The Nine Types & Their
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Nine Types & Their Essential Qualities
As we have seen, contacting our
Essence is always a matter of recognizing our identifications, fears, and
resistances, and bringing our attention to our experience in the here and
now. As we do so, we become increasingly aware of a vast number of Essential
qualities that arise perfectly to support whatever issues we are facing.
Indeed, the more we move up the Levels of Development and are less
encumbered by our ego identities, the more we have access to all of the
Our Essential nature, however,
is vast and subtle, and manifests in a multitude of ways and at a variety of
levels. Here we are most concerned with the qualities of Essence that are
"closer" to the surface—that is, more generally accessible to
our daily awareness. These aspects arise to support our inner Work any time
we remember ourselves and come back to some contact with Presence. The
Enneagram delineates some of the most important of these qualities, and by
describing them, we may be able to see how they constantly support our
transformation. Each of the nine points can be thought of as contributing an
important ingredient for our development. We may also begin to see how the
personality attempts to fill in the gaps in our development by imitating
them. Over time, we can develop an increased sensitivity to these states,
which gradually enables us to identify with our True Nature instead of our
Of course, as with everything
else in this book, reading about the Essential qualities or having an
intellectual understanding of them is not the same as having a direct
experience of them. For that, consistent practice is needed, preferably with
the support of others as we have previously mentioned. Also note that the
Essential aspects described here are only a departure point and are by no
means complete or definitive.
From point Eight, we experience
Essential Strength. Strength is an expansive energy, and when it is
manifesting we feel large, solid, capable, and alive. Not surprisingly,
essential strength arises in defense of our souls—it protects our process
and its integrity. It provides a foundation and ground that gives us the
ability to discriminate present, real experience from projections and
reactions from the past, as well as to tolerate more painful, subtle, or
empty states. Without this quality, we may have profound experiences, but we
will not be able to embody or sustain them in any meaningful way.
From point Nine, we experience a
sense of Unity or Wholeness. We know that we are not only connected
with everything else, but that we are not a "separate object." We
directly experience the oneness of reality, and our essential union with all
creation. Further, we understand that this unity is dynamic, alive, and
ever-changing. We know love as the force that breaks through all false
boundaries and identities to restore this experience of wholeness. The
realization of this state brings a deep satisfaction and contentment—a
profound sense of well-being. We feel at peace with reality and with our
place in it. We are able to function effectively in the world while knowing
that what we are is "beyond" the world.
From point One, we experience Wisdom.
This quality is related to the Buddhist concept of right action.
Wisdom manifests as brilliant intelligence, an ability to see exactly what
is needed in the moment and to act accordingly. This intelligence is not
based on any set of principles, guidelines, or rules, but rather arises
spontaneously whenever it is needed. It gives us the ability to respond to
situations effectively, with an economy of energy—neither too much nor too
little. Further, when we are manifesting this quality, we are able to
communicate our insights clearly and authoritatively. We are patient,
steady, capable, and radiant.
From point Two, we experience Unconditional
Love. This quality gives us a tremendous freedom from the inherent
neediness of the ego. Knowing that we are connected to the very source of
love, and that we cannot lose it, allows us to interact with other human
beings in whatever way the moment dictates, without any concern that we will
be disliked or rejected. Further, when we are truly and authentically
experiencing love as part of our Essential nature, we see that love does not
belong to anyone, including ourselves, and recognize that everyone around us
is also a manifestation of love. We know that it is not our duty to go
around "loving" everyone, but to live in the presence of love such
that others may also remember that they too are in the presence of love.
Further, love is a tremendously powerful force for dissolving all that is
false in us. Few of our illusions about ourselves or others can stand long
in the presence of real love. In this respect, we see how love represents
the active or dynamic part of truth, and that they are intimately related.
From point Three, we experience
Essential Value. When we are manifesting this quality of Essence,
we do not need to do anything to feel valuable or worthwhile. We do not need
to work at developing our self-esteem because we fully experience our
intrinsic value as Being. We feel the profound pleasure and satisfaction of
existing—a sense of enjoyment pervades our entire presence. This aspect
predisposes us to behave benevolently toward others: experiencing our own
essential value, we do not need to manipulate others or our environment in
order to see ourselves in any particular light. We experience ourselves as a
shining, star-like presence—a source of radiance in the world.
From point Four, we experience Equanimity.
Once we open to the riches of the heart and to the inexhaustible wonder of
living in truth, we are filled from moment to moment with a kaleidoscope of
powerful impressions, sensations, and feelings. Equanimity gives us the
capacity to contain all of these ever-changing qualities without being swept
into emotional reactions about them. Because the nature of spirit is ever
changing, our experience of ourselves and of life is also constantly
changing. Equanimity allows the identity of the Essential self to
participate in the cornucopia of experiences and inner qualities without
clinging to or fearing any of them, and without regretting their passing. In
this way, the sense of oneself continually deepens so that powerful
experiences are fully felt but do not overwhelm the Essential identity. We
are able to feel both the heights of ecstasy and the full intensity of
suffering without becoming lost in either.
From point Five, we experience
the Essential quality of "Direct Knowing." This quality
is quite distinct from the ego's form of thinking, which is generally
characterized by inner talk or inner visualization, often accompanied by a
process of sorting information and "data retrieval." In direct
knowing, however, the mind is silent, and open, and we are supported by the
awareness that we will know whatever we need to know as we need to know it.
Even the acquisition of new information, skills, or experiences will be
guided by an inner knowing that does not arise from the ego's feelings of
insufficiency. Direct knowing arises out of a direct experience of the
pristine empty space of mind, thus, it allows us to be free of attachment to
any particular perspective. We know that in different moments and
situations, different perspectives may be more useful, and that our Essence
will guide us to whichever perspective is most suitable. This inner clarity
also allows us to be unattached to the phenomenal world, because when we are
functioning in this capacity, we see all objects and events as arising and
disappearing within a vast and unfathomable mystery. We see the world as a
dance of exquisite gestures and movements within the shining void.
From point Six, we experience
Essential Will. This quality manifests as a sense of being
"imbedded" in reality—solidly supported by the ground of Being.
It gives us a capacity for endurance and persistence in our Work, and an
ability to confront situations without anxiety. We feel as if we are
"held up" by a solid ocean of Presence that supports and guides
us. Further, we do not need to fill our minds with plans and strategies,
because we are directed by a silent wellspring of inner guidance that
functions harmoniously with our circumstances and with our environment. It
brings a sense of unshakable confidence and a clear sense of direction. The
more we open to this quality, the more actively it manifests in our world,
leading us exactly to the experiences we most need for our development.
From point Seven, we experience
Essential Joy. When this quality manifests, we are filled with an
expansive, sunny presence that lets us know that we are moving in the right
direction. We feel grateful for the wonderful and mysterious gift of our
lives, and experience a profound wonder and curiosity about our journey. We
deeply feel the presence of our true spiritual home, and feel it calling us
back. As Essential joy arises in us, we know where true value lies, and are
fortified to do whatever is necessary to return to what our heart truly
desires. We know what we love, and joyfully open to deeper aspects of our
The Enneagram of Essential