an Integral Enneagram of Consciousness; a model of consciousness, including
all aspects, for designing practical
paths of personal development and evolution.
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seen an odd conflict coming to the surface recently for a lot of people,
and a little exploration might help. Our internal and external
communication isn’t always very conscious, and as we’ve seen with the
pebble and its ripples, there’s an unbreakable relationship between the
two. An event is followed by its repercussions. This is why I love the
image of the pebble hitting the water and ripples emanating outward. The
way we talk to ourselves internally invariably affects the way we talk
to others externally. Those ripples keep going as the way we talk to
others then affects them, and they in turn affect others in their
surroundings, and so on.
So let’s start with that first pebble. As an example, internally we
often berate ourselves when we make mistakes or forget something. This
becomes a kind of “normal” way for us to react, so we don’t think twice
about doing this when others make mistakes or forget things. Reverse
engineering, if we add a little consciousness to the mix, we can make an
enormous difference in our external communications by how we talk to
Look at motivation. It’s more common for us to kick ourselves in the
butt than to ask ourselves for something nicely. We don’t have evidence
that being a “drill sergeant” is necessary or even useful, so let’s look
at one of the roots of this behavior.
Almost every one of us is taught from childhood that our primary way of
taking in and processing the world around us is either wrong or somehow
inferior to someone else’s way. Although we're born with our own primary
processing center (in its own way quite perfect) external indoctrination
sets up a hierarchy, and in the majority of cases puts your natural way
down a notch or two. This is what I’m calling internal prejudice.
A very common example of this would be the hierarchy that states:
“clear, detached thinking is better than emotional feelings.” Someone
who is feelings-centric can be convinced that their “pain” is a result
of their chaotic feelings, and that they “should” control these
feelings with detached thinking. Two problems arise with this: a
self-denigrating program is put in place, and it doesn’t work.
Either in rebellion or from a stronger sense of self, a faction of
feelings-centric processing types will assert feelings over thinking in
a different hierarchy. Their rationale will usually invoke authenticity,
presence, and a sense of unique identity.
This is the familiar “flaky-artist versus the robot” argument, and we
haven’t even introduced the intuitive, gut-driven, “I just know it”
people. Three variables (heart, brain, gut) increase our possible
combinations to nine hierarchies. There’s clear thinking over feelings,
and then intuition, intuition over feelings, and then thinking, and so
on. These hierarchies that we’ve put in place are nothing more than
belief systems about our own ways of processing, and aren’t rooted in
Limitations or Resources
How we regard aspects of ourselves in hierarchy; judging, rating, and so
on, is also an extremely limiting belief system. It fragments us,
rather than integrating us, and it sets up needless inner conflict,
where cooperation would serve us better.
We all have at least two of these processing centers naturally (usually
all three) and they each take in different information. The free flow of
that information without judgment from one part of you over another part
offers you a fuller, richer experience. Your decisions can be better
(more informed) and you can take action more easily, without the
internal filibustering and power struggles.
The difference between these extremes of limitations or resources is
entirely dependent on your beliefs. You’re ultimately in charge of this.
If you believe cool, detached thinking is a superior form of processing,
or the opposite, you’ll set up internal conflict and filter the
information coming in. If you acknowledge each of your processing
centers as taking in its own forms of information, all equally valid,
you eliminate the internal conflict, and take in much more information.
You fully use your own resources.
Equal But Not Separate
Another way to look at these different processing centers taking in and
processing different information would be comparing them to light or
sound. There are frequencies that are below and above our ability to
observe them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there or aren’t valid
and important. Emotional information, including empathy, feelings, and
so on is processed differently than the logical, linear data our brains
are equipped to process, not to mention devoid of the threat model
analysis our Brain-First processing favors. Likewise, our gut intuition
is neither logical, nor a feeling, but more of a sensory experience.
This doesn’t devalue the information. We just need to add all three
kinds of information together to get a complete picture. No one of these
three is more important than the other two.
Even without a hierarchy, each of us still has one processing center
that’s primary. When you throw a ball into a room, it hits one surface
first, before bouncing to the others. This isn’t superiority, it’s
merely sequence, and our primary processing center is just that
first surface encountering life. If we’re taught that this isn’t valid,
we spend our lives invalidating ourselves. If we raise it above the
others, we filter and miss information.
By shifting our beliefs about the false hierarchies and prejudices we
create with our very abilities to take in and process, we can facilitate
a smooth integration of our best aspects. We can eliminate the internal
conflicts that block us when we want to take action. And because these
beliefs are about false hierarchies, they’re not so difficult to shift,
with just a little extra.. say it with me: “consciousness.”
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