The Enneagram of Being
We can regard the Enneagram of Being as the primary differentiation of aspects of reality out of “isness.” However we name the fundamental divine presence – as Being, God, or Buddha-nature – it remains a presence that is beyond definition or limitation in the purest form. Out of this pure presence all manifestation appears. As manifestation this non-conceptual, non-dual presence appears first as the positive qualities that are described on the Enneagram of Being. In theistic terms we could say that this enneagram shows us the faces of God as the primary manifestation of divine qualities. These qualities appear as energetic forms in consciousness that can be known, named and that have real effects. The enneagram therefore represents the pattern of the most fundamental differentiation into form. This explains why the enneagram has such power to describe sets of patterns, such as we see in the enneagram of personality types, it is because it describes this fundamental differentiation of reality. We can say then that the enneagram is an archetypal model of how reality manifests. Gurdjieff used the term ‘universal key’ for the enneagram and this universal key opens up an understanding of spiritual reality when used as the Enneagram of Being.
Although Being is beyond concepts and limitations of any kind experientially it can be said to have different qualities that have a particular character and flavour. The experience of ‘isness’ and presence can be open and neutral or it can differentiate into one or other of the essential aspects shown on the enneagram below. A good metaphor for this is how white light can be split up into constituent colours when passed through a prism. So too the transparency of Being can be utterly pure, simple and without specific properties yet it can also manifest with different colours and flavours. These different colours are the properties that we see described on the Enneagram of Being.
Each of the nine points on the enneagram below represents a whole dimension of experience. When consciousness is able to rest in a completely natural state, open, present and beyond conditioning, then these nine dimensions become evident. Any particular point may be more or less present in experience at any given moment, however all nine of the dimensions are inherent characteristics of the fundamental reality of Being. In an experiential realisation of Being these properties may not be explicit however none of these properties is missing because each point represents an aspect of the same fundamental reality.
Being feels like a completion of our highest purpose, there is nothing to add or to change. Resting in Being we experience a sense of significance and meaning, it becomes clear that the higher purpose of our existence has been to realise the truth of our essential nature. We naturally have a sense of integrity and responsibility toward this realisation.
Recognising ourselves as Being is to recognise ourselves as an endlessly abundant source. There is more than enough resource and it is constantly giving itself in an unremitting gesture of love, compassion and caring. From the perspective of Being it is a completely natural expression to give and to help others.
Coming into Being we see that we are precious, our essential nature of Being is the most valuable thing that there is. The preciousness means that this Reality has more value than anything else, discovering our Being is like finding a treasure that is clearly much more valuable than anything in the material world. Reality has absolute value.
4. MYSTERIOUS DEPTH
Our Being is profoundly mysterious and deep. There is no end to the depth, it can always reveal new depths. Being is mysterious in that how it unfolds and reveals itself cannot be predicted and for each of us this process of unfoldment and revelation is personal and absolutely unique.
From the perspective of Being reality is clearly seen for what it is. We can know and recognise the nature of reality. This is an experience of objectivity, of crystalline clarity. Our conscious awareness is completely autonomous, it remains pristine no matter what the nature of the content that is arising. A clear mind with a warm heart.
The realisation of Being is the only way to experience complete trust and real security. Then we experience that Being is support, our essential nature is our true support, it is completely reliable so we can have absolute trust in it. The essential reality of our Being is always there and it is fundamental to all things. Being is in every time, every place, every person so there is always interconnectedness.
Being is true freedom, it is unrestricted and it contains all possibilities. There is no need to hold on to anything or avoid anything when we are in the realisation of the freedom of Being. We experience the dance of reality which we are part of. There is a creative process in every moment which is unpredictable and playful. Reality is spontaneously inventive and beyond limitations. Always new. Always fresh.
Our Being is experienced as indestructible. It is not subject to the passing of time. Being is not created, it is not born therefore it cannot die. Being is also beyond material forms yet the essence of this experience is more real and ‘solid’ than anything we encounter in the mental, emotional and material sense.
Resting in Being we experience boundlessness, the separating boundaries of the ego self dissolve and melt into the oneness of Being. The experience of Being is intimate, an intimacy that comes from being one with our Being. From this place separation is not possible, and we realise there never was separation, separation is an illusion. To come home to the essential nature of Being brings peace. In this Oneness we feel held, we can relax.
It is important to note once again that these nine properties described above are all inherent qualities of the fundamental ground of Being. Being always has all of the qualities described above because this is how Being is. At any given moment one or other of the nine dimensions of Being might be more prominent in our awareness. For example resting in Being in one moment we may be more aware of the Oneness aspect of point nine, then we experience intimacy with everything as the personal boundaries relax, the unity of everything is apparent. At another moment the Freedom aspect of point seven might arise; then we experience that Being is endlessly creating itself, new and fresh in every moment. In these examples, the realisation of Oneness and the realisation of Freedom, we are experiencing different aspects of the same thing, the essential nature of Being. The fact that all of the dimensions described on this enneagram are aspects of the same thing points us once again to the non-dual nature of Being. This non-duality is reflected in the realisation of Being in that we do not experience contradictions or conflicts between the different dimensions.
Michael Welsby is one of the first enneagram teachers to start operating in the Netherlands. He has been working with individuals, companies and government organisations for almost twenty years. Recently he has begun to re-orientate his work toward people who are interested in using the enneagram for spiritual development and consciousness work.
You can contact Michael at [email protected]