Being Human: A Catalog of Insights
Supplemental Coaching:

Using the Wheelbook to Begin Playing the Awareness Game


The Personality and Essence Wheel is a tool that arranges human behavior under eight easily recognized types that can be learned by heart.

The method proposed here for using this wheel is a form of dynamic interpersonal meditation, in the form of a game that harmonizes relating with other people. In using this wheel one can learn to have the presence of mind to recognize one's own conditioned manipulations among these types, and drop them in favor of one's essential strengths and qualities instead. Then one can recognize the manipulations of other people's types and dodge them. In this game--which I call "the awareness game"-- one can then have the presence of mind to use the non-manipulative communications that are shown at the end of the wheelbook to play for both personal authenticity and for peace and harmony with other people.

The simple idea here is getting to be who you really are at heart while at the same time deliberately playing for harmony with others. Learning the eight types shown here--which show the sides of everyone you know and meet-- can give you the information necessary for doing that.

The wheelbook illustrates both healthy and unhealthy behavior, and brings to light the corresponding healthy, productive, and highly-functioning behaviors that are blocked off and obscured by poorly functioning behaviors. (Ordinarily, modern diagnostic systems tend to show up only the unhealthy, maladaptive, or "neurotic" symptoms of what is designated "sick" behavior. Yet, playing this game will show that behavior which causes troubles and problems can be turned around, by choice.)

The line of demarkation here is not between "well" and "sick." Nor does it have to be regarded as a line between "good" and "evil." It is whether a person is cleanly and honestly expressing and acting in behalf of what they are interested in, what they like, and are wishing for--what they innately love--or whether they are trying to manipulate the other person to be who they want them to be, instead of whoever the other may happen to be. It's this simple: is one communicating what they like? Or are they manipulating?

This latter course of behavior inevitably brings pain and conflict into relationship on both sides. And yet--although little recognized--it is the most common way that people relate with each other--at home, at work, and even at play.

This catalog of insights can be used by any reader to recognize and "get off of" their own self-defeating manipulations and start using their innate strengths and qualities more often instead.

Reading the Wheels

The order of the eight types starts in the upper right hand position of each wheel (with the Dictator/Can-Do Person) and continues counter-clockwise to the left. This is the natural sequence of these types of behavior when they are seen in life, and it is the easy way to have coherent continuity in reading through all these wheels.

The top four types are more aggressive, assertive, and out-going ("yang") and the bottom four types are more passive, yielding, and in-staying ("yin"). Opposite types across the center of the wheel are not exactly "opposite" to each other, but are reciprocals of each other. They are yang and yin ends of the same stick. Perhaps the most interesting way to read a wheel is by comparing the reciprocals as one goes around the wheel to the left. Seeing the "dialogue" between these recipocal types as you go along will enhance your understandings of the subtleties of each of them. (You'll see what I mean.) You'll be seeing both what each type is, and what each type definitely is not. You'll be learning both what to expect of each type, and also what to definitely not expect.

None of the types is any better or worse than any of the other types. The idea is not to change from one type to another type, nor to try to get another person to do that. It is to work on your own types, to moderate them, and simply to recognize others' types so you know what's going on. Each type, in its excess, has its own characteristic downfalls (in the first part of the catalog), and each, in moderation, has its own characteristic blessings (in the essence wheels at the end). All of the types, working together, are indispensible for human life. So whatever types you have, you have vital parts to play in the groups and society that you are in.

If you are disturbed by any of the insights that you have into your own self, or into the self of another person, go right to the essence wheels in back to see the strengths and qualities that lie right underneath that element that you are concerned about. Then you can understand immediately what you can do about it.

The wheels are in sets of four. Bottom wheels illustrate, clarify, and amplify the upper wheels. And as you become familiar with the wheelbook, you can compare elements of each of the types on all four of the wheels on the facing pages. They are arranged in these sets to enhance the clarity of your recognition of the constant themes that are underlying each type. To get a broader spectrum of one of the types, read that type only for several pages of wheels, or all the way through the whole catalog.

*The first two wheels in the wheelbook are designed to give you a general, preliminary idea of what the essence and personality of each of the types look like, so you can be somewhat familiar with them as you are reading on through.

The rest of the wheels will show you typical aspects of the eight types, as may be seen in different common contexts of ordinary daily life--for instance, what's in it for them, how they each behave when things go wrong, how they each relate to your problems with other people, what they probably think you did wrong, etc. Seeing how each of the types behaves in these common contexts will enable you to put together an over-all picture of each of them as you go along.

The first sets of these wheels illustrate the typical scenario of each type. The scenario is the meaning that each type projects onto every scene that they enter. This is the principal stake that each type has in that meeting or event. (For instance, the Dictator projects a control scenario, the Con Artist projects an admiration scenario, etc.)

These sets of scenario wheels also point out corresponding typical movements through the space that can be observed, and postures, appearance, and gestures typical of each type, to help you in spotting those scenarios that are out there.

The next set of wheels shows the emotional feelings--both negative and positive--that are typical of each type. Notice that the wheels here illustrate both the conceptual sense of these emotional feelings, and the sensory sense--or feeling of them that can be palpably experienced--showing where in the body the sensations of these emotional tensions (negative emotions) and the release of these tensions (positive emotions) can actually be felt.

The next sets of wheels show what the thinking mind of each type actually thinks about--its beliefs, opinions, and logic--and what the type most typically talks about.

Then there are sets of wheels illustrating the ego of each type--what that type wants, is angling for, and needs. The ego is the part of the human self that governs our motivations and organizes our behavior around those motivations.

The next and longest group of sets of wheels illustrates the personality, or, in this context, the outward behavior of each type. The personality is made up of the manipulations and defense mechanisms that characterize the type--what that type actually does and says in trying to get another person to be who their own ego wants the other to be, instead of whoever they may be of their own free choice.

These wheels show what common human manipulations look like, and what they sound like when the types speak manipulatively. This is so that you can learn to recognize these manipulations when they are going on. And you will find them both in your own self and in the self of the other person.

The rest of the wheels in the wheelbook will teach you the corresponding types of the human essence. They will show you the basic strengths and qualities that humans are born with, so that you can use them if you have forgotten, because they are really yours. It appears obvious that all of us have been born with some of these strengths and qualities of all of these types. It is in the manipulations of personality that we each appear to "specialize," and be so different from each other. If we could all be in essence all of the time we would all be much alike in all of the ways in which human beings thrive, and are happy!

The wheelbook concludes with a series of sets of wheels that show you the human personality and the human essence side by side, so that you can, finally, learn the wheel that way for your own practical use in relating with other people.

These comparative wheels illustrate that the personality is merely an exaggeration, or an excess of the essence. So you can see that you do not have to give up being who you really are in order to use this tool to change, and grow, and adapt more peacefully. You only have to moderate what you see your self doing--as you are able, and as you wish. This catalog of insights is a method for moderating what you do in excess, and being able to do what is natural, innate, and appropriate in moderation.

In these final wheels you are encouraged to learn to remember both the personality and essence together, so that when you see personality--in your self, or in others--you simultaneously see essence. This is a method for learning and practicing relating with others in essence, instead of in personality.

The severity of the behavior and its propensity to bring adverse reactions from other people increases as one proceeds through the personality wheels. Although a given person may definitely display the behavior patterns of a given type, it doesn't mean that they will go to these extremes, or suffer these more severe consequences. However, if a reader is already suffering these more severe consequences, again the model of the essence and the use of non-manipulative communication offers a way to make a brand new start that lies at hand.

Usually each given person has a little or a lot of the strengths and qualities of all eight types of essence. (There may be resources here that they do not know of.) And sometimes each person may--especially under certain circumstances--do any of the manipulative behaviors of all eight types of personality. But people have their predominant character types. And they do not get "out of character" easily.

From years of observation with this tool, I have found that most people specialize in any combination of three of the types on the wheel. This is enough of a mix to make us all seem so different from each other. One may sometimes get into behavior in the other types. But each person is usually presenting the behavior that is found in a combination of three of the types on the wheel. These, as a con-sequence of lifelong conditioning--or so it appears--are their "primary types."

With continuing observation in awareness, these three predominant types of a person stand out, and are seen to be most prominent in characterizing their daily lives and any difficulties that they have at that time. And one of these three can often be recognized as standing out the most, and taking the lead as a "chief personality feature" that guides their over-all life.

The three principal types that most people display actually do characterize their lives: they pre-determine by conditioning what scenarios they will project on the scenes that come up in their lives, what habitual emotional reactions they are most likely to have, what habitual thinking will determine their judgment, what habitual desires will determine their motivation, and what habitual manipulations will actually get acted-out on the stage of whatever group or society they are living in.

When you are experienced in this approach, you will know the themes of the eight types by heart and be able to sense them, almost by intuition, by their flavors. And by knowing the flavors of these themes, you will be able to open the wheelbook to any set of wheels and be able to gain new insights into what you are doing right now in them, whatever the subject those wheels are addressing. Or you will be able to put any other person into the wheel, asking any question that you can think of, and you will be able to have insights into what the other person is doing, and find objective answers to your questions.


When you are able to have a clear picture of the types of a given person in any of the sets of wheels--for instance, in a set of the thinking wheels--then you can factor back and forth in the other sets of wheels, and be able to find the corresponding scenarios, emotional feelings, egos, and personalities--as well as the typical underlying essence of that person--that go along with that typical characteristic thinking where you have first identified their types. You can cross-factor from any place in the wheelbook to all of the other places in this way. Thus, if you know the emotional feeling you can factor all the rest; if you know the scenario you can factor all the rest, etc.

If you recognize a person's types in any one part of the catalog then start intentionally watching out for examples coming up from that person of the same types in the other areas of the catalog. Using the scorecard, you can make check-marks in the wheel (and keep notes), and keep making check-marks with every element of behavior that you spot that you can place in the wheel. Eventually, you will see a predominance of check-marks in some of the positions, and perhaps enough check-marks in one of them to suspect what the person's chief personality feature is.

Try to keep keeping your mind open, too. You might be observing at a time when a bunch of minor behaviors are happening, and only by patience will you begin to see more predominant types in activity. As a general rule, the more intense the situation is, the more likely the behavior will be coming from the person's primary types. Times of great disturbance are the best times to recognize the primary types and the person's chief personality feature.

Seeing the Obvious

In studying your self, or in studying the self of another person, at any time, you are not looking for things that are hidden and very, very subtle. You need to train and practice so that you can have the presence of mind to notice and pick up on the things that are blatant, the things that stand out and are obvious and apparent. Take these specific little elements, or these specific little phrases of speech, and put them into the wheel and find their types. Again, you are not looking for the invisible. You are looking for any elements that you can focus on that are apparent and stand out. You can call this "seeing the obvious" of human behavior, yours and that of anybody else. When you can take any little element that is blatant and obvious and put it into the wheel, you are at the beginning of understanding how human behavior works.


Be careful not to label any person by one of these names of the types. If you make that mistake, and always go around associating them with that one type, you will completely undermine your possibility of really understanding them. They are a make-up of several types mainly and some of all the types. If you are always looking for just one type, you will miss all the rest and have a severely distorted picture of that person. The best way to use this tool is to stay in the present, and keep updating your view of the types of a person by watching whatever keeps popping up, now, and then now. In that way, your understanding and the possible actions you may take because of that understanding will always be coherent with what is actually going on with the other person.

And, on the other hand, in the over-all understanding of another person that grows over the days and weeks, it is also good to keep in mind what their chief type and their other primary types are, when you have identified them clearly. And keep picking up on examples of those types that you see them doing day after day.

Be good at both these disciplines, if you wish to be skilled at this game.

Understanding Other Humans

It sometimes happens, in the logic of people, when they are trying to figure out another person's troubling behavior, that they approach the question like this:

They say: "If so-and-so were me, the way he or she would look at the situation would be such-and-such." Or, "If so-and-so were me, what they would do about it would be such and such."

People may rely on this line of logic without realizing that they are doing so. What else is logical, after all, in trying to understand another person than comparing them to what we are familiar with in our own self?

As far as we ordinarily know, all the possibilities that exist are included in what we are familiar with in our own self. Yet, with the understanding of the types in the wheel, the realization is possible of why it is that so many people don't understand each other.

Although we've all got some of the essential qualities in common, we are quite different in the primary types of personality that we specialize in. And the different types each only understand what they themselves typically understand and believe. They do not understand the other types. Usually, they do not even know of the other types' existence. Trying to understand the differences of other types doesn't occur to them if they are assuming that others should reason and plan in the same "normal" way that they, themselves, do.

Any person without this understanding of the types certainly sees a lot of behaviors in the world that they regard as strange, or "abnormal," outside the parameters of what they, themselves, know, or could see themselves doing. These behaviors may seem somehow foreign to human nature--perhaps because they are so great (as in the essence) that they seem impossible to attain, but usually because they are so disruptive (as in personality) to the person's peace and harmony. And in that case, they cannot see how or why the other person is doing what they are doing. They can't imagine any justification for it. Ordinarily at such times, they haven't any idea where the other person is coming from.

Understanding the types allows one to check this out in the eight types of scenarios that the different types project, and the eight types of ego needs that each of the types wants, and so on through the catalog of insights. You can always find out where a person is coming from in this way. They are only being human, after all.

Expecting another person to think and act the way we do does not take into account one's own primary types, or the primary types of the other person. So if one of the person's primary types is the Judge, and one of the other's types is the Martyr, they each cannot understand why the other person behaves the way they do.

The Martyr can't understand why the other person doesn't care more about it, and have a heart. But the Judge is baffled at how the other person can be so impractical and not follow the rules. For all of the types looking at each other it is like this.

[Note that the types appear to be equally distributed among men and women of all ages and nationalities. As each person typically specializes in three primary types as they are growing up, that means that, on average, each one of the types appears as a primary type in every three people that you meet. In reality, people also specialize in the types of people that they hang out with, and so in any person's close circle of friends and associates, certain types may predominate. But in one's own family, and as one goes out into other circles of society, one finds that all of the types are there.]

In summary, people do not understand each other because they do not realize that other people may not have the same primary types as they do. However, with this realization, a person can stop expecting other people to be thinking and acting the way that they do. Instead, they can begin watching, and catching on to the typical ways that others are acting on the wheel.

You have to take into account who other people are, and realize that who they are, in personality, at least, is different from you. Then you can start having insights into the emotion and logic that the other person is feeling and thinking from their own side of the meeting or encounter, and the motives that they are seeking to achieve in their own specialized plan for taking advantage of the situation. You can have a simple objective understanding of where it is that they are coming from in doing the things that you see them doing that are bothering you.

This type of insight opens up the possibility of a whole new way of relating with other people.

How to Do It

In your relations with other people that you know, you will soon come to recognize the types of their personality that you are having troubles and perhaps much pain with. And you will also be able to realize the types of your own personality that they may be equally troubled about and perhaps having pain over. Here is where the practice of dropping your manipulations in favor of deliberately relying on your strengths and qualities can come in, and where you can begin to express what you have to say to them in non-manipulative communications, authentic talk, right on through their personalities on the outside and attempting to make contact with their essence within.

The laminated scorecard at the end of the wheelbook provides a means to keep track with checkmarks of the observations you make of your own self by type, and at the same time keep track of your observations of the types of any other person's self that you know (or even see on television or read about in the newspapers). This latter practice is so that you can become familiar with other people's manipulations and dodge them.

People are sometimes manipulating you by television, as well as in person. Watching TV is a good way to practice with the wheelbook, in fact. And this will provide many fascinating understandings about famous or newsworthy people in societies around the world. You can actually have clear insights into the emotional feelings, thinking, and motivations of people in the news who have invaded other countries, bombed buildings, been accused of famous crimes, or, on the other hand, set records flying spacecraft, made loving contributions to humanity, gotten elected to office, or been traded to your hometown team for next season.

The scorecard can be copied to create permanent files that you can add new observations to from time to time, or it can be written on with a ball-point pen and washed clean for strategic employment.

When a person has the presence of mind (awareness) to see their own manipulations and let go of them in favor of their natural strengths and qualities, and be alert enough to see through and dodge other people's manipulations, then they can apply the list of authentic communications (true expressions of one's honest experience) that is printed on the back of the laminated scorecard.

These statements will address anything you care to address without manipulating the other person, and reduce their need to manipulate you. And thereby, mutually authentic communication and companionship can arise.

For instance, a father and son, husband and wife, woman and boss, or subordinate, for examples, can sit down at the table together and put the laminated scorecard down on the table between them, and see and chart insights about their own and each other's manipulative behavior "outfront."

And if they will agree beforehand to limit what they say about the issues or problems that they have with each other to these non-manipulative communications, they can keep flipping the scorecard over, and making selections from the examples that are given there, in holding their conversation one step at a time.

Being willing to be transparently objective together in this way, and "getting it all out" objectively in this non-manipulative way can bring communication and understanding to a level that they may have never seen together before. This kind of relating is at the heart of harmonious companionship.

Working on Your Self

When you recognize a manipulative behavior that you are doing fits one of the types in the wheel, there are a variety of things that you can do about it in this approach.

1. You can just watch yourself doing it, perhaps realizing that you are playing your same old personality game. The more you just do this, the more familiar you will become with the personality patterns of your self. When you can step back, so to speak, and witness your self doing a manipulative behavior of your personality, you can disidentify from that. Yes, it is your personality. Yet, is it who you really are within? Can you see your essence in its place?

2. You can try to interrupt your self, and drop the behavior, and just do nothing for awhile. This gives you a chance to see what that is like. You can witness the experience of stepping out of your conditioned personality for awhile. You can see that this is possible. You can be briefly free of your conditioned self.

3. If you are experiencing a strong emotion, you can just watch it--that is, feel the sensations of what it feels like in your body for awhile . (The emotions wheels in the catalog show you where in the body to look for it.) This emotional tension is what drives the personality into outward manipulations. The honest, direct experience of these sensations drains away some of the intensity of the emotional tension that is there. Being aware of it purges it from your musculature, and may allow you to relax a little more. You may feel the positive emotion that goes with the release of that tension pop up in your body, instead. (This is called "processing," or "transforming" feelings.)

4. You can try to do the opposite of the manipulative behavior that you were doing. (If you were pushing and controlling, you can sit back and let go for awhile. If you were trying to impress and posing, you can see if you can get interested in who the other person is, for a change. Etc.)

5. You can tell the other person about your manipulation, and explain to them what you have seen of it. You can acknowledge that there's a better way to get your point across with them. And they may very well agree.

6. And you can play the awareness game, as illustrated above, foregoing manipulating the other person, coming from your natural strengths instead, and saying what you have to say to them in sincere expression of your honest experience.

This can bring a transformation of the encounter, from such as: "Do what I tell you to, or else!" and, "You're wrong and you ought to be punished." and "How can you treat me this way after all I've done for you?"--etc., etc., around the wheel--to simple compassionate, non-manipulative statements such as "I like . . ." "I wish . . ." "I'm not comfortable with . . ." and, "I will work with you to . . ."

This is the difference between enmity and companionship among people.


1. This catalog of insights constitutes the second part of a larger work in progress, The Awareness Game -- Playing for the Happiness of Authenticity, and for Peace, by John Bilby, with technical collaboration by Carlton Clark.

2. As far as I can tell, the characteristic themes of the eight types are of ancient derivation. They would be a product of the contemplations and insights of monastics from several early cultures, reflecting the human condition for purposes of spiritual transformation. There are quite a number of different known spiritual tools and classical models like this, often in the form of mandalas, which have been used in the same way.

In the 20th Century, these themes have been re-animated and developed for diagnostic purposes in psychotherapy by several American teachers and writers, including Dr. Harry Stack Sullivan, The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry, New York, Norton (1953), 393 pp., and Dr. Timothy F. Leary, Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality; a Functional Theory and Methodology for Personality Evaluation, New York, Ronald Press (1957), 518 pp.

Dr. Leary, in reports of careful clinical tests, described the themes of each of the eight types by a brief list of key descriptive terms in a balanced wheel diagram. He then derived profiles of his patients' personalities in terms of each of the types on the wheel through the administration of a written test. What the present method has attempted to do is develop a "fleshed-out" modern charicature of each of the types that is designed to give a "feel" of them as they appear today in real life--for aid in using this tool for rapid, easy recognition of the eight types "off the top of one's head," so to speak, in live situations,.

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©1999 Teaching Tools For Mindfulness Training