Thursday, October 22, 2009

Getting There

Note: This was originally published on 8/5/08.

so its thursdee july 31st and mary bef calls me up and she sez to me she sez cindi did you no de iea confrence starts tomorree an i sez to mary bef i sez naw i din no i thought it was saturdee but she sez naw its tomorree and I sez o an she sez we haint registered fer it an I sez i no an i gess we aint gonna go and she says but we gotta go and i sez but can we still go and she sez i dunno less fin out and i sez ok. so we gets off de fone and she calls de iea and i looks on de internets fer a long time tryin to see if i had a discount coupon an how much was on me credit card and like wuts de deal and den i tinks i better call mary bef and she sez lets never get off de fone like dat ever again i get angshus wen i don no what ur doin and i sez ok an i sez wat did u fin out an she sez we can go and pay at de door so less go to georgia an i sez ok and she sez wen u wanna go an i sez tomorree an she sez wuts rong wif now an i sez i got stuff to do an she sez come ober after ur dun an will go tonite and i sez ok an i put sum stuf in a bag an i do wut i gots to do an den i go ober dere an den we go to georgia.
Okay, I'll drop the dialect now. We arrived in Atlanta in the wee hours and checked into a crappy hotel. Something of a French farce concerning the hotel phone ensued. We got about an hour of sleep, and then it was conference time.
The conference was at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel (which was lovely) in Atlanta. This year's theme was "Life... Energy... Growth: the Evolving Enneagram." We payed our money, grabbed our tote bags and name tags and headed right to the keynote address.
The keynote address was "Quantum Thinking the Enneagram." It was given by Dianne Collins. Here's an excerpt from Dianne's bio:
"Dianne Collins is the creator of QuantumThink, a groundbreaking new system of thinking that blends the genius of modern science with ancient spiritual knowledge and wisdom... she taps into human faculties not addressed in traditional education, such as intent, intuition, and nonlocal mind, to enable people to make distinctions that can propel them from limited industrial age thinking into the multidimensional reality of our current quantum age."
That pretty much gives you an idea of what the speech was like. Here's some of what she talked about (I have, in some cases, added my own notes relating her ideas to my understanding of the Enneagram.):
Why, Dianne asked, don't we live the wisdom that we know? Why is it that, in this age, with all the recorded wisdom of humanity available at the touch of an i-phone, we all still (in my own words) act like damn fools? Why does the world still look like it does? How can people still think it's cool to build weapons and wage wars and kill other people? (How can people who know the Enneagram still act like a-holes sometimes?)
Perhaps, Dianne asserts, it is because we have been conditioned to have a classical/ mechanical worldview. This is a way of thinking that treats the universe as a machine made up of separate (but interlocking) parts. It is a worldview that prioritizes action. Problems are solved by finding the faulty part and fixing or replacing it. This is the sort of worldview that treats spirituality as if it was totally separate from the workplace and educational system. This worldview is why it is even a question that the Ennegram, for instance, should be taught in schools and businesses.
Consequences of the classical/ mechanical worldview include an us versus them orientation. Even so-called "spiritually enlightened" people divide humanity into "awakened souls" and "sleepwalkers".
However, according to a quantum worldview, the universe is more like a giant thought that a giant machine. This worldview prioritizes intent over action. (Watch The Secret if you're not sure what this means.) It resonates with the passage from the Upanishads which reads, "What a person thinks, he becomes." This idea is mirrored in the world's sacred texts.
Dianne talked about what she calls "the least action pathway." Basically, it is acting and thinking a certain way out of habit, even when you know better. This is like what we, in Enneagram circles, call "being on automatic", like when you mindlessly play out your type fixation rather than acting out of Essence.
She invited us all to condition ourselves to think with a new quantum perspective and to let go of the divide between the enlightened and the unenlightened. She talked about the observer effect and about how, by giving our attention to this divide, we help create it.
The move between these two world views is a leap. Dianne delineated four aspects of knowing: (1) unawareness (my example -- like when a person who does not know the Enneagram simply acts out their ego fixation all the time), (2) conceptual awareness (like when you can identify your type but simply treat it like a neat psychological description or a parlor trick or even play it up for fun); this is related to a classical/ mechanical/ separational/ analytical viewpoint, (3) intuitive awareness (like when you sense that there is something more to you than your personality); this is awareness that is sensed but not owned, and (4) participatory awareness (living Essence).
Dianne invited us to embrace transformation rather than change. (It's not so much a matter of slaying the ego as it is embracing Essence.) She asked that, during this conference, we fully listen to each other. Here's the way she put it: "Be as if it is you speaking, no matter who is speaking." I liked that.
My overall impression was that Dianne had things to say that were relevant to the Enneagram, but that she did not have an in depth knowledge of the Ennegram of Personality, per se. I think she was chosen to speak in order to broaden the discussion, rather than to hone or refine it.
Up next: some Enneagram history.
For another point of view on the IEA conference, follow this thread on the Enneagram Institute discussion board. Or maybe Mary Beth will chime in. Nudge, nudge.

No comments: