Thursday, July 2, 2009
Enneagram Energies of the Gut Triad
Let’s now take a look at the energy of the individual types, starting with the Gut Triad, Enneagram types Eight, One, and Nine.
Eight, Nine, and One are the types that make up the gut center triad. The underlying emotion associated with the gut center is anger. It fuels the drive or passion for each of the gut types.
Emotion: Anger - Externalized
Energy: Lust, Larger than Life
Eight represents the externalized version of anger. their anger is like a summer thunderstorm; it rises quickly, it booms and pounds intensely, and it’s over in a flash. When it’s finished, it’s finished. The air is clear.
Eight’s drive or passion plays out as Excess or Lust (Lust in this instance refers to a “lust for life” rather than the sexual connotation.) Live life to the fullest, and then go further. Taste it, eat it, smell it! Give it everything you’ve got. Hold nothing back!
So it’s not surprising that the energy of Eights strikes the rest of us as large. They fill up a room energetically. We feel their will and strength as a large force field extending out from them, pushing ahead with their agenda. We can either feel energized or intimidated by this energy. However we may feel, Eights want to be met energetically. “Sensing” from the gut, they push the force field out to check your force field. They want to know where you stand. Are you friend or foe? Will you stand your ground? Are you worthy?
If you are intimidated and flee (either actually or with your energy by withdrawing inside yourself), the Eight moves forward. You may be foe or unworthy, and since the Eight can’t sense your presence, s/he must move forward to confront, to find out what you’re really made of.
An Eight stewardess describes her experience: “When people pull back from me or I can’t get a sense of them, it feels like there’s a “power void” and I must move into it. I realize this now, and I’m working on just allowing the void, but my natural reaction is to fill up the space.” Nature abhors a vacuum, and no type exemplifies this more than Eights.
To honor the Eight, we need to meet their considerable energy. To do this, we need to push our own energy from our gut. Bring your attention to the belly center. Now push out your own force field. Allow their force field to probe and find you. If you are trying to communicate with an Eight, be clear, direct, to the point. Don’t be wishy-washy, don’t explain your entire thinking process, just let ‘er rip. Stand your ground, while pushing out with your own force field. Do not escalate the conflict or discussion - this will just cause the Eight’s energy to rise. Unless you are an Eight, you can’t rise as far as they can, and you’ll be crushed. By the same token, do not wimp out or withdraw your energy. State your position clearly, firmly, and briefly while pushing out with your force field. Show yourself to be worthy of respect in the world of the Eight.
Emotion: Anger - Internalized
Energy: Rigid Containment
One contains the internalized version of anger - resentment. Anger is stuffed deep inside and seeps out in in the guise of irritation, frustration, and resentment. Anger can even be turned against the One himself in the form of haranguing by the internal critic. In this sense, Ones’ anger is more like an active volcano that is not allowed to blow. Small bursts of steam vent through clenched teeth as the One seethes.
Resentment is the drive or passion of the One. Small wonder since anger doesn’t get blown off as with the Eight. A One is angry at “having” to circumvent her own desires for that which should be done. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be any reward for being virtuous and responsible. One is angry at the inherent unfairness of this situation. Others just skate by, shirking responsibility or cutting corners, and they aren’t penalized for it. In fact, others seem to be enjoying pleasure and indulging their desires, without necessarily having earned them.
The other eight Points of the Enneagram experience Ones’ energy as contained, but intense. (Pragmatic clarity and seriousness characterize Ones, when not angry.) There is a sense that if the One did blow, it would be along the lines of Krakatoa. Sometimes, the energy can feel stabbing - like a small slice by the force field with each vent of steam, in the form of criticism. We can find ourselves on the defensive and pushing back angrily.
To meet One’s energy, focus your attention on your belly and the ground. Keep your force field constant. Rather than get defensive, explain your position clearly and calmly. Take the One seriously, and above all don’t criticize him. Remember the inner critic is already bashing him. Point out while staying in your gut that there is more than one right answer, but elicit his help with change whenever possible. One’s energy can be rigid, tight when change is called for. Allow time if possible for the One to adjust to the change, and elicit their help with the change whenever possible.
Emotion: Anger - Forgotten
Drive: Sloth or Indolence
Energy: Diffuse Extension
Nines lost awareness of or “forgot” they were angry, but they are no less driven by it than are Ones and Eights. Anger is kept safely hidden from the Nine’s view, but s/he pays a price by also losing her own priorities, desires, even her passion. The strength and action that are the birthright of the gut center are simply not felt. Nines are like an inactive volcano. It takes a lot of energy not to notice something, which may help explain why Nines often feel ‘low energy’ or feel they are enlivened by the energy of others.
Their drive is sloth or indolence toward their own priorities or agendas. Down in the gut lives anger, which the Nine has “forgotten,” but what also lives there is Passion and Life Force and a Nine’s own desires/needs. This inadvertent sacrifice has Nines seemingly just blowing whichever way the wind blows, just going along with life, rather than actively participating or creating a life.
Nines seem diffuse energetically to the rest of us, as if the molecules of their force field are spread out over a great distance. They passively sense their environment from the gut center and take in energy and cues from their surroundings and others. Their energy and attention can extend over a large area. One Nine told me “I sometimes feel that I can sense what is going on on the whole property, even though I’m in the front office.”
Their feeling of being merged or “One with everything” can leave the rest of us wondering if they have a separate self or preference. They appear to just go along. If pushed hard however, they seem to sweetly solidify into a smiling immovable object. While they haven’t chosen a course of action, they have rejected being pushed into one. We find them to be calm, peaceful, easygoing folk, albeit a little extended into the environment. Being with a Nine can feel like falling into a big, comfortable space. It is important to maintain awareness of your boundaries so that you don’t get “lost” in the Niney space.
To truly honor a Nine, allow time for him/her to make a decision without jumping in either with words or non-verbally with your energy (force field) to give them a decision to merge with. Stay steady, don't push, calmly redirect the Nine to making his/her preference known.