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Agni-Soma functioning seven levels- part 1

------- © Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary

Agni Soma
Agni level 1-intrapersonal Soma level 1-intrapersonal
Agni level 2-interpersonal Soma level 2-interpersonal
Agni level 3-social Soma level 3-social
Agni-Soma ‘Biune' level

Intrapersonal level of Agni :

At the foundation of Agni's individualizing, differentiating, self-actualizing tendency is a life energy that vitalizes and activates the birth, growth, and emergence of self from its dependence upon the biological mother. Psychologically, ‘intrapersonal' agni signifies the differentiation of the individual self from the family of origin, especially the parental influences. Thus ‘intrapersonal' agni facilitates the individual self's attainment of a separate identity, path, and purpose.

‘Intrapersonal' agni or Level 1 agni allows for the unique development of self-identity and personality. At its core, Agni stands for the ever-indefatigable hero, the blazing warrior. Agni represents the drive to venture forth into life and to impress our uniqueness and character upon it. Agni symbolizes the ongoing, evolutionary process of individuation and differentiation of self. As the individual self goes through various experiences, a uniqueness of perception, experience, and identity is the result. A healthy and optimum functioning of Agni thus makes for a confident individual.

Through its specific style, manner, coloration, and point of view, the “I” discovers its own radiant vitality, individual strength, and power. Level 1 agni represents our need to shine, our desire for recognition, our self-esteem and issues related to what makes us feel proud or ashamed of ourselves. The energetic and dynamic process of effectively expressing (an exhilarating sense of self is largely determined by the foundation level energies of Agni, i.e. ‘intrapersonal' agni.

Summary of ‘intrapersonal' Agni functions:

  • Ego-centric individualization & self-expression
  • Sense of direction and Self-worth or Self esteem
  • Displaying the dramatic expression of identity to others, individual style and flair
  • Impulses towards power, fame, authority, honor, ambition and pride
  • The "light"-giving aspect of consciousness, the power to illuminate others through ‘personal insight'
  • Charisma-the experience of "shining forth", the ability to standout in a gathering or outshine all others
  • Stands out alone as a leader
  • Truth is more important than being good/Justice/Fairness/
  • The willful expression of self in an attention-seeking, overtly public manner, the drive for fame and recognition
  • Source of energy, motivation and inspiration
  • Ability to be inspired and in turn inspire others
  • Concerned with maintaining ‘order', hence the natural ability to rule
  • Intelligence, strength and will of character
  • Independence and the capacity to be a light unto ourselves
  • At a process level corresponds to enneagram type 8, though not necessarily as a fixed personality type

Un-integrated or immaturely developed ‘intrapersonal' Agni results in:

  • Lack of intelligence, weakness of will and character
  • Low vitality
  • Lack of confidence and independent spirit (herd instinct dominates)
  • egoistic tendencies, exhibitionism, and the myopic focus on self-identity to the exclusion of the identity of others, destructive narcissism at its worst
  • deceptive charisma, tyranny and manipulative personality

Intrapersonal level of Soma

Soma reflects the formation of a strong emotional foundation, which may in turn foster a sense of emotional confidence and inner peace. Soma denotes impressionability and sensitivity. Its foundations are laid in early life, when we are imprinted by the psychology and emotions of our parents, in particular by the mother or whoever the primary caregiver is. If the infant experiences the caregiver as dependable, it creates an emotionally secure base for the child to explore the world. Thus children develop secure emotional attachments if their parents are attuned to their needs for safety, security and being physically cared for and if parents are responsive to children's signals that they require their needs to be met. How the infant ultimately learns how to regulate his/her emotions will depend heavily on how the caregiver(s) regulates his/her own emotions. As children become better at expressing their needs and emotions, they learn self-regulation skills. 

How we got along with our early caregivers tends to be the script we follow throughout our lives. Think of how you got along with your early caregivers. Was it safe? Did you feel secure? Was it smothering? Was it consistent? Was it unpredictable? Was it fair? These early relationships probably are still present in your current relationships with your loved ones. In fact their influence is seen in how you relate to others generally. The early development of secure attachments to caregivers is important for the later development of emotional competence.

If the individual experiences a series of challenges to forming a stable emotional foundation during the early formative years (the pre-conscious period), later in life there will be a need to pursue experiences that lead to a de-programming and positive re-imprinting so that a more supportive intrapersonal emotional foundation may be laid. Yet a lack of the much needed inner stability and emotional security will lead to a deep rooted insecurity that might express itself in compensatory mechanisms through identifying one's level of security to external and material possessions that can provide support and comfort- meaning the house, vehicles, land etc.

At a deeper level the quality of one's relationships is also largely determined by the first level of Soma functioning. The experience of internal tranquility and well-being will ensure that our relationships with others will be based upon a healthier emotional foundation as we look to the self — and not obsessively toward others — to fortify, nurture, and sustain the individual's ego-strength, in a healthy emotional affirmation. Likewise a lack of the much-needed emotional foundation will manifest in an unconscious (at times even obsessive) attempt to derive it from the relationships that one may have with others. This may find expression as a strong yearning for emotional security, for developing relationships that nurture and strengthen one's inner emotional life. This can often manifest as an impulsive need to "cling" to others in an unbalanced emotional fashion or to surround oneself with others for the purpose of absorbing their emotive resonance. Another way in which it can manifest is an inability to properly register and respond to the feelings of those around us. Freud is not far from the truth when he suggested that the infants tie to its mother is the first and longest lasting relationship, as well as the prototype for all later affairs of the heart. Thus the optimal blossoming of ‘intrapersonal' level of Soma functioning is a prerequisite for satisfactory adult relationships.

Summary of ‘intrapersonal' Soma functions:

  • emotional foundation
  • Dependent, reflective and conditioned consciousness; can either reflect the inner nature of things or merely reflect the outer appearance
  • Dreaming and imagination
  • Obedience to higher authority, yielding
  • The mother and the mother archetype
  • Ability to relate emotionally to other people's feelings or emotional needs.
  • The experience of being stirred by or of absorbing others' emotions- the pull of one's emotions on others
  • Vulnerable and hence easily hurt
  • autonomous and habitual psychic functions 
  • The ability to experience and to express emotional well-being
  • Emotional maturity and responsibility
  • Friendliness
  • Works through cooperation and mutual help
  • More concerned about being good than about finding the truth
  • The basic ability to be happy
  • Inner contentment
  • At a process level corresponds to enneagram type 2, though not necessarily as a fixed personality type

Un-integrated or immaturely developed ‘intrapersonal' Soma results in:

  • Suffocating another person through overburdening attention
  • Being too needy
  • Tendency to over-merge, resulting in loss of emotional borders leading to emotional fusion
  • Tendency to over-cling
  • Tendency to over-connect
  • Loss of identity as a result of becoming emotionally overwhelmed in personal relationships
  • Easy acceptance of sub-ordination or subservience
  • Impressionability to mass influences and collective traumas
  • self-sacrificing without a specific sense of direction

Interpersonal level of Agni

"The strength of one who attacks has in the opposition he needs a kind of gauge; every growth reveals itself in the seeking out of a potential opponent -- or problem: for a philosopher who is warlike also challenges problems to a duel."

Level 2 Agni takes the uniquely expressed individual ego consciousness (intrapersonal agni) into a larger interpersonal interaction with others where the separateness of the individual is not only maintained but further refined through competitive interplay. In every competition, every combat and every struggle with another, at some level one is needed to exhibit, refine and further differentiate one's skills and powers. Interpersonal Agni bestows the ability to extend the will, in a forceful, aggressive, and desirous manner. Thus level 2 agni aids in experiences that further discrimination through acts of separation. Through combats and competitions, which confirm our ability and strength, and also determine the elasticity and extent of our inherent prowess and fighting spirit, interpersonal agni guarantees that the intrapersonal self-identity is further steeled, matured, and developed within the interpersonal dimension of every daily life.

Interpersonal agni allows for the maintenance of distinctive self-borders (as well as territoriality), a function that is of special importance when one's identity is threatened physically or psychologically by another person or thing. Interpersonal assertiveness must be utilized not only to protect oneself from physical intrusion but also to separate oneself from the web of psychological projections that others may attempt to impose upon us. This level of Agni determines one's ability to define, maintain, protect, and defend one's distinctive self-borders from intrusion, or invasion by others. This includes both physical and psychological threats such as being controlled by another person's will. The capacity to energize, and extend one's own will, power, independence is accomplished through the conscious integration and progressive evolution of interpersonal agni energy in one's life.

A healthy level of Level 2 agni's functioning is required to take the necessary steps when confronting life's challenges. The urge to expand self-identity drives one to actively overcome obstacles and to obtain the object of one's desire. In this process we extend the boundary of the individual self, especially by experiencing the empowering radiance of success and the fulfilling expansion of interpersonal power.

The importance of Agni's role in defining, maintaining, protecting, and defending the distinctive individual borders from intrusion, invasion by others works at all levels including the cellular. Interpersonal Agni is the intelligence at work in the immune system that serves the same function of identifying self from non-self based on the principle of ligand/receptor binding. In a competitive and deadly world, self is usually good and non-self is usually bad. This basic guiding principle of agni defines both the strengths and the weaknesses of all agni processes (including the immune system) and foreshadows its inherent problems.

Summary of ‘interpersonal' Agni functions:

  • Indomitable strength
  • Healthy aggression as a natural mechanism for survival
  • Ability to draw and defend boundaries, territoriality
  • Ability to form fraternal bonds especially with same gender members in a group
  • Competitiveness, challenge and combat as a means to growth
  • Ability to assert the self on an interpersonal basis, especially in one-to-one or small group situations.
  • The ability to forcefully grasp and possess the object of one's desires if required
  • Ambition and the effort to realise the ambition
  • Properly channelises our energy for work, competitive drive, ambition, and desire to acquire and possess
  • Courage, fortitude, endurance, valour, stamina, the dynamic will to push forward, even in the face of hardship, disquietude, and uncertainty, are all manifestations of a fully developed level 2 agni
  • At a process level corresponds to enneagram type 1, though not necessarily as a fixed personality type

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