubt or skepticism because you haven’t experienced something and so don’t know it, and this kind of doubt may be useful and healthy, motivating us to find out what is true about someone or something. Cynicism, on the other hand, is doubt that is based on a foregone conclusion. For example, you doubt another person from the pre-assumption that he lacks goodness and so will not come through for you. Cynicism comes in many degrees and levels. It might take the form of not believing that there is such a thing as Essence, or believing that if it does exist, it is not part of you. Or it might exist as part of you, but it is fickle and unreliable. However it appears, it makes you invalidate your own experience, even of Essence. “Was it really me? Did it really happen, or did I make it up? Was it my experience, or did someone make it seem that way? Was I hypnotized, or the victim of suggestion?” This is not an attitude of exploring one’s experience to find out what is true, but an expression of having already made up one’s mind about what one is going to find. It is not an open questioning that invites exploration to find out the truth for oneself, but an attitude of debunking, of questioning something to eliminate it, to cut it down and cut it away.

    Insecurity and Suspicion
    This cynicism, then, is the specific delusion that forms the core and then develops into the whole ennea-type. The specific difficulty of ennea-type Six is the experience of the inadequacy of the holding environment as reflected through the filter of cynicism. In other words, it is how you experience the lack of holding from the perspective of cynicism. The lack of a sense of holding, or the holding being negative or inadequate in some way, plus the lack of belief that there is real goodness within oneself and in the environment, leads to a lack of trust that reality is supportive. So the sense of not being held adequately, seen from the cynical perspective, makes you feel that it is not possible to be held adequately. No one is going to be there for you out of selfless and caring goodness, and real loving and true support and nurturing are not possible. So not only do you feel that holding is not present, you also come to believe that it is not possible to obtain.

    The loss of the Holy Idea, the loss of the holding, and the development of distrust are all components of the same process, and they happen simultaneously over the course of the first five years or so of life. The sense may be that my mother is there for me only because she’s my mother and it is her duty and responsibility—not because she loves me. Or the cynicism might be more extreme—that she’s not there at all. In either case, the feeling-state that results, the specific difficulty, is a fearful kind of insecurity. You feel insecure and scared at the same time. There is an underlying and intrinsic sort of insecurity that is constantly present because you don’t feel held, and since you don’t feel that you’re going to be, you feel constantly edgy and scared. This fearful insecurity reflects the belief and the feeling or sense that the world is a dangerous place inhabited by self-seeking people, and that there is no inner essence to support and guide you in this frightening world. Your soul feels insecure because the world appears as a scary jungle and you don’t have inner strength to deal with it.

    This is a very sensitive and delicate place in the soul where one feels touchy, scared, paranoid, alone, unsupported, abandoned, and vulnerable. It is quite a difficult emotional state to tolerate, and so you readily resort to defensiveness (inner, outer, or both) to evade it. On the one hand, you feel alone and unsupported externally, and on the other, you feel that you don’t have inner strength or support. So there is no faith that if you just relax, what you need will be present. This is what gives rise to the fear that is part of the specific difficulty. This painful and difficult state is more than fear, however, since you can feel frightened without necessarily feeling insecure, and you can feel insecure without necessarily being afraid. Here, the fear and insecurity together form one state, and create a very touchy, scared place inside. Because it is such a sensitive place, when you’re dealing with it in yourself or in others, you need to be quite attuned, empathic, and responsive.

    The specific reaction for ennea-type Six is an expression of distrust, as reflected in the mirror of cynicism. One has no basic trust in oneself or in the environment, one believes that human nature is not intrinsically good or supportive or trustworthy, and at the same time one feels afraid and insecure in a dangerous world that has no loving and supportive God or inner nature. This manifests in the specific reaction of defensive suspiciousness toward the world.

    Like the specific difficulty, this specific reaction is not just one particular feeling, but a complex that constitutes one’s inner state. This defensive suspiciousness has fear and paranoia in it, as well as aggression and hostility. You are suspicious of others, questioning their motives and intentions; you are alert in a paranoid manner; at the same time, you are edgy, reactive, on the defensive, hostile, and ready to strike in self-defense. It is how one might feel alone and frightened in a jungle, since that is how the world seems here. It is a very specific but complex emotional state.

    The specific reaction of ennea-type Six is characterized by an alert, paranoid kind of suspiciousness, always being on the look-out for danger. If you are around someone having this kind of reaction, they might ask you all sorts of questions, and you can tell that the underlying attitude is one of fear, suspiciousness, anger, and aggression, as though they are wanting to expose some selfish motivation within you that they are sure is there. You can sense the fear and insecurity in the person, as well as their attempt to protect themselves; they don’t know whether they can trust you, and already suspect you.

    This reaction is a defense against an environment that appears hostile and threatening, but it is also the main defense against the inner sense of fearful insecurity. One is always suspicious and on the defensive, for relaxation and trust would bring an expectation of external danger, as well as the feeling of insecurity and vulnerability in the face of it.

    This attitude or style of behavior is different from the counterphobic style of some ennea-type Sixes, which is to deny the specific difficulty. That style is a way of saying, “No, I’m not scared—the world is a safe place, and I’ll prove it by climbing a mountain. You’ll see—nothing will happen to me.” Such people take risks and put themselves in dangerous situations to prove that they are not afraid or insecure. So, in spite of the opposite styles, both a phobic and a counterphobic Six have the specific reaction of defensive suspiciousness. The former will withdraw and overtly display a suspicious stance, while the latter will charge ahead in order to override the defensive reaction.

    The defensive suspiciousness can be directed not only outward, but also toward yourself. This could take the form of being suspicious of your own motives or not letting yourself go deep inside yourself, because you fear what you’re going to find there, and you suspect it won’t be good.

    When you are identified with this defensive and aggressive suspiciousness, you are not usually aware of the vulnerable and fearful insecurity. While anxiety may be present, you are usually feeling angry and hostile, doubting and suspecting others and their motives. The aggressive, attacking quality of this reaction may be expressed overtly to various degrees, or it can be an inner posture only, which you are not expressing, but are feeling inside.

    It is important to remember that each ego has all nine inner complexes, and that each of us must deal with our cynicism, our fearful insecurity, and our defensive suspiciousness. We need to experience this constellation that forms the core barrier against Holy Faith, because if it remains unconscious, it will block the development of faith, regardless of your essential experiences. Because this constellation is present in the unconscious, it needs to be exposed and dissolved, and to do that, we need to experience the specific reaction and the specific difficulty, and then see how both are based upon the specific delusion of cynicism. In this way, we can diffuse the core and clear the way for our essential experiences to give rise to faith.

    Barriers to Essential Faith
    Defensive suspiciousness manifests not only in individuals, but in society as a whole, and the dialogue between cynicism and faith arises in many areas: in our friendships and intimate relationships, and in our relationship to ourselves, our teachers, and social issues in general. An example of the latter is in the ongoing debate about what to do with criminals: Should we punish them or educate them? If you are fundamentally cynical, you believe that they can’t be rehabilitated and should just be locked away from society. If you have more faith in human nature, you believe that it is wrong to give up on a person because he may have a spark of humanity that can be rekindled through education.

    Our defensive suspiciousness manifests in suspecting the motivations of those we are in relationship with—our friends, lovers, spouses, bosses, co-workers, even teachers. You might suspect the reason your teachers appears to be there for you, or you might question whether he or she even has the capacity to be there. Defensive suspiciousness is based on cynicism, the belief that either there isn’t anything essential in a person, or if there is, it isn’t available to you. This is not healthy skepticism, in which you don’t know something and want to find out what is true. Healthy skepticism is an openness, not the invalidating, angry, and attacking, doubtful quality of this form of reactivity.

    What ultimately needs to happen is for each of us to develop faith in ourselves, which means having faith in human nature. When we have that, we can’t help but have faith in all human beings. This does not mean blind trust. It means that you know for sure that every human being has an essential nature, even though it might be buried and a person might be acting out of ignorance or cynicism. It means that you give the other person a chance, that you allow the possibility that she can be kind and selfless, even though she doesn’t always act that way. It means that you know that such a quality exists in her and in you.

    The real battle is not with other people but within yourself. You don’t need to trust other people as much as you need to trust yourself. The meaning of faith is the certainty that your innate nature is good and supportive—it does not imply trusting other people or even trusting yourself all the time. It means that you know that there is a quality within yourself that is fundamentally trustworthy. That faith will help you persevere in the Work so as to make that quality more available and more permanent.

    Many people believe that they are not worthy of love. This is an expression of cynicism, because they are saying that there is nothing within them deserving of love. When you dig deeply, you see that all the delusions are connected and are just different expressions of the basic disconnection from Being.

    Cynicism is a delusion; it is not intrinsic to our consciousness. It is the product of a particular ignorance, and the insight that will resolve it is the perception we call Holy Strength and Holy Faith. Many people adopt cynicism as a philosophy and base their approach to life on it; this becomes especially prevalent during periods of physical, social, or economic catastrophe. If you were born during a war, for example, it might be very easy for you to become cynical because your soul developed in an atmosphere of danger and was surrounded by people motivated predominantly by their survival instincts.

    A person who is really cynical has given up on humanness. Having faith means that you have not given up on the possibility of yourself and others having humanity. It is understandable that if you grew up in an inadequate or, worse, an abusive environment, you would tend to be more cynical, since your experience was that human beings are dangerous. The real difficulty that results from cynicism, however, arises not only from believing that your parents or the environment are not human, but from believing that you, yourself, don’t have the human qualities of intrinsic goodness, strength, and intelligence.

    We are discussing these difficult and painful states at the core of the fixations because they are in all of us, and we need to become aware of them in order to be free from them. As I have said, if you do not deal with this core, faith will not develop even though you have essential experiences, or if it begins to develop, the core will surface and you will have to deal with it then.

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  • Vive
    Point Six

    The awareness that the Cosmos is a self-regulating mechanism, existing in a state of balance, and as long as the objective laws which govern this balance are respected, an individual can exist in a state of harmony with Reality, moving toward his own personal fulfillment. Faith is a Holy Idea, not a belief. It is the certitude that each of us has an Essence and that this Essence coming from God, belongs to God.

    —Ichazo, 1972

    While Holy Love explicates the objective view of existence in the triangle of Holy Ideas formed by the Nine, Six, and Three ennea-types, Holy Faith or Holy Strength refers to the experience of the soul, or the view of man, in relation to this objective view. We have seen that the Holy Ideas in the upper corner of the Enneagram describe the truth of all of existence, that the Holy Ideas of the Six corner focus on what a human being is, in relationship to that existence, and that the Holy Ideas of the Three corner refer to how functioning and change occur.

    From the perspective of ennea-type Five, the view of man is that his soul is inseparable from the rest of existence—this is Holy Omniscience or Holy Transparency. So if we are perceiving reality objectively, we see that the human being is inseparable from all the rest of existence and can never be removed from it. The perception of Holy Transparency shows us that the feeling of separateness and isolation, the sense of an ultimate entityhood, is a delusion.

    From the perspective of ennea-type Seven, we saw that the view of man is reflected in what we call the Holy Work: The soul’s development and unfoldment is inseparable from the unfoldment of the totality of existence. So not only is the human being inseparable from the rest of creation, but his evolution—both personal and collective—is also inseparable from it. The soul’s unfoldment, then, is part of the unfoldment of the totality of the universe.

    The Essence of the Soul
    A similar insight is reflected at ennea-type Six: Holy Faith is the experiential realization that Being is the inner reality and inner truth of every human being. This understanding also underlies that of the Four ennea-type, Holy Origin, with which it is sometimes confused. Holy Origin is the objective view that you are never disconnected from your center, which is Essence, at whatever level it is operating on; that this Origin is the Source of the soul and its final home; and that this Origin is characterized by the Ideas of truth, perfection, and intrinsic goodness, the Holy Ideas at the top of the Enneagram. So these three qualities characterize the Origin from which the soul is never separate. Holy Faith, in contrast, is not a matter of feeling connected to this Source, but rather a matter of realizing that this Origin actually exists and that it is your inner nature. Regardless of whether or not one feels connected to one’s essential origin, one knows from experience that it does actually exist. This is Holy Faith. Holy Origin depends upon the realization of Holy Faith, because there can be no question of connection or lack of it if you do not know that there is such a reality to be connected to. So the primary insight of Holy Strength and Holy Faith is that Essence exists and that it is really your true nature. The recognition is that one has an essence.

    We can see from this that Holy Origin is an extension of Holy Faith—it is not only a matter of realizing that there is such a perfect truth, but of realizing that one is an expression of it and hence, can not be disconnected from it. While Holy Origin includes Holy Faith, it is perceiving from a slightly different angle; it is not about the recognition that there is an Origin, but that we are never separate from it, so the recognition of that Origin—the insight of Holy Faith—is implied. In other words, Holy Faith is the experiential recognition that there is truth within your soul that is perfect and intrinsically good and lovable. One can experience Essence but not recognize it as one’s fundamental nature. So to recognize Essence as your essence is not the same thing as just experiencing it.

    Most simply, Holy Faith is due to the recognition of Essence. By recognition, we mean the direct experience of Essence as one’s true existence (Holy Truth), as perfect existence (Holy Perfection), and as intrinsically good and loving existence (Holy Love). To completely recognize Essence means to recognize the three qualities of satchitananda—that it is a real presence, that it is intrinsically good, and that it is just the way things are supposed to be. We can refer to this realization of Essence as Holy Strength, meaning that the strength of the soul lies in its nature as Essence. Perceiving this truth is seeing one’s nature through this Holy Idea. The fact that Essence is the fundamental nature of the soul is its objective strength, and is what gives the soul its feeling of strength. To perceive this truth is to know one’s reality through the lens of Holy Strength. Holy Faith, then, is the effect of this realization or recognition upon the soul.

    Another way of stating this insight is that Holy Strength is the perception that the inner nature of the human being is Essence, and that as a result of this perception, the transformation that occurs in the soul is Holy Faith. So we are differentiating between the recognition of Essence as the inner truth of the soul and the effect of this experience on the soul. Holy Faith is a kind of knowledge, then, a conviction, a certainty. This use of the word faith is different from the conventional use of the term, which refers to a mental belief that is not based on our direct experience, but rather, on what we’ve been told by someone. So Holy Faith is not a matter of reading the Bible and subsequently having faith in Christ; Holy Faith means that you have actually had the experience of contacting Christ, so that your faith that there is a Christ stems from your own experience. However, it is possible for someone to have the direct recognition of Essence as one’s inner nature without the faith developing. The depth of the faith generated depends on the person and on the depth and completeness of the experience.

    This distinction between Holy Strength and Holy Faith is similar to the distinction we made about Holy Love—between the recognition of the intrinsic goodness and beauty of Being, and the soul’s response of loving reality. The only difference is that here, we are using two different names for these two sides of the Holy Idea for ennea-type Six. We will find a similar situation when we come to Holy Hope. So all the Holy Ideas of the central triangle of the Enneagram (Points Nine, Six, and Three) are unique in that they refer to both a particular perception of reality and also to the effect of this perception on the soul. The remaining Holy Ideas refer only to perceptions of objective reality.

    Essential Faith
    The recognition of Essence is not yet faith, but it is a necessary element for faith. Faith is an objective experience rather than a mental belief, as I have explained, and refers to a transformation of the soul. When faith is present, the consciousness is changed in a fundamental way, changed in its very substance. So it is not a mental belief based on an inner experience; it is not a matter of having an experience of Essence, and thereafter knowing in your mind that Essence does indeed exist. It is really a transformation that takes place in the soul, in which Essence as one’s nature becomes a certainty, a given, and not something that you need to remember or remind yourself of. This knowing has become integrated and has transformed your consciousness itself. As long as one’s faith is only mental, doubt can creep in, and since doubt itself is mental, something that is only a memory is an easy target for it. When real faith is present, a transformation has taken place and there is no going back. Things might arise that weaken or challenge your faith, but it is there, regardless of what happens.

    Two important insights are necessary for the realization of Holy Faith. The first is the experience that there is a truth that exists in a fundamental and genuine way, a truth not constructed from beliefs and ideals. This recognition must include the insights of Holy Truth, Holy Love, and Holy Perfection, at least to some rudimentary degree. The second insight is the recognition that this truth of Essence is the inner reality of the soul, including your soul, and not merely something that exists somewhere. We are making the distinction here between an experience of Essence that doesn’t feel like you, that feels like something alien, or something imposed on you, or induced or transmitted by someone else, and the experience of Essence as your own inner reality. This is an enormous distinction. Many people experience Essence and believe that they are just feeling their spiritual teacher or that they have been hypnotized, and this implies a lack of recognition of Essence as their nature.

    Both these insights are needed for the transformation of the soul into the condition of faith. So faith includes the certainty of the existence of Essence and also the effect of recognizing that it is the nature of your own soul. When faith is present, one feels trust, confidence, security, a sense of support, relaxation, and courage. These are the qualities of a soul that has faith. You have the sense that even if you are not in touch with it right now, when you look deeply into yourself, you will find Essence there. This gives you confidence, trust, and courage.

    All of these are implicit characteristics of what we call “faith,” but they don’t actually convey the felt sense of it. It is an actual feeling, a particular state of the soul. It is similar to the feeling you have when you genuinely say to someone, “I have faith in you,” or “I believe in you,” but here, you are feeling it in terms of your inner reality. When you tell someone that you believe in them, you are not saying that you believe they are this, or that you believe that about them; you are saying that you have trust and confidence that the person will be able to be or do what is required. To have faith in that person means that you have an implicit certainty that he or she is dependable and will come through. You can have such faith in a person, in a situation, in a teaching or a teacher, but with Holy Faith, we are talking about faith in the inner reality itself. It is the certainty that arises from the direct experience that there is a true existence that is beautiful and loving; the feeling of security and support that arises because of the recognition of it as our inner reality; and the trust in it that arises from the recognition of its qualities.

    The realization of Holy Faith is a transformation in the very experience of who you are. It is not based on a belief or a conviction; nor is it a memory. It is knowing that there is Essence and that it is one’s inner nature, taken for granted as a given. This faith is a tremendous help on the path because when things get difficult and you’re scared or unhappy, when you are not experiencing Essence and there is no one around to help you connect with it, what keeps you going besides faith? Without faith, it becomes very difficult to continue. The faith has to be real faith, because when you’re terrified, feeling disintegrated, or deeply hurt, a mental belief will not get you through. The true transformation that we call faith gives the soul courage which makes it persevere, because it has the unquestioned certainty that there is true reality and support even though it is not explicitly obvious at that moment. The Spanish Christian mystic, St. John of the Cross, discusses this faith in his writings about the “dark night of the soul.” When you don’t know what is happening and you don’t feel any support, only this faith will keep you going; trying to remember what your teacher said or what you experienced yesterday will not.

    This faith is a knowing in the heart rather than mental knowledge. It is one of the developments of the heart represented by the Holy Ideas of the central triangle, which are called the “three theological virtues.” This faith makes it possible to persevere and not lose heart when there is a disappointment, and ensures that despair cannot dominate completely. It arises in degrees, depending upon the duration and extent of one’s direct experience and recognition of Essence. Our experiences of Essence are different, varying in degree, depth, and extent of completeness. The more one experiences Essence, the more fully one experiences it; and the more one recognizes its various qualities and perfections, the more one’s faith grows and deepens. Faith, then, is something that can develop, deepen, and expand. When Essence is experienced from the perspective of Holy Truth, that is, from a more universal and cosmic level, then one’s resulting faith is also more universal and cosmic.

    There are three levels of experiencing faith. The first level results from experiencing Essence as your inner nature; this is the individual level of faith. The second is the boundless level, in which you recognize Essence as the nature of everything. At this level, you have faith in God or reality. The third level is from the perspective of reality, the level of the Holy Ideas. Here, you experience and understand reality directly and objectively, perceiving and understanding its dynamics—what it is and how it works. The faith of this level is the most complete and total, since it arises from experiencing reality in its totality. We can say, then, that the understanding of the various Holy Ideas contributes to the development of faith, but the central and indispensable element in the arising and development of faith is the recognition of Essence as one’s own essence.

    To talk about faith is to talk about an important development of the path, because it is the expression of a profound transformation in one’s soul. At the beginning of the Work, we can talk about the goal being the realization of the truth, understanding what reality really is. The path is the process by which the soul comes into harmony with that reality, and faith is a by-product of that harmonization. When the soul is in complete harmony with reality, the experience is beyond faith; it is then simply the direct experience of the strength of Essence, which we call Holy Strength.

    In Holy Faith, the heart is completely convinced and certain of Essence through direct contact with it. This particular opening of the heart is what we mean by faith representing a transformation in the soul. The soul transforms in response to many factors as it realizes its true nature, and part of this transformation is the development of what we call Holy Faith. The very substance of the soul becomes purified, developed, and matured, until its complete fruition, in which the soul is completely transparent to, and in harmony with, objective reality. Faith, then, becomes implicit.

    Unlike the faith that we can have in another person, in a situation, in a particular teaching, and so on, Holy Faith is enduring because it is based on the recognition of our self-existing and eternal nature. Our faith in someone might change, for example, if that person begins to behave differently. Essence, on the other hand, always behaves in the same way. So as you recognize it as who you really are, your soul is permanently changed. It is as though the very molecular structure of your soul transforms, taking another shape. So reflecting the immutability of Essence, the faith that develops is no passing state, although it can deepen, develop, and mature.

    If you have a conscious or unconscious belief that is opposed to faith, it must be exposed and understood; the experience of Essence itself might not completely dissolve it. If, for example, you have an experience of Essence one day, and the next day you say to yourself, “That wasn’t really who I am—I’m really a terrible person,” what does this mean? It reveals that you have an underlying conviction about who you are and what you are like that runs counter to the experience of Essence; so for you to develop faith, this belief must be inquired into. On the other hand, just seeing the illusion itself—recognizing that you don’t believe in Essence and don’t recognize it as your true nature—is not enough. The actual experience of Essence is necessary. We have to have the experience of Essence and we have to work on the barriers to it in order to develop faith.

    We can see that Holy Faith is similar to basic trust and to the sense of real holding. When we pursue and deeply explore any of the Holy Ideas, it always leads us to basic trust and a sense of holding, because all three are reflections of the same thing. The absence of the Holy Idea leads to a specific delusion; the loss or inadequacy of the holding environment is reflected in the specific difficulty; and the absence of basic trust is reflected in the specific reaction. So when the triad of Holy Idea, basic trust, and holding, are lost, they are replaced by the egoic triad that forms the core of each ennea-type.

    Last edited by Vive; 06-05-2020, 06:02 PM.

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  • Vive
    Falling Asleep to Reality
    The specific reaction here is the expression of distrust filtered through the delusion that lovableness and hence, love, are conditional. The soul goes unconscious or “falls asleep” to its true reality and the reality of existence. This falling asleep to one’s true nature is true of all egos—you can feel this quality in everyone whose soul is not awake. It is a particular state of the soul that feels groggy, barely aware of what’s happening, heavy, thick, and dull. The falling asleep is basically a giving up, a resignation, forgetting and going unconscious. Even if you had an essential experience yesterday, you don’t remember it today—it is as though it made no impression on your soul. It didn’t wake you up or change you. So regardless of what experiences you’ve had, your soul is still asleep, not awake to the objective reality of things.

    The soul informed by the ego is asleep. This is why enlightenment is called awakening—your soul wakes up to what is really here. Many people believe that this awakening happens automatically the moment you have an experience of Being. Some parts of your soul may wake up, but the soul is very deeply imprinted by the egoic sense of inferiority, and this depth of the soul does not awaken easily or rapidly. When your awakening does approach this level, the first thing you wake up to is this sense of inferiority.

    The most evident manifestation of the soul being asleep is one’s unshakable conviction in conventional or consensus reality, and in the content of one’s overall social conditioning. Regardless of what profound experiences of Being you may have had and how objectively you may have seen reality, when you get up off your meditation cushion or leave a meeting with your teacher, you act, feel, and behave as if reality is the world you learned from your mother. When you do this, you are expressing the asleepness of your soul. Even when they have had the experience that everything is love, most people go on acting as though it’s not true. We can talk about Essence and the realm of Being, but for most of us, when we really get down to it, that is not reality. Reality is our experience of the world filtered through our conditioning; our bedrock is consensus reality. This conviction that the egoic perspective is how things really are is what the Sufis are referring to when they say that man is asleep. They mean that you take conventional reality, which is just the superficial layer, to be the ultimate truth. Not seeing what is real or not believing it to be reality, and consequently adhering to the status quo of conventional reality, reveals a laziness in the soul in relation to the truth and to reality.

    At advanced stages of the Work, after you have extensive understanding of Being, this reaction of being asleep manifests in not acknowledging oneself as Being itself. You continue to think and believe that you are not realized; you already know who you really are, yet you continue behaving as if you don’t know. It is as if you are not the one who is having all these experiences of realization and understanding. Identifying with the delusion of Point Nine manifests in not seeing, realizing, or believing that you are really who you are; that you are not really Essence and Being, or even a soul. You continue to believe that reality is what the social consensus says it is: the life, world, and personality of ego.

    So the unconscious denial of Being or of its value, which is characteristic of Point Nine, may remain, regardless of your experience and understanding. When you continue to think, feel, and behave as if Being were not present all the time, you are expressing the distrustful belief that love is not your very nature and the nature of everything. If there is no love inside or outside, why stay awake to reality? So the resignation, the apathy, the indifference, the laziness about facing the truth (especially one’s inner truth), arise in response to the perception of a lack of love, to the lack of awareness of the beauty, wonder, bliss, and lovableness of reality, both inner and outer. When you do not treasure your existence, your life becomes a matter of merely surviving and subsisting. Life, then, is dead, superficial, mechanical, and boring because the magic of truth is not present.

    Ennea-type Nines are described as “lazy about Essence,” but this laziness is not that paying attention to Being is too much trouble. It is more a neglect of your Being because you do not believe that it is lovable. If there is anything valuable and good, it will be outside yourself, so why look inside? So, unlike the other ennea-types who may respond to their disconnection from Being with anger or sadness, Nines respond with apathy, resignation, laziness, inertia, and a sense of stuckness. Nines are not necessarily lazy people—they can be very energetic and active in the world of conventional reality—but they neglect what is essential: Being. This negligence is not limited to people of this ennea-type; it is true of all egos and is a characteristic of egoic life. The soul taking itself to be the personality is neglectful and lazy about realizing the truth and about doing what it takes to wake up. Underlying this is the fear that if you wake up and find out who you really are, what you will find is that you are even more ugly than you had imagined, so it is better not to look. In other words, because you believe that you are an inferior soul, your inferiority is all you can hope to find when you seek the truth, so why bother?

    However, the moment you recognize that true nature is such a beauty, such a preciousness, you will do anything for it. No sacrifice is too great to realize that beauty, that radiant, lustrous preciousness. It is difficult to convey verbally the sense of this preciousness, this beauty, and the wonder and magic of it. Physical beauty is a very pale reflection of the beauty of Being, which is the nature of your soul. If you really recognized that the truth of who you are is so beautiful, so precious, so full of value, and so magnificent, you would devote the totality of your life to it. Everything in the universe, from beginning to end, is like dust compared to this magnificence, and every action and situation is expendable for this preciousness.

    To summarize, we have seen that Holy Love is the recognition of the intrinsic blissful goodness inherent in existence. It is the beauty and wonder that makes reality lovable and lovely, the heartful quality of existence, the experience of existence as heart. This is not what is usually meant by the word love, but it is what makes love possible. It is the beautiful, delightful preciousness of Being. When we see reality without our subjectivity, without our ego bias, we recognize that inherent to it is this wonderful, enjoyable, lovely, and lovable quality. This quality is not a part of reality, but is, rather, the nature of it, just as wetness is an inherent quality of water. You cannot separate Holy Love from Being any more than you can separate the wetness from water.

    We have seen how the specific delusion of this ennea-type appears in the specific difficulty of inferiority, and seen how this leads to the specific reaction of going to sleep, going unconscious. Another way of describing the reaction is that it is forgetting who you are and forgetting objective reality. This is why the particular practice needed to wake up is that of self-remembering.

    The Superficial Life
    Now we will explore the specific difficulty in more depth. The felt conviction of being not lovable is the opposite, in a sense, of the quality of Holy Love. Holy Love is a quality of beauty, magnificence, preciousness, and complete, intrinsic, radiant, pure, immaculate loveliness, while the state of inferiority is a feeling of ugliness and twistedness, the sense that one is a deficient and impoverished soul. This is not what is called “mystical poverty,” which is a state of feeling and emptiness that allows God to descend into you. While this sense of impoverishment in the soul—in contrast to its true richness is the central issue for ennea-type Nines, it is shared by all egos.

    With the ego crystallized around inferiority, believing that your soul doesn’t have this richness and preciousness, it naturally follows that you wouldn’t see any point in working on yourself, and this creates the deep inertia that confronts us until advanced stages of the path. The surface becomes all of life to egoic consciousness, and you get lost in the particulars and activities of everyday life as if they have intrinsic value in themselves. If the quality of Holy Love is missing in your everyday life, your activities are empty. But for the person who is convinced of his inferiority, the attitude is, “Well, at least I’m surviving.” Some comfort, some little bit of excitement, some stimulation or titillation, is available here and there. Basically, these superficial pleasures are distractions from being present with, and sensing yourself, and appear to be a better alternative than feeling as if you are a cursed soul. Therefore, distracting oneself with externals is a central and omnipresent characteristic of the ego.

    So the state of inferiority is the lynch-pin; if you don’t deal with it, it is difficult to integrate the perception and the understanding of Holy Love and conversely, the inferiority cannot be dispelled and dissolved if you do not truly understand Holy Love. If you really understand Holy Love, if you see it as a fact, you cannot believe that you or anyone else is inferior. The knowledge that the intrinsic quality of who you are is love, wonder, and preciousness, eliminates the inferiority. Even if you perceive the beauty of Holy Love but have not dealt with the inferiority, you remain identified with that inferior sense, and will explain away your perception of Holy Love as not yours, or as being somehow incidental. So if the inferiority is not worked through, your understanding of Holy Love will remain partial and distorted.

    Holy Love is not just a perception; it imbues all of one’s experience with sweetness, delight, lightness, blissfulness, and ecstasy. This quality of consciousness is something most people are not even aware of as a possibility. Most people’s experience of themselves is dull and thick, filled with the insensitivity and darkness of the sleep of unconsciousness, and they are not even aware of this. They don’t realize how thick-skinned they are, how primitive, undeveloped, and unrefined their nervous systems are. Because of this, it is not possible to understand how feeling can be so fine, so delicate, so exquisite, so fresh and clean, so wonderfully uplifting, as though there were sunsets and sunrises in one’s very atoms.

    Most of the time, the feel of ego in the soul is like drab, gray, cold, winter days. It has a depressed quality, because its consciousness of itself is depressed or muted. This depressiveness or thickness is the antithesis of the awake soul, and, as I have said, most of us can’t imagine what awakeness would feel like. Even when we have an experience of it, we don’t let ourselves realize that this is actually the natural state for a human being and that it is possible to live in it most, if not all, of the time. The exquisiteness, refinement, beauty, warmth, and aliveness of consciousness is the Holy Love quality of our true nature. The moment you really let yourself know that this quality of consciousness is possible for you and is, in fact, your natural state, why would you strive for anything else? What does it mean to have a “good life,” if you’re not working on allowing that wonderful exquisiteness to inform your consciousness? That is the essence of the spiritual quest: bringing this quality to our consciousness. And the specific reaction of sleep, apathy, and laziness is about just this task. With this reaction, it becomes more important to watch a football game than to work on oneself. It seems more exciting to watch one person bash into another one—this is a way to make us feel something through the thick skin of our consciousness. Or we want to go on a roller-coaster ride in order to feel some aliveness, or get involved in all sorts of activities and entertainments as a way of distracting ourselves from feeling what we believe is our inferiority, and from the deadness of our experience. We really don’t need to do anything external to feel alive; all we need to do is turn away from these distractions and be committed to our true nature, and worship it totally.

    When we see the Holy Love quality of the nature of Being, we see its preciousness. Its radiant glory feels like a sunrise. Inferiority is the negation of this glory, and the specific reaction is an attempt to get away from that diminished sense of self. What is needed is to confront that part of our psyche rather than to run from it, so that we are not afraid to wake up to ourselves.

    As we understand it, the sense of inferiority develops not because you are a child, or you happen to have some defect in your body or some social lack in your environment. Its origin stems from the fact of not recognizing the precious quality of your Beingness, and this lack of recognition is universal, with very few exceptions. Even if you felt loved by your parents, for instance, they didn’t necessarily love you because they could see the preciousness of your Being; they loved you for what you did, how you behaved, whether you were smart or cute or pretty, and so on. Because the preciousness of your nature itself was not seen and loved, you would still feel inferior.

    There are, of course, more traumatic reasons why children grow up with the feeling of inferiority beyond the fact that their preciousness was not seen and held. Some children are mistreated, unloved, neglected, and so on. Any lack of holding—physical, emotional or spiritual—will affect the child in such a way as to engender a sense of inferiority. The child does not see that its soul has that innate, intrinsic, and fundamental quality of being the most precious and wonderful thing in the whole universe. The child loses this sense of herself, and part of the resulting sleep is identifying with the consensus reality in which the parents live. Later, you explain the feelings of inferiority with whatever means you can find, such as physical appearance, behaviors, intelligence, capacities, and so on, with children of different ages emphasizing different things.

    As long as we look for causes and solutions on this superficial level, we cannot resolve our inferiority complex. A sense of mastery and accomplishment will not resolve the issue. It may diminish it a little, but it is only a compensation. The issue is not helplessness. The resolution is a sense of preciousness and inner beauty, which, when we contact it, is so powerful and radiant that it makes all else insignificant.

    As we mentioned earlier, the phenomenon of social discrimination is closely connected with this specific difficulty of inferiority. When you discriminate against someone else, you are compensating for your own sense of inferiority; this is obviously a rejection of another person. Discrimination is based on value judgments of inferiority and superiority, and is rampant in our society. There are many kinds of discrimination, such as racial and cultural, in which one skin color or ethnic group believes itself superior to another. Black people, for example, were and are discriminated against in this country and in many others, as well. Some cultures choose a scapegoat, based on religion, race, or culture; or there is class discrimination, as in India, where the untouchable caste is supposed to be inferior to, and to contaminate, those of higher castes who touch them. Gender discrimination, in which women are typically seen as inferior to men, is pervasive. Children are often discriminated against, in the sense of not being taken seriously because they are not adults. To discriminate against someone is to inflict great suffering, since it touches the wound of inferiority that everyone has. It will bring up a tremendous lack of self-esteem, as well as a deep sense of shame about this painful wound within. Any discrimination of any sort—relating to another as if they are less than you—is a projection of your own sense of inferiority.

    Many of us have feelings of inferiority about one thing or another. “My parents were poor and I didn’t get as many toys as the other kids, so I always feel inferior. I didn’t go to the right schools, so there is something inferior about me. I was never popular, so there must be something wrong with me.” There are so many causes that people pin their sense of inferiority on, causes which, from the outside, don’t make much sense. This indicates that there is a predisposition toward feeling inferior. To really see the delusion of ennea-type Nine, we have to see through all of these causes that our minds have locked onto, and see the naked sense of inferiority itself—the sense that we lack intrinsic goodness.

    Only when we experience this naked sense of diminution does it become possible to see that it is based on the false belief that there are some places in the universe that have intrinsic goodness and some places that don’t. Without seeing this, you are operating on the unconscious belief that you are inferior and taking this belief to be reality. In this case, there is no point in becoming more conscious, so distracting oneself is the only sensible thing to do. Only when we experience our sense of inferiority in its rawness can we begin to appreciate our lack of understanding of Holy Love, and begin to move beyond this error.

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  • Vive
    Of course, we can’t really know this until we experience it. When we have the experience of Holy Love, we realize that this is how reality is all the time, and that our experience of reality has been incomplete. We usually have the sense that, “Oh, it is like this all the time and I didn’t even realize it!” This is a deep insight into the nature of reality, and is different from an uplifting experience. You might, for instance, experience Essence and feel wonderful, without really seeing that it is your very nature. Essence feels like a passing state, the particular cloud floating through your consciousness at that time, especially in early experiences of it. After a while you realize that you have been experiencing Essence through subjective filters, which made it appear as an emotional state. You see that Essence is not only wonderful, but that it is you, and this insight has transformative power. The perception of Essence is a necessary step, but you need to take the next one—seeing that it is the nature of who you are—for such experiences to transform your identity. Perception without insight does not fundamentally change your sense of reality—inner or outer.

    Essence is your essence, the nature of your soul. In time, the more your experience and understanding of it deepen, you recognize that it is not just your essence, but the essence of everything. Deeper still, you see that it is not only the essence of everything, but that Essence is the only thing that is actually present; there is nothing but Essence, in other words. Then you recognize that the Holy Ideas are ultimately qualities of Essence or Being.

    As we have seen, each Holy Idea is a characteristic of reality at all locations, at all times, and at all levels. Holy Truth explicates this understanding. Here, we are saying that not only is reality just one presence that is boundless and real, but that it is also positive, blissful, and wonderful. So not only is God one, but God is also wonderful and made of love. The truth, then, is loving and lovable, which is why we say in the Diamond Approach that you must love truth for its own sake. If your orientation is that you love truth so that it will change you and make you a happier person, your orientation is out of sync with how things objectively are; if you see reality as it is, you can’t help but love it.

    It follows, then, that objectively there is no evil. We see evil only when we perceive reality through a filter. A person who behaves in what we consider evil ways is a person acting through a distortion. In spiritual work, concepts of a devil, of dark forces, of some evil that exists on its own outside of the goodness of reality are considered manifestations of ignorance, both in terms of believing in such concepts and in terms of the manifestations attributed to such forces. All spiritual work would be pointless if there were such a thing as ultimate evil.

    Localized Love
    Understanding reality’s quality of intrinsic goodness and positivity is not enough to confront the delusion of Point Nine. We need to confront that positivity in its universality. Holy Love means that not only does this quality exist, but that it is an inseparable quality of all of existence, of everything, everywhere, and at all times. It is the heartful quality of Holy Truth, an innate quality of Being, of both its presence and presencing, its existence and unfoldment. We can call the presence of Being love, and its unfoldment the loving action of Being. The fact that this lovely and lovable quality is characteristic of everything at all points in time and space means it is nonlocalized. The moment you localize it to one place, person, or time, you restrict it, cease to see it as an intrinsic quality of existence, and begin to believe that it is dependent on certain conditions and circumstances. If you can localize it in time or space, you are not seeing it as an inherent quality of reality, so understanding its nonlocatedness is an essential part of understanding Holy Love. The moment you see it present in this person and not in that person, or in this person today but not yesterday, you are not seeing Holy Love. If you do not perceive it everywhere at all times, this indicates that you are disconnected from the perception of it and you are seeing reality through your subjective filter.

    Holy Love is the heart of existence, and to really experience the whole of existence as heart necessitates having nothing held back in your own heart. If there is a particular emotion that you don’t let yourself feel, whether it is love or hatred or any other emotion, that repression will act as a barrier to perceiving the Holy Love in the universe. It is difficult to perceive or even accept the Idea of Holy Love if there is any splitting, any belief in the dichotomy of good and bad within you. In terms of Holy Love, that dichotomy does not exist. What we call good and bad are surface discriminations; the inner nature of everything is good.

    Obviously, then, Holy Love transcends any racial discrimination. Whether a person’s skin is black or white, he or she is made out of the same human protoplasm as everyone else. The surface may appear brown or black or whatever, but seeing that in reality everyone is made out of the same colorless protoplasm is Holy Love.

    Experiencing the lovingness and the beauty of existence is so central to the soul’s capacity to value, that even if they experience the other Holy Ideas without experiencing Holy Love, most people don’t care about them. The attitude is, “So what if everything is one if it doesn’t feel good?” or, “So what if things are always unfolding on their own if there is no love in it?” This is why understanding Holy Love is necessary in order to integrate the other Ideas. It is a foundation, without which a person cannot really work through his or her specific difficulty.

    The various spiritual traditions do not necessarily focus on this way of experiencing reality. Some traditions say that what is intrinsic and omnipresent in reality is the fact of Being. Others say that if you really see reality objectively, what is most important and will resolve your suffering is the perception that reality is empty. While the fact of Being or the inherent emptiness of reality are ultimately true, they are looking at reality from different perspectives than when the perception is of the nonconceptual positivity of reality. Nonconceptual positivity means that it affects the soul directly, regardless of what your mind thinks of it, and the heart responds by feeling happy, released, and uplifted. We can call what is perceived from the perspective of Holy Love either loveliness—the sense of a lovable beauty—or lovingness—the sense that the universe has a loving quality.

    If we don’t perceive this nonconceptual positivity, or if we do, but don’t believe it or take it seriously—which is to say that when Holy Love is lost to our perception or not understood—the result is the specific delusion of Point Nine. This delusion is not the belief that there is no such lovingness in existence—human beings can’t survive without some sense of love—but rather, that this lovingness is a local phenomenon, occurring at particular points of time and space. This delusion results in the belief that love is conditional, which explains to us why we perceive it at one place and time and not at another. On the surface, we sense these wonderful, beautiful feelings sometimes and not others; some people have it, others don’t; it is present in some parts of the universe and not others. But the actual core of the delusion is that love is conditional.

    The Inferiority Complex
    So the belief in the conditionality of love and the sense of it being localized are two sides of the same deluded perception of reality. This delusion forms the seed out of which the ennea-type Nine grows and develops. The core of each ennea-type is a complex, as we have seen, made up of the specific delusion, the specific difficulty, the specific reaction, and the dynamic interaction among all of these. This notion of the core being a complex is particularly relevant to Point Nine because its core is what is called, in psychological terminology, the “inferiority complex.” The loss of the Idea of Holy Love and the difficulties in holding are colored here by the delusion of the localizability of love, resulting in the subjective state of feeling inferior. In other words, when the loving holding in the environment is lost or inadequate, a belief arises that love and lovableness are conditional. When you don’t feel held, you feel that you are not loved because you don’t have what is lovable. Obviously, to feel that you are not lovable involves the delusion that lovableness can be a local phenomenon, that it’s not within you, and that it must be located somewhere else.

    If you had retained the sense of Holy Love from childhood, you could not believe that you are not lovable, since you would still perceive that the nature of everything is intrinsically good, including you. This is why the understanding of Holy Love is the specific antidote for the belief that you’re not lovable. When you feel that you are not lovable you are believing that you don’t have inside of you anything that is wonderful, beautiful, lovable, enjoyable, or valuable; the soul feels diminished, minimized, denuded of its good qualities, and ends up feeling like an inferior soul, lacking what makes the soul good. This feeling of deficiency is a sense of being intrinsically lacking in qualities that others have.

    Since each delusion is an intrinsic property of the nature of ego, the ego could not be an ego without believing that it is inferior. In a sense, this sense of inferiority is true, because when the soul is formed by the ego, it does not experience all the qualities of Being as part of itself. This sense of deficiency is not a sense of emptiness, the sense that a particular quality of Being is missing. It is more a deficient feeling, tone, or affect, that shapes the whole soul. This deficient tone is the sense of worthlessness, of not being good enough, or of just not being enough, along with the sense that something is not right, and a consequent loss of self-esteem. Most specifically, it is a feeling that you are intrinsically inferior, regardless of what you have, what you do, what you know, what you develop, or what or who you are. One of the associations people frequently have with this feeling is of being a second-class citizen, of being lower class or of a peasant class, and so it is directly related to social discrimination. It is a diminished sense of who you are, as if your very being, your very soul, is less than it should be, that what you are is second-class.

    This conviction that you are inferior is much more subtle and comprehensive than the sense that you lack a particular capacity, such as Will or Strength. It cannot be traced to any particular deficiency, and so it cannot be eliminated by recognizing within oneself any essential aspect connected with capacity. Also, experiencing Essence does not necessarily eliminate this sense of inferiority. You can fill all your holes and still feel inferior, because the actual substance of the soul—what is experiencing the holes—feels bereft of its positive quality.

    Ego intrinsically feels inferior. No matter what it owns, what it has, what it does, or what it can do, it will continue feeling itself to be inferior. As long as you allow the possibility that intrinsic goodness can be located in one place and not another, you allow the possibility that it can be located somewhere else. If you are identified with the ego and anything goes wrong, you immediately assume that it happened because what is good is not inside you. The slightest criticism, the slightest negativity, and right away you believe what is good is located somewhere other than inside you. This is why all children begin to believe that there is something wrong with them as they come to identify with the ego.

    If this difficulty is not understood and worked through, it will remain even if you are experiencing Essence. You cannot fully see or feel the beauty, importance, value, and loveliness of your own nature, which is Essence or Being, of your functioning or creativity, and of your existence or life. The issue here is not disconnection from Being—that is the particular difficulty of Point Four—it is, rather, that you are not in touch with its blissfulness even as you experience it. You can be in touch with Being, but cannot feel or see its loveliness, as though the essential presence were covered by a membrane or a veil shading its ecstatic luster.

    This is why when many people experience Essence or Being, their reaction is something along the lines of, “This is nice, but what’s it good for? Will it help me at my job? Will I have better sex from now on?” Such responses indicate that one is not perceiving its real beauty. This is because the sense of inferiority is acting as a barrier against seeing that Being is you. Often people have essential experiences, but because they don’t see that it is themselves that they are perceiving, they think that their teacher is transmitting the state to them, or that God is visiting them, since they feel their own nature is sinful or not holy. In these cases, they are projecting their true nature outside themselves. Sometimes, even if you do see that the Being you are experiencing is you, the lack of integration of Holy Love prevents you from experiencing this revelation as wonderful, as precious.

    As long as you do not understand Holy Love, you cannot know it as the nature of yourself and of everything that exists. Instead of feeling love for yourself and enjoyment of your life, you feel low in spirit, or bored with yourself. You feel that you are not good enough. When you deeply and clearly feel this state, you feel a sense of inferiority that feels as though your very soul is inherently ugly or deformed. Like a creature frequently seen in mythology, you might even feel like a twisted animal living underground—like a troll or like Gollum in J.R.R. Tolkien’s series, Lord of the Rings—that is utterly without any redeeming qualities. Just as inferiority is always associated with ugliness and deformity, beauty and the sense of being lovable always go hand in hand.

    This sense of inferiority is not a feeling that you were once pure and became contaminated, that you are inherently good and something got into you. It is, rather, the sense that you were deformed from the beginning, that God created you with a flaw. Because the ego-identity arises originally from identification with the body as being who we are, and because at the beginning of our work on ourselves, we don’t recognize that we are a soul, we usually decide that our body is what’s wrong with us. When people feel they are inferior, they think it is because their skin color is wrong, their nose is too big, their body is too fat, and so on. This is especially true during the teenage years when one’s sense of inferiority is completely focused on the body and physical image. Later, adults often shift their focus: If it’s not your body, it’s your mind; if it’s not your mind, it’s your heart—that’s what is wrong with you. But it is none of these things; it has nothing to do with them. We only use these things to explain the feeling of inferiority.

    Everyone has this sense of inferiority, but most people keep it to themselves because it is accompanied by a feeling of deep shame. You feel deeply ashamed of yourself because you really believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with you, and you don’t want other people to know about it. If they did, they would see that you really don’t deserve love. So everyone keeps this secret to themselves and suffers over it privately. Teenagers, again, especially suffer with this sense of inferiority, and are continuously comparing themselves to others, showing themselves exactly how inferior they are, and feeling deeply ashamed of themselves but not saying anything about it.

    Point Nine’s sense of inferiority is different from Point One’s sense that there is something wrong with you. The sense of wrongness in Point One is a judgment about oneself that is not necessarily global; while the sense is that there is something wrong with you, there are also things that are right about you. In Point Nine, the inferiority is overall, as though something has dredged through your soul, removing all the good qualities, and that what’s left is devoid of any value, or as though each atom of your protoplasm has had one electron removed. The difficulties of all three points at the top of the Enneagram are different sides of the same thing: the sinfulness of Point Eight, the inferiority of Point Nine, and the wrongness of Point One.

    This profound sense of deficiency and inferiority not only affects your feelings about yourself, it also has a big effect on your attitude toward your work and creativity. It disconnects you from seeing your own value, preciousness, and usefulness, and makes you believe that there is something wrong with what you do and what you produce, some imperfection that is subject to judgment and comparison. If you don’t believe that you are intrinsically lovable, you won’t allow yourself to acknowledge your capacities and your attributes, and this not only disconnects you from your accomplishments, but also disconnects you from Essence, which leads us to the specific reaction of Point Nine.

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  • Vive

    --- Start of Attachment Triad descriptions ---

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    Point Nine


    The awareness that though the laws which govern reality are objective, they are not cold, because these cosmic laws inevitably lead to the creation of organic life, and Life itself, like all natural phenomena, fulfills a cosmic purpose. As soon as the mind’s word mechanism is destroyed, love, the natural condition of the mind, appears. Love begins the moment man contemplates the Creation and says “Thank you, God.” All men feel this somewhat, no animal can feel this at all. Man alone can know that all comes from God.

    —Ichazo, 1972

    Each Holy Idea is a certain mode in which objective reality presents itself to our experience. We are using the term objective reality in contrast to subjective reality, which is reality seen through our inner mental filters that are shaped by our past conditioning. Objective reality is how things really are. Although it is possible to perceive objectively, we cannot take in the totality of reality and say anything about it; we can only point to some of its characteristics. So whenever we explore reality in any specific manner, we have to leave out something. For example, when you describe an orange, you cannot say anything about its totality. You have to talk about its color or its taste or its shape. If you want your description to encompass the whole thing—its color, shape, and taste all together—you can only say, “orange.” It is the same with objective reality. If you want to say anything about it, you have to focus on its specific characteristics. One way to do this, using the system of the Enneagram, is to talk about the Holy Ideas. Using our analogy, the color of the orange would be one of the Holy Ideas, its shape would be another, and its taste would be another. The Holy Ideas, then, are not really separate, but are all facets of the same perception. They are specific presentations of reality as it really is. So the objective qualities of reality in the system we are using are the Holy Ideas. We are exploring the totality of objective reality by looking at nine specific characteristics of it.

    In contrast, the essential aspects and dimensions can be experienced separately. They are particular manifestations of Being, rather than characteristics of Being itself, so they are more like the oranges and apples that make it up. The perspective of the system of the Enneagram arises from a different world view than that out of which the aspects and dimensions arise. We are making the connection between these two channels of teaching, but it is important to remember that they are different ways of looking at reality. Since the Holy Ideas are characteristics of one thing, you cannot have one without the others, but of course we need to discuss them one at a time. The Enneagram is an objective map in the sense that reality can actually be seen as comprised of the nine Ideas, and the loss of each one of them leads to a specific ego type, and so we see that objectively the ego has nine types.

    The Heart of Truth
    The Idea of Holy Love is in some sense the most fundamental of the Ideas. The other Ideas cannot be established without established Holy Love. Likewise, the core of each ennea-type cannot be resolved with out resolving the core of Point Nine. So Point Nine forms the center out of which all the other points on the Enneagram, representing both the Holy Ideas and the ennea-types, emanate or differentiate.

    Holy Love is at the center of the three Ideas at the top corner of the Enneagram. These three ideas pertain to the intrinsic characteristics of the cosmic truth, the living Cosmos, or Universal Being. Points Eight, Nine, and One are, as we have seen, elaborations on what this cosmic reality is, what its characteristics are, and how we perceive it in terms of its existence, its truth, and its experience.

    We began our study of the Holy Ideas with Point Eight, Holy Truth: the fact that reality is one undifferentiated cosmic presence from which nothing is separate, revealing that there are no discrete objects. Truth is presence that is everywhere and everything. This is the understanding of nonduality or unity, both horizontally and vertically, the unity of all dimensions and all objects. Then we explored reality from the perspective of Point One, Holy Perfection, which tells us that reality is just the way that it is supposed to be, that everything is inherently perfect. This Idea refers to the intrinsic rightness, completeness, meaningfulness, and organic intelligence implicit in this universal existence.

    Holy Truth is like the existence of truth as one body. Holy Perfection shows that this body has an intelligence that makes it arise in such a way that its functioning is always perfect and right. Holy Love would then be like the heart of truth. When we use the word truth here, we mean the most all-encompassing truth, the truth of the totality of the wholeness of all of existence as one. This level of truth, Holy Truth, is of course, the ultimate truth sought in any spiritual search and in any spiritual tradition.

    Ichazo describes Holy Love as: “The awareness that though the laws which govern reality are objective, they are not cold, because these cosmic laws inevitably lead to the creation of organic life, and Life itself, like all natural phenomena, fulfills a cosmic purpose. As soon as the mind’s word mechanism is destroyed, love, the natural condition of the mind, appears. . . .” His definition implies that reality has heart, that there is some warmth in the way reality functions. This sense of heart is not actually something that reality has, like a physical heart or a specific attribute. This heartfulness is rather, a quality inherent and implicit in the very existence of truth. So when we refer here to the heart of truth, or the heart of the universe, we are referring to a certain way in which the universe can be experienced as heart.

    This sense of the heart of truth cannot be separated from the mind of truth or from the body of truth, since all of the Holy Ideas are perceptions of the same existence. While all of the Holy Ideas are inseparable, one or the other may be more dominant in one’s experience, due to one’s particular attunement. This doesn’t mean that the others aren’t there; they are just in the background.

    The body of truth is reality’s very existence—the fact of this existence, its presence, its thereness, its factness. The mind of truth is the intrinsic intelligence implicit in its perfection of both presence and unfoldment. The heart of truth, then, is the aesthetic or appreciative mode that is always an intrinsic and inseparable quality of the perception and knowing of truth.

    Nonconceptual Positivity
    Holy Love is not the feeling of love, nor the essential aspect of love. Holy Love is a quality of existence that makes that existence lovable. Its loveliness and lovableness is what generates in our hearts sentiments of love, appreciation, value, enjoyment, pleasure, and so on. So we are talking about the quality of lovableness of reality when it is seen without distortion, rather than through the filter of the ego. In other words, Holy Love is the fact that objective reality has an intrinsic quality of being wonderful and pleasing—it is intrinsically lovable. This is Holy Love—whatever it is that makes it lovely, enjoyable, lovable, whatever it is about it that we can’t help but appreciate.

    When reality is fully perceived, one cannot help but enjoy and appreciate it. One cannot but respond with awe when the Holy Truth is fully apprehended, and one cannot but be full of wonder when Holy Perfection is realized. One cannot but melt in appreciative sweetness when beholding Holy Love. Holy Love brings you the experience of love, but it is not the love itself; it is something much more comprehensive. It is a quality of reality as a whole and is very difficult to fully define. We could say that Holy Love is the intrinsic quality of the reality of Being that is nonconceptual positivity. It is pure and unalloyed blissfulness. It is the value-saturated quality of truth. It is pure goodness, the Good of Plato.

    When we say that Holy Love is the “nonconceptual positivity” of reality, we don’t mean that it is positive because our subjective minds respond to it positively. We mean that is how reality is, regardless of how we feel about it. What we normally describe as positive is something that we like, and what we describe as negative is something that we don’t like. However, the point about Holy Love is that when you objectively apprehend reality, when you experience and see the Holy Truth, you cannot help but feel positive toward it. In this experience, there are no positive or negative categories that your mind has divided things into. There is no polarity here; this nonconceptual positivity is beyond all polarities. The nature of reality, then, is such that the more it touches your heart, the more your heart feels happy and full, regardless of your mental judgments of good or bad.

    This understanding of nonconceptual positivity is a very unusual idea, since ordinarily, and at the beginning of working on oneself, we think that there are things that are good and things that are bad. As we progress, we realize that this discrimination is only subjective, that dividing things into good and bad is arbitrary. Holy Love refers to the fact that when you really suspend all comparisons, all judgments, and all opinions, you will experience reality as an unalloyed positive value through all the sense modalities. It is pure goodness, and its expression is always goodness.

    Because language is inherently conceptual, and thus comparative, dualistic, and judgmental, it is hard to convey this nonconceptual positivity. It is difficult to describe the quality of experience beyond all mental concepts; it is “good” in a way that is not a judgment or an opinion. This positivity is not the result of comparison; it is reality’s own intrinsic characteristic that cannot be separated from its very existence.

    Judgment and comparison block or distort this nonconceptual mode of presencing reality, and because most people don’t believe this, it is very important to understand Holy Love. Most of us think that reality can be divided into good and bad, positive and negative, painful and pleasurable. Holy Love says no; that if we let go of our dichotomizing minds and experience things as they are—without our subjective filters—we will recognize reality’s sheer positivity, its pure delightfulness. This characteristic of reality is usually referred to as the blissful and ecstatic quality of Being, or the loving and compassionate.

    In Hinduism, the true reality is called satchitananda. Sat refers to its truth or existence, chit is its consciousness or intelligence, and ananda its bliss, joy, or love. Ananda refers to this intrinsic positivity of reality. It is God’s intrinsic beauty, His intoxicating quality. It is goodness or positivity through and through: sheer value, sheer goodness, sheer beauty. This quality is intrinsic in that it is an inseparable part of reality, an inseparable quality of the fact of its existence.

    The nonconceptual positivity that is Holy Love is not just a feeling. It is how reality looks, how it feels, how it smells, what touching it feels like. In terms of seeing, it is beauty. In terms of hearing, it is harmony. In terms of tasting, it is sweet. In terms of smelling, it has a quality of perfume. In terms of feeling, it is positive affect. It is what truly turns on all your senses, what stimulates and is pure pleasure to them, making you feel happy and loving. So Holy Love invokes descriptions like positive, blissful, ecstatic, pleasurable, uplifting, wonderful, delicious, enjoyable, warm, delightful, and so on.

    To understand what we mean by Holy Love and to not restrict it to one conceptual quality or another, it might be helpful to see how it manifests in some of the essential aspects; or to put it another way, to see what the Holy Love is in them. Holy Love is a clear and distinct quality of the very substance and consciousness of each essential aspect. Holy Love is seen in the positive, uplifting, and blissful affect and effect of each aspect. It is the sweetness and softness in Love. It is the lightness and playfulness in Joy. It is the preciousness and the exquisiteness of Intelligence and Brilliancy. It is the purity and the confidence of Will. It is the aliveness, excitement, and glamour of the Red or Strength aspect. It is the mysteriousness and silkiness in the Black or Peace aspect. It is the wholeness and integrity in the Pearl or Personal Essence. It is the freshness and the newness of Space. It is the depth, the deep warmth, and the satisfying realness of Truth.

    We can see from these examples that when we use the word positivity, we don’t mean any particular quality, but rather the positive nature that all manifestations of reality—all the aspects and dimensions—share, and which is expressed differently in each. If you experience the clear aspect, for instance, it has a freshness, a transparency, and a clarity; and not only does it make you clear, but there is an intrinsically pleasurable quality to that sense of clarity. This inherent positivity in all the aspects of Being is why it is impossible for any of them not to be good. This goodness, Holy Love tells us, is not only an intrinsic quality in the differentiated manifestations of Being that we call the essential aspects, but is a characteristic of reality as a whole, of all of existence within the whole universe.

    Our descriptions of the various positive qualities of some essential aspects in no way exhausts the characteristics of Holy Love in each of them. We could speak for hours about the goodness in each aspect, and still not exhaust it. The kindness of the Green aspect, for instance, is not only warm and soft, but it is also light and scintillating and pure. Holy Love is an inseparable quality of the essential aspects, so when Essence is experienced completely, fully, and purely, it has an uplifting impact on the soul, and there is a sense of value, worth, significance, meaning, positive regard, expansion of the spirit, and an overall appreciative flavor to the experience. It makes you love and enjoy yourself and others, and life in general; it makes you love and enjoy truth and all of existence. To understand Holy Love is to be in touch with the blissful beauty of existence which is its intrinsic goodness. When the Sufis refer to God as love, they mean Holy Love rather than the affect of love, or any of the forms of love on the essential level. So when the great Sufi mystic, Rumi, describes everything in reality as good, with a loving and a lovely quality, he is speaking from Holy Love.

    This intrinsic goodness of reality is part and parcel of its Being and its functioning. So to understand Holy Love means to be attuned, to be aware, to be in touch with the fact that reality has an intrinsic goodness, an inherent beauty, a delight, a blissfulness, an ecstasy that is completely inseparable from its existence and from its unfoldment. Holy Love is so inseparably a quality of existence that if you truly experience existence, you are bound to experience its intrinsic goodness. If you experience existence but do not feel the Holy Love of it, this indicates that your experience of existence is filtered through your subjectivity and is therefore incomplete. So whenever our experience of reality lacks this sense of goodness, this beauty, this value, this uplifting quality, this blissfulness, this delight, we know that we are experiencing it through the filter of the ego.

    If reality feels painful to us or if we experience it as negative, these perceptions are layered over it, extrinsic to it, incidental to it, and are therefore transitory rather than abiding. They are the veils of reactivity, of the mind distorting what we see and experience. Suffering, then, is nothing but reality experienced through our subjectivity. When a person is not perceiving the Holy Ideas, he or she is experiencing some degree of suffering. From the perspective of someone who is seeing objectively, that suffering is just in the person’s mind, but as far as that person is concerned, the suffering is very real. So the one seeing objectively will naturally have compassion and a desire to help, not by alleviating the suffering, but by helping the other see correctly, because when we see correctly, our suffering disappears. Even physical pain becomes less painful if you are perceiving Holy Love, which means being in a state of bliss, because the psychological suffering that contributes so profoundly to the pain is gone. It is possible to realize Holy Love so completely that nothing can make it disappear.

    Absolute Goodness
    The way you look at reality determines how you experience it. If you look at it from a subjective point of view, a mental construct, it will appear dark, and will for the most part feel painful. If you look at it with a fresh mind and a fresh heart, you see that it is good and feels wonderful. The sense of goodness is more real and fundamental since its existence is not dependent upon your point of view. It is only when you don’t have a point of view that you perceive that that’s how reality is. This is why the inherent goodness of reality is considered to be abiding and more real than any perspective. The sense of reality as filled with pain and suffering, on the other hand, is dependent upon your beliefs, and while they exist as part of reality, they are incidental to it. So we are differentiating between what is fundamental and what is incidental to the nature of reality. The perspective of Holy Love is that if you don’t try to see reality one way or another, you will discover that it is wonderful, and it will actually become wonderful. You don’t have to do anything to make it that way; it is like that on its own. All you need to do is relax. If we tighten up and get scared, things look negative and become painful. That’s how reality works. Eventually, we learn that it is more skillful to see reality as it is because doing so makes our lives easier.

    Reality always has the quality of goodness about it; goodness is its nature. It cannot be taken away from it, just as you can’t take the quality of roundness away from an orange. Holy Love, like the other Holy Ideas, is a quality of objective reality, so it can’t be there sometimes and not at others, or in one part of reality and not in another.

    The sense of goodness that we are describing is not goodness in the moral or ethical sense. It transcends moral concepts. Reality is good in the sense of how it feels and how it affects us, touching us with its blissful and ecstatic nature. This blissfulness is nothing but nonconceptual pleasure, nonconceptual goodness, nonconceptual positivity. While it is easy to see this quality in the essential aspects—the blissfulness of Peace or of Compassion, for instance—which is why we used them as examples earlier, Holy Love says that this blissful quality is inherent in everything.
    Last edited by Vive; 06-05-2020, 07:12 PM.

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  • Vive
    Disconnection from the Source
    So the loss and the sense of feeling disconnected that is the specific difficulty for this point is a very wrenching kind of estrangement. To really get a sense of it, imagine a two- or three-year-old child who has been more or less continuously with its mother, and then is taken away from her suddenly and completely. How would this child feel? What condition would the child be in? Even if the child survives, life loses its flavor and becomes dull. There is not only emptiness but also grief and depression. So the sense of disconnection that we are discussing here is a profoundly unhappy state, in which it feels like the one you love the most is unreachable and inaccessible.

    All human endeavors are ultimately attempts to regain that connection, attempts to return home, to go back to where we feel contented and without worry, where we feel things are just the way they should be. Everyone is working on the same task of returning home, whatever their projects and enterprises. But trying to return home is a very tricky and subtle thing, because we are estranged by the very way that we see ourselves. It is not as though you were thrown out of paradise as a punishment for something you did wrong; nor is it a matter of doing some exercise or going through some difficulty to regain contact with the Origin. To regain the Origin is, in a sense, the process of annihilating oneself, because the very way that we think and the way that we perceive ourselves is what disconnects us. As we have seen, what disconnects us is the delusion that we are a self with a separate identity, so it doesn’t matter what we learn, what we attain, what we gain, how far we go—these things will not reconnect us. Even talking about connecting is a linguistic formulation that is not accurate, since the disconnection itself is a delusion.

    Although the disconnection that we sense is not ultimately real, we experience it as real psychologically because reality is such that our beliefs determine our experience. If we believe that we are independent entities, we will experience ourselves as independent entities, and hence, as disconnected. So the return home to our Source is a matter of education; it is a matter of seeing through certain beliefs. But in letting them go, you are letting go of the very fabric of who you believe you are, so the process is very difficult, very subtle, and very radical.

    We can fight or complain or kick and scream in protest about our predicament, but all of these are simply the expressions of the belief in a separate identity and do nothing to change the situation. Even if we have an experience of grace or blessing, it is temporary and does not dissolve the belief that you are someone who is disconnected, because you are busy defending the belief that you are someone who is separate. Since God is merciful, He lets you believe whatever you want to believe—He’s not going to take away from you something you cherish.

    So as you can see, it is quite a dilemma. We have to turn ourselves inside out, in a sense, so that we can see reality in a way that is completely different from the way we usually see it. It is not as easy as changing the lens through which you are looking at reality; it’s more like you have to completely strip yourself of everything you are wearing, which means stripping yourself of your very sense of yourself. So how do we do that?

    We are trying to understand the subtlety of the situation—how we believe in our separate identity, how this belief is a constant, crystallized, entrenched, and deep conviction that we have taken to be objective reality, and how this very conviction is really equivalent to the disconnection from our Source. As we have seen, this disconnection is not real; Holy Origin reveals that all of appearance is always part and parcel of the Source, at all times and in all situations, universally. So the disconnection is itself not an objective experience but a subjective one that is determined by having particular images and beliefs in your mind upon which your attention is riveted. By perceiving the delusion and by working through the painful emotions connected with the delusion, you allow the possibility for your attention to be less focused through that delusion. In that way, your perception becomes free to see things as they really are.

    You may have experiences of connecting with, moving closer to or farther away from the Source, as though there is the Beloved and there is you and a rapprochement occurs. Many people have these experiences, but they are part of the delusion because although they bring us closer to ourselves and our hearts may open some, they are still based on a lack of perception of the objective situation. The objective situation is that the Beloved is not an object that you can move toward or away from. The Source is not something that is an other. The Source is not an object of perception, nor is it a conceptualized percept. The Source or the Origin is the very nature of what we are and of everything that is. It is not only pervasive and omnipresent, it is completely, one hundred percent coemergent with, and indistinguishable from, everything and anything. This perception is both difficult to attain and also difficult to maintain because of our continuous belief, supported by all kinds of things in our lives, that we are independent entities and that reality or true nature is something we can gain or lose.

    Complete resolution of this dilemma cannot really happen unless one truly, genuinely, authentically, and sincerely investigates for oneself the situation in its complexity, in its subtlety, in its profundity, and finds out for oneself what the objective truth is. This is not something that will happen through an experience, because as we have seen, experiencing Holy Origin is not enough. The delusion needs to be seen as a delusion, and this requires a great deal of deep investigation and study of the content of your consciousness and of the content of your belief system.

    The Idea of Holy Origin is implicit in the attitude of the Diamond Approach toward truth. In the Diamond Approach, the method is a matter of seeing, understanding, and realizing the truth. The truth is ultimately the Holy Truth, and its essence is the Holy Origin. By doing the Holy Work, which is being present where one is, one’s assemblage point is moved from one aspect to another, and then from one dimension to another, until one realizes the Point, followed by Being in its increasing subtleties. Loving the truth is finally loving the Origin, one’s source and center. Living understanding reveals the truth that we are never disconnected from the Origin.

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  • Vive
    For most people, being in touch with themselves feels like a radical departure from their ordinary experience, and a profound sense of connection with something deeper. While this is how Holy Origin manifests on the surface, the deeper you go, the more expanded your sense of that connection becomes. You also see that the moment you use an image to be your center, that becomes the ego identity which disconnects you from what your sense of origin is at that moment. The deepening of your experience of what your origin is, is the same thing as your images and concepts thinning or becoming more transparent or progressively being let go of.

    While we speak of a progression of realization of the Origin, in reality we never leave it, as we have seen. However, actually perceiving this is a very deep realization. It is far easier to see that you are an extension of the Source, as opposed to realizing that you are not only an extension of it but that you never leave it. When most people experience the Absolute, they still see it as a source that they come from and return to. To see that it is everything—that even physical matter is the Absolute—is a much more radical experience and a further integration of reality. While this is objectively the truth because the Absolute and appearance are one, for a long time we see everything as arising out of Being or the Absolute, or that the Absolute is the ground underlying everything. To recognize that even the forms themselves and even our images are made out of it is difficult to perceive and to experience because of not having yet fully realized the Idea of Holy Origin.

    When you reach this level of experience, even the concept of an origin no longer makes sense. Spatial metaphors altogether cease being relevant when you experience coemergence at this third level of realization of Holy Origin. At this level, you perceive that there is no place that is the Origin while another place is separate from it. You can’t even speak of connection here, since there is only One—appearance and Being are inseparable.

    At this level, it is not as though the forms disappear; rather, our understanding of them changes. We ordinarily think of physical reality as solid matter, of objects existing on their own. In terms of objective reality, there is no such thing, but this does not mean that there is nothing there. The forms exist, but in a different way than we had thought. They exist as articulations that are expressions of the creativity of Being. That creativity is what we see as the world. So there is no question of whether physical reality ultimately exists or not; the question is: What is the nature of what we are perceiving?

    If you consider your hand and the atoms that constitute it, you cannot ask which one is ultimately real, since they are two elements of the same thing. If you look at your hand under a microscope, you will only see the atoms, but does this mean that the hand has ceased existing? This is analogous to the idea of ego death: It is not that your personality dies, but that you are experiencing yourself at a deeper level. All that has ceased is the idea that your ego identity is all that you are. Nothing dies; you are just seeing things at a different level. The Idea of Holy Origin means that you are seeing both levels at the same time—you’re looking at your hand with two lenses: One sees the hand and one sees the atoms, both at the same time.

    Separate Identity
    We have explored freedom from the perspective of Holy Origin. Now we will turn to the patterns of ego stuckness that derive from the lack of this perspective. It is summarized well in the following quote from don Juan, in which we can take “silent knowledge” to mean Origin, as we have been defining it:

    As the feeling of the individual self became stronger, man lost his natural connection to silent knowledge. Modern man, being heir to that development, therefore finds himself so hopelessly removed form the source of everything that all he can do is express his despair in violent and cynical acts of self-destruction. Don Juan asserted that the reason for man’s cynicism and despair is the bit of silent knowledge left in him, which does two things: one, it gives man an inkling of his ancient connection to the source of everything; and two, it makes man feel that without this connection, he has no hope of peace, of satisfaction, of attainment. (Castaneda, 1987, p. 149–150)

    This quote expresses well what happens when the Idea of Holy Origin is lost to our consciousness, which is the same thing as the arising of the specific delusion of Point Four. (The loss of the Holy Idea and the arising of the delusion are simultaneous and not causal, as we have seen.) To conceptually elucidate the delusion of Point Four, I will compare it to that of Point Five. Because Holy Transparency is the perception that there are no ultimate separating boundaries in reality, such that it is not possible to exist as a separate entity, the loss of it leads to the conviction in the concept of ego boundaries that separate the individual self from others. From the understanding of developmental psychology and object relations theory, this sense of separating ego boundaries that is based on the body’s boundaries is one of two primary defining structures of the individual self. The other structure is that which arises as a result of the loss of Holy Origin. Holy Origin, as we have seen, has to do with the connection to our depths, to the Source, which is the center of our consciousness, so its loss gives rise to the delusion of a separate identity. This ego identity, what we call the pea, separates us not from each other (as in Point Five), but from our center.

    In other words, the specific delusion of Point Four is the conviction in the concept of separate identity—that your “I” is ultimately separate, independent, different, and unique. This is the element of the ego that has to do with the feeling of identity, the sense of self, as opposed to the demarcating boundaries that are the province of Point Five. It is the sense that your identity exists on its own, separately and independently from all other people and all other things. Ennea-type Fours, in fact, typically take great pride in having an original, unique, and independent self. Holy Origin tells us that this is a delusion, since our true identity is the Absolute itself, which is the center of everything. If you believe that you have an independent and separate source, then everyone must have their own Absolute, which, of course, is impossible.

    Holy Origin shows me that I am connected to the Holy Origin and so is everyone and everything else. While everyone and everything is an expression of the same Source, each is a unique expression of that Source. No wave is exactly like any other wave; no cloud is exactly like any other cloud. When you understand uniqueness from this perspective, you realize that uniqueness is not specialness, nor is it based on separateness. This means that whenever you believe you are original, you are merely expressing the ego identity. What most people call originality is this expression, and most people believe that they are expressing themselves and being unique and original when, in fact, they are expressing their ego identity.

    So a characteristic of the delusion of Point Four is an obsession about originality and uniqueness, which will color even one’s understanding of the experience of self-realization—the Essential Self, the Point. In reality, the Point is a reflection of the Origin, the ultimate Source. So if you still have the delusion of the separate self, even experiencing the Point will not alter your conviction that you have a separate, independent, and ultimately abiding identity. It is as though you were out on a full-moon night holding a cup of water and staring at the moon’s reflection in your cup, and believing you have your own moon—everyone goes around believing they have a separate identity from everyone else. You will fall under the delusion that the Point indicates separateness from other identities, instead of seeing it as the expression of the Holy Truth—that it is, in fact, the transition from the mandala of one’s life to its ground and source, that it is what connects the soul to the Source of everything, what don Juan calls “silent knowledge.”

    In a rose bush, are the roses ultimately unique and separate from each other? From the egoic perspective, we tend to focus on the separate roses, rather than on how they are part of the same bush. So when a person experiences the Point, and he thinks he has an independent identity, it’s really the ego identity—the pea—believing it has an independent identity. Despite this deep experience of realization, if one has not integrated Holy Origin, one’s ego identity will just perpetuate itself through believing in its separate identity. The Point is really nothing but what connects the soul to the Absolute. This is one reason we call it the Point—it is a point of connection between the soul and its Origin.

    This is similar to how the lack of integration of Holy Transparency affects one’s experience of the Personal Essence, the Pearl. If one’s perception is clouded by the delusion of a separate self, the presence of the ego identity will make you think that not only are you a personal expression of Essence, but also that you have a separate essence. You will experience the Personal Essence, then, through the filter of ego boundaries. So, the delusion of Point Five gives the experience of the Pearl boundaries, and the delusion of Point Four gives the experience of the Point separateness. Despite repeated and profound experiences of these essential aspects, these subtle differentiations may persist for a long time, until you see through the delusions obscuring your perception.

    So just as ego boundaries give the delusion that the autonomy of the Pearl means separateness from others, ego identity gives the delusion that the uniqueness of the Point means not only being different from others but also, and more importantly, being separate from the ground of Being. While it is true that ennea-type Fours are prone to this delusion, we must not forget that the delusions are ego principles that are true for all ego types. Everyone, then, has the delusion that one’s inner nature, one’s sense of self or sense of identity, is distinct and separate, discrete and independent.

    It is the conviction that I have an independent, separate self and separate identity. The delusion of Point Five is like believing that you are a balloon and that its boundaries define you, and the delusion of Point Four is like believing that the air inside your balloon is independent, separate, and different from the air inside other people’s balloons. My air smells and feels different. This conviction separates you in this moment from a sense of presence, which is your true center. Believing that one is a separate self with a separate identity makes the soul experience itself as disconnected, cut off from its Source.

    The lack of the Idea of Holy Origin manifests as a specific delusion, and this delusion goes along with the loss of holding in the environment and the loss of basic trust. Experiencing the delusion as part of the experience of the holding environment will be seen as what I call the specific difficulty of that point on the Enneagram. Experiencing the delusion from the perspective of the loss of basic trust will be experienced as the specific reaction of that point.

    So from the perspective of Point Four, the loss of holding will be experienced from the point of view of the delusion that there is a separate identity and center. The specific difficulty, then, is the experiential state of feeling disconnected, estranged, alienated, cast out, and abandoned. This feeling state is different from the sense of isolation, which is the specific difficulty of Point Five. The feeling here is a disconnection from oneself, from reality, from the Source. This is what gives people of this ennea-type the sense of melancholy, despair, and sadness, since the disconnection is ultimately from the Beloved, from the ultimate Source. So the state of disconnection is a painful condition in which you feel not held, but also estranged from the source of holding. It is the narcissistic difficulty, but experienced specifically as being cut off, being unreachable, or feeling that the source of holding is unreachable. So we are seeing here the particular way that the loss of holding is experienced when reflected through the facet of this particular delusion, in contrast to the sense of connection in which one feels at home, at peace with oneself, and intimate with the Beloved.

    This sense of disconnection resulting from the loss of holding makes the Idea of Holy Origin inaccessible. It goes along with the belief that you have a separate identity, because without that sense of separateness, how could you be disconnected? So inherent in the feeling state of disconnection and estrangement is the delusion that you are a separate self with a separate identity. This feeling of disconnection can be experienced on any level, beginning with feeling out of touch with oneself or somehow disconnected, alienated, or estranged. It can become deeper and more specific, manifesting as the sense that you have been cast out of Heaven, that what is lovable is inaccessible or unreachable, that you are alone and abandoned, lost, with no way to come into contact with what is real, or as the feeling of disconnection from your true nature, disconnected from what is real in you.

    The Effort to Control
    The absence of the Holy Idea also manifests as the absence of trust because the holding is lost, which leads to the absence of basic trust. So the specific reaction that results is the expression here of distrust filtered through the belief in a separate identity. It is the ego activity of control—the attempt to control one’s experience so as not to experience the feeling of disconnection. This activity of controlling basically supports the identification with the ego, which creates a fake center, to avoid experiencing the absence of a real center.

    Here we find that we cannot separate the pea from the activity of control, or to phrase it differently, we cannot separate the ego identity from the actual activity of control. So the loss of control would amount to the loss of self, revealing the underlying absence of the real self which, as we have seen, is the true connection to the Source of everything. Control of one’s inner and outer experience is an attempt, in a sense, to feel connected. Physically, the activity of control is characterized by a contraction in the region of the perineum. Through toilet training, we learn early on to control ourselves through contracting the anus, and every time we control anything as adults, we also contract that region of the body. This contraction creates a sense of center within oneself, which, as we have seen, is missing if we are identified with the ego. In this way, the activity of control gives us a false sense of center, masking the absence of connection with our real center. This reaction of controlling becomes generalized to all stressful situations or experiences, and does not remain limited to the experience of disconnection. Whenever there is any difficulty in life, one’s tendency is to try to control oneself and one’s environment.

    So rather than connecting us, the attempt at control ends up only supporting our sense of being an ego, someone who is cut off from what is real. This controlling of experience is in sharp contrast with the sense of complete freedom of the Source. This freedom is complete openness and flow, since at the very center of who you are, there is not a hint of control.

    Here we are again, looking at ego activity, as we did in exploring the specific reaction of Point Seven, but we are considering it from a different perspective. There we saw how inherent in the ego activity is planning, while here, we are seeing it as an attempt at control.

    So the specific difficulty of disconnection and the specific reaction of control become the core of this ennea-type, formed around the seed of the delusion. Dealing with this core is usually a painful or scary process, but if we are to see through it so that this core can dissolve and we can reconnect to the Holy Idea involved, we have to go through it. Control is an expression of distrust, so if you allow yourself to lose the control, the distrust will be exposed. This distrust then needs to be explored, because its absence makes you feel frightened and therefore, having to control. As you feel and explore it, you might get in touch with the specific difficulty, and ultimately with the delusion that forms the kernel of both. So as we are seeing, every time we explore the core of an ennea-type, we are dealing with a whole constellation, a whole complex.

    Control is only one of nine mechanisms that perpetuate the existence of the ego—the nine specific reactions of each point on the Enneagram. In time, we see that all the reactions are actually part of the same ego activity. Sometimes one of them is more prominent in our awareness, but they are all present in egoic activity, just as each of the Holy Ideas are all present when we see reality objectively. When we see all of these activities that are the expressions of distrust, we see the nine pillars that uphold egoic existence and constitute the structure of your stuckness. We are studying the nuances of the ego in a very minute way, and as we progress through the nine points of the Enneagram, we are considering one side after another. The more we let ourselves explore and question the nine threads holding the ego together in this way, the more it begins to unravel.

    In exploring the question of Holy Origin and the consequences of its absence, we are dealing with one of the dilemmas of being a human being. Human beings have two options: being in contact with the Source, or being in a state of disconnection from it. Being disconnected from the Source is not the loss of a luxury, of something extra—this loss lies at the very heart of human suffering because this Source constitutes your most real nature, the true center of who you are. Without it, life is deadened in all its aspects and becomes meaningless. We don’t simply lose a sense of peace or contentment, or the intimacy of feeling at home with ourselves, but we also lose the source of all of our real capacities that we need to deal with and live our lives fully and correctly. So this is not a small loss or simply a philosophical one—it is a very practical and immediate one. Working on regaining the Holy Origin—realizing our unity with our Source—is not supplemental, something to do when everything else is taken care of. It is basic and fundamental. Not to do it is like trying to live your life without your insides, your bodily organs—what kind of life can you live? Without the connection with your Source, in which your life is lived as a continuity of Being, life becomes a prolongation of hollowness.

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  • Vive
    Point Four HOLY ORIGIN

    The awareness that all individuals are born as the result of natural, objective laws; that these laws continue to operate within them throughout their lives. Because all the laws are interconnected, each individual always has an intimate physical connection with the Totality of Reality—the Cosmos. From this springs true originality.

    —Ichazo, 1972

    The Holy Idea for Point Four is Holy Origin. As well as the above definition, Ichazo also gives a shorter definition: “Everything starts in Him Himself, in God, and everything is going to return again to Him Himself.” Both of these definitions say the same thing, one from the perspective of natural laws in relationship to the body, and the other in a more mystical way of seeing the Idea.

    What does this mean? Each Holy Idea, as we have seen, presents a particular implicit truth about reality, a certain facet of how reality is and how it appears. If we perceive reality as it is without any filters, we will see these nine Ideas as different manifestations of it. They are inseparable, since they are nine different aspects, expressions, or elements of the same experience. The facet of reality that is highlighted by Holy Origin is the perception and understanding that all appearance (meaning whatever can be experienced and perceived—inner or outer) is nothing but the manifestation of Being, the Holy Truth.

    Inseparability from the Source
    Everything is the unfoldment of Being, and hence, everything is always intimately connected to Being. In fact, the various phenomena we perceive are the unfoldment of Being. This is a deep and radical perception, although it is subtle: We see that everything we experience is nothing but Being itself appearing to us in various forms. We explored in the preceding chapter the Idea of Holy Work, in which we saw that reality is always unfolding, Being is always transforming from one form into another. Like a movie, reality keeps rolling, and with the perception of Holy Origin, we see that what appears in that unfoldment is never disconnected from Being, since it is Being. The fact that reality is appearing right now as your body or your thoughts or your environment does not mean that these things are disconnected from Being. Everything, then, is intimately and inextricably connected to Being. Being is the Holy Origin, and everything is connected to, and completely inseparable from, that Origin.

    So Holy Work emphasizes the fact that there is always an unfoldment taking place, and Holy Origin emphasizes that this unfoldment is always the unfoldment of Being. So as appearance manifests, it never leaves Being, which means that you never leave Being. The interconnection of everything, including ourselves, then, is by virtue of the fact that everything has as its inner nature the reality of Being. You are connected by virtue of the fact that Being is your true reality. Just as the body is inseparable from its atoms, so appearance is inseparable from Being. There is no such thing as a body separate from its atoms; likewise, there is no world, no existence, no manifestation, no appearance separate from Being.

    This inseparability of appearance from its Source is the perception elucidated by Holy Origin. This is a very deep understanding which is not easy to apprehend. Without it, we can have experiences of our essential nature which actually feel separate from who we are. For instance, we might have a profound experience of the presence of boundless compassion or of indestructible strength, but actually feel that we are having an experience of something other than who and what we are. Essence can feel like something that comes and goes, rather than seeing that our perception of our inner nature is what comes and goes because that perception is not clear. Holy Origin is the knowledge that you and your essence are not two distinct things. Essence is the nature of the soul. We might believe that the Divine, or God, is something outside ourselves, residing somewhere else, which we are either connected to or not. Believing that you can be connected or disconnected from God means that you don’t understand the Idea of Holy Origin.

    The Idea of Holy Origin can be formulated in many ways, depending upon the level or subtlety of realization. We have discussed what it means in a general way, and will now describe some of the different levels of its realization. The first level is perceiving it from the physical perspective, recognizing that we are connected to reality because the natural laws which operate in and through our bodies always connect us to it.

    The next level deeper is the perception that everything, including oneself, originates in Being and returns to Being, that Being is the ground in which and from which everything manifests. This is the experience of seeing that there is a Source from which you come and to which you return, and that all of reality comes from and returns to this same Source. It is like perceiving that the waves arise out of the ocean and return back into it.

    This is how reality is, whether you perceive it or not. When you are not perceiving this truth, you are asleep. When we say that the Holy Ideas are views of objective reality, we mean that this reality is not dependent upon your mind or your experience of it. It is how reality is, independent of your perceptions of it. So even though you might not perceive it this way does not mean that it isn’t this way, any more than the objective truth that your heart is pumping blood through your body is in any way dependent upon your perception of that fact.

    At this level, the perception is that reality is in a constant process of creation and dissolution, arising out of, and returning back to, the Source. We perceive the unfoldment of manifestation as an emergence, a fountain of forms rising out of that Source. While Being is seen here as the ground in which and from which everything manifests, there is not yet the sense of coemergence. There is the appearance and there is the Source of it, so there is a slight sense of separateness. The Logos, the boundless dimension of manifestation, is seen here to arise out of Being rather than being it.

    The third level of perception of Holy Origin is seeing that everything is nothing but Being itself differentiating, discriminating, and articulating itself into the particular phenomena of experience. So there is no separation between appearance and Source, nor is there connection between them since there are not two things that can be disconnected. This third level, that of coemergence, in which one recognizes that everything is always the Source that is appearing in various ways, is the deepest possible way of seeing Holy Origin.

    Levels of Source
    What we perceive to be the Source, from which everything emanates in the second level of understanding Holy Origin, and with which everything is coemergent in the third level, goes through successive refinements. In other words, our sense of what this Source is deepens. This understanding—that Being can be perceived in subtler and subtler depths—is very specific to the Diamond Approach. We call the progressively deeper experiences of Being the boundless dimensions. We see that, as our experience of it deepens, Being is perceived as having fewer and fewer qualities, until in time, it becomes completely quality-less. Many spiritual teachings do not talk about the succession of qualities or structures of Being nor of the progression of experience of Being to its ultimate depth. Buddhism, for instance, considers Being as emptiness or as the union of emptiness and awareness (depending on the particular school), and that that is the ultimate reality to which you are either connected or not. In our work, we say that this is one perception of Being, but there are other levels at which it can be experienced.

    The Idea of Holy Origin, then, does not describe a particular level of Being, but rather, a relationship of appearance to Being. So your perception of Holy Origin will vary depending upon which level of Being you are experiencing. On the second and third levels of understanding the Idea, for instance, you might experience the whole universe as love and everything that appears as forms of that love. Or you might experience everything as pure presence without any qualities, seeing that everything is just differentiations of that pure presence. The deepest perception is seeing the Absolute as the Source, and everything as emanations that are indistinguishable from It. Only at the third level of understanding Holy Origin can one perceive that everything is the Absolute—this is what I call the quintessential dimension. Everything here is seen to be coemergent with the ultimate Source.

    To understand this Idea more easily, we can relate it to Holy Truth and Holy Omniscience. Holy Truth, as we have seen, is the perception that there is only one indivisible reality, so there is no duality. Holy Omniscience is this same truth, but seen in terms of the oneness of appearance, perceiving multiplicity as a characteristic of the unity. So from the perspective of Holy Truth, there is only one thing; and from the perspective of Holy Omniscience, that one thing is made up of a multiplicity of objects. We usually believe that everything and everyone is separate and discrete, meaning not part of something larger, which is like believing that the whole universe could disappear and the Earth would remain. So Holy Omniscience describes the same truth as Holy Truth, but seen from the point of view of the differentiations. Holy Origin also describes the same truth, but rather than describing it in terms of the absence of ultimate boundaries between the various phenomena, this Idea describes it in terms of the absence of separating boundaries between those appearances and Being. Holy Omniscience refers to the horizontal oneness, and Holy Origin refers to the vertical oneness. Holy Omniscience eliminates the sense of boundaries or separateness between things, and Holy Origin eliminates the sense of separateness between things and their source, which is Being.

    In terms of your own experience, Holy Omniscience means that you are not separate from others or from the environment, while Holy Origin means that you are not separate from Being, your source and essence. So Holy Omniscience is the absence of disconnection on the same level, while Holy Origin is the absence of disconnection between levels. The former looks at the surface, and the latter looks at the depths. Holy Omniscience tells us that all the waves on the surface of the ocean are connected, while Holy Origin tells us that the waves are part of the ocean. And the whole ocean, waves and all, is the Holy Truth. The same reality is being described, with different emphases.

    Another way of putting it is that Holy Omniscience refers to the connection of all souls to each other, while Holy Origin refers to the connection of the soul to its source. Our sense of this source or center changes, as we have said, according to the dimension we are experiencing. On the individual dimension, this center is the Point, the Essential Self. Then it becomes Universal Love, then the Supreme, which is pure Being, then the Nameless, which is nonconceptual Being, and finally the Absolute, which is absolute Being. In the language we used in discussing Holy Wisdom, you could say that the center of your mandala which begins as the ego identity, a mental construct, becomes replaced with a progressively deeper center that is real.

    Sometimes your sense of that center will be Essence, which is the true nature of the soul; sometimes it will be other dimensions of Being, deeper perceptions of the true nature of reality of which the soul is a part. Each of these perceptions is an understanding of Holy Origin, in which the surface and the center are seen to be one, just as every circle or sphere has a center. The ego does not understand this, believing that Essence or Being or God exists somewhere else and we have to search for it. This belief is due to the lack of understanding of Holy Origin. In reality, the center of everything is always the Absolute, but we take it to be whatever the Absolute is manifesting Itself as in that moment. You might take your center to be your body, which is how the Absolute is manifesting at the time, or you might take your center to be pure Being, for instance. What you perceive the center as is dependent upon your level of perception.

    So when you say, “I,” it is always the Absolute saying it. No one ever says, “I” without it being the Absolute saying it. The “I” is always uttered by the Origin. No one can say, “I” except for the Origin because of the mere fact that there is only one thing. If you really understand Holy Truth, you understand that there are not two, that duality is an illusion of the egoic mind. You might not be aware that you are the Origin when you utter the word, “I,” but nonetheless, it can only be the Origin that is saying “I.” We have a case of mistaken identity when we take the “I” to be something that our mind defines as us. When the mind defines what is “I,” we have a fake center, a superficial center, a fabricated center, which we refer to as the pea. That is the normal identity, the identity of the personality, which functions as the center of our lives, of our actions, of our experience.

    We may feel that we are at the center of our experience, but for most people, that center is the ego identity. When we see through this, we initially realize our center to be the Point, the Essential Self. (See Almaas, 1996.) Then we see that the Point is nothing but the reflection of Being in the mandala of appearance. To put it another way, the Essential Self is nothing but the appearance of Being when you see it in everyday life. When we see this, we become more awakened to the nature of Being, and progressively let go of our subtle concepts until we realize Being’s absolute nature. Then we know that we are not connected to the Origin; we are the Origin.

    Ultimately, the Origin is the Absolute, but each of us is in a different place in terms of what we are able to perceive and experience, so I am discussing Holy Origin from these other levels as well. We saw in the last chapter that to do the Holy Work means to let yourself be where you are. It means allowing yourself to be wherever the unfoldment is taking you and to perceive and be in touch with whatever the unfoldment is causing to appear—or manifesting in you—as who you are. Ultimately, that is the Absolute, but your perception might not be that deep yet. Many spiritual teachings refer to one dimension of reality as the only true one, and if you don’t experience that dimension, the tendency is to invalidate your experience and to try to go to the level that the teaching is postulating. This disconnects you from where you are and blocks the unfoldment. If you see that there are many levels of truth, you take into consideration that there is an unfoldment that goes progressively deeper, and then you can allow yourself to be where you are and allow the momentum of unfoldment to take you deeper. So while Holy Origin means that we are the Absolute, we can experience it from wherever we are; and by being where we are, we allow the spirit to move us to that Origin.

    Functioning as Self-Arising
    Holy Origin is in the functioning corner of the Enneagram formed by Points Two, Three, and Four, because it elucidates a truth about functioning. The upper corner formed by Points Eight, Nine, and One talks about the truth of the cosmos, while the corner formed by Points Five, Six, and Seven discusses the human being in relationship to the cosmos. The functioning corner discusses doing, or the functioning of transformation. We have seen that the Holy Will creates the Holy Work, which is the unfoldment of the universe. Holy Origin shows that this functioning is a manifestation and an articulation of Being into the various forms. So we see functioning here as nothing but an articulated presencing of Being. In other words, Being presents itself in a differentiated and discriminated way without ceasing to be Being in its purity.

    A good way of expressing this is “self-arising,” a term used in spiritual literature, which means that everything is an arising that is intimately connected to the source of this arising. The Absolute in its absoluteness is called the “truth of non-arising,” since it does not originate from anywhere and is constant and unchanging. So manifestation is an arising of the Absolute which appears as everything without ever ceasing to be the Absolute. In reality, then, the truth of Holy Origin is that there is simultaneous arising and non-arising. When we focus on the arising quality of the transformation, we say that there is functioning and that is the appearance; when we see the fact that there is an unchangeability in it, that the Absolute is always present, we call that non-arising. To talk about an arising out of the Absolute is a contradiction, since It is unchanging and never arises—this is the mystery.

    We say that God, or the Truth, never changes and is always the same, while in fact, God is changing all the time since God is everything that we see. So which perception is the truth? Both are true, and this is something that we can’t really understand. When we face this mystery, the mind has reached its limit and has to give up. Conceptual elucidation can only go so far, and ultimately, we end up facing paradoxes. While the threads no longer conceptually fit here, experientially, it makes total sense. Just as the atoms in the body are always atoms and always stay the same while the body is constantly changing, the Absolute is always unchanging, while there is always the arising of manifestation out of it. Seeing that these two phenomena happen simultaneously is seeing Holy Origin. You are looking at two faces of the same thing. If you see two separate processes, you are seeing a disconnection which is the absence of Holy Origin.

    As I have said, Holy Origin can be experienced in many ways. The conventional way is feeling in touch with oneself. The sense that I’m connected with myself—I feel myself, I’m intimately in touch with myself, I know I am here—is one way of seeing Holy Origin. What changes is our experience of what that self is; as we have seen, what we know ourselves as becomes progressively deeper. At the beginning, you might be in touch with your body, then you are in touch with your emotions, then you are in touch with your essence, then you are in touch with the Essential Self, then you are in touch with the boundless dimensions; until at some point, you realize that to be in touch with yourself, you have to be in touch with the Absolute because you have recognized yourself as that. As your sense of identity goes deeper, when your sense of yourself is located at levels above what you have realized yourself to be, you feel disconnected. Once you have recognized yourself as Essence, for instance, being in touch with your emotions feels like you are not completely in touch with yourself. At the beginning, however, if you are someone who has been out of touch with your emotions, feeling them feels like a big revelation and that you are really in touch with yourself. This is the beginning of experiencing Holy Origin.

    Last edited by Vive; 06-05-2020, 06:23 PM.

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  • Vive
    When the Idea of Holy Wisdom, which includes Holy Plan and Holy Work, is lost to consciousness, the deluded conviction that you can create your own time-orientation of the flow of your life—that is, that you can plan your life—arises. This implies that you can know what is supposed to happen next in order for you to unfold into your potential. This is different from the delusion of Point Two, which is the delusion of one’s own separate will; here, it is the belief that you know the direction in which that will needs to be applied. Specifically, it is the conviction that you can know what direction to take in terms of your inner experience; that you can program the unfoldment of your experience and can direct it in terms of a moment in time.

    The Holy Work will happen whether you know it or not. But part of the pattern is that when a person becomes aware of not directing the unfoldment—that the Holy Work is proceeding on its own—the life of that person becomes transformed. Without realizing this, one’s life cannot transform; very little change can happen. The assemblage point just makes little shifts here and there around the same spot, even though one may have the illusion that one is moving.

    Holy Work is the transformation of everything that exists, the movement, the changes in all of existence—a person walking down the street, another being hit by a car, someone giving birth, someone dying, people being together, people separating—they are all part of the transformation of the unfolding of the universe. It only appears to you that you are making these things happen because you do not see from the deeper perspective of objective reality.

    For this ennea-type, the specific difficulty, the experience of the absence of holding seen through the filter of the specific delusion, is the loss of the capacity to know what to do. The feeling state is one of disorientation and a sense of being lost, the sense that, “I don’t know what to do,” or “I don’t know which way to go.” Knowing what to do implies that you know which way to go, which in turn implies that you know what is optimally supposed to happen next. In the absence of the sense of holding, a state of deficiency arises in which you feel that you should be able to know what to do, based on the delusion that you can direct your own process, but that you don’t know because something is lacking in you.

    The feeling of being lost or disoriented arises when you lose your sense of identity, your sense of who you are. Every time your assemblage point shifts from its customary place, you are letting go of who you have taken yourself to be. As don Juan says, this brings with it a sense of difficulty and anxiety, and there are many ways that this is experienced. For Point Seven, it is experienced as the sense that, “I am lost. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know which way to go. I don’t know which direction to take and I feel disoriented and unoriented.” Orientation is being in touch with the flow of presence. In disorientation, what is really lost is this sense of presence, of being who you are; but the way this loss is experienced—since it is filtered through the delusion—is that what is lost is knowing what to do and which direction to take. Without the understanding of Holy Wisdom, the delusion arises and you believe it, and this, in conjunction with the loss of holding of Being, leads to this sense of disorientation.

    It can be difficult to apply this understanding to practical action in the world, just as we saw with Holy Freedom, since the level at which this perspective is most readily seen is the level of inner experience. Knowing what is supposed to happen in a concrete situation, such as needing a certain amount of income to cover your monthly expenses and doing what it takes to get it, seems obvious. But when you are dealing with the unfoldment of your soul and your spiritual evolution, you need to remember don Juan’s response to the question, “What should I do?” He said, “Nothing.” We need to understand the significance of the insight that nothing needs to be done in order to facilitate our unfoldment, which helps us to comprehend the methodology of the Diamond Approach as well.

    We have seen that the specific reaction of each ennea-type is the expression of the lack of basic trust as it is filtered through that type’s specific delusion. Here, the resulting distrust is filtered through not perceiving the Holy Plan and the delusion that one can know which direction to take. The reaction is to try to create orientation. This is the specific reaction of planning. Planning is nothing but creating direction for your future actions. It implies the absence of trust that there is already an inherent plan that is oriented toward the actualization of your potential. This plan is already present in your inherent nature, and all you need to do for it to unfold is to be yourself in the present. You don’t need to, nor in fact can you, plan your enlightenment. You just need to be true to who you are at the moment, and your unfoldment will happen on its own.

    But instead of surrendering to the Holy Plan, you create your own plan and engage in ego activity instead of surrendering to the Holy Work. Planning indicates that you have an idea in your mind of how you should be and how you should live and what should happen within yourself and in your life. This means that your orientation is coming from your mind, and that it is determined by a goal that you are attempting to arrive at in the future. It’s coming from your lower intellectual center, instead of your higher intellectual center, the source of the Holy Ideas. Your plan is bound to be based on your past experience and therefore, it cannot have the freshness that arises from the organic intelligence of Being, which, as we have seen, is a continuously new creation. A plan cannot be creative in an essential way. It is bound to be based on comparative judgment of your experience, and hence, cannot have the perfection that is inherent in the reality of Being.

    You planning your development is analogous to a child planning its development into adulthood. Just as a child does not know—and does not need to know—what it is like to be an adult, you cannot know what it is like to have a grown-up soul. So how can you plan your unfoldment? Since the child cannot know what it’s like to be forty years old, the child cannot plan his or her growth—it will have to just happen on its own. Likewise, if you trust and don’t interfere with the process, you will become an adult.

    We can say, then, that the specific reaction is the result of not understanding Holy Plan, and the specific difficulty is the result of not understanding Holy Work. If you don’t understand the Holy Plan, you have to have your own plan. This is why this type is often called “Ego Plan.” If you don’t understand Holy Work, you think that you can know what to do and that you determine your work on yourself, instead of seeing that it is a spontaneous unfoldment. Understanding the principles of Holy Plan and Holy Work exposes the delusion of ennea-type Seven, which is one of the principles common to all ego structures. The moment you try to direct your inner process—“I should not feel that way, I should feel this way; I want to feel this instead of that”—you are acting on your belief that you know what you are supposed to experience in the next moment. All ego activity involves this principle.

    You might, for instance, sense into your inner experience and realize that you are feeling irritated. The moment you say to yourself, “I must let go of it so that I can feel peaceful,” you are acting on a plan based on the belief that you should be feeling peaceful. Whenever you attempt to change what you are experiencing, you are assuming that you know what ought to be happening, which indicates that you have a plan in mind. This plan is not necessarily conscious, but it is an implicit part of your inner activity whenever you manipulate, judge, or criticize what you are experiencing. Even when you tell yourself to relax, you have a plan. For most people, this inner planning is incessant, compulsive, and obsessive. When we recognize this planning component of our inner activity, the delusion that we know what should happen is exposed. If, instead of trying to manipulate our experience, we stay present with it and try to understand it in an experiential way, then our process unfolds. Using our example, if you said to yourself, “Oh, I’m irritated, that’s interesting. What is irritating me right now? Oh, I see. The irritation has to do with this”—and so on, this is not planning where your process will go; you are just observing it and experiencing it, and the unfoldment happens by itself.

    Holy Wisdom means understanding that you do not know what’s going to happen next, and so the only thing that you can do is relax. You realize that if you relax, you are. You become the presence, and when you are the presence, you are in the present. When you are in the present, real work can happen, and that real work is the unfoldment. This is not work in the way it is ordinarily understood, which is that of ego activity; real work is the unfoldment of the soul which, as we are seeing, requires no such activity. If we can allow this unfoldment to happen, the result is freedom, since your assemblage point moves according to the unfoldment. The unfoldment is nothing but the spirit moving your assemblage point from one band to another, revealing all of your potential.

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  • Vive
    Cosmic Laws
    All of the insights we have just elucidated explain the statement that, “Holy Work is the experience of the cosmos as a constant unfoldment of existence.” What, then, is Holy Plan? Holy Plan is the perception that this unfoldment is not chaotic, accidental, or haphazard. It occurs according to its own laws; there is a meaningful pattern to its unfoldment. This pattern of unfoldment is the Holy Plan, although the word plan here is not used in the usual sense. It is not as though there were a preordained plan, and the universe unfolds according to it; here, the word plan means simply the recognition that there is a pattern to the unfoldment. The pattern is harmonious and inherently meaningful. This pattern, with its meaningfulness and harmony, is always explained by the dominant science of each era. Hence, it has been explained as the work of spirits, as a function of gravity, and as a consequence of random events. But when you see manifestation through the perspective of the Holy Work—that it is Beingness in constant flow—you see it as harmony, as beauty, as an ordered unfoldment. This is one way we recognize the presence of laws in the universe. Laws are simply ways we describe certain patterns that the universe manifests. For example, when clouds become dark in a particular way, and reach a certain temperature, rain falls. This is a pattern. The scientific laws explain this through evaporation, condensation, humidity, and so on. So you can look at the phenomenon of rain as a consequence of a set of laws, or from the perspective of Holy Work, you can see it as simply a patterned or harmonious unfoldment, which we call Holy Plan.

    When I say that the unfoldment has a sense of meaningfulness, I don’t mean that it has a specific meaning. Rather, there is a sense that the unfoldment is not accidental or chaotic. Things work out, develop, and evolve, as part of this unfoldment. Intelligence evolves, organic life evolves, and we see this evolution as a pattern. We can read specific meanings and purposes into this pattern, but when I use the word meaning here, I mean a felt sense that this unfoldment has its own flow, its own movement in a particular direction, that is determined by its own intelligence. The prism through which Being moves as it goes through its transformations is the dimension that we call the Logos. It patterns the movements and gives the unfoldment its differentiations and variations.

    We have seen that the pattern of unfoldment that is the Holy Plan is not a predetermined plan, but rather, that the universe unfolds according to inherent natural laws. This absence of premeditation indicates that the universe is intelligent. Its intelligence keeps it from being completely predictable and mechanical; if this were not so, we could discover all of its laws and plot its movement, as science attempts to do. But we cannot do this because Being is intelligence, and thus is responsive, and this responsiveness is completely spontaneous. You can understand this quality of intelligence when you see Being as an organism that is manifesting and expanding. This manifestation and expansion of life has a pattern, a lawfulness, a harmony, that expresses the intelligence of Being. In fact, when you feel the Beingness, it feels like it is teeming with intelligence, and its movements this way or that have a spontaneous intelligence.

    To understand this idea of lawfulness, let’s look at a few examples. If, for instance, you identify with your image, you will experience yourself as an empty shell. This is a natural law. If you fix your assemblage point, you will only see reality in a particular way. This is a natural law. These laws would be difficult to measure through scientific instruments or procedures, but we know from our experience and understanding of inner experience that they are consistent and true. These laws, then, are a pattern life takes.

    The following poem, called “The Hidden Plan,” by the Indian mystic, Sri Aurobindo expresses the idea of Holy Plan:

    However long Night’s hour, I will not dream

    That the small ego and the person’s mask

    Are all that God reveals in our life-scheme,

    The last result of Nature’s cosmic task.

    A greater Presence in her bosom works;

    Long it prepares its far epiphany:

    Even in the stone and beast the godhead lurks,

    A bright Persona of eternity.

    It shall burst out from the limit traced by Mind

    And make a witness of the prescient heart;

    It shall reveal even in this inert blind

    Nature, long veiled in each inconscient part,

    Fulfilling the occult magnificent plan,

    The world-wide and immortal spirit in man.

    (Aurobindo, 1952, p. 4)
    Here, Aurobindo is basically spelling out what the Plan is, and we see that he is not saying that God has a blueprint for how things are to happen. The universe is so intelligent that it does not need a blueprint; its intelligence is spontaneously self-revealing, expressing pure spirit through its unfoldment. We call this Holy Plan.

    You could say that the purpose of the universe is to reveal its hidden spirit, but such a formulation implies a goal toward which reality moves. This is teleological, and that is not how reality functions. Reality functions through manifestation in the moment. It is true that if we look at the unfoldment over time, it appears to be pursuing that purpose, but reality does not have such a purpose in mind. Of its very nature, it reveals itself. Holy Plan is the harmonious pattern of this unfoldment, a pattern that we can only glimpse fragments of once in a while. We will see when we discuss Holy Law that it refers to the harmony in the unfoldment, while the present Idea emphasizes the fact of the pattern itself.

    The Soul’s Unfolding Design

    We have discussed what Holy Work and Holy Plan mean from the perspective of the Holy Ideas, which is the understanding of objective reality in terms of time. In other words, when we conceive of objective reality in terms of change or of transformation or of movement, we are thinking of it from the perspective of Holy Work and Holy Plan. From the perspective of the human individual who, as we saw in Holy Transparency, is an inseparable part of the oneness of Being, we see that he is an inseparable part of this unfoldment. This means that his soul is an expression of Holy Work and Holy Plan. This, in turn, implies the following:

    1. The soul is a presence in the now, part of the fabric of the now.

    2. One’s life is a succession of moments of this presence. It is a continuity of this presence.

    3. This continuity of presence is the unfoldment of the soul. Since it is a succession of moments of presence in the present, this unfoldment can only be experienced and understood in the present by being present in the now. This is the “real time” of the individual, the real life. All other time, when one is not present, is a waste in terms of life, for there is no presence in it. Wasted time occurs when there is no unfoldment, when you are fixated and stuck, existing in linear time; basically you are just walking in place, getting nowhere in terms of development of the soul. How much one has been in real time indicates one’s true age, since it determines the development and maturity of the soul. Most people have spent a year or two in their entire lives being truly present, so that is how old they really are from the perspective of the soul.

    4. This unfoldment of the soul has a pattern, since its unfoldment is part of the Holy Plan. It is a lawful and intelligent unfoldment, which is the growth, development, and maturation of the soul. The Holy Plan for the soul is like the Holy Plan for any living organism, in that it is intrinsic to the soul’s nature and potential. This means that there is a specific pattern to the development of the human soul that is different from the pattern that trees, for instance, follow in their development. While there are variations among human beings, there is an overall pattern to the unfoldment of the soul.

    5. The Holy Work for the soul is obviously, then, nothing but its lawful unfoldment, becoming what it can be and maturing to its full potential.

    6. The method of real Work must be oriented toward the actualization of this unfoldment and maturation. Since this can be done only in real time, the central element must be presence. Holy Work can be done only in the present. It cannot, then, be about trying to actualize something that one envisions in the mind. (We will come back to this point after discussing Holy Wisdom.)

    Holy Wisdom, then, is living and working on oneself in a way that is informed by understanding Holy Work and Holy Plan. We can use the analogy of a mandala to describe this understanding: The mandala is the whole universe. Your consciousness, your soul, is the center of this mandala, and the rest of the universe is the environment surrounding it. The totality of the mandala is unfolding according to an intelligent pattern; it is a dynamic mandala. The unfoldment of the center of the mandala is therefore part of the unfoldment of the whole mandala, and we can also say that it is the result of the interaction between the inner nature and potential of the center with the totality of the mandala. In other words, you are not separate from the rest of the world. You are part of the universe, and so you are always influenced by, and influencing, the rest of the environment. This mandala is the totality of your experience and your perception—that is really what “mandala” means. The mandala is a symbol for your experience, in which you are the center. The center of the mandala is a point, and the point is the center of the soul.

    Living according to this understanding is wisdom. Practicing according to it is the Work. The central part of this wisdom is the awareness and understanding of Holy Work according to the Holy Plan. So wisdom means living and working with the understanding that all is Being and you are part of this Being; that all is unfolding as the Holy Work and you are part of this unfoldment; and that your maturation is your own unfoldment, which is part of the unfoldment of the totality.

    Your unfoldment, then, is the result of your inner nature in interaction with the various influences of the environment. If the environment is holding and supportive, you will tend to unfold more easily. If the environment is inadequate and unsupportive, your unfoldment will tend to be arrested and distorted. Seeing this brings the wisdom to realize that you cannot choose your experience completely, since your experience is the result of the interaction between where you are and what is happening in the universe. There is no such thing as being independent of the universe, since you are part of it. You affect it and it affects you. Taking this perspective into consideration is wisdom.

    If the universe is unfolding and you are part of that unfoldment, what to do becomes clear—you just go with it. Ramana Maharshi tells an interesting story about why people don’t surrender to their experience: A man who is used to traveling on foot and carrying his suitcase everywhere he goes, is given a ticket and put on a train. On the train, he is still carrying his suitcase, not trusting that if he puts it down, the train will carry it. That’s how most people are—they are always carrying their bag, even when you tell them to relax and let it go; they do not trust that the train will take them and their bag wherever they’re supposed to go. We usually don’t see life from the perspective of Holy Work, which is that things are unfolding on their own and we can relax.

    The perception of the Holy Plan in your own experience might take the form of observing yourself all week, and by the end of the week having an insight about how all the things that happened were connected in some way, and then seeing that this insight relates to one you had the week before, and then seeing how this fits into a whole mega-pattern that has been operating throughout your life, and so on. It is the perception of a whole process that is occurring. When you talk about your process, you have to speak in terms of time, but from the perspective of Holy Work, there was no last week—there has only been an unfoldment of your experience. It is a matter of perceiving your whole life as a flow, and recognizing its contours and patterns.

    Holy Wisdom, then, is the actual, practical living, being, and working that integrates the understanding of Holy Work and Holy Plan. We have seen that Holy Work is the truth that reality is a presence that is constantly outflowing, constantly unfolding and flowering. We have also seen that Holy Plan is the harmonious pattern of that unfoldment. From the perspective of the human soul, you are part of the larger reality and so your unfoldment is part of its unfoldment. Specifically, we have seen how the soul functions as the center of the mandala, and the universe is the environment of the mandala, and how your unfoldment as the center pertains to your own inner potential in interaction with the total presence of the mandala environment.

    To live according to this understanding is Holy Wisdom. The central implication of this perspective is that real life is presence in the present, and that this reality is unfolding according to its own inner laws and harmony. We are truly living if we are embodying this presence as it unfolds according to the Holy Plan, knowing ourselves to be an integral part of the universe in its unfoldment. So true life means being in unity with the unfoldment: You are the unfoldment. Holy Work is allowing this unfoldment and cooperating with it.

    So our work here is basically a way of seeing the unfoldment, understanding the unfoldment, facilitating the unfoldment, and surrendering to the unfoldment. Facilitating the unfoldment involves the first two stages in freeing the assemblage point—the teacher initially moving it and then you learning to move it yourself. Surrendering to the unfoldment is freedom of movement of the assemblage point, the third stage. Here, you see that freedom is a matter of surrendering to the spirit that is moving you. When this happens, you recognize that when the teacher moves your assemblage point, it is not the teacher doing it—it is spirit; and when you move your assemblage point, it isn’t you doing it—it is spirit. It was and always is spirit moving it; the Holy Work does it. This understanding brings the perspective of freedom.

    From this perspective, we see that each moment will be the creation of Holy Work, which will manifest according to the Holy Plan through the Holy Will of the Holy Truth. Not only does this imply that you cannot choose what is going to happen, but also that you cannot predict the exact direction it will take. This is what we mean when we say that the unfoldment happens according to its own natural laws and intelligence. This principle is easiest to understand in terms of your inner experience. What’s going to happen in the next moment to a table, for instance, is relatively predictable, but not so for your inner experience. We do not know the exact direction it is going to take since it is an instant-to-instant arising.

    You cannot, for instance, say that now you are going to experience yourself as the Personal Essence, and in the next moment, as Strength. If you do that, you are superimposing your own idea of what should happen—your own plan—on the unfoldment, and that might not be where it is going. Although it is true that there is a pattern to the development of the human soul, it is very general and cannot be used to accurately predict what will or should happen next. The pattern is analogous to that of the development of a tree, for instance: We know that it is going to develop a trunk with branches that grow above the ground and a root system that grows beneath the ground, but we don’t know where each leaf will appear. As with the soul, we can only generally predict the unfoldment; we cannot know what will specifically manifest from one moment to the next.

    If we are to allow ourselves to unfold, the only thing we can do is to be completely where we are, to be present in exactly the spot that is manifesting in this moment; and if we are genuinely present, the next movement will unfold and we will find out what it is. So the Holy Plan can only be revealed by going through it—you cannot direct your unfoldment. In other words, to allow your soul to unfold, your orientation must be to be present in the now, and to discover the movement of the unfoldment of presence by being it. This is the Holy Work. You can only discover your place in the Holy Plan by living it, in the present, moment by moment.

    We ordinarily think that a sense of orientation comes through knowing what to do, which direction to take. This implies that you know where you are going. True orientation, from the perspective of Being, however, is just presence itself. The now is orientation; the only real possible orientation is presence in the nowness. We cannot orient ourselves to the future because we don’t know where our experience is going to go. If we are present in the moment, that presence will unfold from instant to instant, thereby creating its own direction.

    When you are in the moment, being the presence that is unfolding, that unfoldment determines your actions, and your actions will feel just right, right to the point, because you are not separate from your Being and your action is completely unified with the presence itself. Your actions then are nothing but the unfoldment of Being. Since presence is everything and all of you, it is not as though you are moving your hand from here to there; presence is unfolding in this moment and in this moment and in this moment. The presence has unfolded like successive frames in a film. When this is your state, you feel like you are right on the mark, knowing what you are doing and where you are going. What happens within you and through your actions occurs spontaneously, naturally, effortlessly, because you are not separate from who you are. The moment you say, “I don’t want to go that way,” or “It would be better this way,” you are separating yourself from the presence that is unfolding. When you do that, your action does not have a sense of exactness or of appropriateness; it does not feel “on.”

    Directing One’s Own Experience
    The specific delusion of Point Seven is the belief that you can direct your unfoldment. This attitude is described very well in the following quotation of don Juan Matias from Carlos Castaneda’s The Power of Silence:

    He advised me to get used to the idea of recurrent attacks of the same type of anxiety, because my assemblage point was going to keep moving. “Any movement of the assemblage point is like dying,” he said. “Everything in us gets disconnected, then reconnected again to a source of much greater power. That amplification of energy is felt as a killing anxiety.” “What am I to do when this happens?” I asked. “Nothing,” he said. “Just wait. The outburst of energy will pass. What’s dangerous is not knowing what is happening to you. Once you know, there is no real danger.” Then he talked about ancient man. He said that ancient man knew, in the most direct fashion, what to do and how best to do it. But, because he performed so well, he started to develop a sense of selfness, which gave him the feeling that he could predict and plan the actions he was used to performing. And thus the idea of an individual “self” appeared; an individual self which began to dictate the nature and scope of man’s actions. (Castaneda, 1987, p. 149)
    Last edited by Vive; 06-05-2020, 06:23 PM.

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