Enneagram and Advaita
(or this page may not make any sense at all)
Why is the mix of the Enneagram with Advaita an enlightening relief?
After the initial horror of being exposed to the Enneagram and seeing all our worst traits written up in black and white, most people set about trying to fix themselves.
Mostly people think, ‘If only I could get rid of these patterns I’ll be free!’ Now depending upon the stage or life situation you are currently going through there are different results wanted from studying the Enneagram system. If you are in business you want to improve your people skills and money making ability, if you are into psychology you want to improve yourself. If you are into spirituality you may hope the enneagram will either bring you closer to divinity or make your life more in the flow. Those who are interested in enlightenment often think that if they could just get rid of their patterns, then enlightenment, bliss and freedom is sure to descend. This blog is for those who have hoped to bring about enlightenment.
Just in case you haven’t read the Advaita page I’ll mention it again Please read this page first
So NOW that you’ve read the Advaita page you’ll understand that advaita is a subjective viewpoint (not the usual objective one). Subjectively speaking, you are the consciousness in which things appear. In the various zen, advaita vedanta or satsang literature the word consciousness is often referred to as That or the emptiness or The Absolute and you’ll see that I have done so for some of the following cartoons. As you would have read, Advaita shows how the mind, thoughts, and the feeling of a body are a temporary appearance in consciousness. It’s this discovery that points to your self or your nature as “not anything that can be perceived or conceived” – Nisargadatta. (Which is why, who one is, is often referred to as simply That, because it can’t really be named.)
When we view the nine enneagram personalities (via the advaita perspective) we find that they too are made of temporary appearances of sound, pictures and feelings that together create the illusion of an ongoing personality. This is very different from the usual interpretation of the enneagram where a personality has to ‘go deeper‘, ‘face deep emotions‘, ‘stop all thoughts‘, ‘stop particular behaviours‘, ‘change behaviors‘ to become a realized being or live in the now or be spiritual.
If who we are is inconceivable and imperceivable, or put another way, is only consciousness and none of the things that arise within consciousness then it becomes impossible to fix something that which doesn’t exist except as a passing mirage.
A Six cannot stop the doubts to become an enlightenend six but instead can subjectively experience doubts appearing as sound and realize that that sound appears in the same way as a sound coming from outside. When this is understood then attempting to stop doubts as a way to be an enlightened being, is as silly or as meaningless as stopping any sound they hear.
It is when the Enneagram is mixed with Advaita that there is this complete shift in identity.
For a one type personality – they no longer have to stop cleaning or think they have to clean. They are the consciousness in which the one person appears. They are not even a person at all.
For a type two personality – they no longer have to keep giving advice, or presents to others nor stop doing those actions. They aren’t a two and so stopping behaviours or changing behaviours is immaterial.
For a type three personality –
For a type four personality –
For a type five personality –
For a type six personality –
For a type seven personality –
For a type eight personality – The eights may not want to give up that feeling of power but that feeling of power is no different from any other feelings appearing and disappearing in consciousness. Even the “I” who thinks it may prefer to stay an eight is itself a passing feeling.
For a type nine personality –
Notice how different it is to simply be THAT or be the consciousness which everything is appearing in, in just the same way everything appearing in a dream is really only happening in consciousness. The nine personalities are then viewed as dream characters and it becomes a fruitless and futile game trying to change what amounts to a mirage personality. Even though some deem themselves to be free of their fixation or somehow more divine because they have fixed or gotten rid of a personality behaviour, this can now be seen as no more than changing a hair style and thinking one is now a freer or enlightened identity. The only shift that can really take place is from objectively viewing ourselves as a human to subjectively experiencing ourselves as consciousness. As soon as we subjectively view ourselves as consciousness and begin to see the rest as sound, pictures and feelings our personality ceases to be as solid as we once thought it was. Other people’s personalities cease to be as solid too. Subjectively speaking whether we say a personality is our own or someone else’s, the ingredients are still sound, pictures or feelings occurring in consciousness.
The identity shift has nothing even to do with ourselves as a human having an identity.
Note the difference here. A type five personality usually feels quite separate from their body. They prefer to live in their heads and deny their body. Meditating and a number of other spiritual practices aid and abet the five ideal of living from a sense of pure zen emptiness. Once they have achieved this ideal and empty their minds of all thoughts they sometimes believe they are now an enlightened identity.
But Advaita points to your identity as only consciousness and not a human who has attained an empty zen like consciousness.
When you dream at night and begin to have a lucid dream you no longer feel the need to improve your character in any particular way. You know it isn’t who you are. Discovering Advaita is not unlike having a lucid dream and realising your personality is not what you thought it was. Any change cannot effect your real identity in the slightest. So trying to think less, or be less emotional or be less like a number and more like a spiritual being is exactly like changing the tv channel and thinking it will effect the tv screen.
Try this on for yourself now-
How do you know your personality type is present? Is it a feeling? Is it appearing as a sound? – maybe in the form of words saying, “I am a six because I have thoughts telling me so.” Is there a subtle picture appearing that visually represents your type. Maybe you mentally see yourself as looking like a particular type. But what do your sounds, feelings or pictures appear in? Doesn’t consciousness have to be present first? Do the sounds, pictures or feelings last? Or do they come and go? And is it that consciousness is present all the time? Are you the consciousness or are you the comings and goings of sounds, pictures and feelings? Who are you? Are you that which comes and goes or are you that consciousness that is aware of the comings and goings?