How to Use the Enneagram

First, a couple of definitions. The Enneagram is a symbol consisting of a circle, a triangle, and a hexagon.
Around the circle are nine points,referencing the Nine Types. Each Type has a psychic structure that
contains a Basic Fear, a Basic Desire, a dominant Superego Message(or Inner Critic message), a
characteristic Passion or Vice, a characteristic mental Fixation, a path of disintegration where they descend
into the negative defensive pattern of their Type, and a path of integration in which the individual begins to
move in the direction of what is most precious and wonderful within them. That is, they begin a journey home.

For example, the passion for the One is resentment, while its mental fixation is on judging. If you've identified
yourself as a One, you know that your attention is often attracted to discovering what is wrong, what isn't
being done properly, what needs to improve, and an unmistakable tendency to want to improve everyone and
everything around you. The fixation of determining and judging what is “wrong” with self, others, or whatever
one is attending to sets the One up for a nonstop thought process that allows them little rest, nor the ability to
be able to savor what is wonderful, sweet, good, and precious. Driven by this fixation of judging, and the
accompanying passion of resentment and anger (towards others who can't keep up with their perfectionism)
suffering ensues. Criticism suffering. Perfectionism suffering. Angry suffering. Nothing being good enough,
suffering. For the Type One who decides that he or she has suffered enough, has criticized himself and
others enough and is ready to change, the Enneagram becomes a powerful tool for self-exploration,
observation, and genuine change. But change does not occur as you might think it would.

So how might the One use the Enneagram? He first might learn to observe the automatic flow of his emotional
and mental associations with calmness and kindness, such that he begins to understand that in spite of his
desire and effort to stop this perfectionist drive, that his attempts to do so by utilizing the very mechanism that
runs his fixation and emotional passion—his mind—does not work. Something else is required to break the
psychic chain of these two automatic mechanisms, something that is counter-intuitive to how his mind might
assume is the solution. The One, being logical, will want to enforce logic and discipline and control on what he
observes, but with good luck he will see that in spite of his efforts he is unwittingly trying to control himself with
the very mechanism that has him under control. What paradox and mystery. What is first needed is
“presence.”This means developing the capacity to observe his mental and emotional reactions, to simply
watch and see their twenty-four/seven activity, and to compassionately be with them, seeing them as they
are, without dropping back into the fixation of the Type One--judging. The One, upon observing this non-stop
flow of mental and emotional  reactivity, will likely want to attack and judge this process, thus keeping it tightly
in place. This principal applies: nothing changes in a state of disapproval. If you get angry at what you
observe, you only strengthen the hold of this unconscious and deep habit pattern. You tighten the chains of
your imprisonment. Observing it—the judging mind and the accompanying desire to criticize self and others—
without judging what you observe brings in “presence,” and from presence something else arises within an
individual that allows the pattern to stop on its own. It is not by tackling and dragging these habitual patterns
into the daylight and then chopping off their heads with judgment that brings about relief. Learning to “see”
the patterns within oneself without judgment creates “space” for the patterns to stop on their own, without
“doing” anything about them. This is very difficult for the One because by their very nature, they are doers.
The trick, however, for the One is to take the time to develop “presence” and meditative stillness so that  
“eyes to see” are created to begin observing this nonstop show. Type Ones know exactly what this inner
dynamic feels like, and the accompanying suffering they experience, and the unwitting way they might make
others suffer with their judgment habit. Not fun, and surely not what the One intends by any stretch of the
imagination. In their heart of hearts they seek what is best and sweetest within them to arise, and this includes
the capacity to have a quiet mind, a soft and open heart, and the ability to engage and connect with those
they seek to love. At their best they care deeply about helping others and the world. Their fixation and
passion, however, are wired to keep them stuck, unable to be affected by the world, but diligently trying to
affect it. Until they develop clear awareness of this tough personality structure they have acquired that gives
them little rest, and begin to disengage from it through observations mercy towards themselves, they will
continue to spin on the same spot of suffering. This does not mean that they won't function well in the world,
in fact, One's are tremendous and competent hard workers, but this does not negate the kind of unnecessary
suffering they experience on a daily basis, that if they slowed down long enough to sense, would surely show
them the energy they waste in service of this personality structure. And truly what it costs them: peace and
contentment. Like all Types, they seek the freedom that is innate to their nature, and the Enneagram
becomes the doorway for experiencing this innate freedom unimpeded by their tenacious fixation of “judging
mind” and passion of“resentment and anger.”

But there is more. We have touched the surface of a powerful beginning of inquiry. Particular meditation and
spiritual practices will deepen this process. Let's talk a little about this next territory. There are three Centers
in each individual, the Gut or Instinctual Center (Center of Instincts),the Heart Center (Center of Feelings)
and the Head Center (Center of Thinking). The Types themselves are broken into one of these three Triads.
For instance, the Eight, Nine and One are Instinctual Center Types, meaning that each one of them has a
distortion or imbalance in this Center. The One tries to control his instincts, attempting to keep instinctual
urges suppressed and under wraps. As a result, the Instinctual Center scrambles with the Thinking Center,
amping it up,while left out of the dance is the Heart or Feeling Center. What many One's notice is that they
are so logically driven into practical action to fix things, that their Heart is left somewhere in the lurch. Their
innate ability to feel their feelings, and to connect with others on a heart level where genuine intimacy is
nourished, is somehow distorted or inhibited. Thus another important area of work is identified, this capacity
to wake their heart up, to open, to expand, to feel the depth of their being. But the personality habit of the
One is not wired in this direction, in fact, analyzes their heart and emotions into non-existence, unconsciously
driven to control the uncontrollable—one's heart. And thus, another leg of the journey begins. Which is only
to say that the Enneagram provides a deep and clear path through the obstructions one has developed in
one's life, such that with precise and conscious work one can begin to unravel and “remember” the precious
mystery and value that one is.

I've discussed two areas of inquiry and focus that the One might attend to to unravel the personality knot they
find themselves in. Each Type has a different kind of knot, and a unique path to follow to return to their innate
capacity and ability to be present and fully alive on their journey.The Enneagram maps out their unique
paths, and points the way home.

So the Enneagram, for starters, is about identifying a basic habit of mind, body, and heart that inhibits an
individual from accessing deeper states of joy,happiness, strength, aliveness, serenity, deep connectedness
with others, a sweet valuing of one's Being, a sense of potency and competency in the world, the ability to
love at depth, and to experience the profound preciousness of oneself and life.

Then comes the development of “presence” which is often accomplished through meditation practices
designed to quiet the mind, to open the heart, to allow an individual to begin sensing their body and
inhabiting it. With a practice in place, one begins the journey of excavating the Soul, of moving through
whatever shocks, sufferings, misunderstandings and sorrows that have caused an individual to abandon their
capacity to be present, to sense themselves, to feel the depth and beauty of their heart, to to awaken to what
is their Essential identity, the very stuff of their true nature and soul. The Enneagram provides a map back to
this precious material, and each Type has a different map.
How to Use the Enneagram
The Maine Enneagram Center for Transformation & Well Being
The Maine Enneagram Center for Transformation & Well Being
South Portland, Maine 04106

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