The Enneagram of the three centers and their parts
Originally published in the Zen, Yoga, Gurdjieff Blog, November 2013
Repeatedly, in The Reality of Being, we encounter Jeanne de Salzmann making remarks about the idea that centers come to a moment where they participate voluntarily.
Each of the three centers — the moving, emotional, and intellectual center — has, as we know, a moving, emotional, and intellectual part. These parts are connected quite lawfully in exactly the same manner that all of the other structures in the universe are; they are a triad representing the right side of an enneagram.
Several things are illustrated in this principle: first of all, the three parts of each center interact lawfully according to the development of an octave, requiring a conscious shock to bring them together; and secondly, perhaps more important, centers have a higher level of work in order to complete their own inner octave.
This means that after a center connects the inner moving, emotional, and intellectual apparatuses, it moves to a new level of work in which it has to complete the circulation around the octave. When it completes the first triad 142 and has an inner connection, it becomes whole, that is, it moves to the note sol within its own octave and has acquired being.
Now, I've explained to readers many times that when a center is awake, one does not have to make any effort to get it to arrive in the moment and participate. It has now become a living thing, a consciousness in its own right which has acquired being; and it shows up on its own, that is, it shows up voluntarily — it volunteers. So, if the first triad of my sensation is complete, I don't need to try to sense myself, because the sensation arrives whole. It shows up in the middle of my being and supports my intellectual and emotional state because it is awake and has a wish of its own now.
The point that it has a wish of its own now is important, because the note sol represents the activation not of the physical or the intellectual higher part of the center, but the emotional higher part of the center — this is what provides the motive force, and (fortunately for us) development through the next two notes can proceed without an additional shock (even though an additional shock is always shown, in the wrong location on the diagram.)
So for an individual center to acquire Being is a major step in inner development.
All three of the centers need to develop Being in order to engage in voluntary participation. The inner sensation of this is a very specific thing that can't be described accurately in writing, but it's unmistakable, and those who encounter it are always astonished — which leads us to the comment in the Gospel of Thomas:
"Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."
This particular comment, which may seem obscure, is actually a very precise and rather straightforward remark about the effort to see the centers clearly and discover how they work. We must engage in inner observation until we understand how our parts function according to the lawful development of the holy Trinity and the octave. We don't need to understand it technically in any absolute sense, but we must develop a very tactile sensation of our inner being and the way in which it functions. (This is a major point of de Salzmann's teachings in The Reality of Being, by the way.) In doing this — we will become troubled. We create friction as the parts recognize one another and see how disconnected they are. Ultimately, this friction leads to the astonishment that results when a center wakes up and begins to participate voluntarily — and when it does, we "rule over the All" — which was never meant to represent some megalomaniac control of the universe, but rather, we become the masters of an inner Self that has a new kind of unity to it. This, as well, is discussed over and over again in The Reality of Being.