Monday, February 25, 2008

Total Eclipse of the Enneagram Autobiography Class 6 Recap

Once upon a time, I was falling in love; now, I'm only recapping the final class.

We started off with most people talking about saying yes when they mean no and how it's best if you don't let drunk and/ or controlling people make your decisions for you.

Then, we briefly touched on type 1 (see pages 97 - 124 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram) before rushing out to see the moon looking like this:

and then this:

I thought the eclipse would have progressed further by then, but I misunderstood the time at which it was to occur. A perfectionist, I am not.

We did a relaxation meditation and learned that, like cubes, we are six-sided.

We talked about the "Seven Tools for Transformation" given on pages 345 - 347 of the book and also here and handed out copies of "The Stages of the Work" from page 383.

At last, we looked at the moon again. It was doing this:

and this:

We watched until the earth's shadow briefly blotted it out of the sky.
Up next: this Wednesday, Mary Beth and I will lead a session of informal chat and meditation. All are welcome to join.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Penultimate Recap: Enneagram Autobiography Class 5

We had twice as many people as the time before!
We talked about boredom, how it feels, and the need to keep the energy in a room pumped up.
We introduced the gut triad; it's all about anger (for type 8), tension (for type 1), and banana bread (for type 9).
We talked about how 8s have to have it out before they can let it go, their effect on the family dog, and their capacity for leadership.
We talked about the 9's suitability as a spouse, their forgetfulness, and their love of proverbs and aphorisms (see page 330 in The Wisdom of the Enneagram.) We visited Moronland.
We suggested the consideration of the following questions from the big book:

"Explore the various circumstances in which you have put yourself under pressure [to provide for others, to be strong for them, to never cry, show weakness, doubt, or indecision]. Who were you doing it for? Was the outcome worth the effort? What do you think would have happened if you had been a little easier on yourself?"

"Think of times in which you went along with the plans, preferences, or choices of others and submerged your own choices. What did this do to your sense of involvement?To your contact with yourself and your experience? Did you resent having to go along? How did you dispense with your own choice? What did you hope to gain by doing so?"

"Notice how many times a day you are dissappointed with yourself or others. Keep track of this for a few days. What standards are you measuring everything against? Question and examine the nature of these standards and their effect on you and the people in your life."

Next time:
Type 1 gets equal time, we learn to relax, and we write with, of all things, our hands. And, oh yeah, spiritual growth. See you then.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Enneagram Will Help You... Teach Flute Lessons?!!!

Well, I knew The Wisdom of the Enneagram was a good book, but...
Check out the following link:, then click on the topic "helpful info for new flute teachers" and read item #5.
Thanks to flautist Amy D. for this tip.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Alex n' Audrey Show: Enneagram Autobiography Class 4 Recap

Class session 4 was lightly attended, but deeply felt. Here's what happened:

1. Those who were present (namely Alex and Audrey) shared extensively from their journals. And you missed it!
2. Mary Beth revealed that she had responded to all six of last week's journal questions. (!@#$%&*!!! overacheiver!)
3. In lieu of meditation, I imagined drop-kicking the cd player.
4. Mary Beth talked about 6s and the interplay of compliance and withdrawal in her own life.
5. We talked about how to break out of the type 6 pattern. There is a section called "Practices that Help Sixes Develop" on pages 253 - 255 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram.
6. We also talked about type 7, the habit of collecting experiences (and handshakes), and keeping the energy up when you're feeling down.
7. We suggested a few topics for the journal, including this one (as always, from The W of the E):

"Study what you are calling boredom. What does it feel like in your body? What is the sensation of boredom? As you are able to sense it, what associations or memories does it bring up?"

Next time, we'll discuss: If birds of a feather flock together, why do opposites attract? And types 8 and 9. (See pages 287 - 340 of our favorite book.) Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In Praise of Hypocrisy in Politics

David Runciman questions our habit of looking at political candidates for signs of sincerity or hypocrisy here. He argues that the ability to craft a political mask that can carry one through various situations is a sign of political skill rather than a weakness. He also contrasts hypocrisy with bull-headedness (which seems something of a false comparison to me, at least when he allies "hypocrisy" with the ability to question one's personal convictions.) He has a book coming out later this spring on political masks in history.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fear and Anxiety in Nashvegas: Enneagram Autobiography Class 3 Recap

Before session 3 of the Enneagram Autobiography class, there was a Mexican dinner in the social area of FUUN. During the dinner, we were asked to say a few words about the topic of the class. I tried to win over prospective new students by saying we would be "exploring issues of fear and anxiety." Shockingly enough, a couple of new people came to the class anyway.
As is our way, we went around the room sharing our thoughts. The two most popular homework questions turned out to be "How do I know that I am loved?" and "What does focusing on your differences with other people cost you?", so most people spoke to those.
We talked about differences and the creation of drama in relationship to type 4. The 4s in the room denied being dramatic. That is not the way they perceive it at all and they explained their behavior, rather, in terms of being sensitive.
I recommended the book Emotions and the Enneagram, by Margaret Fringes Keyes, as an insightful take on the Enneagram as a whole and type 4 in particular. It explains how 4s romanticize loss and use melancholy to stave off real depression. Mary Beth talked about connections between personality type and brain chemistry and recommended Riso and Hudson's book Personality Types, which correlates Ennegram Types with the DSM, and a website called something like "The Enneagram: A Clinical Pharmacist's View." It seems that this site has been taken down, but I was able to find the pahramcist's description of type 4 here.
Next, we segued over to the head triad -- the triad associated with fear, anxiety, and worry. I was reminded of this church sign I photographed recently:

We meditated a bit, and having acheived full Presence, were able to fully notice things like how funny-shaped the room was and that it had closets. If you would like to have such revelations at home, follow the instructions on page 217 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram.
We spoke of type 5 and their love of skulls and dead chickens. I found myself talking at length about the "effective" combination of the type 5 propensity for ignoring one's emotions combined with the type 4 habit of making a really big deal of them. It sound like a paradox, but it has played out in my life, and there were a few knowing nods in the room.
For homework, we suggested the consideration of the following questions from The Wisdom of the Enneagram:
"Record your observations about isolation. What kinds of situations cause you to detach emotionally? What are your attitudes about people at such times? About social life? About yourself? Can you recall any incidences from your childhood that you feel reinforced this tendency in you? Did you feel engulfed by others' needs or intruded upon? What would it take to be in relationship with others and not lose your own sense of purpose?"
"Record any examples of times in your life when you let significant opportunities for growth and challenge pass you by. Why did you decide to let them go? Would belief in your own abilities have changed the outcome?
Recall some times when you did fly against common sense and took a chance. What was the outcome? How did you feel at the time?Are there areas in your life now where you know that you are resisting your true desires out of fears or doubts about yourself? What can you do differently?"
Up next: More fear and anxiety, as Mary Beth leads the discussion on types 6 and 7.
To Prepare: Look over pages 235 - 286 in The Wisdom of the Enneagram.