When you really pay attention, everything is your teacher ~ Ezra Bayda
Sometimes, the things we need to do to develop or the way we need to do it is so simple and obvious that we can’t see it. What we need is often right in front of us, every moment a keen teacher. To what might individuals of each enneatype pay more attention?
Ones believe that they should always be on an improvement path: “It can always be better.” “I can always do better.” What if the key to “self-development” is not to keep focusing on development but allowing yourself to be as you are, accepting and relishing the fact that you and others will never be perfect, but you will be more human and compassionate, especially toward yourself, which is where it all begins!
Twos have a difficult time accepting that they may not be as fully generous, thoughtful and kind as they want to believe they are. However, Twos do have negative thoughts and feelings about others, just as everyone does. Twos do get angry, just like the rest of us mortals. Really paying attention to themselves and all of their feelings is their greatest teacher, enabling them to feel their most integrated and whole and allowing them to get in touch with their deep personal power, something Twos deeply desire. It is within us on a daily basis.
Threes believe that they are only as valuable as their last performance, and this isn’t actually true. And this belief puts tremendous pressure on them. And when Threes engage in self-development, they feel they have to, again, perform, figuring out how to do it and bringing their planning minds into a lockdown mode about what the goal is and how to get there. Ironically, allowing themselves to simply be is the biggest development breakthrough they can have. And it is always right there, right in front of them – practicing being every moment. Being without doing is a foreign concept to Threes. That is why it is so important.
Fours may not see what is right in front of them because their intense inner view obscures this reality. But when they remain in the present moment with what actually is as their teacher, they recognize two things: (1) there is nothing wrong with them or deficient within, only that they think or question that something is deeply wrong, and (2) they are different, just like everyone else is different in some way that is neither good nor bad, better or less than.
Fives live in their own self-contained worlds, metaphorically peering out at the exterior world. Their biggest development – engaging in the outside world – is right in front of them, yet Fives observe rather than engage directly, or at least not very often. Real-world engagement through the heart and body as well as the mind is their everyday teacher, so they need to pay attention to when and how they disengage, then reengage at every moment.
Sixes look to the outside for their security, well-being, support, confidence, certainty, and just about everything else. And where does it get them? Does it actually lead to feeling confident and grounded so that they can trust themselves without doubt? No! Looking to the outside only reinforces their sense that “I am not enough by myself to trust myself.” Look within, breathe, and honor your depth, insight, acumen, and capability. These are with you every moment if you can trust yourself.
Sevens do the opposite of Fives; they look outside constantly to stimulate themselves and to keep themselves from looking inward where they fear pain, sorrow and limitation reside. But if they are to grow and develop, Sevens need to really pay attention to their inner experiences, especially the patterns of their inner experience, and this includes thought patterns, feeling patterns and somatic patterns. At first, they may go blank and sense nothing, but if they really pay attention and stay with that focus longer and longer, a whole inner world will emerge. It will be their best teacher and it is there every moment.
Eights need to really pay attention to one important area that is present every minute of their waking day, yet so obscured from their awareness. This inability of Eights to recognize the important area is a result of the Eights’ big, constant movement forward into the outside world and their defense mechanism of denial – experiencing something they don’t want to acknowledge as cut out and cut off from themselves, almost as if it were done surgically. What they need to pay attention to is their deep and pure inner sweetness, and this is different from their demonstrations of generosity and kindness. They need to make and sustain contact with their deepest sweetness, every minute of every day and let that be their teacher.
Nines simply need to pay attention, pure and simple. This requires them to be awake and stay awake. When they do, the world looks brighter; their responses are more defined and refined; they are in their bodies; and their actions become boldly and effortlessly in flow. Sounds good, feels good!
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for 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 her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. firstname.lastname@example.org