Table of content
Your inner colours
– The seven energies
In the last chapter we looked at how the whole of the cosmos is a system of energy: everything is comprised of energy and energy creates everything that exists. Our own selves are comprised of energy: our bodies, thoughts, feelings and drives can all be understood as forms of energy. We can also observe that there are different types of energy, and our everyday experiences confirm this whenever we observe that we feel tired or healthy, weak or strong.
Psychoenergetics is a psychological science that shows us how everything is derived from one basic underpinning energy, and that from this basic energy seven frequencies emerge. In this chapter we will focus on how these seven frequencies of energy relate to human life.
But keep in mind that these same energies are also unfolding in all of nature and the cosmos. These seven psychological energies are sub- frequencies of the fundamental energy of the universe in the same way that white light passing through a prism produces a spectrum of seven colours or seven frequencies of light (Figure 3). Just as white light separates into seven colours, so the fundamental universal energy can be divided into seven psychological and spiritual qualities. Each of these energies has a distinctive set of qualities, and taken as a whole these seven qualities constitute the sum total of the collective energies we embody and exchange with the world around us. See Table 2 for an overview.
To understand ourselves and our environment, we must learn how to see and feel these different qualities of energy. There are also practical benefits for our relationships because when we can understand the energies we encounter in other people we are more able to respond appropriately so that we can create good and trusting relationships; remember Assagioli’s advice that understanding differential psychology can help us to develop empathy. By contrast, without this understanding we often react negatively to those qualities we do not understand. If a relationship is particularly sensitive or tense, it is important to understand the energies at play. This will give us the option to meet other people on their terms.
The different psychological energies are not evenly distributed among people: we each have a particular combination of dominant energies. For example, people can be predominantly sensitive, dynamic, creative or practical, with each type of person having particular needs that must be understood if they are to feel accepted. In fact, the situation is quite complex. According to the theory of the Seven Types that I am putting forward, a person can be described in terms of having a dominant type of energy at each of the five psychological levels (see chapter one). Each person is a unique combination of types and energies on five levels, so a particular rainbow of qualities must be understood in its totality if we are to appreciate the whole spectrum of a person. Indeed, developing our understanding of the Seven Types would be an important step towards increasing tolerance and healthy coexistence in our world.
How we infuence each other
Look at this picture of a mountaineer perched on a rock wall 1,000 metres above ground. The next ledge is 100 metres above him, beneath him is an abys. His life depends on the safety of his rope and equipment and his own skills as climber. How do you react to this picture? Examine your inner reactions. Which energies are being activated?
You may think the mountaineer is calm, brave, fit, robust. These are all qualities of the dynamic type. This exercise in observing the mountaineer putting his life at risk provides an opportunity for you to experience the dynamic energies in action.
Now look at the image of the scientist looking through a microscope. Imagine she is analysing the result of a chemical reaction. She is focused and keeps detailed and precise accounts of her observations. How do you react to this picture? Observe your inner reactions. Which energies are activated? You may assume she is concentrated, focused and knows what she is looking for. This is an example of the analytical energy in action. You see here a scientist searching for new knowledge through her research and you have certain reactions to this image.
We always have a reaction to the behaviour of the people we meet. We identify with certain energies, while others seem unfamiliar and strange to us; we react to some energies with antipathy and to others with sympathy.
A journey into the world of energy
A basic assumption in psychoenergetics is that the seven energies are available at all five levels, i.e. at the levels of the body, feelings, thoughts, personality and soul. Our genetic make-up and personal history will provide easier access to particular energies rather than others. Our identity is shaped by specific energies and we must learn how to master these energies if we want to become all we can be.
Let’s take a journey into the world of energy. Observe your reactions to the descriptions of the seven energies. Notice the ones you most recognise and which ones feel most familiar. In the following list of descriptions I do not make any distinctions according to the different psychological levels so, as you read, be open to receiving a strong sense of recognition of a particular energy on any of the five levels. The names in brackets are Assagioli’s preferred names.
The dynamic energy (which Assagioli termed Will-Power) is usually the most difficult to master. This power can be too potent for some, so they fear it. Our experience of the dynamic energy is connected to our will to power. Many people shy away from power because of the responsibility it brings. Yet power is part of reality and if we don’t claim it for ourselves someone else will. Those who feel most comfortable with this energy are the dynamic types who tend to reach the top in their chosen discipline. We can use this dynamic power for selfish or altruistic purposes depending on our values.
This is how Assagioli (1931b) described the qualities of the dynamic energies: “Will, in the ordinary and more concrete meaning of the term; firmness, decision, concentration; the determination to attain a certain goal regardless of other considerations; energy, zeal and a fighting and aggressive spirit; a sense of justice and the urge to administer it.”
Dynamic energy provides focus, courage and the power to break through resistance. With it you pursue your goals and sacrifice everything to achieve them. There’s an element of destruction involved in this power. Its energy lets you cut away and remove whatever is in your path. The dynamic energy pushes us beyond the familiar, beyond our comfort zones. We become pioneers, prominent personalities in our field. This energy supplies a sense of greatness and the will to realise it. When this power is active we do not play second fiddle. We want responsibility, take action and are naturally attracted to cultures and social areas (lower quadrants) where power and strength are present. Dynamic types pursue leadership in politics, the military or anywhere where initiative and action are essential. The dynamic energy is active in areas that focus on individual achievement, such as professional sports. If you are influenced by this energy, you love to lead and fight for a cause. Is the dynamic energy one of your primary driving forces? What do people who know you say?
The sensitive energy (which Assagioli termed Love-Illumination) radiates softness, warmth and empathy. It takes us into the world of relationships. Like water, it purifies, heals and gives life to all it touches. If this energy is dominant in you, you will be sensitive and emotional.
Your vulnerability and empathy can be your greatest strengths, but only when you master this energy. Empathy and understanding motivate you, not just in human relationships but in everything that deeply interests you. You want to understand something from within and to build bridges between whatever seems separate.
With this energy you show loving care for nature, people and all things. Sensitive types are receptive, calm and co-operative because relationships are important to them. While dynamic energy breaks things down in order to create something new, sensitive energy builds bridges. If you are influenced by this energy, you will stay in touch with and look after the people you care about.
According to Assagioli (1983: 33), people with this type of energy will be “kind and receptive; when they are not too sensitive, they are also sociable… In order to express themselves they need the stimulus of interaction with others; they realise themselves by means of relationships.”
In society (lower quadrants) we meet this energy in education, health and social care. It is the cohesive energy that brings people together and enables a society or relationship to work. It is an expression of love. When this energy is dominant you may work in the helping or healing professions where understanding, empathy and care are essential. This energy helps us to see the good in the world and in people, even when their actions are destructive. Love, informed with wisdom, is for you the greatest motivation. You know that everything is connected and you want to focus on whatever connects rather than separates. Do you connect with this energy? Ask people close to you what they see in you.
The mental energy (which Assagioli termed Active-Practical) sharpens our perspectives. When you are influenced by this energy you love to talk and exchange ideas and theories about the world. You are motivated by a desire for knowledge, which helps you to act intelligently and efficiently in the world.
This energy makes you light, flexible, curious and skilled at navigating the social field. Instantly you know everything going on around you and can use this knowledge to your advantage. You are aware of possibilities and opportunities available through your interactions with others. Making connections is important because this will help with your practical goals. Mental energy lacks the depth of the sensitive and analytical energies, but with it you can gather much information and form it into a whole. As a mental type you enjoy thinking and intellectual challenges; you have good general knowledge and are always happy to discover more. Also, people with this energy will have a good understanding of finances which will help them to keep on top of concerns about money.
According to Assagioli (1931b), people with this energy “are those in whom the note of activity is prevalent; those who ever try to realise, to incarnate ideas; feelings and purposes. They are vitally interested in all kinds of social activities, in progress, in culture and education.”
We meet this energy in the media, journalism, finance and trade. The institutions responsible for the dissemination of a nation’s culture, history and values are also influenced by this energy. Knowledge provides opportunities because those who are best informed can gain access to new knowledge first. If you are the mental type you are always keen to learn more; you are an eternal student, never tired of learning something new. You thrive in fields where new knowledge has to be created and communicated. Here you appear as the thinker or networker that finds smart solutions to problems. Are you smart and quick witted? Ask your network.
The creative energy (which Assagioli termed Aesthetic-Creative) encourages spontaneity, playfulness and imagination. You have a great need for harmony and beauty. “Why should life be boring when it can be fun?” is your motto. With this energy, life becomes more manageable when it is undertaken with a sense of humour.
For creative types to thrive, beauty, light and harmony are essential. Beauty opens us up; it connects us to others and invites us to share in its magic. Reality need not be grey and boring if we use our imagination and creativity. If you are a creative type, reconciling opposites is important to you. You tend to be drawn to conflict and drama so that you might bring harmony. You can handle conflict, are skilled at mediation, and are pleased when chaos is transformed into order.
According to Assagioli (1931b), these types “evolve chiefly through the outer and inner realisation of beauty and harmony”.
When trying something new, you are not afraid of losing control. You know that new opportunities arise when the old patterns break downs, and that chaos is part of the creative process. The creative energy provides you with a deep understanding of the competing forces within us, and helps you to understand that by enduring the tension of opposites we can arrive at something new.
The creative energy is expressed in the arts, entertainment, design, psychology and the media. With it, through the imagination, conflicts are resolved. With this energy predominating, your life will be lived in the here and now, filled with opportunities to enrich yourself and the world with music, play, socialising and positive relationships. Do you often bring a smile to someone’s lips? What do your friends think?
The analytical energy (which Assagioli termed Scientific-Rational) makes you a serious, precise person who is attentive to detail and aware of causal relationships. You want to know why things are the way they are. You ask: what causes illness, why did the car break down, how can we invent renewable energy? You are curious and motivated to develop new and practical knowledge.
Analytical energy has had a major influence on the development of our modern society. The technological revolution and discoveries made in medicine, psychology, sociology, biology and other sciences have created a new world of knowledge.
If you’re technically gifted, then you will know how to analyse the parts that make up the whole. If your interest is psychology, you may be interested in behaviourism and its verifiable results. Certainty based on observations and experience is important here, analysis and logic are key.
According to Assagioli (1931b), this type of individuals “are urged by the desire to know the universe, the not-self, to discover its laws, to dominate and to utilise it. They are the scientists, the inventors, all those whose occupation is that of using intelligently the forces and the materials existing in the cosmos; not only those of the physical plane but all that are to be found on the various planes of manifestation.”
You are interested in knowledge that is derived from fact, especially practical knowledge that can be used to make the world a better place. You are inventive and curious, but also the highly specialised. Whatever your chosen area of research, your studies will be in-depth and detailed.
Education, research, technology and craftwork require the use of this energy. You are attracted to areas where analytical skills and certainty are needed. You might become an excellent lawyer, researcher or technician who creates a solid knowledge base which helps society to make better decisions and products. Are you the one who fixes things, whether in a practical, social or psychological sense? Ask the people around you.
The dedicated energy (which Assagioli termed Devotional- Idealistic) makes you excitable, goal-orientated and idealistic. The sky is the limit and you aim for the best. You are passionate and throw yourself wholeheartedly into whatever attracts your enthusiasm. You know how to motivate and bring out the best in people.
Your primary motivations are idealistic. Your dedication is expressed as warmth and loyalty in love. This energy provides you with a focus and resilience that can break down barriers. Under the influence of this energy, you do not need to be the leader, you can follow others, but only if you believe in the cause.
This energy is emotional and intense, and when it is dominant your reactions are rarely neutral or lukewarm. You glow with passion and enthusiasm, inspire others and see life in terms of causes. In society, this energy flourishes in the worlds of religion, sports, fashion and entertainment. It is present in the fields of marketing and promotion, as well as in politics, religion and activism, where people are fighting for a cause.
People influenced by this energy are, according to Assagioli (1931b), “those idealists who have consecrated themselves to a specific cause, practical or social, which they firmly believe to be a panacea for human ills. Among them we find socialists, philanthropists, and reformers of all kinds.”
When you are influenced by this energy, you are inspired to make improvements. You are passionate for a good cause and are a natural advocate and activist. Are you passionate about your beliefs? What do your friends think?
The practical energy (which Assagioli termed Organiser-Ritualistic) makes you systematic, directive and practically-orientated. It motivates you to engage in projects requiring co-operation among many people in order to reach a successful conclusion. It also motivates you to achieve concrete results.
This energy gives you the drive to orchestrate a process from an initial idea to the final outcome. This could mean preparing a four-course meal or promoting a political campaign. You experiment with new methods and systems in order to optimise results. You love to create order based on principles that you know work in practice.
If anything needs to be sorted, managed, organised or rebuilt, you take the lead and control the process. You can create something significant from scratch and love to watch ideas turn into real projects. You want to leave your mark on the world and want to have something concrete to show for your work. This could be a bridge, a new cultural centre, a new form of administration or a business venture.
The practical energy informs the organisations that shape, structure and regulate society. We see it in business and in large organisations that require complex management structures. Without this energy, life would be more chaotic and wasteful.
According to Assagioli (1931b), practical types are individuals “whose paramount interest is in organisation, scientific management, discipline, ritual, ceremony and magic… (They are) positive, masculine and extravert.”
If you are influenced by practical energy you are good at coordinating and facilitating group activities. You recognise people’s skills and can easily facilitate cooperation among specialists. Great things can be achieved when people with the right skills co-operate. You enjoy working with people who thrive in groups working towards a common goal. Do you initiate and organise group activities? What do your work colleagues think?
The spectrum of energies in all four quadrants
In this chapter we are laying the foundation for our exploration into the world of energies. Now we will work with the four quadrants to observe, evaluate and interpret our inner states and their qualities (left quadrants), while gaining greater insight into how the outer world works (right quadrants). This exercise will help us to further develop our skills at identifying how the different energies are at work in our lives.
When we look around, whatever you see – a tree, a dog, a car, a house, a landscape, a person or a group of people – you will notice that it radiates a certain type of energy, a certain quality. You can be attracted to this, feel repelled by it or feel neutral towards it. This is how we react when we encounter the seven energies as they are manifested in all four quadrants. Let me explain (Figure 4).
In the upper left quadrant (UL) we experience seven different states of awareness: dynamic, sensitive, mental, creative, analytical, dedicated or practical. These states will be experienced in different ways: imagine white light being expressed as a rainbow with one particular colour emerging as the most dominant. Once we learn the language of psychoenergetics, we can recognise which specific energy or condition is most prominent in our consciousness at any given time. We can experience these seven energies at each of the five psychological levels: physical, emotional, mental, personality and soul and beyond. Each level is coloured by the seven energies and can therefore be experienced in seven different ways.
In the upper right quadrant (UR) we find seven fundamental types of behaviours motivated by the qualities of the seven energies. Generally, our behaviour is a combination of many energies, but some will dominate. Our behaviour means our ‘radiance’ as perceived by others; this includes our choice of clothes, personal style, body language and facial expressions. (Later, I will explain how different types of behaviour relate to the five levels.)
In the lower left quadrant (LL) we find the seven cultural or psychological ‘atmospheres’ that attract and influence us. These are expressed through politics and power (dynamic), care and education (sensitive), culture and communication (mental), arts and entertainment (creative), research and technology (analytical), religion, activism (dedicated), business and organisation (practical).
In the lower right quadrant (LR) we meet the same energies as in LL, but embodied in specific social groups. At home, at work or in the wider community, we are affected by certain types of energy. If we want to develop our dynamic energy we may participate in political debates, start a course in martial arts, take up competitive sports, or register for a seminar in leadership. Our physical world also emanates the seven energies. For example, the ocean can inspire sensitive energy. Theatres and art galleries can provide access to creative energy; here the creative energies radiate from the architecture and interior design as well as the actors and artists who work there.
Exercise: Four questions to reflect on
This exercise will provide an experience of the energies as we encounter them in the four quadrants.
Upper left quadrant: Sit down and close your eyes. Focus on your breath and relax completely. Pay attention to your psychological atmosphere. Observe your inner states and then let go. Imagine yourself in a situation where you feel completely at ease and comfortable. What type of qualities characterises this situation? Feel it and relate it to the seven energies. Which of the seven energies can you access with ease? Write them down.
Upper right quadrant: Ask two of your closest friends to observe you and describe your most obvious qualities. Don’t talk to them about the seven energies, just let them speak directly from the heart. What energies are clearly seen from your friends’ perspective? Write them down.
Lower left quadrant: Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Follow your breath and relax completely. Now imagine a specific social situation. Notice the atmosphere and observe whatever it is that you need to do and think others should do. For example, should you be happy, strong, rational, practical, funny, or some other way? Which of the seven energies best describes your expectations? Why?
Lower right quadrant: Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Be present and relaxed. Now look at yourself in the same social situation as before. Observe how you relate to others. How do you express friendship, respect and status? What norms and what psychological qualities do you express? Are you hard, soft, ironic, humorous, polite, correct or unconventional? Which of the seven energies most influences the group’s behaviour? Write down your answers.
By now you have hopefully started to gain a deeper insight into the seven energies. These energies are complex and difficult to understand, but they can be experienced. We all possess these energies and they contain untapped potential that is waiting to be discovered and used. Becoming aware of the seven energies helps in this journey of discovery.
As mentioned, the seven energies are always available but each of us experiences them differently, through the five levels of our psychology. But what determines how your unique psychology is expressed at the five levels? This is the topic for the next chapter where we will discuss the seven psychological functions.