Enneagram Essential

SYNOPSIS OF ARTICLE: Here I review what the higher essential qualities of the nine types mean to me. For each type I clarify the meaning of the words used in the Enneagram teachings, define how I experience these qualities, and give short examaples. I state the meaning of “essence” as those qualities of being that underlie all external manifestations and are always present at least in the background, qualities such as hope, faith, and love.

David’s Simplified Descriptions of the Types’ Essential Spiritual Qualities: Integrating These Into Our Personality Structure

By David Daniels, M.D.

The essential qualities exist at the core of our being, at the hub of existence in the oneness-of-all or unity. We have all had oneness-of-all experiences at some point, for example, in hearing and playing music, in being in a wondrous scene in nature, in skiing down a slope, in sexual union, in prayer, in meditation or deep reflection, in acts of kindness, etc. In unity, there is simply knowing that the divine or essential qualities of holy hope, faith, unconditional love, universal truth, perfection of all, freedom, origin, omniscience and work.

We need to deeply know that these qualities are not just experienced cognitively, but also emotionally and energetically, i.e., somatically. When integrated into our personality, they change the structure of our lives, literally the substance of our being. And integration requires the development of grounded receptive energy, which I call the “great emulsifier,” as it allows our essential qualities to infuse our personality structure and liberate us from the confines of our old no-longer-valid core beliefs and habit of mind.

Remember, “essence” is that which underlies all external manifestations and is permanent and unchanging (Webster’s Dictionary). The Enneagram words for these essential qualities just don’t fit the dictionary definitions. Here, in my simple understandings, I share what these qualities of essence mean to me, listing first the holy idea (or higher mental quality) and then the virtue (or higher emotional quality). Some aspects cited here represent the personality’s experience when integration occurs and therefore, as a result, represent our best personality qualities. Each of these qualities simply needs to be integrated into our lives each day.

Type 1: Holy Perfection (Serenity) means the undivided oneness-of-all at the core of our being without judgmentalness, which we experience in the body as calm abiding and simple appreciation of differences (termed “serenity”). Then all experience, including the vital instincts, occurs without resistance, as though we were little children. Thus, all positive and negative feelings occur without resistance and anger abates. This means we are in the natural flow of positive and negative experience, which gives us a non-judgmental perspective. In this state of being, it becomes impossible to intentionally hurt another being as love is all there is.

Type 2: Holy Freedom (Humility) means real needs get met by a will greater than our own will, which creates the freedom to be in the natural flow of giving and receiving without pride (termed “humility”). For example, we experience this flow in the mother-infant nursing experience, where both are nurtured and, in helping, respond to tragedies and environmental disasters. We sense what is appropriate to give and take. All of which provides congruence. We are free to operate without attachment to the needs of self or others. Thus true humility is simply being in the natural flow of giving and receiving.

Type 3: Holy Hope (Law, Veracity) means things getting done according to universal laws and not upon the effort of the individual doer. This provides enduring hope for the future, which in turn allows for the expression of our own true feelings (termed “veracity”). We witness this natural unfolding when we go out into nature. This allows for truly experiencing what really needs doing and what doesn’t. Thus, there is no going away from feelings and, hence, no continuous go-ahead energy and no self-deception takes place. Then, and only then, can there be a harmonious blend of doing and being, of accomplishment and presence to self and others. The integrated Three knows that love comes from the qualities of being, which further allows for genuine expression of real feelings.

Type 4: Holy Origin (Equanimity) means that in the original state of being, whole and complete connection exists in each moment with nothing of substance or importance missing. Being in this oneness of all creates inner calm. Complete harmony exists with what is present (termed “equanimity”). Gratitude for what is present and appreciation for life’s positives can abound. In this balanced state, no emotions dominate. The body moves appropriately into life’s circumstances. Longing abates and goes to only those things that are truly worth pursuing. The infant in utero represents the physical example of this whole and complete connection. No wonder there is such a wail at the time of birth.

Type 5: Holy Omniscience (Non-attachment) means a direct or transparent inner knowing, independent of thoughts and feelings, accompanied by the natural flow of universal energy which provides ample life energy. Little infants exemplify this transparent knowing and natural flow of energy as they only live in the present moment without cognition. Thus, life energy flows freely from and to the self (termed “non-attachment”). Consequently, we naturally move forward into life and nurturance and not away in what is termed avarice for what we feel we just can’t live without. There is astuteness about what is required in life and what isn’t, and we experience life energy flowing freely from, to, and through the body.

Type 6: Holy Faith (Courage) means true faith in self, other, and the universe knowing that nothing destroys essence which underlies all else. To me this also means grasping that nothing, even death, can destroy the divine or higher qualities and the oneness of all at the core of being. Faith allows for our meeting real danger with firmness of purpose termed courage. It also means not magnifying danger and what could go wrong. In true faith, we recognize responsibility for our own existence and in the process becoming our own authority. Then we naturally face hazardous or fearful situations by going into these not away from these or against these. Parents exemplify this in protecting their children and all of us when we go into new unexplored situations.

Type 7: Holy Work (Sobriety) means embracing all of life with focused concentration and the ability to travel the spectrum of consciousness fully and freely, which allows for staying in the present moment with steadfast constancy (termed “sobriety”). This means we embrace pain and sadness, as well as pleasure and joy, with an open heart to both others and self in the present moment. Little children exemplify this in being fully present for what occurs, both delight and pain. Gluttony of the mind for endless future possibilities and adventures abates. We are fully grounded experiencing the spectrum of life, including the dimensions of the inner life. Then commitment through effort and dedication for its own sake naturally ensues.

Type 8: Holy Truth (Innocence) means knowing and embracing the essential truth residing in all beings in each moment, not just our own version of truth. This quality, termed “innocence,” enables us to come freshly to each situation without prejudice, agendas, or power motives. The exuberant energy then fits each situation and person. We also come back to appreciating the greater truth of the oneness-of-all at the core of being. Proportionality, the application of ample energy fitting the situation, results. This stance allows for our experiencing each person’s truth and boundaries, which actually enhances our power. We experience this innocence in little children who eagerly explore the entire spectrum of life freshly with curiosity and openness.

Type 9: Holy Love (Right Action) means the blissful state of unconditional love and union wherein everyone belongs equally, which allows for the bodily experience of action that is appropriate to any given situation and takes into account the self equal to, not more than or less than, all others. This gets termed “right action.” It entails our directly knowing what action supports the life and well-being of all. Inertia toward the self disappears. From this stance, empathy, care, and compassion radiate to all. There is acceptance of self without judgmentalness. We take action appropriate and essential to each given situation.