Efforting is not an official word in the English language; it’s a verb made into a noun. But its meaning is clear: putting a great deal of strength and force toward something or in a very specific direction. To go beyond the quote from Gangaji, “efforting” can actually take you in the opposite direction of your search for self. It takes you out of the present moment, disabling what needs to appear from natural emergence to become visible to us.
Please note that “efforting” does not have the same meaning as the word “effort.” Making an effort – wanting something and creating an intention through our thoughts and actions – can be very helpful in our development; “efforting” can be counter-productive.
The Enneagram can help us in minimizing our “efforting” and maximizing our “emergence.” Here is just one way:
Wanting to be so good | Types 1, 2 and 3
1s, 2s and 3s are the “good girls” and “good boys” of the Enneagram; they try to be so good so as to feel good about themselves and to look like “good” people in the eyes of others. Type 1s do this by being so perfect and not making mistakes – as well as trying or “efforting” to control their anger, as well as constantly “efforting” to improve themselves. Type 2s do this by being so nice, kind, thoughtful and “efforting” so hard to keep their own real feelings, needs and reactions out of public view, as well as their own view. Type 3s engage in constant “efforting” in order to get results, create a positive impression, be the best, follow their plan, and figure out how to ”get stuff done.”
Not only is all this “efforting” exhausting, it leaves almost no space for your true self and true desires to emerge in open, relaxed simplicity. The development is to simply stop “efforting” and start “allowing” your true self to emerge: your desires, needs, wants and dreams. Ask this: What do I really want?
Not wanting to be so bad | Types 6, 7 and 8
Types 6, 7 and 8 are not inherently bad, just like types 2, 3 and 4 are really not inherently good in some way. It’s just that 6s, 7s and 8s are concerned about being bad and so they effort in different ways to not feel as if they are “bad.” Another way to say this is that these three types either tend to get in trouble or they worry about getting in trouble. And there is a lot of “efforting” that goes into this.
Type 6s split their worlds into good and bad; authority figures are either all good or they fall from grace and are all bad. They also worry about being good themselves because if they are not good, then they think they are bad. Type 7s can get themselves in a lot of trouble from the earliest ages, with the idea that limits are not acceptable, doing whatever they want, when they want, and rebelling against anyone who tries to constrain them. The word “no” is not acceptable to them. Type 8s believe they were born bad, so why not be bad? Be rebellious. Challenge authorities or at least the ineffective ones. Rules are made to be broken.
These three types effort constantly to deal with this sense of being bad, being rebellious, or getting in trouble, and this takes a great deal of energy and effort. Not only is all this “efforting” exhausting, it leaves almost no space for your true self and true desires to emerge in open, relaxed simplicity. The development is to simply stop “efforting” and start “allowing” what naturally emerges.
Not wanting to be so alone | Types 4 and 5
Type 4s and 5s are said to be the two Enneagram types most in touch with the feeling of being abandoned, with 4s displaying “wet” abandonment and 5s representing ”dry” abandonment. “Wet” refers to feeling abandoned, acknowledging this, and weeping about it, while “dry” abandonment involves not acknowledging the feelings associated with abandonment and, hence, no tears.
It takes a great deal of effort to try to understand, if you are a 4, why you feel so abandoned, what you have done to cause this – for example, the deficiency you have that caused the abandonment to occur. For 5s, takes a great deal of energy to not feel the sorrow that is part of abandonment, to keep it away by emotional detachment and by becoming overly self-reliant and autonomous.
And all of this “efforting” disallows the natural sense of wholeness through balance and integration to emerge. In a sense, 4s and 5s abandon themselves as a way to deal with their sense of existential abandonment. Allowing the natural feeling of wholeness and connection to emerge supports a sense of vibrancy and vitality rather than bereavement in type 4, and completeness and abundance rather than scarcity in type 5.
Wanting to not effort | Type 9
Type 9, the remaining type, essentially wants to be comfortable and not effort. They can be very busy, particularly, but not only, the social subtype 9s who work very hard on behalf of groups as a way to fit in and have a place. Yet 9s exert a great deal of effort to not effort so they can remain calm. This is a counter-intuitive form of “efforting,” and it takes a great deal of energy to keep one’s somatic responses at a subliminal level. The challenge, opportunity and development for 9s is to stop “efforting” to not experience themselves fully and to start “allowing” their natural vitality and vibrancy to emerge.
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | firstname.lastname@example.org