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Cultivating receptivity | an insight by Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell, Senior Member of the Enneagram in Business Network, has written an Insight about receptivity. What is receptivity? Here are some synonyms, then Catherine’s Insight: open-minded, unbiased, amenable, non-judging, capable of receiving, willingness, responsiveness, and accepting.

Catherine’s Insight

Let’s talk about being unobstructed, creating an entrance, and a willingness to consider.Let’s talk about our dark and light shadows.Let’s talk about openness.How do you cultivate your constellation of awareness?I cultivate openness by spending time in nature, doing yoga, and by focusing on my breath. How do you cultivate receptivity?

Ginger’s Blog
My blogs that correspond to the monthly Insights usually focus on development, and this will be no different. In this blog, the focus will be on type-based obstacles to receptivity.

Enneagram Ones 
To state the obvious, Ones have such strong instinctual reactions, hold themselves so tightly (self-controlled), and have opinions about so many things, that their receptivity becomes obstructed.

For Ones to become more receptive, it helps to pause before acting on their instincts, relax their bodies through breathing exercises (as one among many ways to become more fluid), and to perceive their opinions as ideas rather than ways they are once again “right.” In addition, being more attuned to their heart center can open up a new world of receptivity.

Enneagram Twos

Many Twos might perceive themselves as highly receptive, and this is a result of their sense of themselves as receptive to people. But what about receptivity to other things: ideas, activities, new ways of doing things? Twos can limit themselves, obstructing their own receptivity, by the often unseen barriers they place between themselves and their experience. For example, many Twos carry around an “invisible audience,” one that becomes most obvious when Twos feel embarrassed, shamed, or humiliated. The “invisible audience” keeps Twos in line, limits Twos their spontaneity, their embracing of ideas and activities, or expressing themselves publically in ways that go against the popular current or trend.

For Twos to become more receptive, they need to discover for themselves and then reveal their inner, “invisible audience.” In the following way, Twos have a decision to make: have the freedom to pursue their desires or contain themselves and reduce their receptivity based on how they perceive others will respond.

Enneagram Threes

Threes are receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things that they perceive to be effective and efficient, but they are less receptive to ideas, people, and things that are exploratory, untested, and that push the edge of what they can imagine. Threes like to know what to do and engage in pre-planning (mini-structures) in their minds that help them navigate their way to success. Although this can be helpful in achieving their goals, these preconceived notions of how things work can get in their way of being receptive to new, emerging information, ideas and ways of moving forward or standing still.

For Threes to become more receptive, they have to learn to “be” increasingly in the “now,” which is not easy for any of us and especially challenging for Threes, who live more in the future. Breathing fully, staying still for a while, and being more receptive to what is truly in their heart can help.

Enneagram Fours

Fours are receptive in many ways, almost like sponges who absorb what comes toward them, but…they tend to absorb negative possibilities rather than positive ones. In addition, Fours can be so pre-occupied with their own experiences, thoughts and feelings that this leaves little space for being open and receptive to all things new.

For Fours to become more receptive, it is important that they perceive more of the world outside them, experience it in more objective terms (leaning on their Five wing can be helpful here), and to perceive others and events in the story as if the others and the events were the central figure in the story rather than the Four being the central figure.

Enneagram Fives
Fives create a strong boundary around themselves and the world, and this reduces their receptivity to all that is around them. Although they can be quite receptive to new ideas that they think are interesting or clever, when Fives don’t understand something, they may discard a new idea or experience by perceiving it as illogical (according to their own logic) or nonsensical (according to their own frame of reference and experience base).

For Fives to become more receptive, they need to actually become more embodied and more in touch with the experiences of the heart. This enables more full receptivity, not just receptivity of the mind.

Enneagram Sixes

Although Sixes are interested in many things, they actually reduce their receptivity to them through a number of factors: their instant reactions to things, ideas, and people, without taking longer for more considered responses; their continuous internally and externally expressed mapping of contingency plans, which occupies a great deal of their focus and energy; and their fear of what might happen were they are more open and receptive.

For Sixes to become more receptive, they need to relax, open up, have more spontaneous experiences, and learn to trust their reactions and responses more so they can worry less (about what might happen when trying new things) and enjoy more.

Enneagram Sevens

Sevens, of all the enneatypes, might say that they are the most receptive of all the Enneagram styles because they are continuously seeking out and inviting what is new and different. But are they receptive when something or someone doesn’t immediately grab their interest and attention? What about when something is extremely difficult, has built in obstacles, or is so complex they don’t immediately get the full context or idea?

Sevens can learn to be more receptive by listening longer, being open to people and ideas that don’t initially grab them, and by standing or sitting still long enough to take in fully what is really right in front of them.

Enneagram Eights

Eights are often receptive to the big and important, and they are also receptive to people they regard highly and to ideas they deem strategic. But otherwise, not so much. Their guts are over-trusted, their minds sometimes trusted, and hearts may be left to live on their own.

For Eights to become more receptive, they need to open up their hearts, minds, and guts to very new ways of experiencing things. Seekers of the truth, they oddly bear down quickly on what they think is the real truth, but this is coming from their own guts, not from a far broader perspective, one that has more dimensionality and nuance. What Eights can do is slow down their immediate action orientation, consider, ponder, and ask themselves, “What else do I need to consider as a possibility?”

Enneagram Nines

Nines do perceive almost all perspectives, and they hold them all as equally valid. This could be confused with being receptive. And Nines tend to be receptive to a wider variety of people than most other enneatypes. However, this kind of receptivity doesn’t always go as deeply as true receptivity must. Nines take quite a bit in, but never really digest it thoroughly. In addition, they may not be so receptive to themselves, their reactions and feelings, needs and desire.

To become more deeply receptive, Nines first need to make deeper contact with themselves so that they are fully embodied and open to truly receive. This can be a challenge, but daily practices such as breathing fully into their hearts and belly areas and asking themselves honestly what they really think, feel, and want, can be immensely helpful in increasing their receptivity.

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