In mid-July, I had the opportunity to spend 7 days with Claudio Naranjo in the Black Forest (Todtmoos, to be exact); it was all about the 27 Enneagram subtypes. This is the first of several blogs about that complex, exhausting, and enlightening experience through which I hope to share that experience. This 1st blog will cover the structure of the program and some of my reactions to it. The 2nd blog reviews the program content, while the 3rd blog describes my personal experiences there.
Todtmoos is a small village situated in the Black Forest and contains one small, famous German church, many hotels (most of which have restaurants within), tall trees, and not too much more. People come there to be in nature and to hike. Then, 180 of us, mostly Germans, descended for 7 days. There were also participants from other European countries, plus a few scattered individuals from far away (like me, from the US).
The daily program went from 8:30 in the morning until 10:00 at night, with lunch and dinner breaks and a few other breaks (which they call “pauses,” not breaks). Mornings were a Claudio-led meditation, a different version each day, followed by subtype information and panels of people of that subtype. The meditations were wonderful; Claudio leads them in a non-hypnotic way. His explanations of the subtypes were clear, nuanced, highly informative, and his panel facilitation was superb: astute, witty, and informative. Mostly, he focused on the counter-types of each type, the subtype that moves away from (in a sense, withholds) some of the energy of the passion. Even with 7 full days, everyone thought there was material enough for a month and many things were left uncovered. I was very content with all this; there seems to be an endless array of subtype information, so if we had a month, I think we’d say we needed three months. Claudio, by the way, seemed really relaxed, with whiter hair and a shorter beard than when I saw him last in 2004.
Early afternoon was physical movement, which his assistants led and which I thought were only OK. Mostly, we danced naturally (or unnaturally!) to music, starting slow, then building to a high rate of energy. I thought about using the word frenzy, as that is what it often seemed to me, though I wondered if I would have thought that if I were 24 instead of 64. Mostly I left these sessions early to talk with people or just relax. In the late afternoons, we often did an activity or Claudio might do something. For example, we got to explore how we use each of the passions or fixations that go with the 9 types. Message: We all do all these things some times! It was a great exercise. One afternoon, Claudio played the piano demonstrating the 9 styles through classical musicians. Although I had seen this program in Santa Monica in 2003, there was something about his presentation this time that was more pure, more sweet, more joyful. I could have listened for hours. Many there experienced it as a highlight of the 7 days.
The evenings were filled with type and subtype groups or with film clips showing the subtypes in action. The subtype groups were enlightening, or at least mine was. I was with the Social Subtype Twos, and we got to write our joint biography and discuss how we are in love, work, and life. The similarities were daunting, and I gained many new insights. These were a WOW. The evenings devoted to film were too slow for me, and I had seen many of them before. I must admit I left early some nights, only to find that I had made a good choice to do so (based on reports of others the next morning). On these nights, I got to bed later than ever, having some wonderful conversations with people who also left early.
And all of the above was happening in 5 languages: English, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. Claudio spoke, for the most part, in English, with a German translator on stage and the other languages being translated through earphones. This program was one of the few he has done that is open to the public (meaning participants other than SAT students) as well as one of the few he has done in English in the past several years. I heard that he will not be doing any more of these (through the grapevine from one of his assistants), but don’t know this for sure. In all, it was full and rich, leaving many wanting more.
The 1st of three blogs on the 27 Enneagram Subtypes with Claudio Naranjo