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We ran through the steepening streets of the town. I pulled at Alexandra’s wrist and, every few strides, looked around, anxiously, in search of our pursuers.

“What are we running from?” she laughed, behind me, now well used to my craziness. I had noticed that she had recently taken to wearing more casual clothing for our teaching encounters, and suspected that her larger bag, now safely in the car, contained a change of clothes or two – including a choice of outdoor footwear . . .

“I can’t tell you, exactly, the image is fading, but I know it frightened me – and it’s big!”

“Big?,” she gasped, her voice was getting hoarse with the effort. “Big, as in an animal?”

I pulled her on, ducking and diving into the warren of alleyways that make up the Fellside district of Kendal. Fellside is a steep part of town, true to its name, that rises from the town centre and climbs south-westward up the nearby ridge. The old and narrow stone streets were perfectly suited to my purposes, and we could have been on a film set.

“It could be an animal!” I shouted, turning another tight corner and shouting in response to her previous question. “In fact, I can imagine many describing it that way; but I think it’s bigger than that!” My breath was rasping in my throat, too. The gradients of Fellside were a killer.

Alexandra ground to a halt and shook free of my hauling hand, slumping forward with hands on knees. “Idiot!,” she laughed. “You’re killing me!”

“But, it might catch us!” I managed, weakly, between gasps, fighting hard to suppress a grin.

“It can eat me if it likes,” she said, recovering her breath. “I’m not running another step . . . and I’ll need a second bloody shower, now, you nuisance–” she gasped some more. ” . . . and that will have to wait until London!”

“Aww . . .” I said. “Would a coffee help make it up to you?”

She pulled herself vertical and managed a smile. “It might . . . if it’s a good one.”

Five minutes later, and with the cool summer breeze bringing us back to normality, I walked her – downhill, at last – to the outdoor cafe in the middle tier of the three layer mound that forms the bedrock of the Brewery Arts Centre, itself set into the lower slopes of the Fellside district. I sat us on the second of the terraces in the sunshine, facing down the slope. We ordered a bottle of water each, and two large lattés. By the time they had arrived, she was speaking to me, again.

“Is this near the station?” she asked. “I have to be going, soon.”

“No, but it’s very near the Head.”

“The Head?”

“The Sleeping Head – what we’ve been running from . . .”

“I don’t know the–”

“Yes, you do, but it’s better seen in a way that makes an impact.”

For the next few minutes I said nothing else. We drank our coffees in pleasant silence, as the inner tension mounted. Eventually, I took her hand again, pulling her to her feet. “Will you close your eyes for me?”

We had come a long way in the months we had been working together. It was marked by the trust and the ease with which she accepted the request. She nodded, and I guided her, blind, up the stone staircase that had been behind us all along. When she was safely on the upper level, I turned her to face our destination and asked her to open her eyes.

She made a slight gasp.

“This is what we all run from, when we are being the Six,” I said, as her hazel eyes opened wider and she took in the carved head before us.

“Sleeping?” she whispered.

“Sleeping to our spiritual nature, which is actually the characteristic of the Nine, the core of the enneagram. Our life is not our reality, and so we live in a dream. This is what the Six embodies – someone whose fleeing life is the result of being turned away from its reality; from its inner trust, which it had and lost at station Nine . . . and so now lives in the land of fear; believing it is supported by nothing . . .”


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 2012, and, having persuaded Sue Vincent to . . .

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