Friday, March 28, 2008

Remembering Essence Through The Enneagram Part II

Step Two Losing the “I” - You’re Not Who You Think You Are

If indeed our Enneagram Point is who we are not, then how can it act as a map for rediscovering and remembering Essence? Each of us, depending on our Enneagram type, lost specific qualities or aspects of Essence. Our personality contains the “clue” to our search to regain these lost qualities. Each Enneagram Point or type contains a distortion of the lost qualities of Essence within the personality’s inherent worldview. Because we feel the loss of Essence so keenly, we cling to the distortion of the lost qualities strongly. We identify ourselves by these distortions of Essence within our personality. We believe we are as we describe ourselves. We must lose the “I”, surrender our small identity, ego, or personality to reclaim these Essential qualities again. Each Enneagram type has a different pathway back to Essence, and it is “mapped” out in the personality itself.

The qualities of Essence for each type are listed below:
Type One Perfection and Serenity
Type Two Humility and Will
Type Three Veracity and Hope
Type Four Equanimity and Origin
Type Five: Non-attachment and Omniscience
Type Six: Faith and Courage
Type Seven: Joy and Work
Type Eight: Innocence and Truth
Type Nine: Love and Right Action

Each of us lives out a “mimic” of the lost qualities of Essence associated with our Enneagram type. This “mimic” is encoded into our personality and shows itself whenever we say “I” am a certain kind of person. If we pay close attention to our belief of “I” am, we can uncover and remember our Essential nature. Let’s look at Types One through Four to see how our personality can begin to show us the way home to Essence and who we truly are.

Type One - “I” am a Good Person
The path back to Essence is a path of remembering. We begin to remember our essential self. Our personality gives us a vital clue to finding our way, to an individual experience of Essence. For the One, striving to correct error, to continually improve is a mimic of a forgotten quality of Essence: Perfection. In essential Perfection, we glimpse the inherent perfection in imperfection. Perfection simply IS - it exists with out our needing to correct or judge it. In fact, when we “remember” Perfection, we realize that it has always been so. Imperfection was merely a construct. Our striving to correct, to reform was an echo of our true search - for the wholeness of Perfection.
Many Ones tell me that they experience moments of this Perfection in Nature. Nature is non-judging and inherently perfect as is. It has no need to be groomed or changed. It radiates the Is-ness of holy Perfection. This recognition finds the One experiencing Serenity, a pure non-judging state of peace. No need to correct, improve, or reform. Perfection already exists and it has always been here. These moments of Perfection and Serenity are sacred openings to Essence for the One. The key to integrating this feeling is to carry the remembrance of this essential Perfection into daily life, even when you are not dissolved in the Essence experience.

Type Two - “I” am a Loving Person
For the Two, Essence manifests through Humility as she discovers that it is not her personal will that brings her love when she works to ensure others’ dependence on her. Rather, she finds that a higher Will works through her as she serves. The Two learns to stay at home to herself, rather than allowing her energy to escape through her heart center to others. She establishes her center within herself. Initially, this can be a terrifying experience where keeping her attention focused on her own heart can find her with a gaping maw of emptiness. If she stays focused, however, she will find the emptiness is no longer terrifying, but spacious. She discovers the “cave of the Heart” where there is room to cradle all of humanity and more, endless potential to love and serve as a conduit for Will acting through her.

Type Three - “I” am a Successful Person
The productive Three focuses on doing whatever it takes to ensure that they are successful in others’ eyes. It is very clear that they have to “make things happen”. Often it is a failure that cannot be converted to a success that causes the Three to question his chameleon-like deceit and emphasis on doing and appearing successful. Doubt opens the way to true Veracity where the Three examines his authentic desires, beliefs, and preoccupations. “What do I truly wish to do?” the Three asks himself, rather than “What will I be successful doing?” or “How can I spin this to make me look good?” Often, a period of not-doing or just “being” allows the Three to realize that he is intrinsically lovable and will survive without adapting or “making it happen.” He regains the lost Essential quality of Hope. Things work whether the Three does them or not. He doesn’t have to make everything happen, to ensure he is worthy in others view. He finds essential worth inside. Then supported by Hope and tempered with Veracity, he can put his talent for producing and selling in service of a chosen higher purpose or calling.

Type Four - “I” am a Sensitive Person
The Four feels deeply, profoundly. From the heights of ecstasy to the depths of despair, the Four explores the intensities of the emotional realm. Her antipathy for that which is ordinary and mundane color her existence with flair and uniqueness, as she longs for the missing element in her life. Yet, she paradoxically finds Essence through the cultivation of the ordinary, through the “flatness” of simplicity. The lost quality of Equanimity gentles and smooths out the emotional ups and downs. The Four discovers the extraordinary contained within the ordinary. Cultivating the balanced energy of Equanimity leads Four to the recovery of her Essence where she finds that the missing piece that she has searched for throughout her life has always been with her. She finds the Source, Divine Origin within herself illuminating the realization that there has never been anything missing. She is and has always been fully complete. That which she has longed for has always been with her. And whenever she touches Essence, she remembers her wholeness and completeness.

We’ll look closely at personality and Essence for Types Five through Nine in the next blog entry. (Adapted from The Everyday Enneagram by Lynette Sheppard.)

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