Let’s assume that you have a body that you have sculpted through years of living it. Now let’s assume you know your Enneagram style. Now let’s turn our next assumption into an exercise: how does your body reflect your Enneagram style?
Your Enneagram habits are powerful, we all agree on that. So your body will reflect your Enneagram energy expression. Just notice.
I would submit that the enneagram is a triumph of poetry. by no scientific method of which I, or any of the other authors, am aware, can you arrive at the conclusion that under stress a style Two will “go” to style Eight.
And I would suggest that deducing the math by studying the stars (according to the scholarly research) was as much an intuitive poetic insight of Origen or some other meditating monk as it was the offspring of Pythagorean mathematics.
Poetry is quite practical when properly employed. So if you want to enter into the deeper understanding of your style or the style of others, listen the to poetry of their and your language, feel the intensity or absence of an energy, read expressions of their body.
And if someone asks if the Enneagram is scientific, just say, “No, it’s not (rocket) science, it’s advanced poetry.”
You’re in an important conversation with someone you like and respect. You’re focused and the content of the conversation is interesting to you.
You’re doing this at a party or some group and someone to whom you have previously paid no attention mentions your name. You notice. Why? Neurologically, objectively, your name was no louder, had no more emphasis, but you heard it clearly.
What’s going on?
One way to think about it is that you have antennae, or to use a biological metaphor, you have receptors, for your name. We not only filter OUT, we filter IN.
It is March. I’m filtering for basketball. I will learn easily, remember like glue and value geographically. (I will know more and make better decisions about local teams).
So when we hear someone talking about “objectively,” and “scientifically” you can inwardly just assume ignorance unless they are talking about Newtonian 19th century science 101. (It doesn’t work so well after that).
That’s how our Enneagram filter works. You know your Enneagram style. What does it filter out? What does it filter in?
What does that cost you? What does that profit you?
Self-help books, advice from business people and classical coaching usually advise us to formulate our goals around activity, and the results may or not follow. If they don’t, we do something else. But the focus is on activity. Results are often the consequence of forces outside of us and/or way beyond our control.
And that is good advice. Well, usually, except for another layer to consider that coalesces around our Enneagram habits. Our Enneagram habits are all about what we do and have always done. But the inner goal of the Enneagram habits may have results others do not have in mind. Let’s say you are a Nine. You withdraw from a conflict. Your goal is to avoid conflict. Sort of. You may be obeying an absent parent and your inner goal is to please that parent. So while you are annoying your friend or spouse or boss, that’s one result. The other result in inner peace because you’re being a good child. So while the business journals say that the results cannot be controlled, our Enneagram habits are precisely to control situations. All ego states have as one (of several) intent: to control.
This prompts an interesting question about your Enneagram style? How do YOU take control? What percent of the time does that work?
A master. No, not me. Jerry Wagner. He has written an article on the Enneagram in which he explains in a variety of ways how a “paradigm” works. Our Enneagram can be nicely understood as a paradigm –that is a framework or hypothesis of what is real, how the world works and what to expect.
Jerry puts this in the context of the Cognitive Theory of George Kelly, but don’t let this dissuade you. He is simple, utterly clear and the article is a fine synthesis.
Here’s the link: http://EnneagramSpectrum.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=06fb90db52aaa2481960cec31&id=6b3fe9f9b4&e=ed12c10a95
You will be rewarded for your time spent reading this.
What is the opposite of your Enneagram habit? Our habit, like all ego-functions has a particular function you might want to be aware of: it is able to predict. Once we figure out how to cope with the world as we understand it, we keep doing those things that work. But if they don’t work as well as they used to or they’re getting in your way, you could try doing the opposite.
That won’t work. Going directly against the grain is too hard and too apparently unreasonable. Besides, our opposite behavior often has the same motive as our original habit.
The real opposite of our Enneagram habit is creativity. When we experiment with new ways of behaving and pay attention to the results, when we borrow models from other disciplines, cultures, industries and try them, we can’t predict whether they will work or not. Don’t try to predict. Observe.