Friday, July 31, 2009

Looking for Happiness? What if It’s Already Here?

“Happiness is your original nature,” says Robert Holden, PhD, in this morning’s keynote address at the IEA (International Enneagram Association) meeting in Las Vegas. “It is you minus your neuroses.”

Can this be true? Are each of us the only obstacle standing in the way of our own happiness?

Director of the Happiness Project and author of numerous books on the subject, Robert Holden tells us more.

“Happiness is not a thing. It is not a state of mind. It is not outside you. ... It just IS you. Happiness is our spiritual DNA.”

He went on to elucidate our self-imposed blocks to happiness vis a vis our Enneagram types. A basic belef about happiness (that coincides with our type’s worldview),a hidden fear or two, and a mistaken premise illuminate the way each of us hides from our own innate happiness. He then describes how the “Happiness Contract” needs a rewrite so that we may open ourselves to remembering our natural joy.

Here’s an example in brief: the belief or rule that Ones ascribe to is that happiness is deserved. (or not.) One must be very good or perfect, forever and always, to deserve happiness. Sure, that’s easy.

The fear is that we are actually bad inside, that we don’t deserve happiness.

The mistaken premise? X amounts of good behavior can be used as currency for X amounts of happiness.
The rewrite involves the recognition of Perfection as the spiritual path where one cultivates the awareness of perfection everywhere, including in one’s self.

Happiness is you; your true nature. You can’t earn or deserve it. Like Essence, it is already there just waiting for you to notice and remember it.

He shared a prayer with us written by a woman named Macrinia Wiederkehr:

“O God, help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is. Amen.”

At lunchtime, I downloaded one of his books to my Kindle, “Happiness Now! Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good FAST” and headed out to the pool for some “remembering” time.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Energies of the Enneagram Head Triad

Enneagram types Five, Six, and Seven make up the head center triad. The emotion that fuels their drives is fear. Their energies or force fields reflect the internalized, externalized, and forgotten aspects of this emotion.

Type Five
Triad: Head
Emotion: Fear - Internalized
Drive: Avarice
Energy: “Invisible” Detachment

Five represents the internalized version of fear. The mental center creates a haven where Fives can retreat. The realm of ideas and knowledge will keep one safe. The drive for the Five is avarice, greed for knowledge and privacy. Fives fear being overwhelmed by outside stimuli, emotions, or events (surprises) they can’t prepare for. Five’s strategic defense of withdrawal includes the withdrawal of life force to an internal safe place, like a castle with the drawbridge pulled up.

Those of us who inhabit the rest of the Enneagram Points experience this absence of vital being. The energy is simply “not there”. The body is present and seems to occupy space, but the force field is gone. As a result, the Five can avoid being “seen” and their presence at a meeting or event may not be remembered. Worse, it may bring about the feared intrusion as we try to “find” the Five, energetically. If the Five has not withdrawn, we can experience running into a very strong boundary when we “intrude.” We seem to bounce off a very strong force field - a seeming “get back” vibe.

When dealing with a Five’s energy, take special care to pull your own force field back close to your body. Be careful not to overwhelm the Five with your energy. Respect the Five’s strong boundaries.

Type Six
Triad: Head
Emotion: Fear - Externalized
Drive: Fear/Doubt
Energy: Fight Six - Jabbing Confrontation
Flight Six - “Poised For Flight” Scanning

Six is the externalized version of Fear. The mental centers capacity for imagination is highly developed in the Six, who continually “imagines” the worst case scenario, and then plans to keep himself safe. Doubt is the drive that manifests as a natural outgrowth of Fear - and Sixes doubt nearly everything.

Six’s two manifestations of Flight and Fight, have very different ways of expressing Fear, hence they have very different energetics. The Fight Six jumps right in with both feet, when up against a scary, dangerous world. Action is the antidote to fear. They may even purposely engage in daredevil pursuits to exert control over or conquer their fear. Hidden motives can be brought to light if you confront others - provoke them until the truth comes out.

Not surprisingly, the energy of the Fight Six can feel jabbing to the rest of us. There is a push, then a withdraw of the force field. Another push, withdraw. It is the energetic equivalent of the Cowardly Lion confronting the Scarecrow and Tin Man. The Fight Six checks us out like a prizefighter circling his opponent, waiting for the worst.

Phobic or Flight Six asks for confirmation. S/he scans the environment for dangers. Charm and warmth are used to disarm potential enemies. A childlike sweetness can evoke protector impulses in the rest of us. Energy is high up around the head and out from the body in 360 degrees - swirling and scanning the environment like radar. Like a fearful rabbit, energy comes forward and scurries back in a repeating pattern as trust develops.

Keep your answers, promises, and energy rock-solid when dealing with a Six. Stay focused and in your body. Don’t react to the Fight Six by pushing your force field at him - like the Cowardly Lion when slapped by Dorothy - he’ll crumple.

Type Seven
Triad: Head
Emotion: Fear - Forgotten
Drive: Gluttony
Energy: Airy Excitement

Sevens are driven by Fear, but “forgot” they were afraid. The mental center is used as a diversion from what invokes fear, by imagining pleasant future options and possibilities. Even memory can be affected, and only pleasant memories are easily recalled, or a positive interpretation is placed on remembered, painful events.

The drive for Seven is Gluttony - for life experience, adventure, and possibility. So the Seven races from course to course, frenetically sampling life’s banquet in an effort to stay high and optimistic.

The energy of Sevens feels airy and effervescent. Their excitement can be contagious, but also exhausting. Like a ping pong ball giddily bouncing in a chaotic pattern, the Seven is the energetic equivalent of Peter Pan, grabbing ideas like fairy dust from the air, then sprinkling and leaving them as quickly when something else has grabbed his attention. If you try to focus or limit a Seven, swooooosh - their energy is out the door to Never Never Land, even if their body remains in the room.

It is easy to get caught up in a Seven’s enthusiastic energy and lose focus. When dealing with a Seven, stay focused and centered. Keep your own energy or force field lower in your body, closer to the ground. This will help prevent your getting caught up in the Seven’s tornado of visions and ideas, losing sight of your own priorities.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Energies of the Enneagram Heart Triad

Two, Three, and Four make up the heart center triad. The emotion that fuels their drives is grief. Other Enneagram authors also refer to this triad as the “image” triad, due to these three types’ concern with how others perceive them. Grief or sadness ensues when each feels s/he has substituted an image as full or partial replacement for a loss of self.

Type Two
Triad: Heart
Emotion: Grief - Externalized
Drive: Pride
Energy: Aggressive Affection

Point Two is the externalized version of grief. S/he feels others feelings, empathizes with their pain, and works to meet their needs and heal them. A Two has an image of himself as the Giver and caretaker; the one without needs who can intuit and meet the needs of others. The “charge” of the emotional battery is externalized to others by the Two, so s/he doesn’t need to feel her own. Of course the downside of this occurs when the Two’s battery is discharged until it is empty.

The drive for Two is Pride. The Two tells a story of feeling her energy coming out from the middle of her chest to another with whom she desires connection. She divines through her emotional center what the significant person needs. Unfortunately, because her life force is externalized and probing others, she is out of touch with herself. Her pride shows itself in that she believes she knows not only another’s needs, but how to meet those needs. Another aspect of pride is reflected in Two’s belief that she herself does not have needs.

Those of us who attract the Two’s focused attention feel the intensity of being the center of the Two’s universe. Our intrinsic value is verified by the Two. The energy feels like a warm, aggressive force field coming from the Two’s heart toward us, enfolding us. This can feel wonderful or intrusive.

When a Two is overwhelmed or frenetically giving, s/he can fall victim to a swirling chaos of emotions or ‘hysteria’. Although this energy is like an emotional whirlwind, it is important for us to stay present and solid when hysteria erupts. Twos already fear that we will abandon them - if we stay steady, offer focused clarity, and do not leave the room, the Two will profoundly appreciate this. And we will avoid getting caught up in the maelstrom of ‘hysteria’.

Type Four
Triad: Heart
Emotion: Grief - Internalized
Drive: Envy
Energy: Dramatic Pull

Four represents the internalized version of grief in the Heart triad. Fours tell a tale of loss and longing for a pivotal missing piece that is central to their feeling whole and complete. Rather than externalize grief like the Two (others need help, I don’t), the Four internalizes and focuses on her sadness. In fact, the Four may amplify or intensify the sadness in order to explore it deeply. An image that reveals Four’s uniqueness or defectiveness in others eyes, serves to enhance and continue the feeling of loss that no one else can understand. The emotional charge of grief is found in the Four’s rich inner life of bittersweet longing.

Envy grows out of this grief and becomes the Four’s drive. Not only is the Four missing some elemental piece that would make life complete, but it is clear that others have it. The Four longs for the completeness, the love, that others have. If she fixates attention on a person (or job, place, whatever) that she feels will complete her, she feels the tug of her heartstrings toward the desired.

The rest of the the Enneagram Points feel the Four’s heart as if it were pulling at them. Four does not want to leave her rich inner world, but rather to bring the other to them to join and make her finally complete. Energetically, there can be a magnetic pull toward the Four’s depth. Even their energy seems “special,” somehow different. The difference pulls seductively.

The Four’s energy pulls at the desired. As it comes closer to being realized, the Four may find flaws and push it away. So energy can pull - and then push away. As the desired person or object recedes into the distance, it may become desired again, and the Four pulls it back toward her. It may be confusing to the desired person to experience this push-pull energetic.

The Four wishes to be met emotionally. Remember your own boundaries and cultivate clarity when you meet a Four’s intensity. This will make it possible to honor the realm in which they live, without feeling pulled into the vortex of emotion. Listen and stay present with the Four, work on understanding rather than helping or changing them. Constancy and steadiness will help you deal with the push-pull energy.

Type Three
Triad: Heart
Emotion: Grief - Forgotten
Drive: Deceit
Energy: Charismatic Producer

Three is the member of the heart triad, who simply “forgot” their grief. Threes are busy, optimistic people. The emotional charge of grief is set aside while enormous amounts of energy are channeled into doing and presenting a successful image to others. The Three can appear very driven or workaholic. They are prodigious producers. Grief is an emptiness that the Three can avoid by continuing to juggle multiple tasks, projects,, or adjusting his image to be seen as successful.

The Three’s habit of deceit is mainly self-deceit, in that he deceives himself into believing that he is the image that he projects. “I am what I do” or “I am my image” displaces authentic desires and preoccupations. Three tricks himself into believing that he is whatever will gain him success in others’ eyes. On a deeper level, the Three believes that there is no authentic self underneath the image, so he’d better keep dazzling you with his successful performance. Otherwise you could see that there is nothing but smoke and mirrors covering an empty hole.

Swirling like smoke and brilliant like mirrors, the Three’s energy is captivating. It is moving and shaking, inspiring energy. We listen with bated breath, suspending our own disbelief, when the Three comes toward us from his heart, simultaneously divining and making the subtle image shifts that will gain our love. A Five described a famous Three politician “I saw him speak and I was so uplifted and inspired, I would have followed him anywhere. Later, I tried to recall what he said, and I couldn’t come up with a single concrete position. And I consider myself a critical thinker.”

Be attentive to substance as well as performance. Cultivate awareness of your own center when confronted with the charisma of the Three. Do not directly confront or embarrass a Three by declaring the Emperor has no clothes. Honor a Three for who s/he is rather than the performance.

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.

Gut Triad

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.

Type Eight
Triad: Gut
Emotion: Anger - Externalized
Drive: Lust
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.

Type One
Triad: Gut
Emotion: Anger - Internalized
Drive: Resentment
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.

Type Nine
Triad: Gut
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.