An Evening with Dr Claudio Naranjo
"From Personality to Spirit"
- Enneagram -
Claudio Naranjo, M.D.
A leader in the interface between psychotherapy and the spiritual
This was a rare opportunity to hear Dr. Claudio Naranjo, a world
renowned psychologist, psychiatrist, author and Enneagram innovator.
He has acted for many years as an experienced guide to people on
the spiritual path.
Dr. Naranjo is the founder of the SAT (Seekers After Truth) Institute,
Berkeley California, an integrative psycho-spiritual school, where
he developed the Psychology of Enneatypes using the Enneagram. He
is the honorary president of two Gestalt Institutes and Fellow of
the Institute of Cultural Research in London.
He is considered to be one of the pioneers of the Human Potential
Movement. His introduction of "Fourth Way" ideas to psychotherapy
is an example of his work as an integrator between psychotherapy
and the spiritual traditions. He allows psychology to serve a higher
He is a widely travelled, highly sought-after teacher and workshop
leader who is primarily dedicated to integrative and transpersonal
education, particularly in Europe and South America.
Claudio Naranjo studied medicine, music and philosophy in Chile,
where he was also a resident at the University of Chile Psychiatric
After moving to the United States, Dr. Naranjo was a member of
the staff during the early stages of the Esalen Institute, where
he became one of the three successors to Fritz Perls, the founder
of Gestalt Therapy.
Later his life's pilgrimage brought him in contact with various
spiritual masters including Swami Muktananda, Idries Shah, Oscar
Ichazo, Suleyman Dede, H.H. the XVIth Karmapa, and Tarthang Tulku
Rinpoche. Dr. Naranjo was also Research Associate at the Institute
for Personality Assessment and Research on the Berkeley Campus and
an Associate at the Institute of Personality and Ability Testing.
He has taught comparative religion at the California Institute of
Asian Studies, humanistic psychology at the University of California
in Santa Cruz and meditation at Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, California.
The Enneagram is a system within the ancient Sufi tradition of
spiritual development. It first appeared in the west through the
Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff who had learned it from the Sufis
of the middle east. Oscar Ichazo, and then later Ichazo's student
Claudio Naranjo, developed it into the Enneagram of the nine-point
personality type which we know in the west today.
The Psychology of the Enneatypes is a valuable psychological tool
that can help people to understand their fixations and personality
entrapments and change their behaviour. However, the Enneagram's
deeper purpose is to point to who we are beyond the level of personality.
THE "NASRUDDIN" THEORY OF NEUROSIS
In his book, "Ennea-type Structures", Claudio Naranjo
says that he formulated a theory of neurosis that differs from Freud's
libido theory and only partially coincides with the object relations
This theory is an existential interpretation of neurosis according
to which the bottom line of all psychopathology is the loss of being
(i.e. the absence of the direct experience or cognition of being).
He calls this the "Nasruddin Theory of Neurosis", in reference
to the well known story about Mullah Nasruddin, the famous sufi
archetype of the 'wise-idiot'
Once Mullah Nasruddin was on all fours in one of the alleys at
the market place looking for the very key to his house. A friend
joined him in the search. Only after a long time had elapsed without
success did the friend think of asking him "Are you sure
that you have lost it here?" To which the Mullah replied
" No, I'm sure I lost it at home." "Then why are
you looking for it here?" "There is much more light
here," explained the Mullah.
The central idea is that we are looking for the key to our liberation,
to our ultimate fulfillment, in the wrong places. This error, which
has gradually become a well constructed belief system, is the source
of our unhappiness.