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. The moment the Enneagram retreat began it was clear that Eli’s approach was very different. I’ll never forget him introducing the Enneagram, as what you are not. I wondered to myself, ‘What you are not? What exactly does that mean?’ Almost as if he was reading my mind, he deftly explained that each point on the Enneagram is an egoic identity or fixation that represents a modality of survival that veils the truth of who you are. The Enneagram, was a mirror to help you see this closely knit veil. He went on to explain that the core of each point of egoic identity is a base fear that is driving the behavior of egoic fixation. It is so closely tied to who you ‘think’ you are that often you are not even aware that it is driving your behavior. Much like you need a mirror to see the color of your eyes, the reflection of the Enneagram enables you to see the behavior driven by your egoic identity—the pattern of behavior that leads to egoic suffering. During the Enneagram retreat the nature of fixation quickly came into focus. Eli’s use of pre-recorded video exemplars of people with different egoic points on the Enneagram helped bring each egoic pattern into clear view, but as the retreat progressed I found myself relating to every point. Confused, I cautiously raised my hand. Eli asked me what was the nature of seeking and what brought me to the retreat. In response, I found myself giving this very long winded story, culminating in comparing myself to hummingbird flitting from flower to flower seeking the nectar of Truth. Without batting an eye he said, ‘The talking style of a nine fixation is saga, every detail is important to a nine. The essence of the nine is seeker. It is the central point of the Enneagram and is the fundamental reason why you could see yourself in all the different fixations.’ He paused for a moment and said, ‘The gateway into the Truth of yourself is rage. Rage is the way in.’ My heart skipped a beat as I thought to myself, ‘What?! Rage?!’ For my entire life I was completely unaware that rage was running the show, but surprisingly in that moment my attention suddenly turned inward and there was unexpected recognition of the one thing that I was unconsciously doing everything in my power to avoid—RAGE. On the exterior I was calm, but on the inside I was saying to myself, ‘Ugh! Not that, not rage, anything but that!’ Each fixation has its core avoidance, for the six it is fear of survival, for the three its fear of failure, for the two is being unlovable, for the seven its no future, for the five its loss of all knowledge, for the eight its vulnerability, for the nine its rage, for the four its loss of identity. For all of the fixations the core fear is avoidance of death—the avoidance of the deep void within you, the deep void within everyone. Meeting rage did not come naturally for me and a deep unexplainable fear arose, but instead of giving in to the fear, I turned my attention to the rage and fully opened to it. I was not suppressing it or acting it out, and in an instant I became the rage, the huge energy of it, the joy of this meeting was indescribable. What a discovery. Rage as I imagined it to be, as I avoided it, was not at all what it actually was, this amazing energy, the essence of life itself—in this seeing this it lost its power. At the time I thought it this meeting was the end, but it was really just the very beginning of a deep inquiry into the truth of myself. It was a deep seeing into the insubstantial nature of egoic fixation, a deep seeing into who I am NOT. Over the years the many different facets of fixation have become much more clear and I am no longer at the affect of what can be very painful behavior—deep suffering. It is not that the fixation is no longer present, it is just that I am very aware of the mechanism of the fixation and can now catch the behavior before it leads to suffering. Truly, it is a powerful mirror that offers a moment of choice before you follow the same old egoic pattern that leads to suffering, in some instances, intense suffering. Not only did my own exploration into fixation give me the necessary insight on how to free myself from unnecessary suffering, it essentially enables me to easily relate to a total stranger exactly as they are without any judgment or movement to change or fix them. It is simply meeting someone new with the natural compassion that arises from understanding fixation. Truly, it is one of the many gifts of Eli’s approach to the Enneagram. Eli also uses the Enneagram in conjunction with trance work enabled to help uncover unconscious patterns of behavior. It is a powerful tool in uncovering and releasing these unconscious patterns, which can be very helpful in therapeutic practice. The Enneagram as well as deep trance are both tools that help me see myself as well as others so much more clearly. The Enneagram as well as Eli’s skillful means of working with others, are life long skills that can be used to release you from deeply engrained patterns of suffering. Just recently, I noticed a pattern of behavior that repeated throughout my life, but when I tried to inquire into the source of it there was simply nothing in memory to explain this behavior. Skillfully using deep trance work, Eli uncovered a primal wound that occurred when I was a baby. It was a huge relief to finally be release from this unconscious behavior. Certainly, Eli’s approach to the Enneagram, as well as his mater therapy skills, are very useful tools to deepen into conscious awareness, but they are also valuable tools for anyone who works with people either in business environments or therapeutic practice. It is a deeply painful burden to be at the effect of egoic fixation, as well as unconscious patterns of behavior. Eli’s approach enables you to end this suffering with simple effective recognition of these patterns using the powerful reflection of the Enneagram. Truly, the secret key of liberation is discovering directly, intimately, what you are NOT!