Being With Holes to Experience Being Whole

In A. H. Almaas’ Theory of Holes he shares how we develop holes when we lose parts of our essence (i..e love, value, joy, peace, strength) in early childhood experiences. We then form our personality and ego-structure defense mechanisms around a hole to protect and compensate. This theory maps to the Enneagram that illustrates how the persona-lity type is shaped around an ego-interpretation of a perceived deficit (hole). Almaas who also writes on the Enneagram takes this further by articulating how the defense mechanisms get stronger depending on the degree of the deficit (hole). This also clarifies the Levels of Health. 

The Ego’s attempt to fill the holes are to build structures/strategies  to mimic the essence of the loss from the outside in.  The way we fill holes (through… being a certain image, relationships, job/work, money, power, substances, food, thrills etc.) can soothe the ego temporarily and does not fill the hole. It may reinforce the craving. When the external object or situation  is no longer available –  the hole may feel even more pronounced illuminating the pain that was there the entire time. The pain signals the ego to go fill the hole, “fix it” and “try harder”. Yet, this doesn’t seem to work. There are a lot of personal development programs out there on strategies to get your holes filled through external means. 

I came across a Giant hole after losing much that filled them. In this year of great loss I faced tremendous emotional pain that was there all along…and my first attempt of resolution was out filling holes. Everything, no matter how enticing in their distraction (a new job, relationship, travel, cuisine, ideas)  just seemed like a few pebbles echoing down into the Grand Canyon. In my Swiss cheese state I went to a friend in a human/adult development research community who said, “Now why on earth would you want to fill this vast space of emptiness that you have spent decades creating spiritually?”  When I talked to my well-written therapist about it…his response was “oh… go write a poem”. 

What in the world? Talk about a reframe! 

I learned to do nothing and stay in patient observation of the Grand Canyon.

is space empty or full? Where the ego grieved in emptiness – the heart expanded. 

Staying  with is not easy by any stretch of the imagination; it takes time and a variety of entries. I am continuing to enter in to greater love and I imagine it will take a lifetime. 

Reflection: What are some of your hole filling strategies? (Hint: It may be clear in your Enneagram. Usually holes are filled with a compulsive or reactive behavior).

Kind regards,