There is no expansiveness more common than the soul
It is the gift of wings when feet are rooted to the soil,
when being is mistaken for limitation,
when something seems irretrievably lost.
Here, in a whirling heart, lives the height of joy.
Even with eyes closed, I can feel its fluttering
the invitation calling a name that belongs to everything.
Even with eyes closed there is nothing I have to do to find you.
When I first met Eli Jaxon-Bear in 2002, I knew very little about the Enneagram and nothing about deep trance work. I had met his wife Gangaji just over a year prior, whose presence and wisdom literally stopped me in my tracks—it was the end of my spiritual search for enlightenment.
After meeting Gangaji, I was skeptical that the Enneagram, or any methodology would offer any real value. Everything that I heard about the Enneagram was that it was great for helping you uncover what career or relationship was right for you, but it had little to do with liberation from egoic suffering.
In late 2002, Gangaji joined Eli’s three-year program, which is a three year commitment that acts as a container for a deep exploration into your true nature. At that time, Eli’s Enneagram retreat was a pre-requisite to joining the program and even though I was still skeptical, I signed-up for the Enneagram retreat and what turned out to be a life changing three-year program.
Article by Carol Wiener
Published in “Enneagram Monthly”, 1995
When I arrived at Eli Jaxon-Bear’s three week retreat in Sedona, Arizona, I didn’t have a lot of expectations. Instead I had a very subtle, dare I say, cockiness that there really wasn’t much of anything I hadn’t already experienced; that there wasn’t anything new under the sun. I had come to that conclusion after twenty-some-odd years of meditation and dabbling in an array of psycho spiritual and emotional arenas. It’s not that I am spiritually jaded – I’d prefer to think of myself as being more of a spiritual connoisseur.
In the past, I had diligently worked on myself, scrubbing my childhood and parental issues fairly clean using the suds of many different modalities. I’d even taken a toothbrush into the corners and crevices of my subconscious, bravely facing any crud that still lurked. I scraped, I peeled. I did whatever it took; I studied and taught yoga, meditation, co-counseling and rebirthing; even sojourned to India. I manifested wealth, relationships and fulfilled desires.
Letter to the editor of Gnosis Magazine, 1996
by Eli Jaxon-Bear
I was very interested to read your interview with Claudio by Om and one of his students. While I strongly support Claudio’s defense of the Enneagram and agree with his assessment of the shallow, arrogant, ignorant way the Enneagram is mainly taught and misused, I also have a few central points of disagreement.
Oscar and Claudio are quite adamant about preserving the transmission and the spiritual context of the work and with this I strongly concur. How that spiritual transmission is best supported is the issue. In my experience any tool that arises in the service of liberation is useful and any tool that arises from an ego-centered desire to get better is ultimately in service of its master. And mysteriously, as in the case of Hui Neng, the woodcutter who spontaneously woke up to become founder of the Sudden School in China, or Ramana Maharshi who worshiped the mountain Arunachala as his beloved Lord, there is no telling who the Beloved chooses or what form the Teacher may take. It is often the least expected who are chosen.
This essay is in response to an earlier essay about the Six fixation presented at the International Enneagram Conference. In the first essay the author used a metaphor of all the different fixations approaching the crossing of a log over a rushing stream. The author referred to the Six fear and doubt, and working with that through different techniques to “get the Six to cross the bridge.” The author also referred to the Six as having a lack of a center-post or cornerstone for constructing a self.
Techniques can be very useful for ego-strengthening. Using visualization, mantra, anchoring, role-modeling, hypnosis, and other exercises, the Six fixation can learn to “cross the bridge,” to move through the fear and doubt. But does this lead to true fulfillment? Certainly counter-phobic Sixes could cross the bridge with ease and derring-do. Does this make them any happier, any closer to essence? None of them has ever reported it so.
The Eight fixation is wrapped around Two at the core. The Eight often flaunts the pride that the Two can so skillfully mask. The Eight is either proud of being the best or the worst. The flaunting of the pride is the defense against the deep hurt of worthlessness and sensing that, “I am wrong.” The hurt of worthlessness is protected by the pride and used to justify the acting out of lust.
Lust is best summed up by the phrase, “What about me?” The code for the Eight’s expression of lust is, “Let’s have some fun.” If it isn’t fun, the Eight is not interested. What constitutes fun is fixation specific. For the Eight it often means acting out excessiveness in trying to consume all of life in one bite and then taking another and another and another.
An essay by Eli Jaxon-Bear (Exemplified with the Point Six Fixation)
Every animal is run by three primary instinctual drives. These are the drives for survival of the species. The species survives through survival of the individual unit, sexual reproduction of the individual unit and hierarchy and role of the individual unit in the herd. These three drives in the Enneagram are called Self-Preservation, Social and Sexual drives or instincts. These drives directly correspond to the first three chakras in the Hindu Yogic system.
The metaphor used in the Kundalini system is of the dragon hoarding both treasure and damsels in the dungeon while terrorizing the countryside. A selfish, aggressive life is a life lived from the three drives or animal instincts.
As long as consciousness identifies itself as flesh, then all of life is mediated by these three drives. These drives run the fixation on a substrate below the level of passion. These drives fuel the passions and until these drives are addressed, the passions will continue to run unchecked.
The Realization of Truth
“The Way does not require cultivation – just don’t pollute it. What is pollution? As long as you have a fluctuating mind fabricating artificialities and contrivances, all of this is pollution. If you want to realize the Way directly – the natural Mind is the Way. What I mean by the natural mind is the mind without artificiality, without subjective judgments, without grasping or rejection”
– Chan Master Mazu –
Who could deny the obvious truth expressed by Mazu? The question has always been how to achieve this exalted state.
The great gift of the Enneagram is that it gives us a reflective surface for the artifices of mind to be displayed. Pollution, or the fluctuating mind, is revealed to be generated by character fixation. Grasping, rejecting, subjective judgments and artificiality are the hallmarks of fixation. Character fixation is a crystallization in mind-stuff of aeons of desire waves, or fluctuations. This crystallization is experienced as, “me and my past.” The waves are thoughts of, “me and what I want.”
Stanford University, August 1994
Keynote speech by Eli Jaxon-Bear
“When you can recognize who you are not, then there is a possibility to wake up and discover who you really are!”
I have never met anyone who doesn’t want to be happy. The desire for happiness is the bottom line for the human species and maybe for all species. Everyone wants to be happy. The question is: how is it possible that this desire for happiness is threatening to destroy our species and Mother Earth. How is it possible? This is really a burning question that I have had. And I know that many of us have had this question: How is it possible that the desire for happiness creates suffering? What I have discovered is that it is possible to end suffering.
“I do not know how much time this body has left. We all have an expiration date stamped into our genes and reflected in our circumstances. But as long as there is life breathing in these old bones, I will be sharing what I have realized. I invite you to join with us if you are called from your heart”
The European Three-Year Group Retreat is held every year in Baden-Baden, Germany.
- Eli Jaxon-Bear
- Leela School