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 Eight.
A common type Eight development area
For Eights, becoming more receptive is essential to their growth, both psychologically, professional and spiritually, and it is a tall order. Why? Because Eights both define themselves as being bold, big, brave, and with boundless energy, and they use these same qualities to defend themselves against feeling vulnerable. Given how fundamental being strong and invincible is to Eights, how do they work on being more receptive?
The Eight Mental Center swirls with explicit and implicit thoughts about the importance of being strong under all circumstances. For example, they think “Only the strong survive,” “Go big or go home,” “Never let anyone get the best of you,” and more. Being receptive is the opposite of this. The Eight Heart Center contains a beautiful heart, yet this innocent heart remains highly protected, wanting to emerge more fully yet literally scared to death to do so. In alignment with the Head and Heart Centers, the Eight Body Center comes with strong body armor designed to protect and defend. In other words, the Eight then becomes fortified, difficult to penetrate from the outside and just as challenging to allow a more vulnerable and receptive self to emerge from the inside.
To become more receptive is a choice and once this choice is made, it is not so hard. The “instigator” of this pattern of having difficulty being receptive is the Heart Center; the Heart Center feels a need to protect itself, then the Mental Center steps in by issuing principles that justify this need for protectiveness. However, while the Eight’s Body Center armor does not allow for receptivity, the Body Center can be used to relax the pattern. Breathing practices can make a huge difference. Instead of breathing with big inhalations and then “powering up” through your chest – think of how a pufferfish makes itself bigger and then don’t do that – breathe gently through your nose and allow your breath to move gently throughout your body, especially your stomach area. Then gently exhale your breath, allowing each exhale to leave from your mouth. Practice this way of breathing daily and hourly so it becomes more natural, and watch your body armor melt away slowly and your receptivity increase gradually.
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 | email@example.com