This past month, we’ve been exploring ways to retreat and practice self-care. Following this theme (and after many requests), we’re hosting the second installment of our No Bullshit Breakfast: Enneagram. This second event takes place on Thursday, March 5th at The Factory; guests will receive an enneagram test code (see more below), light breakfast provided by Rivertown Coffee Co, and lots of engaging discussion. During the breakfast, instructor Jessica Turner returns to explore self-love through more deeply understanding Enneagram types. She will talk about each type’s journey toward wholeness through learning the best contemplative and restorative practices based on our Enneagram types.
To help us understand self-care through this popular personality model, Jessica walks us through the Enneagram and a few of its aspects below. We welcome Jessica as a guest writer to the Journal and as a part of our Executive Leadership Team at Alabama Chanin and our Family of Businesses.
The Enneagram was brought to North America by the psychologist Claudio Naranjo and then slowly taught and spread throughout the Jesuit spiritual community. Its roots are of a psychological and spiritual nature.
It is a set of nine distinct personality types, each denoted by a number. (Each guest will be given a test code prior to the event to discover their number.) The personality system is represented by a nine-pointed star within a circle and each of us falls on one point within that figure (shown at top). Knowing your Enneagram personality type can help you to understand yourself holistically by identifying the influence that our egos and minds have on our daily routines and lives. This knowledge provides a deeper understanding of our motivations and coping behaviors as we move through life and connect to ourselves and others.
In an effort to understand how we can best nurture ourselves and practice self-love, we will look at two aspects of the Enneagram. First, the intelligence centers of the nine types, and then the harmony triads—both described below.
THE INTELLIGENCE CENTERS
The intelligence centers are our head (Types, 5, 6, and 7), heart (Types 2, 3, and 4), and gut (Types 8, 9, and 1). They are how each type processes all that comes at them on a day-to-day basis.
HOW WE PROCESS BY TYPE:
The head types take everything in through their minds. They mentally analyze all situations and then respond through the filter of their mind.
The heart types take in their day-to-day interactions through the filter of emotion and often deliver this assessment back in a more emotional, passionate manner through the filter of their heart.
The gut types follow the same path by taking in daily experiences instinctively through their core. They are often characterized by releasing their analysis in a more physical way through the filter of their stomach.
Solitude, silence, and stillness offer us the ability to shed the distractions of our lives and experience the levity of being present and centered. In this age of constant digital interruption, a contemplative practice is vital to our emotional, physical, and mental health. In an effort to help unmask ourselves from our types, silence, solitude, and stillness all serve as a map of appropriate meditative practice for each type.
If you identify as a head type (5, 6, and 7) it’s important to schedule weekly, or even daily, moments of silence. Silence teaches us to listen. For the head types, it can feel impossible to turn down the inner noise. But can these types find a way to silence the inner distractions long enough to listen to the voices of those who love and care for them? Can they listen to their honest desires and dreams and stop scavenging for the solutions, lean inward, and listen to the heart? Can a six let go of the anxiety long enough to find the undercurrent of joyful strength to know everything is ok? Can a seven settle their stirring for experience and opportunity and be present to all the goodness already surrounding around them?
The heart types (2, 3, and 4) find their strength and connection in aloneness. Solitude is an intentional withdrawal from the distractions and roots us in ourselves. It requires the intentional releasing of the emails, texts, calls, notifications, and needy voices. This withdrawal is important because these types have an ego that is upheld by the voices of others. But when these affirmations, validations, or critiques are not present, the heart types must answer to and deal with the essence of themselves. Who is the two without the needs of another? Who is the three without the emotional and physical reading of other’s energies in an effort to get what they want? And who is the four who longs to be appreciated by others?
The gut types (8, 9, and 1) find their center in stillness. Stillness teaches us restraint in a world that is constantly telling us to do more. Stillness teaches us our best way to then re-engage with the world. What happens when an eight person stops? Who are nines without the good they do? Who are the one types when they are forced to halt? Who are these gut types when they realize how they identify themselves by what they do and not by who they are?
Our harmony triads are combinations of numbers that are comprised of three Enneagram types which are connected by the triangles of the Enneagram symbol above. The combinations include: Relationists (Types 2, 5, and 8), the Pragmatists (Types 3, 6, and 9), and the Idealists (Types 1, 4, and 7). These number combinations help describe ways we can practice self-love and retreat in order to better engage with the world. The triads are described below:
RELATIONISTS (Types 2, 5, and 8)
The harmony triad of Relationists finds common ground in their ability to reject their own needs in an effort to attain what they desire. For these types, the intention of consent provides them an agreement to have needs. And this consent is way of giving themselves love, freedom, and a pathway home.
For Type 2, an intention of consent in the posture of solitude gives them the freedom to stop helping everyone and to be present enough to occupy all the space around them with love for who they are apart from other’s needs.
For Type 5, a consent to silence is a path to the peace of knowing everything will be ok without the over-working of their mind. When the five quiets the mind, they find freedom in the mystery and unknown, not the answers.
When an Eight stops and they consent to stillness, they must choose this surrender. If they can let it all go, they will find peace – peace that the world will be fine without their control. This centering will steady them to lead from the heart.
PRAGMATISTS (Types 3, 6, and 9)
The harmony triad of Attachment types (3, 6, and 9) believes the illusion that they are who those around them say that they are, or what they believe works for them. This makes these types the most out of touch with their own true essence. They must embrace the intention of engagement. Engaging with what they have, not with what anyone or anything else may offer to them. This intention is vital to bringing them home to their true selves.
When a Three takes on the intention of engaging in the posture of solitude they can no longer nurture themselves by others, but instead can access a part of their heart they deny. When they are alone, they can be present and face themselves and thus disarm any vanity that isn’t truly who their heart shows them they are.
Sixes that engage in silence take a courageous step in quieting the voice of fear and coming home to the courage within themselves. For a Six, the thought of engaging with silence can be terrifying as they may hear the lies that fear repeats to them. Learning to listen to their own strength brings them present and into their own inner strength.
Engaging with stillness for a type Nine is an intention and posture that will bring them clarity and purpose. It will bring them a centering of their mind and a deep accountability to their abilities that they maybe withholding from themselves for a false sense of peace. It’s a profound way home for them.
IDEALISTS (Types 1, 4, and 7)
The Idealists are known for their ability to see the best version of the world. Because of their inward and outward striving to bring these ideas to life, they may often be exhausted and deserve the intention for them, rest. This gifts them with centering the rest they need from the frustration of never enough.
When Type Ones rest in the posture of stillness, they can return to their breath and remember they are only human and are not responsible for making everything perfect. They can stop and find a centering peace that life can still be beautiful, even if it isn’t perfect, and allow themselves some much-needed rest.
Type Fours that retreat and find rest in solitude and discover that alone is okay. They learn to quiet their emotional energies and remember that all their inner feelings, maybe even too much for themselves. Gifting themselves with rest centers them and brings clarity to relationships.
Resting in silence provides Type Sevens that there is a wonder in their own heart. They learn that adventure and excitement are within their own souls, and they do not have to chase it like chasing the wind but can listen to themselves. This type is often close to burnout, but contemplative intention and posture can restore their frustrated idealism.
Consent, engagement, and rest are the intentions that, when we apply them to our contemplative postures of solitude, silence, and stillness, loosen the bindings of our egos and minds and allow us to center into our true essence.
What I love most about all these intentions and postures is that they are simple, free gifts that bring us all healing. Eckhart Tolle says it beautifully, “True happiness is found in seemingly unremarkable things. But to be aware of little, quiet things, you need to be quiet inside, and a high degree of alertness is required. Be still look. Listen. Be present.”
As 2020 begins, I, too, open my calendar and set daily moments to retreat, center, find peace, connect with my true essence, and bring more happiness to myself and my sphere of influence. May you, too, find some small goodness and healing in these intentions and postures and discover the beauty of your fascinating soul through contemplative and meditative healing.
P.S.: We ask that participants take the test before the breakfast that they can arrive at the discussion with their Enneagram type. This will allow you to get the most out of the discussion.
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