Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
As soon as I bring attention to my breath, to my sensation, to the kind of luxurious feeling of really being here in this body, for example, just use that one center, the more we tend to be present and we'll start to notice things that we were not noticing before. And that's the other sign, is that the field of our attention deepens, gets crisper, and we notice all kinds of things that ordinarily we don't notice because our attention when we're not present is sort of welded to these preoccupations and patterns.
And that's what we're looking at with the Enneagram. That's our type does without presence, it tends to become the survival machine.
Hello and welcome. I'm Shane Parrish, and you're listening to the Knowledge Project, this podcast and our website, F-stop blog, help you sharpen your mind by mastering the best what other people have already figured out if you enjoy this podcast. We've created a premium version that gives you even more. You'll get ad free versions of the show, early access to episodes, transcripts and so much more. If you want to learn more now, head on over to F-stop logged podcast or check out the show notes for a link this week.
I'm talking with Russ Hutson, the co-founder of the Enneagram Institute. This episode covers what the Enneagram is, how it was developed, how it helps us grow its limitations. The nine interconnected personality types, the triad, how you can use the Enneagram to deepen your relationships, what it means to be present, and so much more. It's time to listen and learn. The Knowledge Project is sponsored by Medlab for a decade, Medlab has helped some of the world's top companies and entrepreneurs build products that millions of people use every day.
You probably didn't realize that at the time, but odds are you've used an app that they've helped design or build apps like Slack, Coinbase, Facebook Messenger, Oculus, Lonely Planet and many more.
Medlab wants to bring their unique design philosophy to your project. Let them take your brainstorm and turn it into the next billion dollar app from ideas sketched on the back of a napkin to a final ship product. Check them out at Medlab Dutko. That's Medlab Dutko. And when you get in touch, tell them Shane sent you.
This episode is also brought to you by 80-20. 80-20 is a new agency focused on helping great companies move faster without code. The team at 80 20 can build your next app or website in a matter of days, not months. Better yet, they can do it at a fraction of the cost. You walk away with a well-designed, custom tailored solution that you could tweak and maintain all by yourself without the need to hire expensive developers.
So if you've got an app or website idea or you're just ready for a change of pace from your current agency, let the team at 80-20 show you how no code can accelerate your business. Check them out at 80-20. Don't think that eight zero two zero Dotti and see. This episode is brought to you by Robert er Rabbit er produces award winning air purifiers, some of the best in the industry. Every day we breathe in nearly two thousand gallons of air and research shows that poor air quality impairs cognitive performance.
To keep your air clean, Rabit Air offers high end air purifiers with customized filtration, smart sensing technology and advanced HEPA filters that can trap particles point three microns in size at a ninety nine point nine seven percent efficiency visit. Rabbitt Eircom. That's our EBITDAR Dotcom.
Or call them 24/7 to speak to a consultant. So happy to talk to you, man. Thank you, Shane. Pleasure to be here. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. How did you get started with the Enneagram? Well, like a lot of things, it's not a simple or a one shot deal, I you know, like a lot of people back in the 1970s, I was looking at various systems of spirituality. I was checking out Indian gurus and I was going to churches, doing all kinds of stuff.
But I encountered a book called In Search of the Miraculous. And it was it was a book written by a man named Peter Espenak. But it was about the teachings of Gurdgiev. And George Gurdgiev was a Greek guy who brought the Enneagram symbol and the teachings around it into the modern world. So I was really impacted by that book. And after searching around for a while, I actually found an ongoing real gurdgiev group and started studying it. And that was long before I learned about how the anagram could also be about types, because the original sensibility, it wasn't that, but, you know, it was this.
The stage two of that process was that I read the first book of my friend Richard Risso, and that book was called Personality Types came out in the mid 1980s, and I was so impressed with it that I saw him out. And it turned out his he lived about a mile away and his office was even closer. So we started talking and I started working with them.
Well, that's awesome. And you've been doing that ever since? Yes, indeed.
So I was thinking about how to approach this with readers, our listeners in this case. And I think there's just so much mystery around the Enneagram so we can start with the basics and like work our way up. So what is the Enneagram? Well, I think it gets complex for people around the fact that it is more than one thing. Originally, the anagram is a symbol and it's it's a circle with some inner lines in it. And some people think it looks like a pentagram, but it's not a pentagram.
It's in fact, there's a there's a triangle in the middle of it. But that has certain esoteric meanings. The symbol itself, it's looking at the relationship between what things are in their fundamental nature, you might say, as consciousness. And it's looking at how things come into form and the relationship between those things. But the the part that got popular is that a man named Oscar Tarzo studying the symbol in relation to a lot of other.
Long term spiritual teachings, shall we say, started to see some connections and brilliantly saw that there was a sensibility around each of the nine points, the anagram is a circle with nine points on it. And he saw that there were elements of character that had been studied for thousands of years that fit in a certain pattern around that symbol. So I think the part that most people learn about is this nine, the nine points and how they are actually representing facets of humanity.
I think sometimes people take it too far. And the sort of popular version of the Enneagram that is also a turnoff for some people. Is this nine boxes? Which box do you going? Right. But that's not really what it ever was originally. It was originally about these nine points were gifts, capacities that human beings have, needs that human beings have, but that when we get too identified with any one of them, a lot of our total humanity kind of drops out, but that we get habituated to live that way.
So the idea was to become aware of that, to free ourselves up again.
I think of it as sort of like a topology. Yeah, I mean, most simply, that's where it starts. It is a typology, but unlike some of the others, it's a typology for waking us up to go further on that.
Yeah, it's like the way I tend to explain it to my younger students is that you have a type.
Most definitely, but you are not a type. It's not who you are is not what you are. But just like we have hair color or height or certain predilections, we're not born a tabula rasa, a blank slate. Right. We have certain predilections. We have tendencies. We have what psychologists call temperament. And it's very interesting that there was a major study of of temperament in infants done at New York University back in. She was early nineteen sixties by two famous psychologists, Thomas and Chess.
And in that study, just looking at it empirically, they boiled it down to nine basic patterns of temperament that they found, and they correspond very nicely to the nine Enneagram points. So the idea is your temperament is what you lead with, it's how you cope with things. When the chips are down, there's a certain way you're probably going to deal with some of us if there's a conflict we get in people's faces. Some people when there's a conflict, we go hide some people.
When we're in conflict, we start brooding, but people have different reactions. And so it's it's not really about just giving ourselves a free pass about all that. It's about noticing it so that we have some options and freedom and can choose other behaviors than other than just our default, if you see what I mean.
So is it safe to say that's our default, sort of like human behavior? That would be your type, but you're not necessarily. It's just identifying that default, but you're not defined by that default and you can overrule it. Part of being human is that you can overrule that default.
Exactly. Perfectly put you you have this default and it comes in handy and we don't need to knock it. We've survived this long with it. Right. And it's very good for certain things. The point is, when we're just going on default, well, it's like we keep doing the same dance no matter what the music is. And so sometimes that's helpful and sometimes it's not so helpful. Sometimes it messes things up. And so the Enneagram originally was always paired with a study of presence or mindfulness.
And I'll be here now, pay attention to notice what we're up to. It was to train us in a system of self awareness so that we could choose things other than that default. And it helps us do that by seeing how we fall into that default, how we keep getting sucked into a certain way of being, a certain way of reacting to things. And again, to look at that without judging it or thinking it's bad. But just to notice, oh, I'm stuck.
I have other options like that.
How is this developed? Like where did the immigrant like how did this come into being? Well, there's as I said, there's several pieces that a lot of credit has to go to a man named Oscar, which so as I said, who passed away just a few weeks ago, and he was originally from Bolivia but lived a lot of his life in Chile. And he learned about the anagram through gurdgiev sources and really was a brilliant genius guy who was looking at various ancient systems for looking at human development.
He was looking at ancient Jewish and Christian sources, some Buddhist sources, Hindu sources, et cetera, and seeing correspondences between them, the way they fit together. And so he kind of came up with a map of these patterns, shall we say. There was a psychologist named Claudia Naranjo, who was a Gestalt psychology, actually a psychiatrist to be more accurate. And he studied with Fritz Perl. He went and learned this from Corzo, brought to the United States and started teaching it to a small group of people.
Well, subsequent to that, it kind of exploded. My old friend and writing partner, Don Richard resew learned it through the Jesuits and he started to write about it. It took him 10 years to write his first book. It's sort of funny. I get a lot of enthusiasm from young people. It seems like a lot of people have discovered this work recently. And it's not really so much about having a guru tag or being an amateur. You know, it's not really about that.
But I just am forever trying to explain to people, you can learn the basics pretty quickly. You can learn the distinctions of these nine points in pretty mind blowing. But to really master it, to make it useful, to be able to help people with it takes a long time. There's more than we bargained for.
Sometimes it strikes me that we're looking for somebody to tell us why we do the things we do, not necessarily wanting to change or overrule the things that we're doing or look inside ourselves and figure out what's really going on. Now we can just like throw our hands up and absolve ourself, right. And say, that's right.
Oh, I did that because I'm a seven. I did that because before I did that because I met three. Whatever.
Exactly where where does sort of the Enneagram align with and where does it differ from modern psychological research?
I think a lot of the interesting work that's been done in the last 30, 40 years has been aligning it more with psychology. Certainly done. Richard Resew had a master's degree in psychology from Stanford and his social psychology, as I recall. And we had Dr David Daniels, another one who passed away recently, who was a professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford. And so there were some seriously trained people involved in it. And so there was always a wanting to show and demonstrate how the ideas in the anagram link with things that we've learned from developmental psychology, how in the process of forming a personality and ego, certain forces get set into play.
And so I think over the years, my goodness, I probably trained or taught tens of thousands of psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, a lot of people. And they're they all marvel at once they get beyond the hearing, the cruddy, you know, pop versions of it and they get into it. They're almost universally amazed at how it illuminates things that they learned in psychology and vice versa. I think that they're we're trying to be good students of human nature.
We're trying to really understand what goes on in the psyche. And there's a lot of different avenues by which we can do that.
Talk to me about the role of environment when it comes to sort of personality or temperament.
Well, it's a factor. And, you know, people ask all the time, does your your anagram type come from nature or nurture? And the correct answer is nobody knows. And it's the same with psychology. It's probably both. What we can say is that the basic template is there in temperament, meaning it's we're born with it. We don't know if it's genetic or if it's forms while we're still in the womb, but it's very early. In other words, we're sort of set on a certain track very, very early in life, in the beginning, infancy and before.
It's not like you become a type because your mom forgot your birthday when you were six. That is way too, way too late. That, however, one of the big contributions that Don Reesa made was that we could be at different stages of development in any of these type.
We could be in the more healthy. Expression of them, more grounded, more heartful contributing, not having crazy thoughts in our head, or we could get sort of stuck in the more neurotic and difficult manifestations of it. And that is definitely about nurture, like how much I'm wedged into my type, how much I'm stuck in that stuff is a function of nurture, because if I'm growing up in a crazy, difficult, scary, heartbreaking environment and that's always going to be true to some degree.
But if it's a lot, then of course, the child has to form very intense defenses and those intense defenses manifest as this kind of adhering to these survival patterns. Whether or not the coast is clear, we're going to still experience it as being in a siege situation. We're going to keep acting certain ways. So what we do, we I don't think people can do anything about what their dominant type is. But what we can do is work at freeing ourself up from the scary parts of it and opening to the beautiful parts of it that we can do.
We're going to get into the types here. I know everybody's just waiting to to hear of at the time before we get there, we sort of have to, like, build this up a little bit. Right.
And and figure out like where it comes from and what the limitations are.
And like, how does it help us grow? I think it helps us grow by learning a few things and the growth comes from seeing our type in action, but also comes from learning a different orientation toward ourself, we're learning to be self-aware but compassionately self-aware, kindly self-aware, to not judge ourselves because we didn't decide to be this way and wasn't like I woke up. My dominant Enneagram point is five. I'm a dominant five. So I didn't wake up one day and just decide I was going to be this.
It's just happened as I start to see what that five minutes is. In real time, while I'm doing it not just as a reflection later on, but as Don and I used to put it, to catch myself in the act. In that moment of seeing right now, I'm stuck in my pattern to take a breath, to pause, to get grounded, to look at it with kindness, opens up a whole new toolbox, opens up a whole new palette of colors to paint with.
Suddenly I have access where I always tell people is as we get liberated from being identified with the pattern, as we get less stuck in it, the good sides of all of the nine points, which also represent human capacities or talents or gifts, start to come into play more and more. And that's why we learn it so we can be not. So we could just be a tiny bit so we can be a more total human being.
How do we learn to debug our brain in real time like that? Seems like how do we like sort of like we have this execution path that's the default and habitual and then we want to intersect it. Like how do we learn to do that as it's happening and not as you mentioned later, which is post and reflection.
Right? Well, as I was saying, the Enneagram was originally meant to go with the practices to help us be more present and awake in our life. And we do that in the interim by learning about what are called the three centres, the three centres of intelligence, which is the body. The heart. And the head, the body is kinesthetic intelligence, it's instinctual intelligence, as I tell people, if you're hungry, it's not a thought, it's not an emotion.
It's a it's your body in a very direct way, communicates that information. Food is needed. Right. The heart has its forms of intelligence, emotional intelligence. Right. Heart has certain roles to play. And the head when the head is actually presentist, it becomes something different than what we're used to. It's not this inner chatterbox. It's more a quality of deep listening. And not just listening externally, listening internally so that, you know, new ideas, new realizations can emerge, and we're not just feeding on the stuff we already have thought about or already believe.
So we we learn a practice of getting more grounded in our body in the here and now. Good thing about the body is it can't be anywhere but here and now.
It's my thoughts and feelings can be all over the place. But if I can feel myself breathing or feel my self resting in the chair, standing or wherever I am in the car, wherever I may be, it brings me into a kind of contact with myself. From there, my heart becomes less reactive. When we're present with our heart, it brings out more of the qualities of kindness, patience, peacefulness, courage, a lot of good stuff.
When we're not present with the heart, we're reacting to everything. Everything's pushing our buttons all the time, positively or negatively. But if you take one, you get the other. And then cognitively, we we as we actually come back to ourselves, our mind simmers down and not into a sleepiness, but a kind of calm clarity where we just see what's going on, innocent around us. And when you bring that sensibility to your personality, you can see it in action because you're not so identified with it.
The problem is not that we have an ego and I'm not one of those people who goes around saying you got to get rid of your ego, you got to kill the ego.
I think that's nuts. I think that, you know, even the people saying those kind of things have an ego. The problem is not that we have an ego, it's that we identify with it. To the extent that we forget there's other parts of us. We get lost in certain habitual identities and then we stop looking. So we're learning to be present with the manifestation. So that is an interesting implication. A lot of people think spirituality is about transcending, about getting the hell out of here.
I mean, gee whiz, we're all suffering a lot. Of course, we want to sort of shoot off into some, you know, nondurable condition where we won't be Auchi anymore and completely understandable. But ultimately, I think that we need some experiences of that nature. But the more those are established, we start to bring that sensibility to our ego. When we do that, we're able to live what we've come to understand instead of it being an escape from how we are.
Most of the time, I like to think of ego as something that helps us or hinders us, and we just need to be aware of where we are on that spectrum between those two at any given time.
Like nothing great would be accomplished without ego. We'd never try anything new. We'd never endeavor to do anything because we would. We need to feel confident. And where do you think that?
Like, how do I identify when it's helping us and hurting us and then a follow up question to that is like, where does confidence come from?
Well, it's it's a tricky business, as you're saying, from my point of view. The ego is helpful to the degree it's taking its proper place. In other words, if I'm remembering what I am here and now. If I'm presenting with you here and now, then my ego is here as what it's for, which is to help me function in this world, it's a set of habits and. Customs and protocols and programs that are just help me to operate in the world, and I learned them very young and they still work, I don't particularly want to have to learn how to speak English all over again.
Right. So that is very functional and necessary. But when we are present in those centers, like I was saying, the ego more naturally takes its correct position. It's meant to be a servant, not the master is the traditional way of putting it. And I think that's right. Confidence can be different things. Confidence could be acting tough. You know, that's a kind of ego version of it. But actually, organically, confidence arises out of our relationship with our body.
Like, the more I feel embodied, the more I feel I'm here, I feel like I belong here, like it's in a sense right for me to be here or I have a right to be here. And it's it's not an inner debate. It's it's not something that needs to be argued or asserted. It feels natural. So the more we're in our body, the more we're in our power. And that relates to what the anagram points from this point of view, each of the anagram points is a vital ingredient for living a good human life.
And that's why we want to learn to embrace all of them and not just act like a cartoon of one of them.
Where, in your experience, teaching this to tens of thousands of people over the years, like what are the limitations of the Enneagram? Where do people take this idea too far? Well, they take it too far all the time. For one thing, they try to put everything into the Enneagram and there are things about human beings that just have nothing to do with the Enneagram talents. For example, if you have musical talent or athletic ability or you're a good brain for numbers, whatever, all of those things really have nothing to do with your Enneagram point.
They're independent factors any can help us understand certain kind of emotional problems and things. But for others, good old regular psychology will do the trick. I think also the big problem I see you touched on this earlier, Shane. People learn this and they use it to reinforce their self concept. They use it. And oftentimes and this is what I have to be very patient with, I do not bust people on their Enneagram type. I don't believe in.
I think it's rude. And it's just also presuming that I know that truth, which I may or may not, I find that people identify with the concept and sometimes it's not even their correct enneagram type.
OK, go on. So sometimes, like a classic example here in North America is that a lot of people read this and learn it and they they instantly assume there are four. I'm a four because I have deep feelings and, well, that well, guess what, everybody has deep feelings and I'm creative. Well, guess what? Everybody's creative and you know, there's a lot of attributes that they like.
And then they're like, oh, I'm not. Yes, yes. Or I suffered in my childhood. Well, that's everybody, you know? So there's a way that we can use it to, actually. Block it, getting to us, there's a way we can prevent it from actually doing its magic, we can use the knowledge to strengthen our ego defenses rather than to work through them. And that's a common problem, particularly now that so many people are learning about it quickly online from people who never studied or trained in it, but who read a book or two and learn the basics and the danger.
The anagram is that if you know even a little bit about it, it seems like magic. Like, how did you know that? How did you know that about me? So you can seem like a wise guru and you've just read a couple of books, but in point of fact, to actually be able to use this in service to ourselves in others is requires a long apprenticeship in acquiring those capacity skills. I talked about presence, skills and learning to be with people in that that that takes time.
Alexander Pope had that poem where he said Apkarian spring. Right. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And we read a website and all of a sudden we're experts and we can teach it to everybody else.
Yeah, and that's the thing.
I have a friend named Suzanne Sabeel who co-wrote a book called The Road Back to You with a man named Ian Chron. And their book is hugely popular. It's just out recently and it's particularly popular with evangelical Christians who are the new group that's just flooding into awareness of this. And it's understandable. I think a lot of Christians are seeking a deeper, more mystical relationship with their faith, stands to reason that any Grimm has some of its roots in Christianity.
So that would be a natural. But Suzanne was talking with me and she asked me this great question. And just to paraphrase it, she's saying, how do we old timers hold the enthusiasm and energy of all these new people when a lot of that enthusiasm is based on an assumed knowledge or mastery of something that we've spent decades our whole adult life trying to master? Right.
You're not going to figure it out in five minutes on the Internet. Right. Right. Yeah. And just there's a thing here that it does revealed to me is that it is true that everybody has access. Everybody has a point of view. Everybody has some kind of truth. But sometimes in that conversation, what drops out is the value of experience that there are people with more experience and some things like working with people's psyche. You kind of want some kind of a little more experience.
I don't want to go and get brain surgery from someone who's just read a couple of medical books.
I want somebody who's had experience in how to do surgery and had medical training and so forth. And the anagram, in a sense, we're we're going into the core motivations. So goes very deep. It's not like Myers, Briggs or some of the others, which is no diss to those systems. It's just that the anagram is looking at a deeper layer of human motivation. So it opens up a lot more for people.
So I'm just I suppose I'm just advocating for the fact that we need to be humble and patient in learning it because it takes a long time.
Can we dissect experience a little like as you were saying that I was thinking back to this study I read a while ago about doctors, and it was like they stopped getting better after sort of like five or six years of practice. So experience beyond that point doesn't actually correlate.
And I'm going to have to look this up and try to find it for people. But experience doesn't correlate for beyond a certain point.
At what point? Like what is experience? Is it is it just that you've gone through something or is it the reflection component that you've thought about it?
And then you come up with sort of heuristics on the other side of it or an understanding or simplicity because you've gone through the complexity. Walk me through your thoughts on what experience actually is. Oh, what a cool question.
Yeah, there's well, there's some elements to it in this work that's a little different than maybe what they were finding in that study. And if I look at it more from a medical or a physiological perspective, one thing that they were studying out in California a few years back at UCLA Medical and some other places was the fact that.
What we're calling mindfulness or presence changes some things about the human brain, which isn't surprising to people who have explored it. But, you know, it's interesting that they actually were looking at this. They were doing real time brain scans and they were actually studying people with OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder and seeing what methods helped them because it's known as a cognitive disorder. When they did this day, they placebos, they get drugs. They gave them different things to do.
They did different kinds of therapy. But they one group that practice, they learn mindfulness, they learn Buddhist meditation, practice centering presence, etc. What they discovered in doing these brain scans was something they did not expect, was that the group that was practicing mindfulness had good results in terms of their OCD, but also that it seemed to reactivate what psychologists call neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is our brains, the ability to rewire itself.
Now, it was thought for many, many years that there were limits to neuroplasticity and that basically we were hugely. Enabled to be wire in the first few years of our life, right? And then after that, it kind of drops off precipitously.
But the study suggests to those willing to look at the data that, no, we stop being present around age five or six. What does it mean to be present? Well, that's a lifelong study right there. I need the 30 seconds Internet answer.
OK, the short answer. Yeah, well, going back to the centers, the centers are a great way to sort of calibrate that. Am I with my breath? Can I sense my body here and now? That's one indicator. Am I identified with my emotional reactions and by the way, being detached and shut down as a reaction, or am I meeting my emotions with a fuller sense of heart? Is there any quiet in my mind or am I completely identified with that incessant inner dialogue?
Right. So. All of those are indicators on these different fronts, and the more we're present, the more we are able to access these other resources. And the way we learn to do that is simply by bringing attention to those things. As soon as I bring attention to my breath, to my sensation, to the kind of luxurious feeling of really being here in this body, for example, just use that one center, the more we tend to be present and we'll start to notice things that we were not noticing before.
And that's the other sign, is that the field of our attention deepens, gets crisper, and we notice all kinds of things that ordinarily we don't notice because our attention when we're not present is sort of welded to these preoccupations and patterns. And that's what we're looking at with the Enneagram. That's our type does without presence, it tends to become the survival machine.
I always thought of presents sort of as where you are on the spectrum between the past and the future. And there's only one moment right now. And if you're thinking about the future, you're not present. If you're thinking about the past, you're not present.
That's one way it can manifest. But I would suggest that you can be present to thinking about the future.
Oh, go go deeper on that.
Yeah. For example, if I'm really here in the moment with my body and breath and I need to think about what I'm going to do next week, I can be aware of myself in the here and now and present with the thinking process and planning of that. Otherwise we start to think of presence as a trance, which it isn't. That's a common error that people make and this is the experience side of it, we think of presence as a groovy place to hang out where life wasn't bogus anymore.
Right. That's the transit point nine, for example, which is at the top of the anagram for a reason. When we are actually present, we're present with content, we're present with what's happening in our body, we're noticing our postures and how we're breathing, we're noticing what's in our emotions, we're noticing what's in our mind. And as we're noticing, again, it gives us options. In other words, instead of my mind just coming back to its obsessions and its fears and it's the pace as it goes through every day, I used I used to say, can you imagine if we could, like in the Matrix, plug something into the back of your head, but instead put a little TV screen on top of your head?
And along with our masks we're wearing these days, you put a little screen up there with two little speakers hanging down the side and everybody could see what I'm thinking. I think people would quickly realize no one's thinking, no one's thinking about anything. Our minds are on idle, just running and regurgitating the same nonsense over and over and over ninety eight percent of the time. And I'm being kind to think, to realize, to ponder, to to not question as a position of skepticism, but question as to really be curious about something is not common.
And those are attributes of being a little more present like that a lot.
OK, let's finally dive into these types here. This is a question you've probably had a million times, but let's go through all nine and maybe you can give the name of them and then maybe the one or two sentence summary of the key sort of behaviors associated with that dominant type. So just diving in a lot of times I like to start with eight people want to know, why don't you start with one? Well, it's because there's a certain order to the way these are.
They're not a random grab bag. And the eight, nine and one represent what we call a triad, and they represent the intelligence of the body. So you go through eight, nine and one, you get lessons about embodiment, what that means, eight starting off with eight. It's it's we call this type the challenger, and it's pretty easy to recognize kind of person. So the way I like to talk about is what's the gift here and what's the the challenge or the difficulty?
The gift of the eight is that when we're present and we're connected with what it's really about, we feel confident. To answer your earlier question. We feel empowered. We feel not like we're powerful, but we are empowered. And the more we are with that, the more we are living life and immediacy and fullness and energy. And we got it. And we are decisive. We don't dilly dally around. We're not timid. The the downside of this is each type the ego does as substitute for the real thing.
And so the substitute in the eight and the eight part of all of us is to the degree we don't feel that aliveness and energy and immediacy, we get tough and we harden ourselves and we resist and we also control. So we become we control our feelings. We don't want to cry. We control our lives in different ways. We control other people if we feel like they're going to get to us. So and to the degree that we're disconnected from the eight gift, we're going to be some kind of a control freak.
And that can go very far. So, as I said, a person who is innate is it isn't that they're not engaging the other the other eight types, but that that's their the main track. They need to be aware of that movement between that alive, real sensitive empowerment and that kind of hardening oneself. So the nine next door neighbor, Don and I call this the peacemaker in each Enneagram teacher, each Enneagram teacher tends to have their own names for it.
But I always encourage people the names are just there to get you started. I always use the numbers because they're neutral. They don't say anything about the type good or bad, and they don't highlight a particular quality at the expense of another. But Nine's peacemaker is about when we're present, we're grounded and we feel at home in ourself and as feeling at home in ourselves we are. Our agitation settles. We feel peaceful, we feel ready for life, and we feel this is the weird thing.
The more present we are in our body, the more we feel connected with everything. We feel connected with nature, with life. We we feel more of the wholeness of everything that comes through our body. It's not a cognitive thing. So that's beautiful. And a lot of great things come out of it. People who are nice have that beautiful capacity to land and invite other people in for a landing. Nines also tend to be very creative type that always gets underestimated.
A lot of great musicians and artists and writers are nice when nines are not so present. What we do is we disengage. We're still there at the meeting, but we're not there at the meeting. We're saying I love you to our partner, but we're just saying it. And there's a way we've sort of withdrawn ourselves into an inner world that we then protect against the outer world. And that that disengagement and everybody does is to some degree nines are just the best at it.
And it's something we learn to do in childhood to handle what was scary or overwhelming. It's a great example. But when we're in there, it it's costly in the long run to our relationships, to our work and so forth. And so there's a way that knives don't really bring their gifts forward, even when they're brilliant and so talented. And so you can get into a place where people just wanting to connect with you feels threatening. So you just stay in that inner world.
One is the reformer. I've also called one the educator. One is the part of us that really loves integrity. That has it's a kind of when we're in our body, we kind of naturally don't slouch. We're not like all scrunched up. We kind of when people are present, there's a beautiful alignment and expressiveness to the way people are. There's an elegance and a dignity to people who are more present. And that dignity and alignment is what the ones are generating and expressed behaviorally as integrity, honesty.
There's a way that the ones then when we're in that space, life feels more sacred. And I don't mean by that according to any particular religious point of view, although if you have a religious point of view, it would make it more real and immediate for you. But people have sacred experiences that aren't necessarily connected with any religious belief. So that beautiful part of the self is also about and it's hard to find language for this. It's about goodness, feeling good, knowing there's goodness in me.
So much of the difficult part of ego is that we feel not good, so much so that we even get defensive by trying to be badass, like we trying to be bad just as a defense against the despair of feeling the loss of goodness. So it's easy to look at the world and see, man, where is the goodness? Right. And so the one out of presence can't feel or find that goodness in the same way. And so the world seems kind of corrupt, nasty, dishonest, mean spirited.
And so the ego rises up and says, well, I got to set things straight. I got to be a straight arrow. I got to. And that natural alignment becomes a kind of physical tension because it's all on my shoulders and I'm going to make sure things straighten up and fly right, at least in my world. And if I can effect beyond that, so much the better. So it's like being a warrior for goodness. But again, the ego in trying to do that tends to create even more problems for myself and others.
I become kind of rigid, kind of testy, impatient, sometimes judgmental, not attractive traits and not things that I really want to be. But it's it's out of the ego trying to get someplace that it's is not really as province moving along. We come to the heart triad, which is two, three and four. Two is the part of the heart that where we feel connected with others and obviously with someone we are in relationship or love or could be family member, could be a friend, but can be with animals.
You know, a lot of people have their pets. And my gosh, you can sure have a heart connection with your pet, but you can even have heart connection with nature, with the sky. You know, it's the way our heart kind of goes out into some kind of sense of communion. It's also the part of our heart that wants to respond, like when we see need, when we see hurt, when we see suffering, there's just natural it takes a lot of conditioning to stop.
This part of a person can happen. But we naturally respond when we see someone in need. And that part of us is the to part and it's intelligent. The heart is smart. It's not just having sentimental feelings when it's liberated. Our response is to people and their difficulties are intelligent. Like sometimes we might see someone crying and we get the the heart wisdom. Give them space. This person needs to cry. They haven't cried for years. If I go over and and fuss over them, that's actually going to stop something they really need to do.
So that heart intelligence is attuned now when we are not present that beautiful heart connection, we can't feel it. And the the beautiful attunement, the intelligence that gets blurry. So we're going out trying to do think we get more impulsive if we are to to trying to do things for people, whether they need it or want it. And the other side of it is we're trying to connect all the time, which blocks us from noticing the ways we already are connected.
Like if you know, I I live here in New York City. I ride the subways and sometimes, you know, without being in any way creepy, you can just be sitting on the subway or a bus and you just make that little eye contact with somebody for a second, just a little smile and a nod. And there's nothing that needs to be said. But in that moment, it's like to Hart said, howdy and I'm a human and you're human.
And we're on this journey and there's something that can change your whole day. If you have a moment like that, you feel connected. That's right.
That's a moment of essence. The. It's a moment of a deeper aspect that the anagram is trying to get us back to, that's not weird or far out or these are real normal human experiences that make our life livable, but we forget how to get there. That's the point. And that's the helper. That's the helper. Yes.
Thank you for reminding me to put the name in. Yeah. So that's the helper. And you see why it's called that. The next point is three. We call this type the achiever and three is having to do with the heart, although people are three might not initially recognize themselves as heart types because threes are the the doers of them all. They're doing stuff. They're active. They like to have things to do. They like to focus on on getting things done, get that checklist done.
Type is the world who are waiting for this to to get to the nine items. That's right.
Get through the stuff and get to the goal. And and threes are also thinkers. They can be very smart, they strategic. They like to have plans and lay things out and they like to be logical. All that being said, what's motivating them is from their heart because the heart is where we find meaning.
Meaning is not cognitive, you can argue endlessly in your head about what's meaningful, but evidence land in your heart, you don't get it, meaning purpose, big word for threes, having a purpose.
And it's weirdly the heart that connects our our self as consciousness with our functional life. It's through the heart that we feel the connection between what we are beyond our personality and our actions in the world, and when that's happening, it's what know if you're talking about this in the business where what we call flow, it's about when you are in that state of flow, you're just with your heart, your present. You're just doing what you do and you're loving it and you're not reviewing yourself or worried about what anybody else thinks about you just into it and doing it.
And that's and that's a hard thing.
Just that you're our hearts get so lit up when we're able to do that. Right.
And so threes at their best, they know that they're finding they're taking their amazing talents and skills. And, boy, they really work to acquire those things. But those things are in service to stuff they care about. It's in service to what they love. And then in a way, what they're doing is like an act of love, you know, whatever it is, whether they're helping out their family or whether they're doing their career or whatever. And that's a gorgeous way to live.
When we lose the presence, the doing stays, but the sense of meaning fades. So we think that by getting stuff done, we'll get that sense of meaning. We think that by accomplishing that goal, then we're going to feel all happy about ourselves. But you don't need to go too far looking at the newspapers and magazines and blogs to see that many enormously successful people are in great despair, get into addiction, commit suicide ET because it feels like such a rip off to work so hard to achieve those goals and you still feel empty inside.
So the three is about that journey back to the heart being there in the midst of what we're doing in this world. So you can think of all these as a journey or a lesson as much as they are a type of person. If you are that type, it means that's your kind of personal myth. That's your life journey. That's your hero's journey. You could say so. The four and the one I was mentioning earlier that everybody seemed to want to be in North America.
This is not true, by the way, in Asia.
They don't want to be forced in Asia. I was going to ask you, after how cultures play into how we see ourselves, but for let's go through the list first.
OK, so far is that our heart brings. Depth and intimacy, people say they like intimacy, but when actually starts to happen, they sometimes get a little scared because intimacy is the experience of learning the depth of what we are beyond our personality. So if we're really identified with thinking that we're our personality, when we actually have a moment of intimacy in that moment, who am I? Who is my friend, what's actually here? The mystery deepens, but as the mystery deepens and we're actually moving closer to what we are beyond our personality, let's say our true identity, everything gets more beautiful.
Everything's filled with the kind of resonance and mystery and beauty and and force are on the lookout for that, and when they're in their healthier manifestation, they're bringing that to other people. They're inviting people into that. They're creating a life of intimacy and beauty and richness. And they're reminding other people to come back to their depth and humanity and for for are the individualists.
That's right. I don't often use examples, but I just was posting the other day about your fellow Canadian, Joni Mitchell, as a great example of an anagram for who has done exactly what I was talking about as that was her offering to the world when we lose the presence. It's as though the mystery and the beauty fade and then the world seems barren, ugly, pedestrian, purposeless, dull and so forth, just as the three there's no meaning.
Why am I doing all this? The four is like, who am I? What am I? What is the point of all this? And there's a kind of existential despair about the loss of this depth and mystery and beauty. Everything seems ugly. I, I sometimes feel ugly, right? I've lost whatever it was that made me beautiful. And so there's the four in in the fixated pattern is gets caught up in emotional reactivity. Because I know that what I lost has something to do with my heart, but I can't go to that deeper place without the presence.
So what I see is all my reactions to the loss that my reaction to this ugly, crude, senseless world and that and or to myself and all the ways I feel I'm not being this truth of what I am. And so that reactivity kind of engulfs me and that it makes it very hard to have a good life.
So we move on to the five, six and seven. The head types have to do with being more or less connected with our presence in the head center.
So hold on the eight, nine and one we're which type? The body or belly body. And then the two, three and four were the hard part. And then so the five, six and seven are the head. So the five is the investigator.
That's right. The investigator. Another popular name is The Observer, which is fair enough. But I think it it muddies the water a little bit because nines are also good observers. Nines observe, but observing and investigating are kind of different. There's more of an aggression investigation. You're going to go find out.
You're going to know you're not just looking at the beautiful stone. You're turning it over and looking at what's under it. You're chipping off a piece and looking at what it what's inside. So investigators, the five and the five, it has to do with the capacity in human beings to come to realizations, to new awarenesses, to seeing new truth. And, you know, think of where we'd be if we didn't have that. We'd still be back in caves if we even found caves.
Right. So that capacity is enormous to come to to have a kind of clarity, a clarity of thought, of communication, of perception. And I would add that another big component here is that when we find our true mind, our deeper mind, it brings with it a sense of solitude. Solitude is a kind of inner quiet that's kind of not disturbed by the activities of life, not disturbed by other people. So that solitude is kind of like I can hear myself think.
So those are really important. And in a healthy five, not only are those qualities there, but they're also in service of the heart is kind of a Buddhist view here. The awareness and the realization, the enlightenment about what's true and isn't is helping me see what's needed and help people help the world. It's it's in service of the heart, in service of compassion. The other big element here is also, as you see what's real. You're also seeing what you've believe that isn't real.
So it's the part of us that can liberate us from stuff we used to believe that we now see. Well, OK, that was like training wheels. It was good at the time, but I don't really need that now. And so we can let go of concepts and beliefs and ideas without getting freaked out. It's and that's necessary for us to grow up. And certainly if we're going to get any freedom from our personality pattern. So when fives are not so present, their challenge area is that they're trying to have that knowing and discerning of truth and untruth and their solitude, but without the basis of them.
So what happens then is my my mind is constantly working, trying to figure things out. What's going on here? What is this? What's that? What's that? You see sometimes little kids who are fives going around naming everything.
Like, oh, that's a there's a truck on, there's a plane, it's like I'm constantly trying to establish what's here and what isn't, what's real and what isn't. That can lead to certain kinds of expertise, but can also really lead me down a rabbit hole of obsessive thinking. And the need for solitude becomes the avoidance of human contact. So it's not true that five don't like any human contact, but they want to be in control of the duration and amount of it.
Yeah, I'll go to the party with you, darling, but what time will we come home right before I need to know a destination when we're going for a walk or something? Exactly. Yeah, it's like I'm willing to do it. But I the sense of the five starts to be that more than a little will probably burn me out, deplete me, be too much. And so depending on some variations within the type, which that's another whole topic.
You know, my capacity for being with people, it is perceived as limited. So then that can lead me to a lot of isolation and the isolation and the weird thoughts in the way we go. One of the types that when we are having problems, they actually look like mental problems is not some of the types. They're still running a company or a country and they got a lot of problems, but fives look like they got problems. So six, we call this type originally the loyalest, although not one we're not.
We don't call that in Ireland.
The loyalest is.
I also like to call this type the troubleshooter because it troubleshooters somebody who's anticipating problems and looking down the road and figuring out what could go wrong and then doing the necessary steps to make sure that those bad things don't happen. Or perhaps they're also looking at problems that have happened and considering alternative things to do to create safety. And that's what sixes do. Sixes are just as much thinker's as fives. They they're very analytical. They think about a lot of things, but they're more overtly feeling than five, are they?
They're more openly emotional. They respond more to people's emotions. That being said, what is their gift? The gift of the six is the quality of alertness and a weakness and paying attention, even the ability to pay attention, like how cool that we can be mindful. You know, there's that we can gather our attention and notice what's what's going on, and that serves them in paying attention to what's going on, their life with their families, with their loved ones, with their company, et cetera.
And success often will get this heart feeling of being entrusted with something. There's it's it's I'm on my watch now. I'm I'm in the night. Watch for you.
Game of Thrones fans and I have a duty to uphold something and to be aware. And on my watch, I'm going to do my best to make sure these things get taken care of and I'll use my mind to do that. And so there's a kind of devoted quality, a beautiful sense of service in succes that I find very lovely. Now, when we lose presents, we lose that sense of alertness, a weakness that it's it's an interesting thing, too, that alertness when it's present is also steadying.
We feel more confident, courageous, steady. It stabilizes us somehow when we lose it, the awareness turns into a kind of hyper vigilance. We're like we're like deer that just heard a sound like, what was that?
What was that? What's going on? What's happening next? When once this pandemic going to be over, what's happening here? Right. And so our minds now get activated and we start to hyper think in that hyper thinking is driven by anxiety. That anxiety, then, is not what my focus is. My focus is on my thoughts that are generated by the anxiety. But now I life isn't to be lived or enjoyed. It's to be handled. And so I'm like in my mind forever putting out fires, fixing problems, dealing with life rather than living.
And then the stress of that can get really wearying. And I can get impatient with myself and others and really kind of into a downward spiral where just I feel like nothing I do is ever good enough and that I'm like in a pit of sand that no matter what I do, it just keeps getting worse. The self sabotage in that one seems very more apparent.
Yes, Don used to say and I like this, that three anchors of the difficult parts of the ego can be found in the nine, the three in the six that are on the central triangle. Self forgetting is the nine just forgetting to be present here. It doesn't matter if I'm here, three is self-deception, I am the ego, and what the ego wants is what's important and what's going to fulfill me wrong.
But we have to convince ourselves to keep going with a lot of this stuff. And then six, as you named itself, sabotage how I keep my life off kilter so that there isn't the space to consider that there might be anything else going on here. So anyway, you get the idea of that being kind of anxious. Sixes are one of the types that sometimes thinks they're fores because they they when they're caught in their stuff, they have a lot of emotions and they will really low self concept so they can think their force.
Seven is our last stop on the train. Seven is also about the head center. So we saw that clarity of the five. The weakness of the six seven is the openness of mind.
This is the enthusiast, the enthusiast. Right. And so there's a kind of enthusiastic, positive energy, curiosity, willingness to try things, try new food, try new experiences, travel experiences, world while we're here.
And in that openness also brings a sense of appreciation that openness, experience brings a kind of lightness of heart and makes us feel positive, but not a positivity. That's an avoidance of difficulty or pain. It's the positivity that's there for us when we're having difficulty and pain. It doesn't flee because we're having difficulty. It's it's the spirit in us that stays there. Even when we're having a terrible time. When Sevan's are in their power, they're the most exploratory, adventurous people.
They check things out, they read, they study, they learn about a lot of things. They if something grabs their attention, they check it out. And that's a cool thing. Not only that, but they're the ones who bring hope. They bring positivity. When bad things are happening, they rise to the occasion and show people that don't give up. We can still do this. They keep the lights on.
And so the bringers of that positivity, when they lose their oh, the other big thing here didn't say is that openness is also the experience of freedom, but inner freedom, it's it's freedom, not as the ego understands it. It's it's not that I have freedom is that my nature is freedom. In my soul, I am free. It's funny how many people discovered that in prison go deeper on that.
Yeah, I was in South Africa years ago. I used to go there and teach pretty regularly. And, you know, God willing and health permitting, I go there again sometime.
A beautiful country, great people. But I was at Robben Island and went and visited the prison cell of Nelson Mandela. And it was really small and very simple, very primitive and just thinking of him in there for years, but it was in there that his vision of how to save South Africa and end apartheid came to him. And if you read his writings, it was there when he didn't have the ego's idea of freedom. He found his inner freedom.
Now, we would want them to have the outer kind, too. But the cool thing about the inner kind is you can't take that away from somebody. Right? You know, people found that, you know, Victor Frankl wrote about this.
You know, it's just thinking that the Holocaust and his experience in Auschwitz. Right.
And he said the last of the human freedoms is sort of like the ability to respond.
Yes, and exactly. And so people sometimes discover these deeper aspects. Sri Aurobindo in India, when the great sense of of the last couple of centuries of Indian religion. He also came to his realization while he was imprisoned for sedition against the British government.
So you know what we're saying here, that doesn't mean that it's OK that people are suffering or imprisoned or that's not what I mean, but that we will be dissatisfied by what looks like freedom to us, which on the ego is having more options, having more choices, being able to do whatever I want, which is I call that lovingly my inner two year old, you know. But real freedom, as one of my teachers used to say, is no longer being ruled by an inner two year old.
Right. It's another thing. And look at these figures who found it. They didn't come out and just indulge themselves. They were pivotal figures for their cultures. So that finding that inner freedom, that positivity is becomes a source of inspiration. When we lose it, then we're just trying to find what's interesting, keep our options open, do this, do that. And the danger for sevens is that they scatter themselves. They're often brilliant, talented people, but they don't.
They lose patience with themselves before they get to the gold of whatever it is that they're exploring. So they try this, they try that, try that. But you can feel the kind of frustration that I'm looking for, something I'm trying to find out who I'm supposed to be when I grow up. Right. But the point of matter is that that mental activity, like in the six and the five, is obscuring the freedom and the spaciousness. That is my nature.
So just to recap for everybody, one was the reformer who was the helper, three was the achiever, four was the individualist, five was the investigator, six was the loyalest, seven was the enthusiast, eight was the challenger, and nine was the peacemaker.
And like I remember reading one of your books in preparation for this, and you said the dominant emotions in the Triad were anger, anxiety and shame.
Yeah, walk me through that which is which. And and that's when you're disconnected with your your your presence. Right.
Right. The idea is that when we start in the course of ego development in childhood to lose the felt sense of what we are, which must happen, it happens. Right. Just for some reason we go through these developmental stages and that's part of it. But in the course of losing that grounding, our heart goes into reaction and our nervous system goes into reaction. And so we talk about these as kind of emotional, instinctual energies that are there in all ego states.
So there's always some degree of anger or rage. And the way we look at this, too, is that if you dig into particular psychological issues, you will sooner or later hit a layer that's just pure emotional energy that what's really there underneath. Whatever the story is, it's just a lot of anger that didn't have an outlet. And we talk about also how each of these emotions is workable. It's not bad or wrong. But again, if we bring that three centered presence and kindness to it, it it finishes its job.
It does whatever it was there to do and it transmutes into an ingredient we actually need. So anger, if we're present with anger, it only lasts a few seconds. When we're not present with anger, it can last our whole life.
Yeah, I like to think about that as like we often just push feeling actually aside. We we analyze it, we rationalize it, we investigate it, but we do everything but actually feel that feeling and that emotion.
And because we don't experience it, it comes to crop up later and it boils over and we can't. And if you just take the time in the moment to feel what you're feeling, it'll pass. That's right.
And there's a difference between this where some people get scared of their emotions. There's a difference between feeling my emotion and acting it out. Many people think if they feel their anger, they're going to go around, smash things or attack people. But that's not it. The people going around smashing things and attacking people are not in touch with their anger. It's going instantly into a behavior, and that's how they've learned to control it. But that's not the same as being with it.
So what does it mean to be with your feelings or your emotions? Well, again, it comes down to this acquiring the capacity to be in the body. If I'm in the body with anger, anger has very particular sensations. It usually feels like heat. For one thing, we may feel it in particular places. Sometimes it manifests when we're resisting it, it locks up our jaw, our necks get tense, our shoulders. There's a whole musculature around the resistance and holding of anger.
But when we sort of let it go, it feels almost more liquidy and it feels like liquid heat. And that heat can be useful in dissolving these rigid places where I've been holding anger. So there's a logic to how we unpack. You know, some people study trauma. I think of Peter Levine looked at how animals are so good at just doing going through their kind of physiological paces to release trauma. But trauma will usually come accompanied with really big emotional energies.
It doesn't always have to be at the level of trauma, but we learn from that study that that's how you can work with these things. So just getting in touch with the energy of it, moving, expressing can all help to move anger through. When anger is presence, it transmutes into empowerment and confidence and the ability to take a stand, to have a voice, to speak your truth. People who can't be in touch with their anger have trouble with all of those things.
What do we do with anxiety? Anxiety is its deeper root. I was looking for a long time to find the right word, and I use this for the the so-called passion of point six. Each type has a particular, quote, passion, but we don't mean like being passionate. It means a. Form of suffering, and I couldn't find a good English word, so I turned to German and the best word is angst, angst, which is not just anxiety, but the suffering of anxiety, the sort of twisted, anguished feeling anxiety is, you know, unprocessed fear.
Tell me more about that.
Yeah, fear could be, you know, you see something dangerous. Somebody is approaching you with a weapon in their hand. Fear is just suddenly adrenaline pumps through your system and activates your arms and legs to move and groove you toward running away or fighting back or or freezing. Fear is fight, flight or freeze. However, when we don't process fear, it becomes this backlog of sort of jitters and unease and not being able to sink into ourself. And it keeps our mind turning and turning and turning.
You know, I notice a lot of people is we're having this conversation. We're in the midst of this covid experience across the planet. And a lot of people are having anxiety, needless to say. And so what's a manifestation of sleeplessness? A lot of people having trouble getting to sleep at night. So this restless quality is is the symptom of anxiety in the mind turning, but anxiety when we feel it again, it's an energy in the body.
It feels like battery acid. It's kind of acrid and. Energized and little electrical feeling when we presence anxiety. And we're with it in the body, with the heart, with the mind, to whatever degree we can, it transmutes into a weakness, into paying attention, because when we're scared, we're not sleepy. We're not out of the. Our attention may be misdirected, but we're paying attention if you hear a bump in the middle of the night, you're suddenly not sleepy, you know, you're like you're activated.
So when you can relax the tense, reactive part of that, when you breathe through the anxiety. It becomes awareness, becomes lucidity, you know, I think it was Virginia Citya who said that anxiety is excitement without breathing. So they're all workable. But again, the five, six and seven that tend to have more issues with anxiety than turning thoughts, the restlessness and so forth, sometimes people say, I'm not sure if I'm a nine or a five.
I said, do you fall asleep easily or is it hard for you to sleep? Did your mind keep turning and you can't stop it? Or are you able to just chill out?
That's one distinction that whereas the eight, nine and one have more issues with anger in the expression of anger and finding out how to be with anger, the the two, three and four or about.
We talk about shame. We have to talk about hurt, broken heartedness. If you've got an ego, you've got some broken heartedness. Part of the challenge of waking up is being able to be with our broken heartedness and my gosh, everybody else, but it's a weird thing, you know, we're so afraid of it yet it's the one of the main ways we human beings connect when we can acknowledge each other's hurt and the difficulties and how, despite the difficulties we've been through, somehow we're both still here.
Well, that's kind of remarkable. So there's a sense of. Being able to learn to be with our broken heartedness and not be into some kind of narrative or story about it, like it's some proof there's something wrong with me. I'm not lovable. I'm a flop, I'm boring, I'm not sexy, whatever. We have all kind of negative narratives that can come out of that. On the other hand, the defense against it is narcissistic grandiosity.
I'm more loving than any one. And without my help, the whole everybody in my life will fall to pieces. Well, that's kind of grandiose. I'm the only one who knows what to do in this company. I can make things happen. I'm going to feel grandiose. I'm the most talented person around. Maybe I'm deeper and more profound than anyone I know. Really. How do you know that that's a rather narcissistic view of yourself.
I need to be needed. I need that validation.
Exactly. Narcissism, if we look at it this way, is a pretty normal human thing. If we're going to work with this stuff, it needs to stop being a dirty word. We need to sort of acknowledge everybody has some, but it's to what degree is it running my life and what is it defending me against people who are more narcissistic, have big wounds and heartbreak around their lovability, their value, their sense of worth. And so they need to create an inflation as a defense against that.
So when you're looking at this this underlying shame and hurt, the shame actually is the recognition. If I can be present with it, it's the recognition that I am aware that I'm not being my truth. I'm aware that I'm not who I am. And the first step I always tell my students is acknowledging that you don't know who you are is a step into who you are. Right. To start to feel just that question alive. Then the shame becomes more of a fire that's going to carry me toward the truth, that will set me free.
And so everything that we're looking at is workable. And that's why we learn. It is no point just saying, here's what's wrong with you. We already think there's so many things wrong with this. This is how the interim takes us from what seems to be malfunctioning in us and connects it with what is most beautiful in us. That's, I think, the magic of it.
It's both, yeah. What are wings and stressors? Wings are just the idea that whatever your Enneagram type, the two types on either side of your type on the circle represent tendencies or variations on the theme. So, for example, as a point five, my wings could be four because going around the circles, four or five, six. So my wings are going to be four or six, meaning as of five I lean towards the four side of that or I lean toward the six side of it.
Now I think the wings are a little more flexible. And I used to talk about this with my friend Richard Rower, who some of you may know. We both felt that people in childhood figured out one of those angles, gets my needs met better than the other one read.
It gets fed. Exactly.
You get your people respond, you get taken care of by emphasizing some part of your type, the range of your type. As you get older, usually in midlife, some some people in their 30s, some people are 40, some people in their 50s, you start to explore the other wing again, like, oh, here's this part. I kind of decided my type it in use. It's like opening up some rooms in your home that you closed off.
Oh, yeah, there's some old stuff and it's kind of interesting. And you start to find this. Part of the cool thing about midlife and going into your later years is you start to find these other parts of you that you didn't necessarily develop in the first part of your life.
Why do you think we find that later in life? I think because as we're getting started in life. We're we're sort of eliminating things that don't get what we need and we're putting our eggs in the baskets that seem to provide. The best means for us to get what we're looking for, and so we narrow our focus, so we're trying to figure out who we are when we're adolescents and teenagers, where we're trying things on and eliminating things. So we're zeroing in on something.
But having zeroed in on it and producing whatever result it does in the latter part of life, we can relax a little bit and say, OK, what's what else is there in life is pretty normal. You know, a lot of the people that I end up working with who are in mid or later life, that's it. Like I did X, Y and Z and not feeling like what's the what are these chapters about other than playing golf or something.
But what are stressors? Stressors are the internal lines. If you look at the anagram symbol, it's got a circle, but each of the nine points has two internal lines connected to it. Now, one of the common misunderstandings is and it came out of one of the, let's say, lineages of transmission in the early days of the anagram is that one of those directions is good and one of them is bad? Well, it's not like that. They both are ingredients that can be helpful because they tend to be ingredients that get dropped when we're overly focused on our core point, when we're too identified, too stuck in the fixated pattern of our own type, we're not conscious of the importance of these other two directions.
So they are sure like skeleton keys, they're magic. So when we're not particularly present, these are so important to us. We act them out in different situations in life, some more generally, some our loved ones are going to get.
So for example, I'll use my example again. I'm a five when I am under stress. One of the directions is to seven. If you look on the anagram symbol, there's a line between five and seven. What that means is I can't focus, I can't contract, I can't withdraw anymore.
I'm sort of finding out if you see what I mean. So the psyche automatically starts to compensate by bringing the opposite, which is the seven is to suddenly go out, explore things, do this, do that. I used to say I could tell how overstressed I am by how many books I have stacked on my nightstand, because instead of reading one, I've started six. And that's more like a seven in stress. So it's not like I become a seven.
But the seven represents a reaction to me overdoing my five ness and a necessary reaction. But it's very different thing when I'm consciously invoking the good qualities. The seven has a balance to my own type. The other direction would be for me as if I would be eight. And so that direction I tend to be more blind too. But, you know, I can be really in the low side of the acting and that can be real bossy. I can be real controlling.
If there is a party going on, I'm going to decide what the music is or I'm not going to that party. I'm not going to listen to somebody else's terrible mix unless I really trust them not I'm better at that than I used to be. But when I was younger guy, forget about it. Very dominating. If you guys don't want to do what I want to do, I'll go do it on my own. But I didn't see that about myself.
March to the beat of your own drum. And beyond that, I made other people march to the drum.
But you see, I didn't see that about myself, but it represented. Yes, a five. I needed that grounded, confident embodiment so that there was an outlet and an output for all this stuff I had figured out.
So it when I brought it in consciously, subconsciously, is also acknowledging the shadow part of it. But there's they suggest paths of development again. And that's and so that's the really short version of it. You could do a big study of those in lines, but some teachers say they're not really they don't matter. I think if you take them out, you don't have the Enneagram. You just have, again, a tic tac toe board of nine description's, which won't get you too far.
One of the things I appreciated when you were giving the descriptions is sort of what it looks like when you lose your presence and what it feels like and what happens in those cases. So you can sort of like feel yourself slipping away and see what that default response would be.
How do you think about the mental biases arising from each of the nine sort of approaches or types?
Oh, yeah, absolutely. We all are going to sort for what we value and we're all going to look to certain kind of responses. Some types are looking for an emotional response. They're looking for some kind of visceral, real put your cards on the table, get in the trenches with me. And so I'm looking for that. And my bias is that people respond that way are straight shooters. That's somebody I can work with. That's somebody I trust.
Some types want to be positive and want to be inspired and want to be reassured and they want to reassure. And that's their gift and it's their bias. And some types don't want to get into positivity or emotions. They want to be logical and reasonable. And so that's what my prejudices toward talking about things that way.
It needs to make sense to me. It needs to.
Yeah, exactly. So I am always. Saying that if we're going to be skillful in human communication and working with people, we need to develop two other languages. We might kind of usually people are really good at one kind of OK to another and one, they just don't know that language. So if you're going to be good at this, you can be logical and rational. You can inspire and reassure and bring positive vibes, and you can be real and say what's really going on in you and invite that from others.
And that doesn't sound so easy and reasonable when you lay it out on paper. But actually doing it is not that common.
And how do we use this information? Like how do organizations use this commonly to improve their ability to hire people or be more productive? Well, you know, people use a lot of different ways, I've used it in a few particular modalities. There's things I think it's good for and things it's not good for. To go back to one of your earlier questions. My friend and colleague Catherine Bell lives out in Calgary and she's been using an organization so great.
But I've other colleagues here who have been doing so. I find that it's especially good for executive coaching and leadership development and kind of formation and of qualities that are needed for people to be effective in any kind of leadership role in organizations. And I also find it very good for team building. And when I'm using it for teams, I'm not necessarily focusing on everybody typing everybody in the room or go on. I'm getting more of a sense in a group, even a country or any organization has certain type means, if you like, dominant and every group has certain type.
Capacity's or or. Ingredients somewhat lagging or in some cases even absent. And so you can look at a group that way and analyze what are we do? Well, what comes easily as a group, what's been our focus, what's kind of OK and what really do we need to put a little loving attention into? Because in my experience, the stuff that you leave out comes back to bite you on the backside later on. If you don't deal with it.
What do you mean, the stuff you leave out?
Well, for example, a practical example, I worked with a number of banks back in the mid to late Knot's around 2007. And so and not surprisingly, a lot of financial institutions were reaching out for help at that point because in their 11 30 wake up call, they realized they were in big trouble. And a lot of times I would work with a group of directors of those institutions. And what we found on their team over and over was they had a lot of energy that another grouping that we used the anagram, they a lot of assertive energy, a lot of go getter energy, which you would expect from somebody in that in finance and arbitrage and so forth.
You kind of need to be that if you're going to succeed in those businesses. And so there was a lot of that energy, a predominance of those types in the group, but also just their overall values were in that direction. So they saw went for it. There was a certain degree of what I call the sort of maintenance and standards types that were and that energy was there, like maintaining things, making sure protocols were observed, making sure that things got connected and there was follow through and all that stuff.
They had a certain degree of that. What they were almost always absent in was what I call strategic long view or what in in our book we called the Withdrawn Style, which is they each correspond to type three, seven and eight is the go getters, the the assertive, the initiators.
And then the one, two and six is the dutiful style, altruistic, dutiful, make sure it gets done the mechanical sort of proficiency almost well, just making sure that the right things happen and willing to make sacrifices to have that occur.
Right. The four, five and nine are the withdrawn style back in business. I call them strategic long view because they're the people are really quiet at the meeting and sometimes have something to say at the end. But their style is to take in all the bits of what's going on and get the gestalt of it and say something about the bigger picture. Now, imagine banks in the mid knot's making money hand over fist. What were they not doing, thinking about the future?
They weren't seeing the bigger picture. They weren't seeing the implications. They were not hearing that waterfall that they were headed toward. They weren't reading the signals. They didn't want to because they were getting excited about approaching the goals that they had. So that's a really practical example and I think a pretty understandable one. So when you bring in that view, when I work with a group like that, I wouldn't necessarily say you got to hire a certain type that may or may not be practical, but we'd look at the group and say, who in this group can play that role?
Which one of you could reasonably?
And then they have an interesting creative discussion about it. So I am when I use it in organizations, I'm not using it, going around typing people, because a lot of times people just get obnoxious with that. They they use it to make fun of colleagues. I mean, that's not helpful, but I use it to help them. See their strengths and weaknesses in accomplishing whatever their particular mission is.
I think it's also I mean, it sounds like you'd be super useful in the context of a couple relationship, right. Where you walk me through that. Let's dive into that. Sure.
You know, one thing that I've done and I always used to say people would ask us questions like, which type should I be with? I'm this type, what would be a good type for me? And Don's funny answer was always healthy.
Get a healthy type. Find the higher side of any of them. Somebody who's done some psychological work is going to be more of a delightful person to live with. And I would add, if you want to be with such a person, make sure you're ready. Right. What does that mean to be ready? Well, that you've been looking at yourself, you know yourself, you know your guts, you you have some awareness of your strengths and weaknesses and you've done some psychological or some spiritual work so that you are able to engage meaningfully in conversations about these things.
Should problems come up and will problems come up. Yes.
Or how you handle those problems. Sort of like everything, right?
Absolutely. So it gives, I think gives a lot of couples language to talk about what's going on with them. It helps them see where they align on values and where they see things differently. And so when I'm counseling couples that really are committed to working things out with each other, I'm always saying, OK, here's where you guys are different. How can you turn that into a benefit where you're kind of coaching and helping each other with something that's your strength.
But you're also receiving the strength and the wisdom of your your partner, who has a different set of values. We get into that talking about just the anagram types. But there are all kind of other elements to that. Like we talked about the subtypes or the instinct's is another you could do a whole hour a week just for that.
But like maybe we could break it up into the Triad a little bit.
And if I'm if I'm in a relationship or I'm married to somebody who's thinking like, how do I how can I go deeper into my connection with them? Or what if they're feeling what do I do as a partner to to bring that to a more meaningful place? Or what if they're anxious? How do I respond when they are anxious? What are the things that we can do as partners to improve that aspect of our relationship and go deeper with our partner?
Well, it's kind of a two parter, and there's general principles that could give us in the time frame we have people, when they're having difficulties, are always hoping that someone will show up for them in the way they would for us when they're at their best. For example, if if I'm in a relationship with a nine. When I think about my nine beloved or my nine friend, what do they do that's so helpful to me when they're at their best?
They're just they're they're not like trips on me. They're not putting an agenda on me. They're not trying to fix me. They're just they're in a steady, kind, understanding way. And and in that I can kind of find my feet and and get back into orientation again.
The president, you feel safe there, present. You feel safe, not land trips. Guess what, my beloved nine once. Me to do right, be there in the same way. Yes, I may bring also the gift of what I can do from my type, but I don't have to think about that. I just do that very automatically. But if I do that in the context of what that person is seeking, that reminds them of them at their best, which helps them find their center.
So my eight friend would be really fiercely there with me, would be so there would be inviting me to to talk about what I was feeling, would let me know that they're strong enough, they can take it, let me know. Right. And and that kind of bid for realness, that's what they want. They want to know I'm in the trenches with them, I'm I'm with them, I'm not feeling their feelings for them, but I get it.
And I'm there and I'm I care. Right. I got you. That's it. So you if you study your partner as what they do, as their gift to you when you're having trouble, see if you can bring some of that to them. That's one thing. The other thing is that by those Triad's, as you were asking me, each triad, meaning the bell oriented types, the hard oriented, that they're looking for certain things from their relationship for the eight, nine and one, they're looking for respect.
They're looking for a field of respect. So if you look at the eight nine one, even if they're troubled, even if they're having a terrible time, they can feel if you're there in a way that honors their integrity, their autonomy, who they are, you're with them, respecting them and who and what they are even in the midst of their difficulty. And they will pick that up because, again, at their best, that's what they do.
And again, it's kind of a non-negotiable eight and on. And one, you know, if I don't feel you're respecting me and the deal's off, I'm done with you, things might be nice about it.
And it's a no stay with the certain Anglo-Saxon phrase that follows it. But you know that I've written you off. You don't respect me. But it's also true that they when they're really angry with somebody, they punish people by not respecting them two, three and four. Want to be seen, known and validated? You see me, you get me, you're validating your you're OK saying you're with my feelings. All those types may later on want to sort things out.
OK, let's see what this is really about, but that ain't going to happen if first there isn't that sense that you're with me, you're seeing me, you're getting me, you're you're really wanting to know me. You care about that. I'm having these feelings and you're letting me have these feelings. Right, and they work that out in different ways, it's sort of interesting because force that leads, they're going to put those feelings out right away and see what the other person does, the two and three or more CGY.
I don't necessarily trust that you will be with my feelings or see me, but if I perceive that you do see me and get me and see that I'm struggling and you're making that OK, I'm relieved and I'll come forward and now I will meet you more and that, you know, all three of them really don't expect they're surprised when they perceive that someone sees them or gets them.
They don't they don't expect it. Of course, everybody's like that to some degree. But to see some force, that's the main thing. And again, when we are not doing too well, we punish others by withdrawing our seeing and validation of them. We just kind of cut them off emotionally.
Five, six and seven. It's a little harder to put into words, but they're looking for someone who can just be there with them in a steady way, not approaching, not withdrawing, not glomming on or taking over or fixing and not abandoning. Like you're not leaving me and you're not getting into my stuff. Just consistent. Consistent. Right.
And so if I perceive that that you're just here with me and you know, and I'm going to work this out, all five, six and seven has that conviction, I will work this out. But if I know you're there, you're my ally, you're in this with me and you're not leaving me and not trying to take over. And and all three, five, six, seven, hate to be the recipient of someone else, helping them or saving them.
Don't solve my problems for me. Just hold my hand and like, go through it with me.
Exactly. So as as I feel someone will do that, then I will start working it out and I'll feel more connected and it helps heal what's ever going on. The relationship. And of course, again, five, six and seven are the worst and being steady for somebody when they're not having troubles. Am I in the relationship I out? Am I too close to my running away? I'm all over the place. Nobody knows what I'm going to do, including me.
So that's one bit of advice around all that stuff. That's amazing.
I know we're coming up on time here. So to two final questions. What's the best starter material like working people go to learn more about the Enneagram if they're interested and curious?
Well, you know, there's a lot of good material out there. There's a number of books, kind of depends on your orientation. I, of course, feel that the some of the books are done. Richard Resew and I wrote together are very solid and helpful. A lot of people would say that the book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram that he and I wrote, that's the best one. Yeah.
A lot of people, including other teachers, will sort of acknowledge it's like a classic textbook. You know, I've done 20 more years of study, so there's a few quibbles I'd have with things I said in that book. But overall, I think it's powerful because it also gives you the orientation is not just describing types. There are other we wrote a number of books and any of them would be worthy. We have websites, the Ingram Institute, Dotcom.
Is it just Enneagram Institute dot com is is that is that where people can find you on the Internet is sort of the Enneagram Institute.
Well, to places that would be the site that was created for Don Resew and me and our work is on there and our our Enneagram test, the the ready our eye is on that site. Also, I have a site just for what I'm doing that includes stuff that I'm not doing with the institute and that's just Rush Hudson Dotcom. You know, some of my colleagues have done wonderful work. I would say, you know, you're better off with people who have been studying this a while.
And I would also say that whatever book you look at, consider that it is a view on this. None of them is the Bible. None of them is the final say. And you'll feel just what's helpful, what's useful, what actually opens things up for you and what tends to reinforce. The other thing I always look for in any any Graham book or teaching or teacher, how even handed is it? How much are the teacher or writer's prejudices hanging out like they had a bad relationship with the four?
So the four gets a lot of shade, you know, or the maybe was a three and. Or some type is still idealized for some reason, so when you when you have more mature teachers are teaching, there's a fair and seeing the light and shade of each of anagram types.
Russ, thank you so much. This has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much. And I have a lot of fun. These were really good questions for me to think about to.