The Nine Drives

The Nine Drives

On Allowing vs Indulging, I commented on Burt Harding’s newsletter on transforming Anger into Love and seeing the difference between Indulging and Allowing. That newsletter is now posted at the link above.

Yesterday, I got a new article from Burt, this one called “Hidden Soul Secrets“. It’s the first time I’ve seen someone else as directly describe what I call the Shadow. I describe this in the article The Past. Basically, it is a deep emotional theme that runs as a background through our life. It was set in the deep past when there was a precipitous drop in awareness that “captured” the theme of that moment. It is driven by the core identity, deep under the ego. Most of us do not see the shadow as it is usually sub-conscious. We simply see it’s effects repeating through our lives. During the growth of awareness, this theme becomes conscious and being seen, is resolved. As Burt observes though, it is an aspect of the person so does tend remain as an aspect of the personality to some degree.

In the article, Burt refers to the “intellectual, emotional & doing soul types.”  These are exemplified by Gyan, Bhakti, and Karma Yogas (Knowledge, Devoltion, and Action). The path of action or doing is also the path of perception. How we percieve things. This is dominant in the west. Burt refers to inner and outer doers. He then goes on to say:

“There are nine drives that create soul blockages known as perfectionism, pride, deceit, envy, greed, fear, gluttony, lust and laziness. Each soul automatically carries one of the above vices as an unconscious thought/feeling affirmation. These vices are the result of past memories that have not been explored. In other words, every human soul has one of the above vices as a result of believing in being a separate individual. …until we wake up to the truth of who we are, we are subject to this condition.”

It’s notable these 9 drives are similar to the emotional drivers of the Enneagram personality types and to the Deadly sins. It’s also worth noting they are not what they may sound like. These are not superfical feelings but rather deep drivers. For example, Pefectionism type has an addiction to anger. Perfectionism is the effect. Lust is about power and control. Greed about gathering knowledge. Read the article for details and perhaps some insight into your own shadow/ soul block.

Burt goes on to talk about working with this new information, using allowing and opening. Note that it’s the same exercise, whatever your shadow or it’s form.


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  1. Davidya

    After digesting this further, I’m not sure I fully agree with Burts breakdown of the types. It looks like he’s used a personality model. Personalities are driven by the soul drives but there can be slightly different values. Using emotions to define the shadow is valid but the names don’t intuit the character of the drive either.
    I know a couple of people who are clearly driven by a blame story that doesn’t fit any of these well.

    Nonetheless, it is highly insightful if you read the article. What your shadow is may or may not be listed but some insight can be found. Just remember, if you are not awake, the ego will either deny or try to adapt the explanation to the story. In other words, judge and justify. The object her is to begin to let it go, not given you another excuse. 😉

  2. K

    How does one deal with deceit in others? More than anything I feel very disheartened when I see deceit. I am by no means perfect but of late I get easily disheartened when I see others being deceitful at work. I spend part of my time in a competitive environment and I see a lot of jockeying for power and people coopting other people’s work and so on. What do I do to not get depressed about all this? Again, I am by no means perfect but deceit or two timing in personal or professional life really scares me because it feels like the rug is being pulled from under my feet even if someone else is being subject to the deceit and I am just an observer. Thanks

    1. Hi K
      It can be unfortunate when a business culture shifts from healthy competitiveness to something more acidic. Maharishi had an old saying: “See the job, do the job, stay out of the misery.” You can’t be in the world and avoid others misery. But you can avoid making it your own.

      Some see the world as a school and suggest that challenges arise to teach us something. If instead of looking at their behavior, we look at ourselves and why, for example, this is a button for us.

      Keep in mind that there’s a difference between being dismayed by bad behaviour and taking it on ourselves. As the wise have observed, we can look to see what in ourselves is responding that way?

      Certainly there can be things like disappointment we’re not going to be able to accomplish what we’d like in that environment. Or that such behaviour is acceptable. But what is that takes it personally, that makes it mine? What is that causes this to be a button point?

      The answer to such questions is not for the mind to make a story about our childhood or some such. This just adds another layer of covering. It’s to feel our way into the reactivity and see if it can be seen and resolved.

      This does not mean dwelling in our misery – just being able to notice it and see it and allow it.

      For most of us, such exploration takes time. There can be many layers to our bigger buttons that we gradually resolve. But when they do resolve, then the need for such experiences ends and circumstances change. This may take the form of new circumstances or of the existing circumstances resolving to meet your new state.

      Be patient with yourself. You’re undoing lifetimes of old patterns that are now conscious. Before, it was unconscious and we were simply in it, as the others still are.

  3. K

    Thanks for this response. It helped to open up a space between my feelings of disheartenment and my sense of self. So I just feel the feelings and then step back and label it. These feelings of disheartenment happen every Tuesday since there is one particular meeting with a certain group of colleagues that happens that day. Happened again today- there is a lot of politics in the situation which does not feel very clean. I realized that as I was leaving, that while I don’t initiate the politics, I dance around it – not wanting to be a victim and staying aware of what’s going on. I was not completely pure either, I was still thinking that I should complain about this to the leader of the group and ask that things be transparent and honest – when I realized all that I need to do was as Gandhi said “be the change you want to see”. I have come across this a few thousand times and always felt that it was a good quote and also that it did not apply to me. Suddenly, today, it applied to me. I do not know how to explain this – but the quote just became a practice or a tool. Is this stuff mundane rather than spiritual?

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