Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas

Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas

by A. H. Almaas

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Facets of Unity presents the Enneagram of Holy Ideas as a crystal clear window on the true reality experienced in enlightened consciousness. Here we are not directed toward the psychological types but the higher spiritual realities they reflect. We discover how the disconnection from each Holy Idea leads to the development of its corresponding fixation, thus


Facets of Unity presents the Enneagram of Holy Ideas as a crystal clear window on the true reality experienced in enlightened consciousness. Here we are not directed toward the psychological types but the higher spiritual realities they reflect. We discover how the disconnection from each Holy Idea leads to the development of its corresponding fixation, thus recognizing each types deeper psychological core. Understanding this core brings each Holy Idea within reach, so its spiritual perspective can serve as a key for unlocking the fixation and freeing us from its limitations.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lucid, precise and infinitely helpful to seekers everywhere. I heartily recommend Facets of Unity to Enneagram enthusiasts, to my own students of inner knowing, and to followers of every spiritual tradition."—Helen Palmer, author of The Enneagram

"Serious students of the Enneagram will find much of value in this book. . . . The Holy Ideas can be highly challenging material, but Almaas presents them with clarity, thoroughness, and grace such that we can all gain a taste of the deeper truths of this remarkable system."—Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, authors of Personality Types

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1: A Brief History of the Enneagram

understand what the Enneagram is, it

necessary to know something about its history. The nine-pointed symbol of the
Enneagram first made a significant appearance in the modern West through the
teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, an Armenian mystic, around the turn of the
century. Gurdjieff appears to have learned it from a secret school in the
Middle East, a school steeped in a spiritual tradition that is at least two
thousand years old. He did not, as far as we know, teach the Enneagram of
personality fixation, which is currently the most widely known Enneagram. This
Enneagram, which has become popular in recent years, came mostly from Claudio
Naranjo, a Chilean psychiatrist and teacher, who learned it from Oscar Ichazo,
a South American spiritual teacher. It is not clear which parts of this
Enneagram teaching originated with Ichazo and which were added to or elaborated
upon by Naranjo in the context of his extensive knowledge of depth psychology.
Naranjo, from whom we learned the body of knowledge associated with the
Enneagram, related it to the Middle Eastern school with which Gurdjieff was
associated, but clearly stated that he received the basic knowledge of the
Enneagram from Oscar Ichazo.

to Naranjo, the idea that the figure of the Enneagram embodies an objective map
of reality in its various manifestations and dimensions originated in this
ancient school. Using the map of the Enneagram, one can acquire detailed
understanding of any dimension of experience. Two categories of Enneagrams
refer to inner experience: one pertaining to egoic experience (reflecting
fundamental spiritual ignorance), such as the Enneagrams of Fixations and
Passions, and the other pertaining to essential experience (reflecting
spiritual enlightenment), such as the Enneagrams of the Virtues and the Holy
Ideas. Not only are there inner connections within each Enneagram, but there
are also very specific relationships between the various Enneagrams.

books on the Enneagram have appeared in recent years, addressing mainly the
Enneagram of Fixations, or ego-types. The ideas in these books derive from
Naranjo's teachings in the early seventies. Most of these publications present
the Enneagram as basically psychological, and use it

as a method of typology. While the Enneagram is very useful as a method of
identifying and clarifying psychological functioning, its possibilities are far
more powerful than this limited application.

view on the higher uses of the Enneagram is in accordance with that of Ichazo
and Naranjo. In his book,
1990), Naranjo presents the Enneagram as a means for self-observation and study
as part of the larger work of spiritual realization. He elaborates upon how the
personality characteristics of the nine ego-types (which Naranjo calls
"ennea-types") are expressions of the loss of contact with Being, our
essential nature, and in so doing, shows that the true value of this knowledge
is to help us to reestablish this contact. For example, describing the
Passions, the emotional underpinnings of each ennea-type, Naranjo states that
they ". . . arise out of a background of ontic obscuration; that the loss
of a sense of I-am-ness sustains a craving-for-being that is manifested in the
differentiated form of the ego's nine emotions." (Naranjo, 1990, p. 30)
This view of the ennea-types' fixated passions, as related to the loss of
contact with Being, reflects the perspective of the Enneagram-transmitted body
of knowledge, as in Ichazo's understanding: "Every person develops a style
of compensating for the lack, the ontological emptiness which is at the center
of the ego. We say there are nine basic styles or points of ego
1982, p. 13) Although this is also Ichazo's view, Naranjo's study is the first
published account of how each character type is related to the loss of contact
with Being. Naranjo's work, as well as Helen Palmer's work connecting the types
to modes of intuition, and Don Riso and Russ Hudson's discrimination of the
psychological structuring of the types (Palmer, 1988; Riso and Hudson, 1996),
makes it possible for us to present this study of the higher Enneagrams without
providing a teaching on the Enneagram of personality type.

our work, the Diamond Approach, developed, we observed that one's
self-understanding can be simply and systematically organized with the help of
the Enneagram. This enabled us to understand some of the Enneagrams in a new
and sometimes deeper way, and also led to the formulation of new Enneagrams.
Our understanding of the Enneagram, then, is the product of experiential
integration of the commonly understood body of knowledge of the Enneagram,
learned primarily from Naranjo, along with our own discoveries.

transmitted view is that the Enneagram knowledge is an objective knowledge of
reality. We find this to be true. We understand the objectivity of the
Enneagram to mean, among other things, that it can be perceived directly by
anyone with the necessary capacity, who inquires effectively into the nature of
reality. And since it is a true model of reality, one cannot exhaust its
knowledge. Knowledge of reality is both unlimited and inexhaustible: Each
teaching has a specific way of describing reality and none of these ways
exhausts all possible experience. The Enneagram is a structure which
facilitates the revelation of truth about Being and about human beings as part
of this Being. We view the present book as a new contribution to the knowledge
of the Enneagram.

Meet the Author

A. H. Almaas is the pen name of Hameed Ali, the Kuwaiti-born originator of the Diamond Approach, who has been guiding individuals and groups in Colorado, California, and Europe since 1976. He is the author of Spacecrusier Inquiry, The Pearl Beyond Price, Facets of Unity, and other books.

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