By Kenneth Sørensen, From the book “The Seven Types”
In order to get the most out of this article a basic knowledge of the energy types helps. Some people may want to read my article “The Seven Types” before coming back to this one.
The purpose of this article is to inspire you to discover your personal “energy typology” which is part of what Roberto Assagioli called Psychoenergetics and Psychosynthesis Typology, and experience how it can revolutionize your self-understanding and insight into others.
We do not see reality as it is, but as we are. We perceive ourselves and others through a tainted filter. The aim of psychoenergetics is to remove this lens so we can see the whole psychological spectrum of being human. This is something uncommon in the field of psychology. In this way we can understand and accept more and act more with wisdom and authenticity.
By telling you the story of how I came to know my energy type and activated my psychological DNA, I hope to inspire you to make Psychosynthesis Typology and The Seven Types a part of your everyday life.
If it has any substance theory must become practice. A theory alone is not reality, it must be confirmed through observation, study and experimentation. In this way the reality it speaks of can be experienced.
So let me invite you on journey through my youth to see how I came to know my energy types without my realizing it.
Below is a table which gives a brief hint about the seven types.
|The Dynamic Type (1) expressing will and power|
|The Sensitive Type (2) expressing feeling and love|
|The Mental type (3) expressing thought and communication|
|The Creative Type (4) expressing harmony and beauty|
|The Analytical Type (5) expressing facts and science|
|The Dedicated Type (6) expressing devotion and activism|
|The Practical Type (7) expressing organisation and action|
In the Army, My Dedicated Personality Type Takes Shape
At 17 I signed up with the army as a professional soldier. I spent 5 years in service, first in the infantry, then as a gunner and finally as a battlefield scout. I also spent a year as a UN soldier in Cyprus. My time in the army shaped my first budding personality.
At the time I was a right-wing nationalist who was happy to defend my country from the Communist threat coming from Russia. I was in my right element in the army. This was before the fall of the Berlin wall. The cold war, then at its height, provided a direction for my passionate engagement.
My dedicated personality had awoken. Finally there was something I could dedicate myself to and believe in. I was also an insecure and vulnerable young man who had not been able to express my dedicated and passionate emotional life (type 6) until I joined the army.
I hid behind a tough masculine role that insulated me and allowed no room for emotions. With considerable effort I had managed to suppress my vulnerability and sensitivity. In hindsight I realize that it was my dynamic mental type (type 1) that created this need for self-control out of fear of humiliation. It was shameful to show feelings. In my teens I read stories about war or the wild west. These gave a black and white picture of good and evil, with the strong good man beating the bad gays. It is no wonder to me now that this particular stereotype appealed to me. My overall personality is 6-161. A dedicated personality, with a dynamic mind, a dedicated emotional life and a dynamic physical body. This means that the will, which characterises both type 1 and 6, is dominant.
Another important part of my early personality was a sense of isolation. I didn’t have a real friend until I joined the army. Friendship didn’t stick to me at the time. This may be because in the working class environment in which I grew up, nothing stimulated my true nature. I was different. Today, knowing that types 1 and 6 often prefer to be alone rather than adapt to their surroundings my isolation makes sense. Particularly type 1 has a great need for freedom and will rarely compromise.
Inner conflicts has been another major theme for me. I had a difficult temperament. I resented anyone trying to dominate me, or treating me unjustly. But my need for self-control (1) would stop me acting on my emotions. I often fought the other boys at school. It felt natural to fight, it was something boys did, but it only increased my isolation. I was strong and a good fighter, which is reflected in my dynamic body. My inclination to fight ended when I lost to a stronger boy and was humiliated. From then on my dynamic mind took control and I looked for other ways to be the best. One was being quick witted (dynamic mind). Humiliation is one of the great fears of type 1 because they want to be the strongest and king of the mountain.
The army allowed me to channel my aggressions and frustrations constructively. The discipline was important, but also learning how to use weapons gave me an opportunity to manage these energies. People with no army experience may not realize that learning how to manage firearms can help us trust the primitive energies in our personality. Firearms training demands that you are calm and focused on a target. The first time you throw a hand grenade you must trust that it won’t blow up in your face. The same is true when firing a cannon on a battle tank you have to access and control the same primitive destructive energies.
I don’t want to glamorize life in the army. Most of us would rather we didn’t need one at all. But it was a good experience for me and gave a direction to my life. But it could not solve my problems. Looking back with the knowledge of The Seven Types, I can identify and accept my basic energies and struggles. I understand my positive qualities, my focus, idealism and industriousness (1 and 6) as well as my shadow sides, my self-sufficiency (1), fiery temperament (6), and a deep dissatisfaction with myself for failing to meet my high ideals (6).
The army gave me something to believe in and by becoming a good soldier, I disciplined my nature and directed my resources toward a goal. My time there marked the beginning of a process of synthesizing my personality through idealism, commitment and activism. I really believed in defending my homeland and the free world. But my personality was still developing, and typically this idealism appeared in an unbalanced way.
Breakdown and Breakup
From 17 to 22 I never reflected deeply on my nature, and psychotherapy was out of the question. I was deeply unhappy, mostly because I had no love life. In the army I found friends, but was still unable to share my feelings with them. I went through these experiences alone. Typical of a strong type 1 is that they rise by their own power. My defences were impenetrable (1). No woman could reach my vulnerability (6), but behind the tough facade was a devotional and romantic heart typical of type 6. I felt as if a wall separated me and my surroundings and made it impossible to open up to love, even though I had plenty of opportunities. I also developed severe acne and my vulnerability and fear of humiliation increased.
A personality composed equally of type 1 and 6 will experience violent inner tensions. When I was young the need for self-control and a cool facade (1) opposed my need for romantic passionate devotion (6). Then, at 21, I met my first girlfriend and the pressure cooker blew. Out came years of repressed emotions. A powerful romantic desire combined with deep unhappiness and turned my life upside down. The strong emotions overcame all my self-control.
The relationship lasted a couple of years, and when it ended I had my first major existential crisis. I could no longer live behind my isolated facade (1). Something had to change. Shortly after the break up I left the army and moved to Copenhagen, and enrolled at a special high school for four months. During the next few years my identity would undergo a total transformation.
From Soldier to New Ager: Personality Mark 2.0
Now a wholly new energy came into my life, focused on understanding and developing my emotions (6 ). I was awaking to my repressed feelings and social phobias. I realized that I had to crack the shell I had hid within. I found new friends and developed a new social life with people interested in astrology and self-development. This would be an important shift. I cut ties with my old life. I knew that I had to free myself of old influences for anything new to emerge. The dynamic mind possesses the ability to let go and cut ties in order to achieve greater freedom.
I took a few courses in astrology and parapsychology that ignited a fire in me I had not felt before. When I learned about astrology I knew I would spend the rest of my life pursuing it. It helped me understand who I was and what I could become. Once again the dedicated qualities made me passionately motivated, and my dynamic mentality made me ambitious and focused. But I also experienced my essence (2) for the first time. Astrology introduced me to a cosmological wisdom that helped me see that I was part of a larger whole.
I was still self-centred, focused on being free of my insecurities. I became aware of many inner conflicts and I began to do something about them. I spent the next few years studying astrology, meditating and undergoing psychotherapy. I had no educational qualifications and worked in construction and as a cleaner. My working-class background had made me used to demanding manual labour. My upbringing did not suit my ambitious dynamic energy, only my will to be independent. Unskilled physical labour humiliated my dynamic energy, but this was compensated by the alternative world I was engaging with. This suited me and for the first time in my life I felt confident.
It wasn’t until I was 25 that I sat down and meditated for the first time. I felt I had reached home. Through meditation I could dissolve my unhappy emotions by visualizing a sun in my chest. This sun held me in a loving embrace. I had finally discovered a source of love within myself. From then on meditation became a practice of self-healing and transformation.
Initially my meditation was driven by my need to experience love (2-6) and to be completely free to be myself (1). Meditation activated the introverted part of my dedicated personality. My inner mystic slowly emerged. In meditation I opened to energies of unconditional love and that left me feeling less vulnerable. After a year of meditating I had developed a deep love for Christ. This seemed quite natural to me, despite growing up an atheist.
From New Age to Social Psychiatry Missionary
My dedicated personality focused on meditation, psychotherapy, astrology and esotericism. But in 1991, this focus changed when I started my education in social work. Suddenly I found myself in a relatively left-wing universe, which was a culture shock for me. Not long ago I was a nationalist soldier who hated communists and other left-wing people.
My earlier self would have said I had joined the enemy camp, but my identity had changed and I had cut ties with my past. I had become a vegetarian, was tee-total, practiced meditation and read New Age philosophy. Education in social work was natural step in my transformation. It was from one extreme to another, which is typical of an immature dedicated personality.
During the 90’s, my personality stabilised. I settled down, had a family and dedicated myself to my work within mental health. I started a nationwide magazine for mental health service users, written and produced by the service users themselves. Together with theosophy, esoterism, and other concerns, this became the focus of my life.
As an activist and missionary for two causes, my dedicated personality was very much in the driver’s seat. My approach was still single-minded and a bit fanatical. But good things came from this. Near the millennium I had a daughter, which changed everything. I had to develop a new identity as a father. This meant that I became less rigid and more receptive.
I left theosophy after a crisis in the group I was involved in. I was deeply disappointed and disillusioned with our inability to walk the walk and I decided to never again identify with a religion or philosophy. I appreciated many of the values and insights that were part of theosophy, like the seven ray philosophy, but I realized that adhering to a particular philosophy was limiting. I needed the flexibility to think for myself. The missionary in me was dead, but not the activist. Both archetypes are strongly influenced by the dedicated types need to be the passionate advocate for a cause.
The Missionary Dies, and a Guide is born
At this time my identification with the dedicated energy changed and took on some of the sensitive energy. I decided to continue my education. I started intensive psychotherapeutic training and enrolled in a 4- year psychosynthesis psychotherapy program. This was followed by an MA degree at a university in London. I became the first in my family to get an academic degree, another example of the dynamic energy, but also the dedicated that breaks patterns and new ground.
My career soon changed. I left my social psychiatry and started my own business as a coach, teacher, and psychotherapist. I was under the influence of a new energy and it was clear that my focus had changed. Psychotherapy introduced me to a much more intimate, calm and spacious inner world. My philosophical viewpoints became less rigid, and I was more grounded and oriented toward experience. My sensitive soul and essence was paving the way to my work as a psychotherapist and teacher in psychology and meditation. I was more in control of my passionate energies. I was riding the horse rather than it riding me.
The sensitive energy gives me a greater awareness and insight into our psychological universe. With it I can find an inner center of calm and presence where I can be in sensitive contact with myself and my surroundings. It is still a daily struggle to be in this calm, loving, observant presence. Frequently the fire from my personality types (6-161) temporarily upsets the balance.
Let me give you an example of the tension between my energy types and how I harmonize them to make my body, feelings, and thoughts cooperate with my essence.
When I write, I often get overwhelmed by the reactions from my dedicated and passionate emotional life. I can get so excited about ideas and insights that I cannot continue writing. My solar plexus starts bubbling and I have to get up and let off steam. Clearly this can interrupt the creative flow. To avoid this, I practice breathing to calm my emotions done. I observe them in a loving and impersonal manner and ask them to relax. This is an example of how to use the sensitive energies to interfere with the disturbing passion of the dedicated type.
Another problem in writing is that I sometimes overlook signals from my body and emotions. I write intensely no matter what, and after a few days I notice the stress symptoms: irritation, tension and general annoyance. This is an example of how the dynamic mind-set uses sheer willpower to push through its agenda, which is unproductive. At some point I have to give up writing for a few days because my nervous system is completely exhausted. These are examples of how excessive intensity and use of power cause problems.
I often say that my life project is to express my wise and sensitive nature through a battle tank. This is not an easy project.
When Humour, Spontaneity and Openness Polish the Personality
This brings me to my last point, which is the need to integrate the other energy types. All seven energies are at our disposal. In 2012, I realized that I had to strengthen my contact with energies of the creative type (4), with creativity and spontaneity. I was still too stiff, inhibited and one-sided in my personal expression, consequences of my energy types. I decided that I needed to become more spontaneous, easy going and relaxed.
Knowing the universe of The Seven Types and the methods of working with energy, we can begin to consciously shape our personality. Within the framework of our type we can add to it aspects of other types. It all depends on how much effort you are prepared to make.
I changed my meditation so that I focused on the qualities of the creative energy. Visualizing images of beauty and harmony, I felt grace and a sense of playfulness. Every time we experience an energy and immerse ourselves in it, we slowly integrate its qualities into ourselves. In this way, we can create a new inner atmosphere and change our behaviour. This is at the core of the Eastern Yoga philosophy, or from a Christian perspective: “As a human being thinks in his heart, so he is”.
However, changing habits is costly. In my case, the opposite of the open and playful energy I wanted to express emerged in my meetings with the outside world. I was stiff with fear of people getting close to me in public. Psychotherapy helped. But I learned a lesson: the resistance we meet depends on our goals.
I also started yoga classes three times a week. My body was stiff and inflexible. Yoga expresses many of the creative energies, which lead to better physical and mental balance and harmony. I practiced yoga for two years, and the result was amazing. My body changed significantly. I became far more flexible and well-coordinated. Being with other yoga practitioners also affected my emotions. I absorbed their energy. Many people who practice yoga are conditioned by the creative type they are lithe and gracious and radiate the ease and grace I needed.
I also attended courses involving dance, authentic relationships and intimacy. This was challenging, but the combination of inner work and participation in the outer world can hasten transformation. I joined social groups with people who had strong creative energies, who were far more physical and intimate than I ever was.
The result of all this was a whole new way of life. By integrating the qualities of type 4, I could with more ease express my sensitive and wise essence. I became much more expressive and interested in relationships and my teaching turned more to experience and the body.
It also changed my love life. In 2015 I met Karianne, who is today my wife, soul mate and life-partner. Our love has strengthened my ability to be present, vulnerable and strong.
I am still on a journey to balance my energy composition with the other energies. But I have now found the colour palette with which I can express myself. This has enriched my life immensely and I have even more to give. And I believe that the greatest gift we have is what we are to the world.