Thursday, September 17, 2009

Greed vs Generosity - Enneagram Inquiry III

I was talking with a friend about the question of greed. “Isn’t fear what really is underneath greed?” she asked. I think to an extent that is true. Still it is so much easier to notice greed in ourselves than it is to dig down to our fear (although the 24 hour news channels would have us believe that nearly everyone in the US. is terrified.).

What do we fear really? That there won’t be enough money, food, safety, etc.? Surely that is part of what drives our greedy impulses. But underneath that, is there something more hidden?

Can it be that we sometimes feel empty? Is there a space or void that needs to be filled, leading to grasping and greed. Anxiety and contraction may be part of this bargain. There won’t be enough ‘whatever” to fill it - I have to make sure I get enough. It’s pure survival.

Yet when we are aware and remember that we are Essence, remember that we ARE happiness, the hole is full. As it always was, allowing us to be more expansive, open, even generous.

What about generosity? Is it the opposite of greed or just part of a continuum? Can noticing generosity in ourselves with the energetic states and body awarenesses that accompany it lead to more generosity? And might we begin to become generous with ourselves as well as others? What might that look and feel like?

Generosity does not mean giving away the farm. Awareness can help us to know when to go to the grocery store and get our survival needs addressed and also when to let go, when we have enough in this moment, when we may give to others quite naturally.

In much the same way, the higher virtue for Nine, Love, is distinguished from indiscriminate merging. I live in a Niney culture in Hawaii. Native Hawaiians at one time gave away the farm (their land and way of life). That wasn’t generosity; that was sleep.

They’ve been reclaiming it slowly and like the awakened Nine now experience Aloha (Love) with boundaries. As one of the elders said recently, “You have to aloha yourself, otherwise you no can aloha anybody else.”

And what about Generosity with a capital G - essential Generosity. Essence is always there - how can we get out of our own way, so it may reveal itself to us and shine through us.

Over the next couple of weeks, let’s observe the ways that we experience generosity in ourselves, or recognize it in others and whether it increases by our noticing. Let us know what you learn. I’ll report back here - I hope you will as well.

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