The Enneagram of Character Fixation

by | Dec 12, 2011 | Enneagram Articles

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 have come here to share with you the great good news that the end of suffering is waking up from the trance induction of who you think you are. The beauty of the Enneagram, the exquisiteness of the Enneagram, is that it gives us the structure of who you are not. The great tragedy that I see in the use of the Enneagram is that people use it to go further to sleep – to say, “I’m a six and you’re a four and that’s why we are acting this way.” Or, “Who are you?… You’re an eight, then you must be… .”

This is going deeper to sleep, rather than using the fixation to recognize that it is a trance induction. It is, in fact, not who you are. When you recognize that it is not who you are, then there is a possibility to wake up and discover who you really are. In the past this has been very rare. Back through recorded history, how many awake, enlightened beings do we find? We go back 2500 years to the Buddha or to the Christ. Maybe one in a generation. Maybe one in ten generations. But that is no longer acceptable. It cannot be just one, some where, some time. As Mother Earth is dying, she is casting the seeds to the wind. The possibility now is for you, personally, directly, to recognize that you are the Buddha, you are the Christ, you are the second coming. And the only thing that stands in the way of your direct realization of That, is the belief that you are a fixation. This results in justifications to continue the patterns of suffering, and an acting out of the subconscious identification with the fixation.

So, just close your eyes for a moment and completely relax. You may have studied various meditation techniques and I am sure they are all valuable. But for now . . . if you don’t have any technique at all . . . Just close your eyes and for just a moment . . . completely let your mind relax . . . In this relaxation if you discover that you can start sinking in . . . into a deeper level . . . beyond the surface level of thought . . . and as you sink in, what if, for just a moment, you turn all awareness away from body sensation. . . Turn all awareness away from body sensation, away from thought . . . And what if, for this moment, you turn your awareness to that which is aware . . . While you are there, I would like to read something to you – a passage from the Avadhuta Gita:

How shall I speak of the whole which is non-dual?

How shall I speak of the whole which is of the nature of duality?

How shall I speak of the whole which is eternal and non-eternal?

I am the Nectar of Knowledge – homogeneous existence like the sky.

It is neither gross nor subtle.

It has neither come nor gone.

It is without beginning, middle and end.

It is neither high nor low.

I am truly declaring the highest truth and the highest reality.

I am the Nectar of Knowledge – homogeneous existence like the sky.

Know all instruments of perception to be like ethereal space.

Know all objects of perception to be like ethereal space.

Know this Pure One is neither bound nor freed.

I am the Nectar of Knowledge – homogeneous existence like the sky.

I suspect that for everyone in this room, there was a moment when your mind was quiet, there were no thoughts, and you were not paying attention to your body sensations. There may have been a moment when you discovered something beyond words, beyond time and space and beyond the idea of “me and my story.” That is the truth of existence and the truth of who you are. This is the one “I” shining out through all “I’s”. The possibility is living your life from the depths of the revelation of That. The only obscuration to this is the subconscious identification that you are a body, which has certain desires and needs and a certain past and future. The obscuration is the belief that this body is “me.” In that moment when your mind was quiet, there was no “me,” and yet something was still there. It is That which never changes, That which was here before you were born, That which is here after you die, and That which is here every moment in between. This is who you really are. Yet, because It is so familiar, It gets overlooked in this identification and belief that “I am some body.”

Character Fixation: A new model of the psyche.

The great gift of the Enneagram is that when it is used correctly, it uncovers the subconscious identification that “I am some body.” What I would like to do here today, first of all, is redefine the Enneagram in terms of the way that it is known. I learned it as the “Enneagram of Personality,” and I believe that everyone at this conference uses it as the Enneagram of Personality. But in fact, this is not accurate in my experience. It is the “Enneagram of Character Fixation.” There is a distinct difference. I would like to present a model of the psyche that illustrates where Character Fixation lies, relative to the Personality and Essence. I have found this model to be simple, and immediately useful. The outermost ring or layer is personality. This is the surface level, the most superficial.

When most people go to therapy, they go to therapy to change their personality: to stop smoking, to lose weight, to have a better relationship, to have less fear and more confidence. All of those are personality changes. Everyone in this room has had some kind of therapy. It is the religion of our time. You do not go to a priest and confess. You go to a therapist. In therapy, you may have discovered that you can change your personality. You can be more confident. You can stop smoking. You can break certain habits and patterns. And, although working on the level of personality can be very valuable at a certain stage, it is not ultimately satisfying. At some point, you are not satisfied with just having a better personality or a better life. You want something deeper. In changing your personality, you are not changing what the personality is built on, which is the Character Fixation that is described by the Enneagram.

The fundamental problem is not the personality. It is identifying your self as being “something” other than who you really are. The Character Fixation is not who you really are, but it shows you what you have been subconsciously identifying with, as “Me and my story.” Most New Age therapies can help you to change your story, to get a better story. If you have a negative internal dialogue going on, it’s definitely better to have a positive internal dialogue. At a certain stage, changing your story can be valuable. However, it’s not ultimately satisfying. You get more money, you get a better job, you have a better relationship, but always “you” show up. That is the fly in the ointment! I am not against having a better life, but if you stop there, you are selling yourself short.

What I notice is that people who reach a certain level of a better life, tend to recycle back into the same old issues. Finding out whose fault and why, and “What happened with my parents?” Finally, that gets to be such an old, old story, that you are ready to finish it. That is the good news – that the Enneagram presents the possibility for finishing it. The egoic identity of “Me and my life,” can be clearly recognized and surrendered in the commitment to Realizing and living as That which is the True Self. I would not be standing up here in front of you today, had it not been for the Grace of Ramana Maharshi. I have had many teachers, as have we all, known and unknown, visible and invisible, and I am deeply grateful for all of them. Teachers who taught me through suffering. Teachers who taught me through Grace. Teachers who taught through Silence. Teachers who taught through creating certain circumstances and tests. But ultimately, finally, after many years of searching, I finally found a True teacher. A teacher who was able to transmit Silence – to transmit the cutting of egoic mind. This is a quote from my teacher’s teacher, Ramana Maharshi.

“The personal entity which identifies its existence with life in the physical body and calls itself “I” is the ego. The physical body, which is inherently inert, has no ego sense. The self, which is pure consciousness, has no ego sense. Between these two, there mysteriously arises the ego sense, which is the “I” thought. This ego, or separate personal identify, is at the root of all suffering in life. Therefore, it is to be destroyed by any means possible. This is liberation or enlightenment or Self-Realization.”

I have been blessed to have been given this gift of the Enneagram, which precisely describes the knot of ego fixation. This is the place where spirit has misidentified itself as matter, and has tied itself into an egoic knot. This is the place where consciousness has suddenly said, “this is me,” And, rather than recognizing that it is Limitless and immortal Self, it says, “I am this body.” And whether it is “somebody” or “nobody”, in this misidentification there is limitation and suffering.. The Model for being a successful therapist is: Awareness, Emptiness, and Love. In my experience of training therapists over the years, what I have discovered is that the basis of good therapy is not how deep the client can go, but it is how deep the therapist is. The Enneagram gives us a structure, which points to the depth of Being. I have discovered a model for being a successful therapist, which is also the basic structure that the Enneagram is built upon: Awareness, Emptiness and Love. Awareness, Emptiness and Love represent the three bodies of manifestation. This is a very important distinction – to recognize that there is a physical, emotional and mental body. Ideally the physical body and the senses are in awareness. Awareness without a story, without judgment, without a personal goal or personal need. Just pure awareness. In the mental body, the mind is quiet, silent and empty. Without having to know, without having to be right, without having to do anything. What I have discovered is that the depth of true being is revealed in “not knowing.” This “not knowing” I call “emptiness.” It is a silent and quiet mind. All of our society is built on knowing: “If I just know enough, then I’ll know the right thing to do and then I will get the rewards. If I know enough, I will be successful.” The challenge here is to be willing to not know, to allow the mind to be quiet. In this quiet, naturally there is an open heart. This open heart is love itself. In this there is the possibility for actually being of service. This is a model that I was working with for a number of years before I met my teacher, Sri Poonjaji. In 1990 when I met my teacher, I had an enormous discovery – that in Sanskrit, the word for “True Self” is Satchitananda. The amazing revelation is that the meaning of Satchitananda corresponds exactly with Awareness, Emptiness and Love. Sat means Consciousness as “Being”, Chit means Consciousness as “Intelligence”, and Ananda means Consciousness as “Love and Bliss.” In Sanskrit, these three qualities are within one word, because in reality they cannot be divided, just as you cannot separate the heat, the light, and the burning out of fire. But for the model of the Enneagram, we are making believe that we can make this distinction. Awareness, Emptiness and Love are three qualities of the True Self, which in reality are inseparable. This is Satchitananda. This is the Self.

What if every time you say anything referring to “myself” or every time you say “I,” you refer to this Self? What if “I” refers to limitless, immortal, conscious love? What if what you are referring to has nothing to do with this body?

The Trance Induction of Human Being

The possibility is to discover that who you are is Immortal Being – that you are Present before and after the life of the body. I believe that most people are all already in trance and the possibility is to wake up from the trance. The trance induction starts with the physical material universe – believing that it is solid, discrete and real. Yet we already know from science – from Heisenberg and Quantum physics, that the physical universe is an illusion. It is not the way it appears. It appears that there are separate, discrete objects in space, but scientists say that if you look at it closely enough you will find the “atom,” and when you look at an atom closely enough, you find that it is mainly empty space, In that space, smaller than the atom, one finds, “protons”, “neutrons” “electrons.” But when you again look closely enough, what you find is either a particle or a wave, depending upon your point of view. And it is blinking on and off! So with just a slight shift in the spectral field of your eye, what we are calling discrete, separate objects in the material universe can be seen as a standing wave form, blinking on and off. It is a trance induction. It is in illusion, a magic trick. It doesn’t really exist. Within this universal trance, there is a trance induction of the human being, believing that “human” is where beingness resides. In the word itself, “human being” implies that that is where being is. What about when the body disappears? Does that mean being disappears? The possibility is to discover that who you are is Immortal Being. That you are present before and after the life of the body. But this can’t be discovered as long as you believe you are a number or a type. The possibility is to wake up from the trance induction of the fixation. The Enneagram is the western gift to the enlightenment process. In the past, as I said, maybe one soul every who knows how many years wakes up. But now the potential is there for everyone and the Enneagram gives you the owner’s manual so you can discover you are not the machinery. The western myth, as far as I see, starts with Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve are in the garden, they are happy, they are at one, there is no self consciousness, there is a flowing with things. But they are not Self Realized. Then the devil shows up. What does the devil do? He says, “O.k., eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” What is this? This is the mind. The mind is the duality of good and evil, right and wrong, on and off. In eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, suddenly there is self-consciousness. There is shame. In this moment of shame, they are out of the garden.

And in being out of the garden, their seed populates the earth and destroys it. The mind, which has rebelled against God, is running wild as the ruler. With the mind running wild as the ruler, we have ignorance, poverty, mayhem, greed, selfishness, ecological devastation. Finally the mind has to come back to its rightful place. It has to give up this seat as the ruler, to God. We can think of this metaphorically as a deal with the devil. The devil will make a deal with you. He will give you anything you want. Basically that means money, sex and power. The only thing the devil wants in exchange is your soul, and you won’t miss it any way, because you didn’t even know you had one. What is this deal? Why is it that the devil can give you the objects of pleasure (money, sex and power), and why does he need your soul? The joke is that the devil needs your soul because the objects of pleasure are only desirable if the light of the soul is shining on them, is turned towards them. It is like sitting in the movies. As long as you are watching the screen, watching the colored lights flickering on and off, you can have the experience of feeling sad and crying, or feeling afraid or angry. In the fascination with the movie, there is never a turning away to see the light. If you are willing to turn away from the movie, you find out that it is just light and the movie disappears. What I have discovered is that most people don’t want the movie to disappear and therefore are not really interested in turning towards the light. Unless the light appears as another object in the movie. ” I want to take this piece with me. This piece is pretty good. I have got my job. I have got my Mercedes. Let’s take that and turn towards the light.” But since it is impossible to be both watching the movie and turning towards the light, “the light” becomes another object in the movie to be captured by mind. Once captured it becomes, “my light, my truth.” Ultimately, finally, you find out that the objects of pleasure do not leave you satisfied. They leave a bitterness. They leave an aftertaste of suffering. It may be pleasurable in the moment. But finally, they are not satisfying. At that point, you are willing to turn away from the movie and turn towards the source, turn towards the light. The Enneagram gives us the characters of the movie in beautiful detail.. Qualities of Essence, of basic goodness, are qualities of the soul.

This is the true human potential. You could say that each fixation is masking a quality of Essence. What I have found is when the fixation is not there these qualities of Essence show up. These are the qualities of Essence that I have discovered shine through when fixation is not there:

The Anger points (physical body):

Point Eight: Shakti or Power

Point Nine: Awareness

Point One: Purity

The Fear points (mental body):

Points Seven: Absorption

Point Six: Emptiness

Point Five: Peace

The Image points (emotional body):

Point Two: Kindness

Point Three: Love

Point Four: Joy

What I would like you to notice about these is that they are still clustered around Satchitananda, Point Nine is beingness, which is what awareness is, and shakti and purity are qualities of being. Pure intelligence or emptiness is at point Six, and peace and absorption are qualities of emptiness. Love is at point Three on the Enneagram, and kindness and joy are fluorescenses or qualities of love. These qualities, like kindness and joy around love, are qualities of the soul or “subtle body.” These qualities of the subtle body or the soul get developed over lifetimes of tests. You can meet people who have a certain Essence that is obvious and shining. They may not be awake, they may not be Self Realized, but the Essence is clear and obvious. I worked with an American Indian elder a number of years ago, doing sweat lodges. Anyone who met this man would see this face of goodness, essential kindness that was transcendent of any fixation. The veiling of the fixation would be there or it would disappear, but the essential kindness wouldn’t leave. These qualities of essence, basic goodness, are qualities of the soul. This is the possibility – the true human potential. Essence is what is veiled once the movie starts rolling. Once I am “some body”, then you will find there is a quality of fixation that is either imitating or moving away from each of these qualities of Essence. Once “I am some body” shows up, then there is a physical body, a mental body and an emotional body – sensations, thoughts and feelings. This is generally what people are referring to when they say “me” or “myself.” The physical, emotional and mental body, “this is who I am.” This is the trance induction, crystallized as “character fixation.”.

The Root of Fixation and Suffering

“I am somebody” The natural consequence of imagining that “I am somebody” is suffering. Because if who I am is a physical body, there is anger about who is in control, and there is fear and doubt about the survival of this body. As some body, I now have the perception of having needs. And, in what now appears as neediness, a mask of deceit arises in an attempt to attract the desired objects, and what is thought to be love. Now, instead of Awareness, what shows up in the physical body is anger. Instead of Emptiness, which is pure Intelligence, what shows up in the mental body is fear and doubt. And, instead of pure and immortal Love and Bliss, what shows up in the emotional body is a neediness, and a drive to create an image that one believes will get them what they think is Love. Thinking is the imitation of True Intelligence, which is Silent and Empty. The inner dialogue, the commentator, is what keeps you in the trance that “This is me, this is my story, this is my past and these are my experiences.” This inner dialogue creates the illusion of what appears to be a “doer.” You imagine yourself to be doing something, and to be either doing it right and good, or to be doing it wrong. The Enneagram is a mirror, which reflects the human condition of believing that “I am some body.” Since I am some body, I am angry, afraid and needy. And furthermore, I am a lustful, lazy, angry, prideful, deceitful, envious, avaricious, doubtful, glutton! The people want to be a better one of those! That’s the joke. Once you know the fixations, you can’t fool yourself any more. You can’t kid yourself into thinking that this is just what is spontaneously arising. Because you know the difference between spontaneity and fixation. It is obvious. It is apparent.. Spiritual Ripeness Most people would have no idea what I am talking about. If you can hear what I am saying and it makes sense to you, this means you are spiritually ripe, you’re ready.

Now take the challenge of your lifetime. You will find that you can in fact become a better fixation, but still there is something missing, some basic fundamental gnawing. There is something that is not satisfied. If you are lucky. Only if you are lucky. This is called spiritual ripeness. For most people in the world, all they can think about is the next meal. And if they can get the next meal together, then shelter for their family, or clothing. This is what most people in the world have to concern themselves with. We are the privileged of the world. We are the princes and princesses, the kings and queens of this world. We have enough time and enough money to sit here and listen to this. This makes you one of the privileged elite, and gives you the possibility to wake up and finally finish the story of suffering. Or you can choose to recycle back into the insecurity of “But who is going to pay the rent?” and, “But what about my job.” Now you are back at the level of the poor souls who do not have enough to eat. But this is a lie. You are betraying this gift that has been given to you. You are betraying the potential of this lifetime. Powers in Sanskrit are called “siddhis.” It took lifetimes of merit to acquire these siddhis. Now you have the power to fly around the world. You can come and sit here and not worry about your next meal. You have the choice to use this power wisely. If you use it wisely, then you didn’t take anything from all the ones who are starving, you have given them a gift. Then your life is not an extra burden on Mother Earth, you are giving something back. Everyone would love to stop the starvation, but how many meals can you give to the people starving right now? Not very many. But a quiet mind you can give to anyone. And the ending of fixation you can transmit to everyone in this hall. That is a gift that you can actually pass on. Then this life is meaningful and worthwhile. Then Mother Earth celebrates you. Then you do not have to worry about your existence. Mother Earth takes care of your existence.

The desire for happiness that is alive in every human being generally gets translated into more, better and different. More food, better food, different food. More sex, better sex, different sex. More stuff, better stuff, different stuff. You go through lifetimes of acquiring and accumulating more, better and different, until finally you notice it is not satisfying. You want something deeper. This is spiritual maturity. This is spiritual ripeness. Earth is a slave planet. Everyone is asleep, and everyone stays asleep because we get enough to eat, and enough goodies, “Maybe I am in jail, but hey, I’ve got wall to wall carpet, a color TV. . . It’s not so bad.” Most people would have no idea what I am talking about. If you can hear what I am saying and it makes sense to you, then this is you, this means you are spiritually ripe. You’re ready. You understand this.

Now take the challenge of your lifetime. It takes the willingness to go against all the conditioning. It takes the willingness to make a jail break. The Passion of the Fixation If you neither act it out nor repress it, there’s an enormous burning. This burning is the funeral pyre of fixation. When the desire for happiness comes out through the fixation, it shows up as one of the passions.

The desire for happiness in the Eight shows up as lust. The desire for happiness in a Two shows up as pride. Desire for happiness in a Three shows up as deceit.

The passion is the capturing of the desire for happiness by the mind, filtering it through the fixation. The antidote is what is also called the path. It is the willingness to not act out and not repress the rising of fixation. This is the possibility.

We came from 1950’s repressed culture. As a counterculture we have all, to varying degrees, acted out. Many of us have acted out sex or rage in the name of freedom. In a variety of ways we have acted out our fixation and justified it. The challenge of this lifetime is to be willing to stop the fixation. Finally, ultimately, to neither act it out nor repress it. This is new territory. If you neither act it out nor repress it, there’s an enormous burning. This burning is the funeral pyre of fixation. You can give everything to this fire, throw everything that can be burned into the fire. Then discover what cannot be burned. Discover what is left. This burning is the flame of freedom. It cannot be captured. It cannot be extinguished. It cannot be bought or sold. The ripe souls are the ones that are hungry for it. The ones that are longing for something deeper. In this longing for something deeper, there is the possibility to stop playing the game of the fixation any more.

The Holy Ideas

Each fixation internalizes the holy idea, and uses it as a way to continue identifying as a fixation. The possibility is for the holy idea to be something that is ego transcendent. Holy ideas are good news and bad news. The bad news is that each fixation takes the holy idea and incorporates it as a way of justifying the fixation. For Nine, the holy idea is love. The Nine says, “I want to be a loving person. I want you to love me. I want to be lovable.” Therefore, instead of getting angry, the Nine goes to sleep. This is how the holy idea now becomes a justification for perpetuating suffering.

The holy idea for the One is perfection. The One internalizes this holy idea of desired perfection and uses it to create the judge of what is imperfect: judging myself for being imperfect, judging you for being imperfect, judging the world for being imperfect. All in the name of the holy idea of perfection.

For the Two the holy idea is freedom. The two internalizes this to say, “I am free to serve you. I like taking care of you.” Again, this holy idea gets captured by the mind and is used to perpetuate suffering.

For the Eight the holy idea is truth. In the name of truth, Eights are the biggest liars and bullies on the Enneagram. Because “I know the truth and you don’t. Let me tell you what is wrong with you.” Now what happens is that truth becomes personalized, as if it is my truth versus your truth. This is the suffering. There is no my truth versus your truth. That is just trance induction versus trance induction, dream versus dream. Each of these fixations internalize the holy idea and use it as a way to continue it. The possibility is for the holy idea to be something that is ego transcendent. Since you are starting with an ego, which is a trance induction of the mind, it is the mind that has to start to search for its own freedom. The mind wants to grasp on to something that seems tangible and real, so the mind grasps on to an internalized object. These are the holy ideas of truth, freedom, love, etc. And when you desire truth or love or freedom or source – more than anything else – if you are willing to give your life for it, then this holy idea becomes transcendent of ego. Transcendent of personal life. It leads you to what is deeper.

Nesting of Emotions and the Black Hole

If you are willing to take the plunge into and through what has most been avoided, That which has been truly longed for is discovered: True Self, love, peace, joy. The possibility is discovering the depths. Most people live on the surface. By the surface, I mean thoughts of me and my story and the feelings of anger and hurt about who did what to whom. This is all a way of avoiding the terror and despair that lies waiting beneath it. But, I have discovered that the trap door which leads into the depths is underneath the despair and the terror. True joy and happiness are transcendent of the Enneagram. The Enneagram deals with the negative emotions, and what we have discovered is that these negative emotions are limited. For most fixations, the most surface, most easily experienced emotion is anger. If you add in a story, you get the variations of anger such as irritation, frustration, vengeance and jealousy. Most people can feel irritated a dozen times in a day and don’t think anything of it. Anger is socially acceptable. I can either be angry at myself because I did it, or I can be angry at you because you did it. That is living in the story of the surface emotion. What you will find is that if you are willing to go deeper, under anger, almost always you are going to find hurt or sadness. Hurt or sadness is being defended by anger. But if you don’t act the anger out and if you don’t repress it – and the Enneagram is all about styles of acting out and repression – if you do neither one of these, you can experience the anger without a story and go deeper. In going deeper, you will almost always find hurt and sadness. This is where most of the population lives most of the time. If they are in their emotions they are either hurt about something or they are angry about something. For some people it is easier to express the anger, and for some it is easier to express the hurt, but they bounce back and forth between these two. The tendency then is to stop there, to say, ” I am hurt and I am sad and it is because of you… it is because of my parents… if only I had a different childhood…” Now, in making this mental story you have dissociated yourself from the emotion. Now you are not even feeling the anger and the sadness, you are in your ideas. That is a way of dissociating. But, if you don’t go in to the story – which is the fixation – and you don’t repress it, and you don’t act it out, you go deeper. Underneath you will almost always find fear. Most people don’t want to feel fear. Fear is undesirable. Fear means there is something wrong with me. Fear means I’m not adequate. Fear means I am a coward. Fear means I don’t know the right thing to do. All these are trance inductions about what fear means. So as soon as most people get even close to feeling fear, they pop back out and start to feel anger and sadness or tell themselves a story. The possibility is to cut the story, to cut the trance induction of the past and the future, and to allow yourself to drown in fear. This is very rare. No one may have ever told you to do this before. The therapists usually tell you how to move away from fear – how to suppress it or how to change it into courage. But if you actually sink in and you really experience it, you will find that under fear is despair – and that is the good news! All the ego structures are set up to never feel despair. All therapy is set up to move you away from despair. All the workshops are set up so you feel empowered and you can create your reality and you don’t have to feel despair. However, despair is at the root of every ego fixation. The truth of the situation is the ego isn’t good enough! It isn’t going to make it. It doesn’t exist! The possibility is to actually head towards what you are most afraid of – to head towards what all the conditioning says move away from. This is the trap door. It is the escape hatch. The way out of the fixation and the story is to invite despair. To be willing to face the unbearableness of despair – that you are hopeless, helpless, not good enough. That you don’t know, you are never going to get it, and you are going to be left alone. So you call it out and you experience it. Without suppressing it. Without acting it out. Then you sink in and you find what is deeper. And what is deeper? Most people report that there is nothing there. But this “nothing there” is not true emptiness, it is a mental emptiness. It is a dead flat emptiness, which I call a black hole. This is what gets avoided at all costs. “I don’t want to fall into a black hole, I won’t exist! I won’t come out alive.” This is true. The ego can’t exist there, it won’t come out alive from there. But you are not an ego, you are immortal Intelligence which has gone into an imaginary sleep, pretending to be an ego.

The French existentialists, Sartre and Camus, found the black hole, but that is as far as they went, they didn’t go through it. Fours and Fives live on the edge of this black hole, as a fixation style. Fours and Fives feel the wounding of the black hole, that there is something missing, that there should be something there. This inner black hole is remarkably similar to the black hole in outer space, which scientists believe, literally sucks the event horizon of time and space into itself. The Four tries to avoid the black hole through emotions, “If I have enough emotions, that will fill it.” Fives try to avoid it with information. “If I just know enough, it will save me from the black hole.” Most other fixations are more asleep to it. Most don’t even know it is there. But this is what is waiting under despair. If you are willing to plunge into it. If you are willing to say, “OK, it is a good day to die, come and get me,” and then dive in… Under the black hole, you discover the truth of your Self. You discover Essence. Sometimes you will find that a Four who is living in melancholy and sadness, drops into the despair of the black hole and beyond, and Joy is discovered waiting. Joy, which had been searched for in relationships, searched for in the other. This is the great joke. This is what is possible.

Nesting Pattern of Emotions


Hurt and Sadness



The Black Hole


True Self

This Nesting Pattern of Emotions is true for most fixations, but not all. You will find that Nines and certain other fixations are wired differently. For Nines, the most surface emotion is not anger, it is sadness. Under sadness there is usually fear. It is much easier for a Nine to feel sadness and fear than it is to feel anger.

For a Nine to get in to anger, it is very close to despair, very close to the explosion of hopelessness. This is also true for certain self-preservation Sixes, because for the Six to feel anger could be dangerous for survival. Many Sixes I know who mistake themselves for nines, say “I don’t get angry, I am helpful.” Helpfulness is a way of staying safe. Anger becomes suppressed and is closer to despair.

You will also find that it is possible to drop from anger directly into essence. It is possible to drop from sadness and hurt directly into essence. Or from fear into essence. What usually happens, in my experience, is that if you drop in from fear or sadness directly in to essence, you have skipped a couple of steps. You have skipped despair, and you have skipped the black hole. These will now be waiting as latent tendencies. This will then have to show up at some point to be experienced.

There is no problem with this. You can fall directly from anger into bliss. Then if you stay in bliss long enough, expect sadness and fear and despair to show up. They will. The tendency, then is to say, ” I lost bliss, something is wrong with me, I lost it.” You didn’t lose it. Bliss did not go anywhere, sadness and despair have shown up in bliss to be burned, to be thrown on the funeral pyre. If you don’t touch it, if you don’t identify with it, it will be burned. The key is don’t act on it and don’t suppress it. This is really the revolutionary news. Because, basically, all of our lives, we have been taught to either act it out or suppress it. Either it is not appropriate to feel this, or “I shouldn’t feel this so I will make believe it’s not here”, or, “This is my truth and I’ve got to let you know what my truth is, so you’re a jerk and I’ve got to tell you that.”

The possibility is that, as everything arises, to not move. In order to not move, you can’t have a story. If you don’t have a story, you will discover you have a quiet mind. And in a quiet mind, you will become very subtly aware of the impulse to fixation. Don’t go any where. The tendency is to go some where. The tendency is to go in to the thoughts, to be mentally dissociated into a story about what you should or shouldn’t do.

It is simpler than that. You don’t do anything. This is the giving up of the character fixation, the surrender of the doer. When you are willing to give up the doer, there is enormous relaxation. It is giving up all effort. When you give up all effort, then whatever arises can be experienced directly. Without judging it, without suppressing it, without acting it out, and without creating a story about it. This is the simplest and easiest. This is the end of suffering inherent as a character fixation, and the beginning of endless revelation as the Truth of Self.


“When you can recognize who you are not, then there is a possibility to wake up and discover who you really are.”