The Light Tree has been spending time recently looking at the enneagram system of personality typing for its insights on healing and spiritual awakening. Sandra Maitri offers an eloquent account of the process of waking up (The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul, 2000). This occurs in a chapter devoted to the ninth of the nine enneagram personality types, which she calls the “mother of all ennea-types.”
Maitri explains that nines are most purely anchored in the core wound that underpins all the types in one way or another: falling asleep to one's true nature. Nines believe that their presence and absence is not important. They tend to inertia, indecision, passiveness; their fear of the pain of their worthlessness leads them avoid the limelight, to gloss over problems, put others before themselves, and put on a sunny, pleasant face no matter what.
According to Maitri, the healing journey for nines and for all of us looks like this. I have bolded the bits I find particularly resonant:
For a Nine, this radical shift in focus—from outside of herself to what is going on within—is a huge step and is the key to her unfoldment. … Really grappling with her habitual tendency to ignore and neglect herself … will rapidly confront a Nine with her profound sense of worthlessness … and unlovability.... As she allows and feels into this extremely painful sense of inadequacy and of inferiority, memories... that gave rise to and supported this sense of herself will surface and need to be digested. …
“Simultaneously taking real action will mean connecting with and fully inhabiting her body. Rather than skipping over and minimizing her inner sensations, she will need to become attuned to them.... Making deep experiential contact with her body will bring up all of the years of neglect, and probably much grief will be experienced. The more that she fully abides in her body and focuses her attention within it, the more she is … contacting as well as supporting a sense of her own inherent value and self-worth. Also, the more she pays attention to her body, the more she will begin noticing and listening to her emotions, and the sharper and clearer her mind will become. She will increasingly feel more alive and more a part of life. …
“The more present she becomes, the more she will become aware of her absence of contact with her essential nature, which may feel like a huge hole in her soul. As she allows herself to feel into this hole and to be curious about it, rather than escaping from it into sleepiness or distractions, she will find that what she had experienced as a deficient emptiness changes. ...The emptiness becomes a spaciousness, and over time all the qualities of Being [which she itemizes as: Loving Kindness, Strength, Intelligence, Joy, Peace, Impeccability, and Nourishment, among others (29)] will gradually arise in her consciousness as she makes this inner descent over and over again. For a long time, it will seem to her that Being comes and goes, until a sort of critical mass is reached in her soul, and her identity shifts from her personality to Being. Then Being will feel like the ground of her experience....
“Eventually, the shell of her personality will become more and more transparent to Being and … she will find herself experiencing, embodying, and manifesting the quality of Being she has tried to emulate, Living Daylight. Her inner experience will gradually change from feeling deficient, unloved, unimportant, and overlooked to feeling sustained, taken care of, and inseparable from a beneficent universe filled with love and blessings (62-65).
And elsewhere, Maitri explains her reference to “Living Daylight”. This is “the quality of Being that Ennea-type Nine emulates.... It is called this because that is what it feels like when we contact this particular presence: warm and life-giving sunlight. We feel held in a sweet and gentle presence that is totally loving, beneficent, and well disposed toward us. We feel that we can relax and let go, and that we will be held and supported by a universe that is suffused with goodness, and that is inherently kind and life affirming. It is the gentle and loving presence that pervades and sustains all of creation [what I call “an unfathomable gentleness”], which in some traditions is referred to as Cosmic or Divine Love, and in the theistic traditions is what is meant by the concept of God. (p. 60)