The Collapsing Tower
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The Collapsing Tower Newsletter 02
August 28, 2008

Ego Transcendence: It's Necessity and Methods of Approach

All of our problems derive from the fact that we, as a species, are stuck at the ego level of development. The ego is a structure of consciousness that we have identified with Consciousness itself. As mentioned in the Collapsing Tower, the ego is equated with the “Devil” or Satan in Hindu spiritual philosophy. In Hebrew it is the Adversary—that which keeps up from the Light, form understanding the truth of who we are. It is what keeps us fearful, separate, hungering, at war with others and Nature, and obsessed with pretending that we are whole and immortal when, in fact, we are a kind of nervous consciousness fragment living in terror of certain annihilation.

This little self is what can be thought of as “personality”, while the larger Self, the truth of who we are, can be thought of as Essence, or Consciousness Itself. The process of going from ego self-identification to Self-identification is known in the various spiritual systems as Self-Realization, or God-Realization. It’s what we’re here to do.

If enough of us manage to perform this spiritual task it will provide the impetus for a planetary transformation. It’s therefore incumbent upon each of us to do whatever we can to disengage from the fragmentary ego-self that has held us in bondage for the last several thousand years. Prior to this time in our spiritual evolution, the conditions were such that a mass spiritual transformation was unlikely. The emphasis was very much on the linear/ego/separate mind during the National and Planetary Underworlds of the Mayan Calendar. In 1999, with the advent of the Galactic Underworld, the emphasis began to change, with the result of a more balanced brain and mind. You might want to review the relevant material in The Collapsing Tower in order to appreciate the scope of this change.

We are currently in the last quarter of the Fifth Night of the Galactic Underworld (November 19, 2007 to November 13, 2008). Ruled by Tezcatlipoca, god of darkness, it is predicted by Calleman (The Mayan Calendar: The Transformation of Consciousness) to be the darkest time in human history. But it’s not only a time of darkness. What I’ve observed during this time is that it’s one of both unprecedented darkness and unprecedented light. Particularly in the last few months I’ve witnessed many spontaneous awakenings, and frequently with individuals I wouldn’t have predicted. I find this to be quite encouraging, a harbinger of the birth of the new consciousness scheduled in the Mayan Calendar to follow the god of darkness, which is Yohualticitl, the goddess of birth.

I believe the stage is being set for a mass polarization. As discussed in the previous Newsletter, a separation is occurring between those who are following the path of service to self (the Left Hand path) and those dedicated to the path of service to others (the Right Hand path). What we are witnessing at this time is a drawing of those in the confused middle, many of who are actively polarizing in one direction or the other. Such polarization is required to provide the energy for planetary transformation. The most likely occurrence here is the actual separation of realities.

This idea of a separation of realities is not as strange as it may at first seem. Many people who live under the same roof exist in separate, or parallel, realities. Their bodies are in proximity, but their experiences may vastly differ. Just ask two people involved in an “intimate” relationship to tell you their views on the causes of a disagreement. They appear to be living in the same physical world, but different psychic worlds. In many respects, however, they may even be living in different physical worlds, in that their different psychic states can create vastly different “real world” experiences. It is quite conceivable that the differences in psychic state can be so great that they can actually cause a bifurcation in physical realities.

Thus, the physical reality experience of those locked into the state of ego consciousness may become progressively more divergent from those embracing trans-egoic consciousness such that an actual physical separation occurs—to the extent that we may have two parallel realities that do not interact whatsoever.

Relevant to the subject of polarization are some of the teachings of the German occult philosopher Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925), mostly known today as the founder of the Waldorf schools. The following material is derived from an essay on Steiner’s Occult Science by Terry Boardman entitled Dark Night of the World—Illuminating the Evil of our Times. This essay was originally presented as a lecture at Rudolph Steiner House in 1998 with the aim of providing a deeper understanding of the nature of what we commonly call “evil”.

Steiner saw evil as an essential part of the evolutionary process. In its adversarial role in the Divine Plan, evil opposes Man and not Spirit, and pushes human beings into making a choice between the Left and Right Hand paths—service to self versus service to others. To these adversarial or “evil” beings Steiner gave the names of Lucifer and Ahriman, and a third called Sorath, who reigned over the former two. Their purpose is to frustrate and oppose Man in the attainment of universal love. It was, according to Steiner, that through the Master Being known in the West as the Christ, the Logos, that Man’s descent into the dense material world was designed to reverse back to Spirit. This descent into and redemption from the limitations of matter was symbolized by the crucifixion and resurrection. Thus, the purpose of evil is to keep humans locked into the confines of matter.

Mans evolution, according to Steiner occurs in a series of epochs, each 2,160 years in duration. Since the 15th century we’ve been living in the 5th of these periods. According to Boardman:

The question of our 5th epoch is that of morality, of Right or Good action, and it is the confrontation with evil that awakens us to this. Evil then, in the broad sense, can be summarized in the following perhaps uncomfortable statement: it is ultimately the result of action by two polar opposite spiritual beings, Lucifer and Ahriman, who are the servants of the third, Sorath, and who work within human consciousness in order to pose the questions that human beings need to awaken to spiritual reality in modern times in their Consciousness soul. Evil stands before us or rather, within us and challenges us: understand me, and in understanding me, begin to awaken to all spiritual reality. It poses a question – will you wake?

It is interesting that Steiner’s “Age of Darkness” lasted for 5,000 years—from 3101 BCE to 1899 AD—nearly corresponding to the National Underworld, or Long Count, of the Mayan Calendar. This period was, according to Steiner, a time when human beings were cut off from the natural clairvoyance of the spiritual realms that they were born with in prior ages. They had to think for themselves and walk toward spiritual freedom cut off from spiritual parents. It was during this time, according to Calleman, that the ego developed and, with it materialism and a sense of alienation and separateness that supplanted spirituality. It is the purpose of the servants of Sorath—Lucifer and Ahriman—to maintain this condition.

In this regard Steiner said that Man would have to first meet the Beast rising out of the Abyss in 1933. This was at the beginning of the Fifth Night of the Planetary Underworld. Steiner, in fact, died in 1925 and human beings did indeed first meet the Beast in 1933 in the form of Hitler. Steiner also predicted that the next attack of the Beast would be during the years 1998-2000, when humanity would be confronted with an actual incarnation of Ahriman in physical form. Incarnation doesn’t imply birth (as a baby), but rather the taking up of physical form. It is interesting to note that 1999 marked the beginning of our current Galactic Underworld, the next to the last Underworld of the Mayan Calendar, that Calleman refers to as the Apocalypse, which means revelation. Perhaps what will be revealed during this time period, and particularly during the crucial and difficult Fifth Night that is ruled by the god of darkness (Ahriman?) is Man’s ultimate choice: freedom or the global slavery.

Ahriman’s incarnate reign, according to Steiner, was focused on the English- speaking people—Britain and, especially, America, where Steiner believed Ahriman would take his seat of power. This reign was prepared during the Planetary Underworld that began in the mid-18th century, during which a series of revolutions—scientific, industrial, political and philosophical—fostered the creed of materialism. Also, in the 19th century Britain was moved in the direction of the establishment of Empire and more subtle control via finances and politics.

In significant ways the ahrimanic principle represents an imbalance of the Qabalistic Pillar of Severity, while the luciferic principle represents an imbalance of the Pillar of Mercy—with the Middle Pillar, represented by the Christ principle, holding both in balance. Thus, unbalanced Severity becomes Cruelty (i.e. Hitler) and unbalanced Mercy degenerates into dissipation and indulgence. Both lead to destruction. These basic Qabalistic concepts are discussed (along with pertinent references) in The Collapsing Tower.

It was also during the early Planetary Underworld, according to Ken Wilber (discussed in The Collapsing Tower), that the ego dissociated into a somatic pole and a mental pole. In the ego’s attempt to attain the illusion of immortality, it dissociated itself from the mortal body and established its dominance by using the body for its libidinous pleasures and orgiastic excesses (luciferic indulgence) or cold-heartedly suppressed it with all manner of harsh disciplines and judgments, essentially deeming its functions, and particularly those of a sensual or sexual nature, evil. Scientism in the form of genocidal eugenic programs based on alleged racial superiority would come to justify ahrimanic cruelty.

What is most interesting is that these extremes actually work together to create even greater destruction. Luciferic excess is met with ahrimanic harshness, and vice versa in a delusional attempt to create balance. All this does is create an escalating downward spiral of destruction—the binge and purge mentality that has become characteristic of Western, and particularly American, society. The luciferic excesses of the “Roaring Twenties” were met with the Great Depression and Era of Prohibition that followed in the 1930s, for example.

Before going deeper into the subject of ego transcendence it’s a good idea for you to review the material in The Collapsing Tower that deals with Eckhart Tolle’s material on the structure and function of the ego, Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenetic field theory as it relates to the ego, Neville’s material on manifestation, and particularly the concept of states of consciousness, and Don Riso and Russ Hudson’s material on the Enneagram and the nine personality (ego) types. I will presume a rudimentary understanding of these concepts as we proceed through the next sections. You will eventually gain a much deeper understanding as we proceed. By staying with this study you will be very deeply rewarded.

The Levels of Ego Manifestation

The ego can best be conceptualized as a state of consciousness. The state is one of separateness and incompleteness. It is also a state of constant hunger (wanting, desire) and the obsession for more—more things, time, life, power, control, and existential validation. On the most fundamental level the ego knows it’s temporary (mortal) and powerless, yet it does everything it can to foster the illusion that it is permanent, immortal, omnipotent, and god-like. It performs this self-deception through what Ken Wilber calls the Atman Project—the accumulation of the trappings of permanence and greatness and through the domination and even destruction of others by which means it demonstrates its illusion of rightness and omnipotence.

Neville defines a state as a kind of feeling or mood, and it is from this mood that perceiving, thinking, imagining, intending and, ultimately, experiencing derive. It is a point of view—a point from which you view yourself, others, and life. Thus, whatever predominant state you exist in determines how you perceive yourself, others and the world, and what you feel, think, and imagine about your condition. You could say that your state determines your reality and, in fact, creates it. This is the meaning behind the idea that, “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.” It’s not a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of understanding the technology of manifestation.

A person can inadvertently enter a state. This is, in fact, the usual case. You can go from the state of wealth to one of poverty because of some circumstance outside of your conscious control, such as a faltering economy. Once this happens everything seems to automatically change. You start thinking, feeling, perceiving and imagining from the state of lack. This shift, according to Neville, actually causes you to manifest experiences concordant with the state of poverty. Without realizing it, you reinforce the state. More losses seem to happen for reasons beyond your comprehension. In fact, what is happening is that with each new loss you are unconsciously creating a powerful morphogenetic field that guarantees further loss. You can even begin to believe you are cursed in some way. But once you realize that you are unconsciously participating in the creation of the unpleasant state you are in, you can then begin to reverse the process. We’ll deal in greater depth with the exact methods of doing this in later Newsletters.

For now, simply know that several thousand years ago we entered the state of the ego. This was determined by a shift in the Underworlds of the Mayan Calendar, and it’s very important to understand that it wasn’t anyone’s fault. We weren’t being punished for anything. It was simply part of our journey of spiritual evolution. This was discussed at some length in The Collapsing Tower.

Over the millennia a very strong morphogenetic form has developed to maintain the integrity of the ego, and in order to transcend the ego we must understand and deal with this nonphysical form. In the classes I’ve been teaching over the last year I’ve found that the most efficient way of doing this is to first identify an individual’s personality—or ego-type—in accordance with the Enneagram, and then to use basic Zen self-observation and detachment tools to weaken the non-physical form. We’ll now examine each of these steps so that you can employ them effectively for yourself.


To determine your ennea-type consult Riso and Hudson Wisdom of the Enneagram. On pages 14 and 15 you’ll find “The Quick Enneagram Sorting Test.” Follow the instructions and consult p. 18 to isolate your type. Read the material in the appropriate section of the book to verify that it is, in fact, your actual type. You should know right away if you selected the right type. It will fit or it won’t. If it doesn’t fit, read the other types in the text to see which one does. It’s typically unmistakable when you get the right one.

When you find your type read the entire relevant section in The Wisdom of the Enneagram. If you have a particularly hard time categorizing your personality type there is a good chance you are a Type 4—the Individualist. It’s been my observation over the years that Fours don’t like to be categorized. Next, consult the appropriate chapter in Riso and Hudson Personality Types—Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery. This will give you a much greater understanding of how your personality structures the ways you function in the world and in your relationships.

Now we’ll go back to The Wisdom of the Enneagram and look at some tables Riso and Hudson compiled. These will give you an understanding of the particular state in which your ego exists. Once this is clarified you’ll know how you unknowingly create the conditions of your existence. We’ll first look at The Nine Passions (page 23), The Basic Fears of the Types (page 32) and the corresponding Basic Desires and their Distortions (page 33).

The Nine Passions, Fears, and Desires/Distortions

These three components can effectively define the state of your particular personality type. Let’s look at some examples. Look at ennea-type One (the Reformer). Anger is the Passion. This anger is repressed and becomes resentment. Riso and Hudson state on p. 109 of Wisdom of the Enneagram:

The anger of Ones is directed both at themselves for failing to live up to their ideals, and at others for what Ones see as their laziness and irresponsibility. As Ones become more unhealthy, they displace more of their anger onto others as they make themselves the sole judge of who and what is right and wrong. They also become more irritable with others because others seem to them to be getting off the hook. They feel that others are not taking an equal share of the responsibility—and seem to be having all the fun. (”Why am I doing all the work and being so responsible while everyone else is fooling around?”)…

Ironically, though, Ones are not always aware of their anger. They seldom experience anger as anger because their superego generally prohibits them from being “too emotional.” To be angry is to be out of control, to be less than perfect, so Ones often deny their anger through clenched teeth—“I’m not angry! I’m just trying to get it right!”

The Basic Fear and the Basic Desire

As we grow up we begin to lose contact with our Essence—the Self—the truth of who we are. This loss of contact with our Essential Nature gives rise to what is termed the Basic Fear of each of the Enneagram types. This loss is inevitable because our parents also lost contact with their basic Essence. This is because of what happened to them in their childhoods, and they unknowingly passed this onto us. Riso and Hudson state:

As babies it is our nature to express a wide range of emotions and states of being. If these qualities are blocked in our parents, they will feel anxious and uncomfortable whenever these qualities arise in us. This made our infant selves anxious and unhappy.

If, for example, a baby is expressing her joyfulness and delight in being alive, but her mother is depressed, it is unlikely that the mother will feel comfortable with the baby’s joy. As a result, the baby learns to suppress her joy to keep the mother from getting more upset….

As a result of unmet infant needs and subsequent blockages, we begin to feel very early in life that certain key elements in us are missing. Naturally, this feeling creates deep anxiety. It is likely that our innate temperament determines how we will respond to that anxiety, but no matter what our later personality type, we eventually come to the conclusion that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. Even if we cannot express it in words, we feel the tug of a powerful, unconscious anxiety—our Basic Fear.
Each type has its own characteristic Basic Fear, although the Basic Fears are also universal. From a more subtle perspective, each Basic Fear is a reaction to the universal fear of death and annihilation—our personality’s fear of nothingness. We will recognize the Basic Fears of all nine types in ourselves, although our own type’s Basic Fear motivates our behavior much more than the others.

What most people don’t realize, however, is that fear is more than an emotion. It is also an expectation. When you fear that something bad will happen, you unconsciously expect it to happen—and to the extent that you fear it, to that extent you expect it. Your desire for the feared event to not happen can, therefore, provide the motive force for its occurrence. This is because the subconscious mind doesn’t understand the abstract concept of “not”. It is literally the same as wishing for it to happen.

We’ll deal with this in much greater depth when we examine the theory of manifestation. For now understand that fear (negative expectation) stimulates imagination—you imagine what you don’t want to occur—and these two factors create an energized mental picture of an unwanted event. And when we create such an energized thought-form, we engage dynamics that have the capability of altering physical reality. Whether this is done by design (positive intent) or inadvertently through ignorance (negative intent) is totally irrelevant. This is why it’s said in Religious Science that worry is negative prayer or prayer in reverse.

The purpose of the Basic Desire, according to Riso and Hudson, is to compensate for the Basic Fear: “The Basic Desire is the way we defend against our Basic Fear in order to continue to function….We might call the Basic Desire the ego agenda, because it tells us what the ego is always striving after.”

For example, the Basic Fear of the One is one of being bad, corrupt, evil, or defective. This is compensated for by the Basic Desire to have integrity. The One, however, attempts to achieve this by being right and perfect. This results in deterioration to critical self-perfectionism, because it is impossible to be perfect. Furthermore, the One’s need to be right causes problems with others and can lead to rejection, and leave the One feeling bad.
Riso and Hudson further explain:

Our Basic Desire unwittingly blocks our Essential Nature because the personality will not relinquish its control until it believes that the Basic Desire has been obtained…(A) One will not allow herself to relax and become more present until everything in her world is perfect. Of course, this perfection will never happen.

Understanding the Basic Fear and the Basic Desire gives particular insight into the ancient and universal teaching that human nature is driven by fear and desire. The entire feeling-tone of our personality emerges out of this dynamic, and it becomes the foundation for our sense of self.

Most people are sleeping Essence—dreaming they are personality. And as in any dream, the illusion is very real. In Hindu spiritual philosophy this dream-illusion is called maya. When we die we awaken from maya—to the degree of our spiritual development. Some stay awake in Essence and no longer need to incarnate in personality. Most people, however, can’t maintain Self-Realization because of strong attachments to the personality. Karmic attachments keep the identification with the little self of personality strong. They must keep returning to this plane in order to discharge these attachments and gain recognition of the true Self. The path of spiritual development entails the resolution of such attachments. Riso and Hudson elaborate:

Seen as a temporary cast, the personality is a highly useful, utterly necessary aid because it has developed most powerfully around the areas of our soul’s greatest wounding. It has become strongest where we are weakest. Thus, not only has personality helped us to survive psychologically, it can also direct us to where we most need to do our transformational work.

But because most of our personality is no more than a collection of conditioned reactions, fears, and beliefs and is not our true Self, our identification with it results in a profound self-abandonment. The experience of our identity has shifted from our true nature to the shell of defenses that we have had to develop. As long as we believe that “My personality is me,” we will stay identified with our personality. One of the main reasons that we resist changing is that movement back to our Essence always entails feeling the pain of our self-abandonment. When we are willing to say, “I want to be who I really am, and I want to live in the truth,” the process of recovering ourselves has already begun.

The States of Ennea-types Two Through Nine

Now we’ll now examine the remaining eight types and define the states in which they function.

Type Two—the Helper

Because the Passion of Type Two is pride they find it very difficult to acknowledge their own suffering and need for help. Thus they deny their own needs and attempt to help others. Of course, this creates an imbalance that can lead to feeling taken advantage of. The results in the Two’s Basic Fear—that they are unloved and unwanted for themselves alone. The Two compensatory Basic Desire is to be loved. When this deteriorates it becomes the need to be needed. This further pushes people away because they become suspicious and resentful of the Two’s neediness and manipulations, with the net effect of verifying the Two’s Basic Fear. This can lead to deep resentment and punishing others “for their own good” in order to teach them a lessen, thus driving love further from them.

Type Three—the Achiever

The Passion of the Three is deceit/vanity. “Deceit means deceiving ourselves into believing that we are only the ego self. When we believe this, we put our efforts into developing our egos instead of our true nature. We could also call this passion Vanity, our attempt to make the ego feel valuable without turning to our spiritual source.” This causes Threes to present themselves to others in an inauthentic way. Worse yet is the self-deception that causes Threes to believe that they actually are the idealized image they present to the world. In order to do this they must also repress their feelings of inadequacy to keep the self-deception going. They believe that others would reject them if they if they dropped their image of “the best” because other people would see their deficits and reject them—thereby confirming their Basic Fear of being worthless and valueless apart from their achievements. Thus, Threes must be the best at whatever they do, and this, of course, makes them both highly competitive and highly secretive about any defects or failures.

Their Basic Desire to be valuable deteriorates into chasing after success, as if one’s material world success is all that matters. This creates a terrible addiction to MORE—more money, accolades, fame, degrees, power, etc. The unfortunate result is that as the ego gluts on more, the true Self is further disconnected from. As the ego gets bigger, so does the feeling of alienation and inner emptiness.

John Edwards is a good example of the Three. His manicured appearance and slick manner conveyed to others an inauthenticity—that there’s something going on that doesn’t meet the eye. Perhaps this is what caused others to look into his behavior and uncover a variety of serious deceptions that led to his downfall, and the confirmation of the Basic Fear of the Three.

Type Four—the Individualist

The Passion of the Four is Envy, and this leads to the feeling that others possess qualities that that they lack. Riso and Hudson named Fours Individualists because, “More than any other type, Fours are acutely aware of and focused on their personal differences and deficiencies.” The Basic Fear of the Four is that they are without personal identity or significance. Riso and Hudson explain:

In the course of their lives, Fours may try several different identities
on for size, basing them on styles, preferences, or qualities they find attractive in others. But underneath the surface, they still feel uncertain about who they really are. The problem is that they base their identity largely on their feelings. When Fours look inward, they see a kaleidoscopic, ever-shifting pattern of emotional reactions. Indeed, Fours accurately perceive a truth about human nature—that it is dynamic and ever changing. But because they want to create a stable, reliable identity from their emotions, they attempt to cultivate only certain feelings while rejecting others. Some feelings are seen as “me” while others are “not me”. By attempting to hold on to and express specific moods, Fours believe they are being true to themselves.

Thus, Fours tend to hold on to painful feelings, particularly from the past, because of their strength and persistence. This lends to the creation of a “victim persona” in order to obtain a sense of stability. Fours will then use their imaginations to intensify the associated negative and painful feelings in order to strengthen their sense of self. Not only does this cause the creation of more negative and painful feelings, it also results in the self-defeating habit of living in fantasy and imagination rather than the real world. Thus, their Basic Desire to be themselves deteriorates into victimization, self-pity and self-indulgence—and pulls them further from the world and others, thereby strengthening their Basic Fear of being without identity and personal significance.

Type 5—the Investigator

The Passion of the Five is Avarice—what could be thought of as stinginess. Riso and Hudson state, “Fives feel they lack inner resources and that too much interaction with others will lead to catastrophic depletion. This Passion leads Fives to withhold themselves from contact with the world. Thus they hold on to their resources and minimize their needs.”

The Basic Fear of the Five is being useless, incapable, overwhelmed, or incompetent. They have deep insecurities about their ability to adequately function. “But rather than engage with activities that might bolster their confidence, Fives “take a step back” into their minds where they feel more capable. Their belief is that from the safety of their minds, they will eventually figure out how to do things—and one day rejoin the world.”

The Basic Desire of the Five is to be competent. This, however, deteriorates into useless specialization. They typically pick areas to master and communicate to others about that are esoteric or arcane, and frequently of no interest to others. This can easily promote the Basic Fear of being useless. Also deriving from their Basic Fear of incompetence is the extreme fear of finishing anything. They’ve got to get it “just right”, but this can easily result in nothing getting done, thereby reinforcing their Basic Fear.

If Fives are overstressed for an extended period of time, if they have suffered a serious crisis without support or adequate coping skills, or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, they may cross the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their type. This may lead them to a fearful recognition that the projects they have been pursuing and the lifestyle they have created are actually ruining their chances of finding a real niche for themselves.

Type Six—the Loyalist

The Basic Passion of the Six is Fear/Anxiety. Anxiety can be thought of as the anticipation of fear—of something bad happening, although nothing of that nature is happening in the moment. This derives form “living in the future” and attempting to anticipate every possible thing that could go wrong. Eckhart Tolle, in the Power of Now says that this is a sure recipe for the creation of anxiety and fear.

The Basic Fear of the Six is that of having no support or guidance—no security. And the Basic Desire of the Six is to find security, but they do this in a way that actually compromises its attainment. They can’t relax until they believe they are completely secure. However, they look outside of themselves for the security they need, and become overly reliant on others. Riso and Hudson explain:

The reason that Sixes are so loyal to others is that they do not want to be abandoned and left without support—their Basic Fear. Thus, the central issue for Type Six is a failure of self-confidence. Sixes come to believe that they do not possess the internal resources to handle life’s challenges and vagaries alone and so increasingly rely on structures, allies, beliefs and supports outside themselves for guidance. If suitable structures do not exist, they will help create and maintain them.

Their lack of self-confidence causes them to be highly ambivalent. Fearful of making a wrong decision they go back and forth between alternatives. They are “looking for a sure thing”, and frequently alienate others (and their security) by being unable to make up their minds.

Sixes are also given to “catastrophizing”. As Riso and Hudson explain:

Because of their fears of being unsupported, Sixes develop an extraordinary sensitivity to danger signals. This is even truer if they grew up in an environment that was unsafe or unstable, or if they were traumatized in some way. While this kind of awareness can be an asset and can even save a person’s life, many Sixes remain hyper-alert and hyper-vigilant even when no danger is present. They can never relax, never feel safe. … This relationship with the world is extremely stressful and over time can even change their brain chemistry. Further, it begins to shape their imaginations, resulting in a constant expectation of mishap or danger….

Sixes feel that any small mishap could be their undoing. They make mountains out of molehills and can be relied on to come up with all of the reasons why a project or endeavor will not work. Naturally, this can affect their attitudes at work, but it also affects their personal relationships. Slight misunderstandings or differences of opinion could indicate to the Six that she is facing imminent abandonment, or that her friends and supporters have turned against her. Left unchecked, this tendency can undermine significant relationships, or trigger paranoid responses to what they perceive as injustices directed at themselves.

Type Seven—the Enthusiast

The Passion of the Seven is Gluttony—the need to “fill themselves up” with experiences. This is done to overcome feelings of inner emptiness. Although they constantly pursue new and stimulating ideas and activities, they never feel that they have enough. This is rooted in the problem common to all types of the Thinking Triad (Five, Six and Seven)—that they are out of contact with the inner guidance and support of their Essential Nature. This creates the anxiety that they don’t know how to make the right choices. They distract themselves from this by staying busy, and cope with the loss of Essential guidance. Riso and Hudson explain:

On a very deep level, Sevens do not feel that they can find what they really want in life. They therefore tend to try everything—and ultimately may even resort to anything as a substitute for what they are really looking for. (“If I can’t have what will really satisfy me, I’ll enjoy myself anyway. I’ll have all kinds of experiences—that way I will not feel bad about not getting what I really want.”)

The Basic Fear of the Seven revolves around being deprived and trapped in pain, and their Basic Desire is to be happy—and when this desire deteriorates into frenetic escapism their Basic Fear becomes realized. Riso and Hudson explain:

Because Sevens keep their minds full in order to defend themselves from feeling anxiety, they have trouble taking in sensory information unless it makes a strong impression on them. Their identity is thus based on staying mentally excited; the content of their minds—their individual thoughts—are not as important as the degree of stimulation and the anticipation of gratification that is produced. Then again, Sevens seek strong stimuli so that the impressions that do filter in will register on their minds and satisfy them. Since their identity is dependent on staying stimulated, Sevens tend to put few brakes on themselves and dislike boundaries or limitations of any kind. They want to be free to respond to impulses and desires as soon as they arise, without delay. Like all of the Passions, gluttony is self-defeating in the long run because the more Sevens “stuff themselves” indiscriminately in an attempt to find the nurturance they feel they were deprived of in childhood, the more unsatisfied they become.

Seven’s engage in escapism and excessiveness in order to avoid being trapped in anxiety and the present. This, however, frequently leads to addiction—a trap more serious than anxiety. Extreme dissipation can result, along with even more radical attempts to escape such as mania and wild mood swings. Ultimately, this self-destructive path can result in panic a disorder and paralyzing terror.

Type Eight—the Challenger

The Passion of the Eight is Lust. This implies much more than sexual lust. Their lust expresses itself as a powerful and constant need for intensity, control, and self-extension. The Eight’s lust causes them to willfully and aggressively assert themselves—against people and circumstances—and frequently to the point of intimidation of others. Riso and Hudson state:

Eights are the “rugged individualists” of the Enneagram. More than any other type, they stand alone. They want to be independent and resist being indebted to anyone. They often refuse to give in to social convention, and they can defy fear, shame, and concern about the consequences of their actions. Although they are usually aware of what people think of them, they do not let the opinion of others sway them. They go about their business with a steely determination that can be awe-inspiring, even intimidating to others.

The Basic Fear of Eights is being harmed or controlled by others, and their Basic Desire is to protect themselves and determine their own course in life. The deterioration of the Basic Desire into constant opposition and fighting can easily lead others to harm or control them. Their fear/expectation of being hurt and/or controlled by others causes them to reject others before they will be rejected. Thus, they are blocked in love, since love gives others power over them. “The more Eights build up their egos in order to protect themselves”, explain Riso and Hudson, “the more sensitive they become to any real or imaginary slight to their self-respect, authority, or preeminence. The more they attempt to make themselves impervious to hurt or pain (whether physical or emotional), the more they shut down emotionally to become hardened and rock-like.”

When Eights function in the low-average to unhealthy range the angry energy emanating from them frightens them, and others may feel they have to control them for reasons of safety. The Eight’s fear, therefore, becomes increasingly realized as they drop down the scale of functioning.
This can cause them to become extremely violent and destructive to others, and can lead to the ultimate form of control: imprisonment.

Type Nine—the Peacemaker

The Passion of the Nine is Sloth. Riso and Hudson clarify that sloth doesn’t necessarily imply laziness because Nines can quite active and accomplished. It refers to a desire to be unaffected by life. They are unwilling to engage with life with full vitality.

The Basic Fear of type Nine is loss of connection, fragmentation, and annihilation. Their Basic Desire is to be at peace and maintain their inner stability. As Nines become stressed their peace-seeking deteriorates into stubborn neglectfulness.

Nines tend to avoid conflict and disturbance at all costs, and this includes their own powerful instinctual energies. This causes them to disconnect from the source of disturbance and retreat into their own minds and fantasies. Riso and Hudson point out that, “…when their instinctual energies are out of balance, Nines use these very energies against themselves, damming up their own power so that everything in their psyches become static and inert.” Riso and Hudson elaborate further:

Nines demonstrate the universal temptation to ignore the disturbing aspects of life and seek some degree of peace and comfort by numbing out. They respond to pain and suffering by attempting to live in a state of premature peacefulness, whether it is in a state of false spiritual attainment or in more gross denial. More than any other type, Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or by seeking simple and painless solutions to their problems…. Nines must resist the urge to escape into “premature Buddhahood” or the “white light” of the Divine and away from the real world. They must remember that the only way out is through.

One of the ways Nines realize their Basic fear of loss of connection is by being too accommodating in order to keep the peace. In this way their fear of losing connection with others by incurring conflict actually results in a loss of contact and a building up of resentment. Riso and Hudson amplify this:

Accommodation and self-effacement mark the beginning of the Nine’s “disappearing act.” Rather than assert themselves and run the risk of alienating others, Nine begin to disappear into conventional roles, as well as hide behind platitudes and slogans. If anxiety and conflicts increase, Nines become almost invisible. This occurs because Nines are trying to adapt to their circumstances, to “not be a problem”, but they lose themselves in the process.

All of the accommodating causes a buildup of anger and rage, that the Nine keeps tightly suppressed. When anger and rage break through their defenses, however, Nines can be quite explosive, and even violent.

Each of us has a dominant personality type that is one of the nine Enneagram types. In addition each of us carries within our psyches the personality types of the main people who impacted us in childhood, and sometimes in later years. Typically sub-personalities are the introjected personas of parents and other significant figures that most influenced us. In The Collapsing Tower I discuss how these various sub-personalities form and how they influence us as adults.

What is important to understand here is: each sub-personality has its characteristic Enneagram type. I’ve encountered a number of cases in which a sub-personality has taken a dominant position in the individual’s psyche. This sometimes happens in the case of individuals who have suffered abuse in childhood or had a very dominant parent or other adult in early life. These individuals are literally not living their own lives. They are continuing the living and relational patterns of someone else.

One way of discovering that this is happening is through examining how you are like/unlike parental and other key figures from childhood and adolescence. If such a dominant sub-personality is operating, you will typically find very few or no differences between yourself and the dominant person from earlier in your life. The task then becomes one of disentangling your own personality from that of the sub-personality. In The Collapsing Tower I cover and discuss the use of self-observation to make this discrimination. With some concentrated vigilance and practice you can eventually discover your own Enneagram type. The same can be done with less dominant sub-personalities.

The first step in self-discovery is finding out who you are not. Then when you isolate your actual personality type the task becomes ascending the levels of that type to Level 1—at which point you are very close to entering true Essence. In doing this you make use of the Direction of Integration for your particular type. This is discussed in both Riso and Hudson’s The Wisdom of the Enneagram and in Personality Types—Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery.

The Enneagram at the Relationship Level

What I have found is that at the mid-average to the unhealthy range, egos don’t really relate. They exist in a kind of parallel reality condition with one another. Typically, we unconsciously pick people with whom be can replay childhood dramas. Frequently this involves the interplay between sub-personalities. For example, two people can be attracted to unconsciously play out their abuse dramas from childhood wherein, for example, the abusive paternal sub-personality of the woman is projected onto her partner, activating an abusive sub-personality in him. Gender is not so important here. It’s more the quality of the sub-personality that is critical. In the case of two people who were abused in childhood, the interaction of these abusive (oppressor) sub-personalities creates a potentially violent relationship, in which there is a constant struggle for domination.

But it’s more complicated than this. Every oppressor sub-personality has a victim sub-personality connected to it. In this case the victim sub-personality is the memory complex referred to in The Collapsing Tower as the “Hurt Child”. When we examine the types of sub-personality interactions that derive from this it can be quite confusing unless you are familiar with how these dynamics operate. Let’s look at the relevant interactions: 1) Oppressor – Victim. One or the other takes on the role of Hurt Child Victim while the other plays out the Oppressive Parent. This interaction can be played back and forth, wherein they switch roles, 2) Oppressor – Oppressor. Both play the roles of the Oppressive Parent. If their childhood experiences involved violence, the activation of this particular dynamic can easily result in adult-adult violence, 3) Hurt Child – Hurt Child. Here the interaction is based on victimization. They can act like brutalized children who console each other, or hold tightly onto each other against a menacing world. I call this interaction dynamic a fear huddle.

There are a variety of other inter-personal sub-personality interactions that could be examined. However, these require a good comprehension of the Enneagram types. Take some time a make a serious study of these, as it will benefit you greatly. If you know the Enneagram you know yourself and you know people.

Self-Observation and Detachment

In order to observe something we must take a position separate from what we observing. We must dis-identify with whatever it is we attempt to observe. This is for the simple reason that when we are identified with the object of observation we are fused with it—it becomes a part of the subject, the observer. For example, you can’t observe your eyes because they are identified with what is doing the observing—subject and object are fused. You can only observe your eyes if you are looking in a mirror. In this way you become the subject and your eyes become the object.

When you observe your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you begin to get a working knowledge of how various sub-personalities function. You become aware of the grossest level their functioning. For example, you start to see how certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are identical with those of your mother, father, or other significant person from your childhood. As you continue to observe yourself you notice that these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors occur under particular conditions, such as when you are tired, stressed, or after you’ve had alcohol. These conditions diminish our boundary with the subconscious, which is where sub-personalities exist.

It’s important to understand that the path of self-discovery first entails discovering who you are not. Largely, this entails a disentangling of oneself from sub-personalities. Thus, when you begin to observe sub-personalities operating (and masquerading as ‘I’) you then can initiate disentanglement from them. This entails dis-identification—the stopping of the agreement that they are part of ‘who I am’. Agreement/disagreement is critical. Whatever I agree with I own as part of myself. Disagreement does the opposite.

Agreement is the basis of attachment. When you agree to something you make an attachment to it. It then becomes a part of ‘me’. For example, if I’ve agreed that I am a “hot tempered” person, what I’ve done is make an attachment to that thought-form; I’ve identified with it and consider it a part of who I am. I’ll defend it by saying, “I can’t help it! It’s my nature.” I will defend this characteristic even if it’s part of an introjected parental sub-personality.

In a very real sense agreement/attachment is the food or fuel such thought-forms live on. Therefore, we unknowingly maintain attitudes, feelings, and behaviors by identifying them as part of “who we are”, basically believing we are ‘stuck’ with them. The fact is that none of this is part of the Essence of who we are—the Self. This is also true of our Enneagram type, which is our personality or ego-type that we came into this life with. It can be thought of as a psychological/spiritual obstacle course that we must master and ultimately transcend in order to gain Self-Realization.

Thus, the Enneagram type of the personality is also an agreement. It is a complex thought-form Self uses to function in the material world of ego consciousness. Just as a sub-personality is not who we are, neither is the personality itself. “Persona” is the Greek word for mask, and that is exactly what the personality is. It masks the essential Self.

Mistaking the mask of the ego-self for the Self is the most fundamental error we make. All of our problems derive from this error. It’s what keeps us separate, in fear and at war with ourselves and even our so-called “intimates”. It’s what’s destroying us and our planet. Transcending this structure, taking off this mask, is essential. As Eckhart Tolle has said, “Evolve or die.”

It’s not necessary to destroy the ego. It simply has to be put it proper balance. Because of the favoring of the left hemisphere of the brain over the last 5,000 years of the National and Planetary Underworlds, the functions of the masculine, separating, linear and logical left hemisphere—that define the ego—have become seriously out of balance with the feminine, holistic feeling, and intuitive right hemisphere. Now, in our current Galactic Underworld that started in 1999 the energy is available to bring these hemispheres into balance. To those very strongly attached to the left hemisphere this balancing will feel like a psychic death. To those willing to cooperate with evolutionary flow it will mostly be experienced as a psychic birth.

Now, in the last quarter of the Fifth Night the titanic forces of light and dark, birth and death are reaching a crescendo. It’s very much like what Dr. Stan Grof discusses in his book Realms of the Human Unconscious regarding the terrifying experience of the last phase of fetal struggle in the birth canal before actual birth. Whether we, as a species, live or die depends on a critical number of people doing the work of transcending the ego. But, to reiterate, we have spiritual help. The next step in our journey is aided by the energy of the Sixth Day, which begins right after the Fifth Night, which begins on November 13, 2008 and ends on November 8, 2009. The Sixth Day is ruled by the goddess of birth.

This is not to say that all of our troubles are over by the end of the Fifth Night. The consequences of the Fifth Night will likely continue in a lessening fashion over the next 1 – 3 years. But we’ll be fortified by the knowledge that we can evolve and make a new world. My guess is that there will be a lot of cleaning up to do.

We’ll now examine how the fundamental Buddhist concept of detachment can be used to accomplish the task of transcending the ego.

Detaching from your Enneagram Type

Detachment is about dis-identifying from thoughts. This is done by placing our attention on the breath, bodily sensations and feelings, while allowing thoughts to drift by. The reason for detaching from thought is that the ego is thought. When we do this and maintain focus on bodily sensations and feelings what will happen is that these will be freed from the form imposed by thought. Negative feelings, in particular, are maintained in place through the structuring power of thought. When we detach thought from these feelings, they begin to dissipate into free energy.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It requires practice—and that is what spiritual practice entails. It is the most effective way to weaken the hold of the ego. The first step, of course, is to familiarize yourself with your personal Enneagram type.

We’ll now address the Basic Fear of your type. Because fear is the energy that creates contraction, it is what mostly keeps you contracted and locked into your Enneagram type. You must first stop agreeing with the fear of your particular type. Look at how this fear has controlled you over the years.

We typically assume that fear is based on some real threat—otherwise, why would you be feeling it? When you understand that the fear you’re feeling may have nothing to do with what’s happening in your present time reality, and that it’s coming from your ego’s Enneagram type that you’ve identified with and have accepted as “me”, you can begin to break the agreement that the fear you’re feeling originates from some inherent defect you are hiding from others and even yourself or from some actual threat in your present time reality. Of course, conditions may have been manifested by your agreement with fear that currently exists in your present time reality. But if you know that these conditions derive from your agreement with the fear of you particular type, you can decide to stop manifesting more fear-driven conditions.

The procedure is as follows: when the fear comes up you must feel it fully, and you must also feel the sensations it produces in you body. It’s also important to keep your breath steady and not let it become shallow and rapid (fear breathing). Now you have to detach your thoughts from the feelings and sensations. You do this by doing nothing about these thoughts and keeping your attention on your breath and the feelings and sensations in your body. It’s counterproductive to yell at these unwanted thoughts or try to suppress them in some way. Any action taken against these thoughts constitutes a validation of them, an affirmation of your agreement that they are substantial. For example, thoughts of a terrible future are a trick of the ego to create fear in order to keep you out of the present moment—where the ego can’t function. When you agree with these thought forms, even by opposing them, you affirm the ego and feed the pain body that intimately works with the ego. Moreso, you increase the probability of actually bringing about such events in your future.

This is a powerful spiritual procedure, but it takes a lot of practice to master. You can do it, but you must be patient with yourself.

If you have any questions or comments contact Robert Lorenz through the email link below:

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