Saturday, August 29, 2009
Greed vs Generosity - Enneagram Inquiry II
Ever since the IEA (International Enneagram Association) meeting in Las Vegas, I’ve been pondering greed vs generosity. David Daniels, Russ Hudson, and Jessica Dibb presented a thought-provoking and heartfelt inquiry into the subject. (See blog entry dated August 6, 2009.)
And I kid you not, I was lost in thought about personal manifestations of greed when I saw this license plate in front of me. 14U24ME. Stunned, I took several photos through the windshield while driving with my other hand.
Now, I’m not pointing fingers at whoever has this license plate; for all I know it’s a family joke or some other such innocuous sentiment. That’s not the point. The point is that greed is so pervasive that we may not even notice its effect on and in our lives.
Greed. We don’t dispute its existence. We believe there is greed in the world and that it globally corrosive. Still it’s always “out there”- somewhere else - objectified. And maybe that is part of the problem.
Wall Street is greedy. The banks are greedy. Shareholders are greedy. Corporations are greedy. Oil companies, big business, developers. These “things” and faceless groups are greedy.
Distancing ourselves in this manner effectively keeps us from examining the roles greed plays in our own lives. And until we become aware of greed working within each of us, there will be no shifts in consciousness on a more global scale.
Through dyad exercises and a panel of all the types, the IEA presentation illuminated the different faces of personal greed vis a vis each of the nine Enneagram styles. David, Russ, and Jessica allowed us to discover the nuances of greed within ourselves. I’ll use myself and one of my personal greed permutations as an example.
When I’m in my Fiveish space, the Security Point for Seven, I might feel very proud of the fact that I don’t need more stuff or to go shopping. But in fact, my greed may show up very differently - in guarding my private time to the exclusion of loved ones, of withholding time and my presence.
How do I know if this is a product of normal healthy boundary setting or greed? By observing. By activating my inner observer, I can discern the difference. There is a grasping quality, even a desperation to greed. The energetic sense is quite different.
If I’m simply in need of a little time, the energy around that sensed desire feels calm, centered, quiet. I sense no body tightening or strictures and can give myself just enough time for self-care. No more, no less.
Driven by greed, I feel myself pull inside and tighten around my perceived need. I hold myself armored against intrusion. It feels like I might lose something. Energy or time or some ineffable something might be taken from me.
Watching greed within myself, without judgment, simply noticing, allows the relaxation of the stricture. I breathe into the here and now, rather than fearing the future intrusion that may never materialize. I can be present fully to myself and others.
The conversation is only beginning on this critical topic. Think about and/or comment on these questions. How does personal greed appear in your life? How is it related to your Enneagram type? How do you work with greed? And how does generosity play out in your life? Let us know your thoughts, feelings, sensations on the subjects of greed and generosity.