Although this statement may sound counter-intuitive, over years of working with people and groups on the Enneagram-based development, this has proven to be more accurate than not. Of course, working with the Center of Intelligence that instigates the challenging dynamic can be effective, it is simply more difficult. If the Head Center is the instigator, can the Head Center easily change course? To clear the Mental Center, soothe the Heart Center, or calm or embody the Body Center, another Center of Intelligence can be called into service to help support the desired growth and transformation.
This 9-nine-part blog series will clarify this developmental idea for each of the 9 Enneagram types, with this blog focusing on Enneagram type One.
A common type One development area
Being critical, both self-critical and critical of others
Being self-critical and judgmental of others is both a chronic issue for Enneagram Ones and a challenging issue for them in terms of their development. While we can all be judgmental toward ourselves and others, this behavior is more complicated and pervasive in Enneagram Ones. Their worldview is that the world is imperfect and that it is their job and responsibility to remedy or fix this whenever they can. Making this issue even more challenging for Ones, their ‘fixation’ or repeating mental pattern or habit of ‘resentment,’ has them continuously paying attention to flaws and mistakes so that nothing ever seems good enough.
Understood this way, the Mental Center can be considered the ‘instigator’ of criticality in Ones, but can this issue be resolved by focusing development on the Mental Center? Trying to do so can be a long and arduous path. Can the One’s mind be convinced that the criticality causes self-suffering? At one level, Enneagram Ones already understand this, but the insight about self-suffering is not sufficient to actually change their thinking and attentional patterns because these are so deeply embedded in the One’s ego structure.
Two other Centers of Intelligence are better paths, either providing a gateway where less resistance will occur. But is the Heart Center or the Body Center an easier path? Most Ones access their Body Center and Mental Center more easily than the Heart Center, and for this reason, the Body Center can be a better choice for most Ones.
Here is a way Ones can relax their criticality through the Body Center: Remember a specific time when you experienced a deep sense of calmness and complete acceptance of what was occurring at the time. As you are remembering this experience, remember each aspect of it in detail, and allow yourself to re-experience the situation almost as if it is happening now. Allow the sensations, feelings and thoughts as if they are occurring in real-time. Stay with this experience for at least five minutes, and longer is better. Repeat this activity daily, using the same situation or a different one where you experienced a deep sense of calmness and complete acceptance of what was occurring. You can also share this experience with another person. If you do so, make sure you use present-centered language– for example, say I am and not I was…. You can also write these experiences in a journal. If you do, just make sure you write using the present-centered language and that you re-experience the event(s) as you write.
The longer you do this activity – longer meaning for longer than five minutes and the more days you do this – the sense of calmness and acceptance will fill your somatic structure and become more integrated. Over time, doing so will help relax your critical mental processes.
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, author of eight Enneagram 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. TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | firstname.lastname@example.org