I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known,
so I created the creation so that I can be known."
"He who knows his self,
knows his Lord"
The Enneagram is an ancient Sufi system, which has recently
been used to describe nine personality types. This 'Enneagram
of the personality' maps psychological aspects and traits
of the ego, exemplifying its emotional, habitual and character
Depending on its sensitivities, every soul develops a particular
personality. These sensitivities are shaped and nurtured by
the early family environment and other such factors. The result
is the development of the personality or ego, with all of
its components. For some time, modern psychology has held
the view that if a family environment were perfect, fixations
of the personality would not develop. This theory however,
holds little realistic bearing. All people, regardless of
background or upbringing, develop fixations along with their
personalities. It is in exploring this issue that we begin
to ask ourselves questions like: 'Why is a particular soul
placed in that particular family environment which propels
the soul to develop a particular personality?' and more importantly,
'What is the real purpose of the journey of life?'
The Enneagram offers two levels for interpreting and understanding
the personality. The first allows for recognition and classification.
The second and most profound function of the Enneagram takes
us beyond the personality to the realm of the essence of the
self. As such, the Enneagram is a model of consciousness that
reveals the existence of the personality as a veil to essential
"God made the creatures as veils.
He who knows them as such is led back to Him, but he who takes
them as real is barred from His presence"
Through Sufism, the Enneagram can become the vehicle, freeing
us from the confines of the personality and delivering us
to the realm of the Real. The ego fixations (habitual patterns
of emotional reactions) of the nine personality types function
as veils, obstructing us from experiencing Reality. However,
by observing and purifying the ego, we can endeavour to free
ourselves of the entrapment of the mind and the thoughts of
the personality. Thus the Enneagram, as a means for self-observation
and study, can play an important role, guiding us to spiritual
unfoldment and God-consciousness.
"The creations of God are only signs of the existence of God. They are not the Reality. The only Reality is the Real. They were created in order that man could understand the ultimate Reality that lies hidden within God's signs. You will be able to reach Him only if you go beyond the signs."
In the Qur’an, the story of Adam and Eve subtly reveals the
journey of mankind. The temptation of the ego, (represented
as Satan), is indicated in the following verse:
"And thus he led them on with deluding thoughts"
The moment Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree, they become conscious of their nakedness. In other words they become self-conscious, as opposed to their previous state of God-consciousness.
Then, God the All Knowing, with full knowledge of what will happen, sends Adam and Eve down to earth to stay for a while (the duration of each person's life), and gives them (us) this key;
"O children of Adam, indeed We have bestowed upon you from high, garments to cover your nakedness, and as a thing of beauty, but the garment of God-consciousness is the best of all."
In the Enneagram, we begin to clearly see the cloak of the
personality, which covers God-consciousness. The work of Sufism
is to remove this cloak and, God willing, become a God-conscious
person again. In this state, we do not live through the confinement
of the personality, but are present with the one true Reality,
fulfilling the purpose of this life.
The Story of the Blacksmith
"There was a blacksmith who was unjustly imprisoned
and who miraculously escaped. Many years later when he was
asked how he had escaped, he said that when he was in prison
his wife, who was a weaver, had woven the design of the lock
to his prison cell into his prayer rug. Realising that the
prayer rug contained the design of his cell's lock, he made
a deal with his jailer to get some tools to make some small
artefacts, which the jailer then sold, for a profit. Meanwhile
he also used the tools to make a key and one day he made his
escape." (From Idries Shah)
God has already given us the key as has been said before. Man's role is to realise that he is in the prison of the personality, and to understand the design of his particular cell.
"Sufism is the spiritual way or 'Tariqah' to free man from the prison of multiplicity, to cure him from hypocrisy and to make him whole, for it is only in being whole that man can become holy"