- Quality of Life & Wellness
Unlocking The Enneagram in Three Steps “To Know – To Understand – To Be.”
Gurdjieff's Course Flyer for Students
The 3 Stages of Gurdjieff's Growth Sequence or Hidden Path
“In all ancient teaching the first demand at the beginning of the way to Liberation was: Know Thyself”-G. Gurdjieff.
This is the solid foundation from which you begin the work of transformation by whatever method or tradition that you choose. Gurdjieff choose to be very explicit about this important first step to knowledge:
“Knowledge can be acquired by a suitable and complete study, no matter what the starting point is. Only one must know how to 'learn.' What is nearest to us is man; and you are the nearest of all men to yourself. Begin with the study of yourself; remember the saying 'Know thyself.”
― G.I. Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World: Early Talks Moscow Essentuki Tiflis Berlin London Paris NY Chicago as Recollected
The second step is to "Know The Other" (To Understand) or as Sri Yogananda put it: ''Only that which is the other, gives us fully unto ourselves.'' Again, it is extremely important to be explicit about this step, regardless of your chosen methods or tradition.
The third step strikes me as the hardest step: "Know That We All Are One and There Is No Separation" (To Be). Edgar Cayce said: "When separated, (we) must pass through all stages of development, that it (we) may be one with the Creator (source).
David Burke translated the first page of the Tao The Ching: “All of Creation years to return to their Source. To Bring Completion and Fulfillment.” In my experience working with clients from most impaired to the healthiest, these three steps remain the same.
The most beginning student may work on the first step and may never complete it, but develop some self knowledge and self mastery. The healthier "truth seekers" complete the first step and wind up working on the second or third steps. As clients get better or more successful at reaching their goals in treatment, some stop working towards further steps or growth, as they are no longer motivated by pain or for other reasons. I take them where they are, and they leave me when they wish. Some go on to other groups, activities, practices, etc....
I will describe a three stage process suggested by the Gurdjieff's Transformational diagram itself and which I named “The Hidden Path".
The 3 Stages of Personal Growth
There is a Hidden Path in the Gurdjieff transformation diagram (Enneagram) that has been staring us in the face for decades. This path is hidden in our plain sight. You will see three stages and components on this path.
The first stage represents a journey of self knowledge, to know they self in all the three triads: heart, body & mind. This first stage of the work is represented by the central triangle in the Enneagram.
The second stage represents a journey to know the other enneatypes that represent different Object-Relations styles from your own style. This second stage of the work is represented by the hexagon in the Enneagram.
The third stage of the work is to realize that you and the other enneatypes are One and there is no separation. It is represented by the large outer circle in the Enneagram that encompasses and unites all the nine types. The work requires that you accept and love your own type as well as all the other types, including your Opposite-type.
Realistically, if you are unable to accept and love the other enneatypes, you will not be able to fully accept and love yourself. It may take a little time to digest what I am saying here, but I hope and suspect my fellow students of the Enneagram and Life will get what I mean. (with the help of colorful drawings).
The Triangle, The Hexad & The Circle
Center Your Enneagram Type in The Body's Movement Center is The First Step In The Transformational Growth Process.
Place your type's number at the center-point of the Body center in the position usually reserved for Type 9.
Now complete numbering the inner triangle in the usual directions of integration and disintegration with your +3 wing and with your -3 wing, at the positions usually reserved for Type 3 and Type 6, respectively.
Then complete the hexad form starting at the position usually reserved for Type 7 and then applying the “accepted” direction of integration described by C. Naranjo by moving from Point 7 to Point 5, to Point 8, to Point 2, to Point 4, and finally to Point 1.
Center Yourself in the Body Triad
The Hidden Path for Type 2: 2-5-8-9-7-1-4-6-3
The Hidden Path Table for all Types
Stage 3 of the Hidden Path Journey
The Circle of the Enneagram is associated with 81 steps of what I call the “Ascending Spiral Path”. It is much more than completing the Nine Step Hidden Path for an individual Enneagram Type. The intention is to incorporate and integrate as many of the different perspectives, essences and energies of all the other types as is humanly possible in our short life-journey.The Ascending Spiral Path leads every Type through all the other Enneagram Types and all possible connections between Types by following the endless loop from your Type and starting point in the Hidden Path Table by successively advancing you in nine steps to your +1 Wing, until you arrive at your starting point.
In this Third Stage, the sense of separation and individuality dissolves and you recognize that we are all of One. It requires 81 steps to go around the whole circle one time back to your starting point, your own enneatype. You see everything once from each of the nine enneatypes perspectives. The whole process make take a whole lifetime to complete or perhaps, if you believe in past lives and reincarnations, several lifetimes. The Ascending Spiral Path produces a diagram with 81 connecting lines as shown below and which was initially created by Ramon Llull over 700 years ago.
Growth Is Not a Smooth Linear Process.
Sometimes, we regress under stress, and "recapitulate" and grow again. It is a learning process and I skip around in my learning a lot because somethings grab my attention and somethings are difficult for me to comprehend or accept. At times, I make quick progress, and other times, no progress. But, the steps are there, just like in learning to read and write. First, you start with the alphabet, small words and spelling. But we are always learning new words and spellings along the way. I find the Enneagram to be great guide in this as it has the three stages build into its components: The Triangle, The Hexad and The Circle
Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone
Whether it's sports, cardiovascular conditioning, weightlifting, academic studies or Personal Growth, to make progress and grow you must step out of your Comfort Zone.
Personal Growth requires sustained effort, work and a willingness to endure growing pains. In some ways, it is like childbirth and is not for everybody.
According to the Hidden Path model, each Type's Comfort Zone is its own Object-Relations Group (or as Riso-Hudson termed "Dominant Affective Group" in Understanding the Enneagram, Revised Ed.,Houghton Mifflin (2000), p. 318).
The three Object-Relation Groups are A) Frustrated Types (Types 1,4 & 7); B) Accepting Types (3,6 & 9) and; C) Rejecting Types (2,5 & 8).
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is ALWAYS Uncomfortable
Your Opposite Type: Jean Adeler and "-2 Binary".
The first step out of your Comfort Zone is always to your -2 Wing, for which I propose one of the following term: “Shadow-type”, "Inverse-type" or "-2 Binary".
Jean Adeler discussed the “The Eight-One Binary” in an excellent article on The Deep Structure of Personality in September 2010 edition of Enneagram Monthly. This line of reasoning can be applied to the “-2 wing” of any type.There is a natural tension between these two positions on the Enneagram.This is obvious for Type Eight whose worldview includes the notion that “Might makes right” and “Only the Strong will prevail and survive”, which is in direct opposition to Type One’s worldview that “Ethics, rules, fairness and principles dictate what is right or wrong.”
The same tension exists in all Type vs. Type -2 Wing worldviews and strategies for success. At this step in the Hidden Path Table, we clearly move out of our comfort zones, which is absolutely necessary to strengthen and expand from our limited, fixated characters and to grow from a psychological and spiritual perspective towards our best selves or true essence.
Essentially, we move from our small, dark, cramped corner of our Enneagram Type or fixation towards greater freedom and less reactivity by developing all of the nine essences and energies and gain a larger space to live, breathe and move freely.
The Hidden Path Is Like a Combination Lock
The Enneagram resembles a clock face with a "9" on top, but operates like a combination lock where you need to put the EnneaType under consideration centered in the Body/Movement Triad in the position usually reserved for Type 9.
If you don't center your Type in the Body Center, the arrows towards integration described by Claudio Naranjo make little sense for any type, other than Type 9.
I refuse to speculate as to why this was done, but people should realize that esoteric traditions have been traditionally elitist in nature and Gurdjieff did much to deliberately encode his "Hidden Knowledge" in much of his own writings and oral teachings. There was a sediment in his times that knowledge needed to be kept in the hands of a few to be of benefit to society and that knowledge in the hands of the masses just created chaos, confusion and difficulty in governing. (Even today, some people still hold to this position and feel educating and informing the masses poses a great danger to government rule.)
I honor and follow the tradition of Ramon Llull, who believed in sharing his knowledge with everyone who was interested in the peaceful discussion and exchange of ideas. Fittingly, he died a Christian martyr, killed by radical Islamists opposed to his Christian ideas, and after his death, eventually vilified by the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish Inquisition for teaching tolerance of other religions and the acceptance of scientific knowledge in religious teaching and doctrines. Llull stated that true religious teachings should not contradict observed scientific facts, though matters of faith that are not contradicted by scientific fact were also true. In short, although initially praised as a Christian martyr and a potential saint who was beatified by the Catholic Church, Llull works and writing were eventually banned and he was branded a heretic for holding too forward ideas before their time.
I view Llull as the true father of the Enneagram as he was the first to have a nine-pointed star figure enclosed in circle with lines connecting the points and words associated with virtues, vices and holy ideas in the language of his time. I published an article on Ramon Llull being the True and First Father of the Enneagram in Enneagram Monthly in April 2011, issue 176.