In a recent blog, I wrote about the Enneagram arrow lines for each Enneagram style as Dynamic Convergence, the idea 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. I had also heard in 2004 or 2005 from Michael Goldberg that each Enneagram style is actually the resolution of the issues facing the wings on either side of the particular Enneagram number.
What is it?
In practical language, Enneagram 1 is the convergence of wing styles 9 and 2; Enneagram 2 is the convergence of styles 1 and 3; Enneagram 3 is the convergence of styles 2 and 4, and so forth. These dynamic interactions will be described later in this blog.
Who is the source; is that source reliable?
The source for this is from Oscar Ichazo and Michael Goldberg. Michael explained this concept to me over lunch one day when we used to meet in a city between Los Angeles (where I live) and Santa Barbara (where he then lived) just for fun. Over hamburgers and salad, Michael shared what he had learned from his in-person conversations with Oscar plus more that Michael had added to it. Because Oscar and Michael are highly credible Enneagram teachers, I took this concept quite seriously.
Is it a true enough model or theory that describes some aspect of reality better than other models?
Although I am not 100% certain, I do think there is something fundamentally useful in this concept. Much of my work focuses on using the Enneagram for psychological, professional, and spiritual development. Gaining greater access and more fully utilizing the wings has been fundamental to my approach when working with others. At the same time, I do think the most important focus should be on the working with the core issues for our own style.
Is it practical and useful; does it help us do something we can’t do as well without it?
As with the Dynamic Convergence of the Arrows, I think the Dynamic Convergence of the wings is not for beginners of the Enneagram, but for those of us pursuing intermediate and advanced Enneagram work. A person has to understand all the types in a fairly complex and nuanced way to understand and use the Dynamic Convergence idea.
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 9 and 2
For Nines and Twos, life is about relationships and rapport, connection with others and lack of focus on the self. For Nines, it’s a sense of “I don’t matter,” while the Two’s viewpoint is “I will matter if I provide for the needs of others.” These two other-directed orientations get resolved at enneatype One:
Stop the focus on relationships and whether you matter; find a way to matter that you have direct control over. Be good, be right, and you’ll matter!
Twos: The convergence of 1 and 3
For Ones, life is about getting everything right and being as perfect as possible and their self-directive is this: “If I don’t do things perfectly, I have no value; I must hold myself to an extremely high standard where I am the judge.” For Threes, life is about getting results and being successful as a way to feel valuable, and their self-directive is this: “If I don’t get results, I have no value; I have to figure out what others expect of successful people and then do that.” How can the Two establish a sense of self worth? Is it internally based like Ones or externally determined like Threes? This question gets resolved at enneatype Two:
I’ll just get my sense of worth based on doing for others rather than focusing on my own performance or trying to determine if I should use an internal standard, an external standard, both, or neither.
Threes: The convergence of 2 and 4
Twos and Fours both understand that the world is full of opposites: joy and despair; purposefulness and aimlessness; and needs fulfilled and needs unmet. Theirs is a world of feelings and people who are looking for something. Twos take the path of helping others find their joy, purpose, and fulfilled needs, while Fours focus on their own pain, seeking their true purpose, and expressing their own needs, even if these may never be fulfilled. These two different paths get resolved at enneatype Three:
Enough of feelings, needs, people, and joy versus despair issues: I will just focus on getting results and ignore what I want, feel, and who I really am.
Fours: The convergence 3 and 5
For Threes, proving their competence through what they do and accomplish allows them to feel that they have value: “I am what I do; feelings are distractions.” For Fives, proving their competence by way of what they know and understand makes them feel that they have value: “I am what I know; feelings are overwhelming.” But does value come from what one does or what one knows? And what about feelings? These questions get resolved at enneatype 4:
Who am I? Is it what I do or what I know? Let me search for the answers I am deep inside: I am what I feel.
Fives: The convergence of 4 and 6
For Fours, life is about introspection, feelings, nuance, being connected to oneself and others in a deep way, then fearing rejection and pulling away from others out of fear, and avoiding feeling not- good-enough. Fours wonder: “Can I get what I want from life: am I good enough?” For Sixes, life is about dealing with extreme fear by planning to prevent negative scenarios or by jumping directly into the fire of fear to prove they have none: Sixes wonder: “What can go wrong? Am I capable to meet life’s fearful challenges? What and who can I trust?” The questions of Fours and Sixes get resolved at enneatype 5:
Nothing can go wrong and I’ll never feel bad if I count solely on myself, don’t get too close to people, and don’t feel any feelings.
Sixes: The convergence of 5 and 7
For Fives, they are safe if they are totally self-reliant and have no needs: “I am self-contained.” For Sevens, they are safe if they live in a world of exciting and new ideas, no pain, and an infinite number of positive possibilities: “I must keep moving and have no limits.” Is self-containment or no containment the answer? Is having no needs or expecting all that you desire to be yours the answer? This question gets resolved at enneatype 6:
The world is clearly not safe, but if I constantly think about it and analyze everything, I’ll know when to withdraw, when to move forward, and maybe I can find someone I trust to give me the answer.
Sevens: The convergence of 6 and 8
For Sixes, the world is and always will be dangerous: “I can either anticipate danger or act as if I am not afraid as a way of dealing with this.” For Eights, the world is an abusive place where some have power and others do not: “I’ll just take control, assert my power, and no one will know I feel vulnerable; I’ll get angry instead.” These different worldviews get resolved at enneatype 7:
I don’t want to live my life in fear and anger so I will just move forward, think about all that is positive, and all this negativity goes away.
Eights: The convergence of 7 and 9
For Sevens, looking at the world through a positive lens and being constantly stimulated, excited, and adrenalized makes them feel alive: “I have to feel fully happy to feel alive or I will be unhappy and dead.” For Nines, having a positive outlook creates harmony, relieves tension, and maintains rapport with others. “I will deaden my energy, aliveness, opinions, preferences, anger, and everything else that could disturb anyone else in order to preserve the peace.” So what is important, being positive by pursuing pleasure and avoiding anything painful or feeling positive by giving yourself away? Is it best to enliven or deaden oneself? These questions get resolved at enneatype 8:
Positivity is not real but I can control the world’s harshness; I can feel alive through the sheer force of my anger and passion, but also deaden myself by denying the things I don’t want to see.
Nines: The convergence of 8 and 1
For Eights, anger is merely a life force to be expressed and the world is theirs to control: “Anger is strength, and being in control reduces my anxiety.” For Ones, anger is a “bad” emotion that “good” people don’t feel or express, and controlling oneself is the best way to make sure things go as perfectly as possible: “I can control everything I do as a way to not make mistakes, and that includes expending a great deal of energy to not show the depth of my fury.” These two different ways of dealing with anger and control get resolved at enneatype 9:
Relax, don’t let others control you – and they will try – and anger is always problematic; it’s easiest to just not even feel your own anger.
As you read the Dynamic Convergences explained above, think of your own way of understanding the concept. Mine are just a first-take on this!