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What got you here won’t get you there | Part 6

Although this statement may sound counter-intuitive, over years of working with people and groups on the Enneagram-based development, this has proven to be more accurate than not. Of course, working with the Center of Intelligence that instigates the challenging dynamic can be effective, it is simply more difficult. If the Head Center is the instigator, can the Head Center easily change course?  To clear the Mental Center, soothe the Heart Center, or calm or embody the Body Center, another Center of Intelligence can be called into service to help support the desired growth and transformation.

This 9-nine-part blog series will clarify this developmental idea for each of the 9 Enneagram types, with this blog focusing on Enneagram type Five.

A common type Five development area

Confusion of thought and feeling

Have you ever asked an Enneagram Five – or if you are a Five yourself –‘What do you feel?’ and the person responds with a thought. For example, the person responds, ‘I didn’t like the way the book only covered a certain aspect of the topic.’ This is really more a thought than a feeling. The feeling might be ‘I felt frustrated by the way the author only covered certain parts of the topic.” The reverse can be true as well. Ask a Five what they think about something, and the person may respond with a thought. For example, a Five may say something like this: ‘I was so saddened by how the film ended.’ This statement is actually a feeling; the corresponding thought would be ‘The film had a sad ending.’

If the above sounds confusing, imagine the potential internal confusion for Fives! What is a thought versus what is a feeling? Yes, thoughts and feelings have a connection, yet they are not the same. Most feelings have an accompanying thought; many, but not all, thoughts have associated feelings.

In the case of this particular issue for Fives, the Head Center or the Heart Center might be considered the “instigator” depending on whether the confusion started in the head or the heart. Most of the time, both thoughts and feelings become intertwined so quickly and thus become confused and confusing. What remains, free from thought or feeling is the Body Center. And the easiest way to untangle the confusion is with the Body Center in support of the Heart (Emotional) Center.

Here’s why and here’s how. Every feeling or emotion has a somatic sensation associated with it, although it is important to note that not every somatic sensation signifies an emotion. Sometimes a somatic twitch is just a twitch. Often, however, a somatic sensation does connote a feeling if we only understand the connection.

The big first step is for Fives to get a much bigger sense of their somatic experiences. Normally, Fives only breathe into their heads and possibly necks, thus limiting the breath throughout their body. Because of this,  Fives get disconnected from their bodies and body-based information and insights. Once Fives become more somatically attuned, either through breathing more fully – that is beyond their neck and into their torsos, then throughout the rest of their bodies –or through full body sensation exercises, Fives are ready, sometimes with the help of a friend or coach, to learn what body sensations are attached to what feelings. Fives can recognize that the pang in their hearts (somatic sensation) often means the emotion of hurt or sadness. Similarly, flutters in the stomach area might simply mean indigestion, or Fives may learn to recognize that the flutter is anxiety, excitement or both. Experience the sensation and ask, “What emotion is this?” Fives will learn the association meaning of a particular somatic experience and a particular feeling.

Once the linkage between the body sensations and the emotional states becomes more apparent, the next question is this: What thoughts go with that particular feeling? And thus, the separation of thought and feeling begins.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, author of eight Enneagram books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications. TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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