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Development | suffering

Topic of the month | suffering

All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming. ~ Helen Keller

Suffering is part of the human condition. Some suffering we cause ourselves; some suffering is a result of environmental factors.  In either case, we often tell ourselves something that causes us to suffer more. Here are some ways, based on Enneagram type, our self-statements cause us to suffer more, followed by methods we can use to suffer less.

Ones | “I made a mistake.”

Use your breath to gently fill your entire body, a breath of fresh air to every cell

Twos | “I was unkind!”

Open up your heart area by allowing your shoulders to move backward instead of fold inward and then breathe into your belly area to support your heart opening.

Threes | “I failed at something.”

Sense your legs and feet, focus on them, and allow their strength to rise through your  belly and torso, helping to support both your back and your heart.

Fours | “I was rejected.”

Sense and feel your entire backside, all the way from the back of your feet through the back of your head, and allow your breath to enter this area relaxing you as you do this. Then allow this breathe to flow into the rest of your body.

Fives | “I feel isolated.”

Breathe gently into your whole body, and keep doing this.

Sixes | “I was bad.”

Breathe into your belly, think of something funny, and have a big belly laugh. Do this several times.

Sevens | “I’m not complete enough.”

Feel your feet on the floor, especially sensing where your feet and the floor meet, then allow the energy from your feet to travel up your body. Next, allow the vitality from your head to travel down your body. Have these two sources of vitality meet in the middle of your body.

Eights | “I harmed someone and didn’t mean to.”

Soften yourself from the inside, gently moving outward. Soft and gentle breath helps you do this. Start with your heart area or your belly area, whichever is easier for you.

Nines | “I don’t have a sense of myself.”

Find your height and stand in it, and as you stand tall,  breathe throughout your body, very gently.


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 | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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Craig Martin
3 years ago

Thanks for these somatic exercises, Ginger!