The Triune Nature
of the Higher Self
This is for readers who wish to read further on the innate structure of the Higher Self in relation to our personalities. The conventional Personality Enneagram teaches that the nine personality types are expressions of one of three fundamental natural human centers. This three-fold nature of human beings consists of our Instinctual, Will-Based center, our Heart center, and our Mental center.
Interestingly, this is the fundamental nature of all conscious beings. What makes us conscious is our Minds and ability to cognitively respond to our environment, our Emotional responses and ability to feel emotions, and our Physical Instinctive nature to survive that generates our strong natural Will. Thus it is our human nature to Think, Feel, and Thrive.
This three-fold nature of humans is replicated in the natural triune structure of mammal brains. The human brain consists of three distinct, separate structures. Each of these three brain systems has evolved separately from the others. And although they work together, each has a separate function that it alone can do that replicates our trifold inner nature. The Neocortex is the locus of our cognitive processing and rational minds. The mammalian brain, or limbic system, is the emotional brain system that generates emotions like love, happiness, joy, pain, anger, fear, and sadness in humans. And the reptilian brain system governs all of our vital, instinctual, life survival, bodily functions.
In the conventional Enneagram, your core personality reflects one of these three primary natures. You are a grounded, earthy, instinctual type of person at your core, or an emotional feeler, or a mental type person. When you meet people, this is the first thing you notice — are they more of an emotional, mental, or physical person? These are fundamentally different energies generated from the core of people’s personality type, and you can feel the difference.
The more sophisticated you become with the Enneagram, the more self-evident are these primary energies in people. Twos, Threes, and Fours ARE primarily emotional beings by nature. Fives, Sixes, and Sevens are fundamentally Mental people. You can feel the over activity of their minds. Or course they feel, but they live primarily live through their minds. And Eights, Nines, and Ones are certainly Will based, earthy in their energy.
What people do not generally realize is these fundamental energies are natural expressions of the three-fold nature of Being itself. The Higher Self is triune by nature. The inherent nature of consciousness embodies three natures: 1) the force of nature, the innate Will of nature to evolve, to live, thrive; 2) the “heart” of consciousness that is pure Love at its Source, and 3) the natural cosmic Intelligence of life. Each of these aspects of our inner, spiritual nature is expressed down into our personality in our core personality type, strong wings and lines. In their absolute transcendent nature, of course, cultures frame these as the nature of the Divine.
The fundamental Will aspect of life is self-evident in the innate will to live, the will to thrive, the unrelenting force of nature that evolves life. The nature of Will is part and parcel to life itself. In everything in nature we see this same striving for fuller manifestation of Life — the constant Will to Live, and evolve. The absolute Will quality of Being expresses itself in three personality types — the Eights, Nines, and Ones. From pure, unmanifest Silence, Will emerges. It is directly expressed in the physical world according to perfected Laws of Nature. If you did not have an ego bias, you would see the perfection of the Universe, moment by moment. It is omnipotent, all powerful.
These are the individual expressions streaming from Will into existence. In consciousness they are expressed as its source, perfect Peace, the nature of Nines, Perfection in the Laws of Nature expressed in Ones, and the awesome Omnipotence of the Universe expressed in the Eights very nature. This Will aspect of life is fundamental to existence and is the governing force in the physical world, and in our human body in particular. That is why Eights, Nines, and Ones are grounded beings, localized in their bodies, concerned with the physicality of Life.
Love is our nature. There is a fundamental Heart value in conscious life, generated by the aspect of pure unconditional Love. This gives us the capacity to love, to care, to feel, to connect. It is the natural source of our feelings — Love and the lack of love — and governs our emotions.
This emotional aspect of life is expressed in three personality types — the Twos, Threes, and Fours. Each expresses a different inherent aspect of the unconditional force of Love. Twos are expressions of the Compassion of Love. Threes express the natural aesthetic value of Beauty and excellence of Life. And Fours represent the profound Creative impulses of life in Love. Each of these three types share a fundamental heartfelt, emotional orientation to life, expressed though in different functions or values of the Heart.
Lastly, Intelligence is fundamental to Life. It is the nature of pure consciousness. At its source, it is unbounded, omniscient, pure Intelligence. Intelligence is the aspect of life that is expressed in our minds, and is the source of all Wisdom.
The natural facets of Intelligence are expressed differently in three personality types — the Fives, Sixes, and Sevens. Fives’ nature is Omniscience — knowing. They have an intimate grasp of knowledge, which is their essential nature. Sixes express the nature of applied knowledge. Sixes are Cosmic Engineers. And Sevens express the creative, expansive nature of Bliss in life as expressed through the mind.
These triune aspects of consciousness are the nature and inherent structure of the Higher Self. They function as one holistic system. Mystically, the Higher Self is essentially One, expressed in the many. Each of these three fundamental aspects of pure Being expresses a quality of Essence of that Oneness, that reflects who we are — in our Self and in our personality.
As human beings, of course we express all three of these fundamental currents of life force energies in our personality. We each have Will, the drive to thrive and survive — it is the nature of our physiology, our ego, our feelings, and our minds. We are all emotional beings with feelings. And we all have minds with access to intelligence and wisdom.
However, the inherent gifts of our individual personalities are formed along the lines of force laid out above. Our core personality type stems from one of these three basic aspects of Being — Will based, Love or emotional-based, and Intelligence. And our wings and lines, depending how strong they are, express their own qualities of Being. Together, these streams of unmanifest and manifest qualities make up our Selves and our personalities — who we are.
There are Traditions in Every Culture that Explain The Nature of the Higher Self & the Personality
In the Spiritual Enneagram, the ego or personality is an expression of this inner Self. Understanding this relationship is important in appreciating the intrinsic value of each person as well as the challenges everyone encounters in their ego development. This is the sacred nature of our humanness that the Spiritual Enneagram orientation makes clear.
These three-fold divisions are probably foreign to most in our western culture. The more separate we are in our personality from our inner Self, the less we are aware of these distinctions. The personality is too busy inside, overshadowing the natural inner Silence that would cognize these dynamics. As a result, we do not commonly make these distinctions as a society, or have a consensus about them.
However, there are traditions in cultures around the world and throughout history that focus on this relationship between one’s essential nature and the personality that expresses it. These traditions include Neoplatonism, Kabbalah, Sufism, Mahayana Buddhism, Zen, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Shamanism, Druze of Shia Islam, Theosophy, Rosicrucians, Anthroposophy, and Vedanta, to name a few.
Seers, prophets, saints, and enlightened beings in every generation, in every culture, have left us with a rich vocabulary that has evolved for distinguishing these essential qualities that are naturally expressed in our personalities. In English traditions, this Higher Self may be referred to as our inner spiritual self, true self, Spirit or Soul.
In the ancient Sanskrit writings, the nature of Self is three-fold. The absolute, unmanifest nature of Being generates on the highest planes of existence the individual Soul or Atman. One with Being, this is the part of us that is connected to everything in the Universe. The nature of Atman is Silence and indomitable Will in seed form. This is the eternal Peace inside of us at our core and the source of life’s will to evolve.
From Atman is expressed the pure, unbounded Love on the Buddhic plane (the Anadamaya kosha). And from Atma is further expressed as unbounded Intelligence, referred as Manas or the Vijnanamaya kosha. These three planes of existence together form the Higher Self in each of us and function as one holistic system as our spiritual Self.
Each of these three fundamental aspects of Self further projects into the lower self three aspects: the triad of the Enneagram that form the nine Enneagram types. Theosophy traces these triune higher life forces as “rays” that extend into the personality, each core personality is an expression of one of these nine rays or Enneagram types.
As we have seen, to the extent in the personality there are unresolved issues and insecurities, to that extent the personality is separate from this pure consciousness of the Higher Self. This constant inner pressure churning deep inside the personality is what creates the separation of the personality or ego from the Higher Self. The greater the stressful pressure, the greater the separation.
In the Vedic literature on consciousness, this gulf creates a “bridge” between the Self and the personality called antahkarana. However, as issues are resolved and purified, consciousness expands as this bridge or channel expands. And the antahkarana will completely evaporate in the full union of the personality and the Higher Self into Oneness.
I point to them to establish an intellectual basis for their existence of these qualities of being that make up our individual Higher Self. Although these transcendental, sacred energies are self-evident to me, there is a value in connecting them to centuries of the greatest and most enlightened minds on these subjects.
Lastly, it is interesting to note that the middle number of each of the triads (the Threes, Sixes, and Nines) repress their primary energies. Threes are emotional people in the Feeling triad who repress and avoid their feelings. Sixes are mental people in the Mental triad who doubt their own thinking and what they know. And even though Nines are in the Will-based, Aggression triad, yet they repress their aggression so thoroughly there seems to be no aggression in them — they are laid-back, easy-going types who avoid conflict.
In each case, however, their life-long task is to fully integrate those energies within their personality: Threes need to get in touch with their feelings and stop staying busy running from them. Sixes need to trust their mental knowingness and the outer world. And Nines need to access their aggression and potency to become healthy instead of shutting down and expressing it passive aggressively.
“Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart.
Everything that moves, breathes, opens and closes lives
in the Self. This is the source of love, and may be
known through love but not through thought.
This is the goal of life. Attain this goal!”
IN PROGRESS . . .