What? Another blog on the Enneagram arrows? Peter O’Hanrahan and Jerry Wagner both wrote blogs on the Arrow theory, and although they may seem to contradict one another (which is fine and healthy for us to consider), I think that at a deeper level, these two blogs (one based on first hand experience and the other based on scientific research) can both be true. What I mean by this is that while there is a tendency for us to go to our stress point under duress and our security point when we are more relaxed (as per Peter’s blog), it is not always the case or perhaps not a strong enough tendency to meet the stringent demands of statistical research (as per Jerry’s blog).
I wanted to write about another way of using the Arrow lines on the Enneagram symbol, something I have been thinking about for several years. Then…wow… Claudio mentioned the following idea as a passing comment when I (well, me and 180 others) spent seven days with him this summer in Germany. It’s been on my mind ever since.
What is it?
Dynamic Convergence. I made up the name Dynamic Convergence, but the idea is that each point or number on the Enneagram symbol is a form of resolution of the energy or focus of the two arrows that point toward that number or away from it. In practical language, Enneagram 1 is the convergence of styles 4 and 7; Enneagram 2 is the convergence of styles 8 and 4; Enneagram 3 is the convergence of styles 9 and 6, and so forth. These dynamic interactions will be described later in the blog.
Who is the source; is that source reliable?
The source is Claudio Naranjo, who described this for just one of the Enneagram styles in Germany in 2010. He then left it to us to figure out the rest if we wanted to do so. Because Claudio is very careful to ascribe intellectual origins to Oscar Icahzo for many of his ideas and did not give mention to Oscar with this particular concept, I inferred (wrongly or rightly) that Claudio had been working with this idea for a while. It may also have its origins in the work of Gurdjieff since he worked extensively with the energy flows between the types rather than the types themselves.
I will add another point simply because many of you may find this as interesting as I did. Claudio is very clear that he doesn’t teach the Enneagram, and he says he does not for the following reason: Gurdjieff taught the Enneagram as a map or path that could explain almost everything, but never focused on the particular points or numbers. Oscar focused on the numbers through a process called proto-analysis. Subsequently, Claudio pursued the numbers and their psychological aspects in great death (as well as the transformational aspects for each number), but did not feel it proper to use the same term (proto-analysis) out of respect for Oscar’s work. Claudio refers to what he does as teaching or working with the Enneatypes. If you are interested in reading more on this, you can go to this link – click here – and then click on the short video (in English) titled, Why a psychology of Enneatypes and how does it work?
Is it a true enough model or theory that describes some aspect of reality better than other models?
On this question, I am not certain, but I do think there is something profound here that is worth exploring more. To answer this question better for myself, I need to work with it a great deal more. My intuition says yes; my experience is lagging behind.
Is it practical and useful; does it help us do something we can’t do as well without it?
My hunch is that this approach may be very useful for more advanced self-study and self-reflection rather than as a way to teach the system to those newer to the Enneagram. This is primarily because you have to know something about each of the core energies and issues of each style before you can determine what might be the dynamic elements that converge in some form of resolution at each particular point or number.
The Dynamic Convergence
I use the phrase “converge in some form of dynamic resolution” because I think there are several ways to name and understand the energies of the two styles that converge at one point or number. In this blog, I share one way of understanding this convergence, but there are many others possible.
Ones: The convergence of 4 and 7
The energy of enneatype 4 that says “I want what I want, but because I’m not going to get it, I suffer and am mad and depressed” converges with the energy of enneatype 7 that says “I want what I want, and I can get everything by making my life joyous and not feeling anything negative” into a resolution at enneatype 1:
Be good by acting right, being self-contained, controlling your impulses, and not being self-centered.
Twos: The convergence of 8 and 4
The energy of enneatype 8 that says “Don’t be vulnerable, but do get angry and get even” converges with the energy of enneatype 4 that says “I can’t seem to get my needs met and I am frustrated!” into a resolution at enneatype 2:
If I have no needs, and take care of everyone else instead, I’ll feel glad, not mad.
Threes: The convergence of 9 and 6
The energy of enneatype 9 that says “No need to worry about anything; just relax and it all goes away” converges with the energy of enneatype 6 that says “There’s so much to fear out there; what should I do?” into a resolution at enneatype 3:
Just take action and act like everything is OK, and it will be; you can do it!
Fours: The convergence 2 and 1
The energy of enneatype 2 that says “Only other people’s need matter; I don’t have any!” converges with the energy of enneatype 1 that says “Be in control of yourself; otherwise you will show your flaws!” into a resolution at enneatype 4:
I feel needy and flawed; what’s wrong with me?
Fives: The convergence of 7 and 8
The energy of enneatype 7 that says “I must grab everything to feel whole and alive” converges with the energy of enneatype 8 that says “I must take action and take everything else so I feel alive” into a resolution at enneatype 5:
I need to feel whole and alive within myself, but where and how?
Sixes: The convergence of 3 and 9
The energy of enneatype 3 that says “I can do anything I set my mind to do” converges with the energy of enneatype 9 that says “Relax and don’t push yourself too hard; nothing’s that important” into a resolution at enneatype 6:
What should and can I do; should I go forward or should I go back?
Sevens: The convergence of 1 and 5
The energy of enneatype 1 that says “I must control myself and all my impulses in order to be and do everything right” converges with the energy of enneatype 5 that says “Don’t ask for anything or take anything you don’t absolutely need!” into a resolution at enneatype 7:
I must grab everything I need without reserve; where’s the joy in self-control and self-restraint?
Eights: The convergence of 5 and 2
The energy of enneatype 5 that says “I don’t need anything from anyone because resources are in scarce supply” converges with the energy of enneatype 2 that says “There is abundance everywhere, and I can give it all to you!” into a resolution at enneatype 8:
I will take whatever I want; it’s mine for the having.
Nines: The convergence of 6 and 3
The energy of enneatype 6 that says “I’m scared and don’t know what to do” converges with the energy of enneatype 3 that says “Focus on your goals and drive yourself hard so you know exactly what to do” into a resolution at enneatype 9:
Don’t do anything; sit back and enjoy your peaceful and calm life.
As a background to all three blogs on the Enneagram arrows, I contacted both Peter O’Hanrahan and Jerry Wagner by phone to ask them where the concept of stress-security came from. I asked Peter because he studied with Claudio in the 1970’s Berkeley days and Jerry because he learned the Enneagram directly from Bob Ochs, a Jesuit Father and key student of Claudio’s during the 70s. Neither of them could remember Claudio specifically naming the Arrows as Stress-Security – though there was commentary about how people of an ennneatype functioned under conditions of stress at the number we call the Stress Point – or discussing the integration or disintegration aspects of movement along the arrows.
As you read the Dynamic Convergences named above, think of your own way of understanding the concept. Mine are just a first-take on this!