Alexandra was picking her way along the shoreline at the edge of the bay, probably cursing me. She was clutching a printed copy of the email I had sent her, asking that she bring sensible footwear – for which, these days, she read ‘boots’ – and allow a little extra time. The note closed with my offer of bringing the coffee.
I had a short time remaining before she would find me. I closed my eyes and summoned up ‘Rocky’ – my short name for the Silent Eye’s archetype of point five of the ‘outer rim’ of the enneagram. Along with Sue and Stuart, I had developed these figures of the mind to illustrate the dominant principles of the outward-facing aspects of the nine-pointed ‘truth machine’.
Not that everyone wanted to know the truth . . . you had to learn to love it for its own sake; for the stony path could be sharp and painful to tender feet shorn of their usual worldly footwear. But the School wasn’t about comfort, though we didn’t seek, deliberately, to be without it; it was focussed on those determined souls who wanted to dig into the fertile soil of their own lives . . . and see what else might be capable of growing there.
Alexandra was in an unusual position: we had been friends for many years, so, although she could have simply enrolled as a student and studied via the Silent Eye’s correspondence course, my partners in the School judged circumstance to have brought her and (collectively) us together – and that allowed direct teaching, via our brief meetings, in addition.
I looked back along the beach trail to where she was rapidly narrowing the gap between us. She still couldn’t see me, which was part of the setup; though I could view every step of her progress. Soon, she stood below my rocky perch at the end of the path, staring out at the retreating tide and looking bewildered.
“Ahem!” I coughed from above, in what I hoped was a friendly fashion.
She smiled and looked up, “Oh you’re there – being a Type Five, no doubt!” She gazed up at me, watching me admire her intellect.
“Well, yes, actually . . . so, since you seemed to have grasped my methods, tell me, from what you see, something about fives . . .”
She looked up. “I’m looking up at you,” she said. “So there’s got to be something about position in this? – I know, you’ve placed yourself above me, using your knowledge of this place.”
“And why would I do that?” I asked. “Am I preventing you from coming up here, too?”
Alexandra examined the short and steep path that would reunite us, but then noticed that I occupied the only natural seat at the top of the scramble.
“Hmm,” she said. “No, but the path is. Not much chance of sharing a coffee up there!”
“So, I’ve located myself above your world, in a singular position, is that it?”
She scanned the rock, again, looking for clues in the rucksack I had set down on a ledge in the dark rock, just to the side of me. She found none.
“Are we having coffee at all?” she asked, reasonably, still digesting the tableau.
“You not only covet my high and secure place, you want to have some of my coffee, as well?” I made it sound as accusatory as possible, though I was starting to grin by the time the words were out.
I pressed home the point, knowing it would leave me bordering on ‘Mr Nasty’, again, “Why should I share some of my hot coffee with you?”
The dual assault of isolation and meanness looked like it had begun to irritate her.
Rejecting that road–so recently endured, she took a breath and triumphed by laughing at the situation. “Okay,” Another deep breath. “So you’re frightened of me,” she said. “So frightened that you don’t even want to open that flask and share some coffee – something that would bring us closer together and make you share more than just the coffee.”
“Ouch . . .” I said, softly, feeling Rocky’s control of the moment slipping away . . .
She smiled up at my crumpled face, taking fuel from her growing triumph. “You want to be separate from the world. You want to keep everything you’ve got!” I smiled and her face burned with the truth of that revelation. “You’re a Fear Type, and your reaction to fear is to shore up your massive mistrust of the world – your world – by locking yourself away in a clever place from which you can engage with the world just as little as you want to . . .”
She was breathless. I looked proudly down on her flushed and breathless face. Then, she did something uncharacteristic – she crouched, cat like and scanned the rock face, looking for footholds and talking to me in an hypnotic way, as though fixing her prey with the words.
“In doing this, you keep the world from doing what it does best . . . evolving you!” She sprang at the rock face. I had started to slide off my rocky seat, to rejoin her below, but now, she was coming at me like a tigress. It was my turn to freeze, as, like a professional climber, she scaled the vertical distance between us and forced herself into the space that was only secure for one.
“My turn,” she said, triumphantly. “My turn to play the force of Life . . .” She reached for the flask, then she held onto my arm to pour the coffee, forcing me to brace us both against the stone to avoid a painful tumble.
For the next few minutes, we stayed like that, until the small coffee cups were drained, and my cramping muscles could take no more.
Some time later, we walked back along the edge of the sand. I didn’t need to say anything at all. She had risen above the world of reaction and found a jewel of real action in the moment; and she and I both knew that the world had changed. . .
Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.
Steve Tanham is a founding director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness; a place of companionship, sharing and the search for the real in life, using the loving techniques and insights of esoteric psychology. He retired from a life as an IT entrepreneur to establish the School in 2102, and, having persuaded Sue Vincent to