REALIZING THIS IS THE WORK YOU ARE HERE TO DO
The focus of the Spiritual Enneagram is on the nature of our consciousness and how we can stay Conscious in our lives. Staying conscious means being able to stay anchored in our true Self through thick and thin. This is what enables us to keep our hearts and minds fully open to experience, fully assimilate, and if necessary resolve everything that we encounter in our life and in our relationships.
In our reading up to now, we have realized that gaining self-awareness of the dynamics and forces within our persona and learning effective frameworks and tools are together what fortify our consciousness to be able to safely stay open and remain Conscious in the face of all that Life throws at us. So nothing goes underground.
Living in this way, grounded within our Selves, we experience life differently than before. Before, when we were anchored solely in our personality, we used to experience our selves at the effect of our circumstances. Now the experience is more intimate. We see all of the inner connections and how the challenges are purposely designed for us to evolve our consciousness.
So then there now is no one to blame. And no longer do we have the ignorance to freely and self-righteously act out our insecurities. Or take them out on anyone, including on ourselves.
And whereas before we tended to be focused primarily on getting our needs met in our relationship. The locus of our attention was focused within ourselves – what we want, what we need, what we think is “right.” Now with these new understandings, anchored in our pure Awareness we can step out of our ego and recognize what is happening. Those pressures are something “’I’ have” and not “who ‘I’ am.” This Awareness enables us to see other points of view and care about what others are going through. And what all is going on around us.
Without this Awareness, the world tends to revolve around me. Of course when our survival is at stake, there is the natural focus on self-preservation. But this unconscious survival response can dominate an ego saddled with unrecognized needs, sensitivities and insecurities churning inside. This is what can keep one’s focus confined within their fear-based self.
So no wonder it can unconsciously feel like survival is at stake for many whose ego is swimming in internal pressures, generating its desperate drive to avoid the underlying emotional threatening pain.
But with someone who sustains their connection to pure Awareness – their noble Self – there is vital distance there between their Self and those needs and insecurities that become inflamed in their personality. It is this Awareness that more effectively guides them through their experience, but now with wisdom, goodness, and caring. We can all readily see this difference when people are taking the “High Road” in the face of difficult or challenging situations.
The Development of “I”-ness
Something else happens as people live increasingly from their Higher Self. Whereas before, the ego’s pursing pleasure and avoiding pain was what dictated choices and attitudes. As a result people would personally identify as Reality whatever they needed, or anything that was perceived as a threat to their well-being. “I hate that!” “That is wrong!” “This is terrible.”
However, in sustaining their Awareness in their Higher Self their perspective starts to change. The more connected to the natural inner security and Wisdom of Pure Consciousness, the less the person perceives a threatening Snake! Snake! Snake! Instead, it become just Life – “It Is what it Is.” And that is it.
At the same time, as the locus of our awareness increasingly comes from our Higher Self, the churning inside is not overshadowing my pure inner nature. And as people purify their consciousness they can experience a radical shift where they never lose that Pure Consciousness.
In regularly making this distinction between the Self and the personality, the Yoga Sutras state, “invariably the mind now inclines towards discrimination (Viveka), and thus is gravitating towards permanent Spiritual Enlightenment (Kaivalya, Nirvana, Moksha, Satori).” Yoga Sutras IV.26
That is when one’s sense of identity shifts from the world of personality in its unconscious drive for pleasure and avoidance pain. Whereas before it was this ego that had usurped my awareness and unwittingly became “the doer” who decided and generated everything that happened in my life. I thought it was “I” who chose this or that, whether to pursue that career, or marry that person, and to avoid that over there. This is the human condition when separate from Pure Consciousness.
It is so conventionally everyone’s reality, so de rigueur among people, that no one ever thought anything about it. That is how unconscious people as their natural experience, when their Self is overshadowed by their churning inside.
Vedic psychology recognized this natural phenomena of individuality or ego-sense. This mistaken sense of “I”-ness is called Ahamkara. It is a compound word: aham “I”; and kara, the “doer.” This is the egotistical principle in humans that is born of the ignorance of the true Self. As a result, one’s notion of the “I” in the personality becomes the source of one’s awareness. “What I think, what I feel, what I decide, what I do is who “I” am.”
Yet, as we have seen, when Person B or Person C overshadow our Awareness, it becomes those needs, sensitivities, drives in our personality that take “Me” over. This illusory experience is called “Maya” in Sanskrit. And it is the typical human experience.
“Living in the stream of “vasanas”(imbalances) – unsteady, wavering, bewildered, full of desire, distracted – one goes on into the state of self-deception. In thinking, “This is I” and “That is mine” one binds himself with those unconscious vasanas, as does a bird with a snare.”
Maitreya Upanishad, 3.2
When the experiential shift to where I am not the doer happens, now there is no longer the identification with those thoughts and feelings, decisions and experiences. The locus of your Awareness shifts to the Absolute Self – the true Perceiver. You now “Witness” the unfolding of events and reactions within your persona. Just as you now do now with your bodily functions. “Oh, I just burped.” “My knee is acting up.” “I can feel my heart racing.” None of those experiences are interpreted as “Me.”
This shift in consciousness is called different names in different cultures — Spiritual Enlightenment, Moksha, Nirvana, Satori. When this becomes your permanent reality there is now a fundamental realization that the true source of the direction of your life and all of your life experiences were orchestrated by the omniscient Self for the evolution of your consciousness.
All of the choices and events that you encountered where you thought you were the author or source of the “doing” was an illusion. The real mover was the unstoppable currents of evolution in Life.
This experience is quite an intimate and profound one. And the reason is that now established in the inner security of this pure Awareness, challenges are not seen as existential threats. Instead they are naturally experienced as growthful in one’s personal evolution in Life.
However, this experience starts as you develop purposely live from Person A’s Pure Awareness. Increasingly, from this perspective of the Higher Self, there is a tangible sense of feeling Oneness with all that shows up in Life. Every experience, and particularly challenges, are fundamentally seen as part of life in the natural evolution of consciousness.
That is because from the top down everything is seen as inherently “growthful” on the path to wholeness. Pleasure and pain in life are now readily seen as the “carrot and the stick” in Life. Both are simply to move each of us forward in the evolution of our consciousness.
There are thousands of famous quotes from every generation around the globe expressing this inner knowingness. Within people, these recognitions come from the wisdom inherent in pure consciousness.
“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”
Confucius 551 – 479 BCE
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
“The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.”
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
Rumi, 13th century mystic
Those who practice this conscious orientation have quite an advantage when facing the adversity of challenging situations or intense experiences. With their understandings and the self-awareness within their personality from the Inner Enneagram, they can immediately Recognize the source of those sensitivities and insecurities – that it all lies inside of their selves.
So there is no more projecting our tensions that have been triggered onto others as there is no misinterpretation of “Snake! Snake!” that could take the person over. This Awareness alone can keep them in touch with the Big Picture enabling themselves to see the accurate frame that is expressed in those above quotes.
More importantly, if the inner stress is stronger and more gripping, people can develop their skills that enable them to consciously Process those tensions and feelings to safe resolution. Stressful tensions in (Person B) are resolved “cognitively” as he or she opens up and starts to explore, make sense of, and uproot the source of those tensions within them self.
When stronger emotional upsets emerge (Person C), the person can learn how to become skillful in safely experiencing those emotions to their natural completion. This is because it is the nature of the brain’s regulatory process experientially complete and thereby purify those intense original imprints of emotional distress that have become inflamed.
That is why when those emotions emerge people will innocently cry (that is if they don’t inhibit the natural process in order to avoid feeling it). The experience naturally purifies consciousness of those original imprints. You can readily tell the difference as it naturally completes itself, you see how purely quiet you become inside. There is no more tension. You have your Self back!
So both cognitive sharing and safe emotional Process are designed by nature to be able to heal and free us of whatever overshadows our pure nature. This innocent and very human process of healing is the opposite of avoiding those painful places or freely blaming or angrily taking them out on others.
Many people will find that they can develop those skills more quickly and effectively with personal supervision and training. For years at my Human Relations Institute in Houston, Texas we taught such trainings and in workshops locally and around the country. And now they are available in working with individuals and couples locally in the Washington, D.C. area and via Skype.