This article originally appeared on greaterlight.ca
If you are new to the Enneagram, you probably know it as a system of personality typing. This is the usual entry point for studying the Enneagram, but it barely hints at the power and potential of the symbol to transform people’s lives.
A book published a few years ago by my teachers and mentors, Carol Ann Gotch and David Walsh, invites the reader to venture beyond the limits of the Enneagram of Personality. Heart and Soul of the Enneagram is a book of meditations on the nine spaces of the Enneagram based on Carol Ann and David’s 35 years of teaching and guiding students on the journey of inner work.
Like all good scholars, Carol Ann and David have left the field richer than they found it. They have worked mostly in the oral tradition, so aside from student notes taken at various workshops, not much has been written down.
Heart and Soul of the Enneagram is a notable exception. Adapted and expanded from their earlier book, Soul Stuff, it has eighteen chapters, one for the Heart of… and one for the Soul of… each Enneagram type.
A premise of Heart and Soul of the Enneagram is that we all have work to do in each of the Enneagram spaces, so all chapters are of value to everyone, wherever they may find themselves on their journey. Thus the Heart of… chapters do not apply only to those who identify as Heart types (2, 3, and 4). Rather, these chapters invite all readers to a heartfelt encounter with each space.
The Heart chapters explore the movement of each type from compulsive habit to freely chosen living. The Soul chapters offer “further meditative reflections on the inner experience of the deeper self.”
Heart of 1, included below, is a taste of this work. Heart and Soul of the Enneagram is a rich companion on the inner journey that deserves attention from anyone wishing to deepen their understanding of the Enneagram as a guide to their spiritual path.
If you are interested in reading more of these meditations, the book can be ordered online by clicking the title link below or the cover image at the bottom of the page.
Excerpted from Heart and Soul of the Enneagram; ©2011 Carol Ann Gotch and David Walsh; Reprinted by permission
Heart of 1
Let the reaction surface…
Cradle it gently…
is the continuing revelation
moment by moment
bit by bit
My reaction expresses MY life
as it courses through my daily activity.
MY REACTION IS A SURGE OF ENERGY
involving me in life…
an affective awakening
which often finds expression as
This surge of energy
with flashing quickness
leads to the forming of words and images
erupting in a dispersal of energy.
I miss the mark
when I allow my reactions to relate outside myself.
I MISS THE MARK when I allow my reactions to relate to someone
else’s experience rather than my own.
I miss meeting my own response to the
PRESENT REVELATION OF LIFE.
Instead, I involve myself in someone else’s reaction
a fourth-hand reaction.
A whole series of chain reactions
begin and I get caught in them.
I move a protective distance
from the immediacy of my experience.
Then I ATTACH to these reactions,
and fasten to them in the form of bondage…
a bondage that is dense in energy and intense.
It is very difficult to hold this reaction
open and relaxed…
fluid and gentle.
THIS IS MY WORK IN THE “ONE” SPACE.
as an immediate and powerful reaction
to a stimulus
is a creative mechanism
for healthy autonomy.
It is a form of HONESTY
and an expression of DEEP CARE for myself
and for life.
It is simple, direct, and open.
When my simple, honest reactions
are not moving with the breath…
they interiorly pile up or spew out.
I get stuck in my “One” space.
Either way, in or out,
imploding or exploding,
the original, honest reaction
is not attended to.
It is judged and condemned to exile
thus separating myself from myself.
Energetically, I become rigid
and without softening
I have lost the connection to myself
that the reaction is trying to offer me.
Sentiment, gut feeling,
becomes unyielding and unbending.
RE-SENTIMENT IS BORN
a stiffening of sentiment, gut feeling.
Intense, caught-up feelings,
like anger or excitement,
I GET STUCK IN THEM and
THEY GET STUCK IN ME.
With this sense of entrapment
I proceed to speak words
that harm myself
This leads me to a sense of isolation and terror.
When I withhold honest feelings,
true gut reactions,
or repress them in myself,
or express them without cradling them,
RESENTMENT ARISES AND INCREASES IN ME
casting me adrift from my real self.
And from that point on,
– real or unreal –
fuels my anger.
To move ahead with my own REAL reactions,
those honest expressions of myself,
to let them flow with my breath
in a way that is open
This demands of me an inner sensitivity
and a willingness
to honour my gut feelings,
to create open space
around my sentiments,
a kind of space
that has an
E X P A N S I V E
and enables me to explore priorities
and to stay connected to the real.
to stay rooted in my own experience,
which is a natural containment and boundary,
allows the FLUID quality
Rooted in an honoring of my own experience
there is now
initially ATTACHED to me,
can now DETACH and move.
I can participate in life itself
which is movement,
in the moment.
I myself am affected by and do affect
this very moment of life.
It is as though,
in a tiny, minuscule way,
I make history
and carve out my place
as ONE among MANY.
It is precisely this SKILL
which spiritual traditions often call
THE ATTACHMENT OF NON-ATTACHMENT,