Embodying Each Type
9 – the adapting gut point
Get really comfortable in your seat. If you can find a soft chair or a comfy spot on your couch, sit there.
Let your weight sink into the couch. Loosen your belly, your shoulders, even the muscles in your face. Feel your bottom spread out. If you are wearing anything tight, loosen it.
Now, glance around the room and allow your eyes to have a soft focus, so that you’re not seeing anything sharply. Be aware that you always want to feel like this, so that if anything disturbs your comfort, you’ll automatically bring things back to this equilibrium. In order to not be disturbed in this good feeling, you may have to become more like those around you. This means letting go of your needs and preferences, which is easy, because they don’t matter much to you.
You may have to help those around you let go of their angst or excitement. You begin to feel like whoever you are with, taking on some of their traits. This is so unconscious it is hardly noticeable. Yet you are left with a feeling of being disengaged, a lack of energy, and no sense of having a distinct self.
You often feel unnoticed and misunderstood, and sometimes sad, because people don’t see your intention to do good. It’s this lack that brings you to therapy and/or the Enneagram.
1 – the internal gut point
Sit up straighter, tighten your belly, sharpen your focus. Remember that you want to be perfect, and all that is imperfect is irritating. You are sitting up straight in order to monitor your thoughts and expression, catching mistakes as quickly as possible. Also, because it’s hard to relax when there’s so much that could and does go wrong. This makes your body tight. Feel into the coiled energy in your core.
Your eyes are watchful, and you involuntarily pick up all flaws. The worst part of this is that you are incessantly aware of feeling flawed yourself. You are always trying to fix this flaw, but no matter how hard you try it is always there. Any visible mistake resonates with your inner flaw and feels doubly awful. It makes you tighten your belly even more as you scramble to explain how this could have happened. People must understand that someone or something else was to blame. If you and everyone else realizes it was you, you will be ostracized from the tribe, which feels like death.
You have moments of peace when you have overcome or fixed a perceived flaw. You feel how wonderful it is to feel pure even for a short while, until the imperfect feeling comes again. You seek therapy and the Enneagram to try to fix this inner failing.
2 – The outward-moving heart point
Here your attention is in your heart. Feel yourself leaning forward, reaching into others with your heart. All you want to do is learn how to please others. You feel into them to find their needs. You smile and compliment them, touch them, hug them, watch them, and guess what they need before they even know. This requires a kind of vigilance: It’s watching and monitoring others for any signs of needs or wants.
It seems to you that people like you more when you are happy, perky, and upbeat. So you wear this demeanor as much as possible. When you are alone, you can take this mask off, and it feels like such a relief. If anyone is present, though, you lose yourself in pleasing and monitoring.
How can anyone really like or love you, when you know all they see is this image? The shame of this is hidden in your heart and gut. If others see through your presentation, you feel devastating self-hatred. When someone is offended by your words of expression, you do everything you can to repair things.
You must make everyone like you. This is your sole purpose for living. When you are monitoring others, you have no inner sense of yourself. When you are alone, you may feel sad or ashamed, but you also may feel alive, joyful, and free. You may begin working with the Enneagram or seek therapy when the pain of feeling disconnected, or the shame from feeling unlovable, becomes too painful.
3 – the adapting heart point
Sit straight, but not stiff. Puff out your chest so that your heart comes forward. You are athletic and love to use your body, which is agile and fit. Your mind is clear and sharp.
You are watching, noticing what people respond to, and you want to give them more of whatever that might be. You want them to see you and see how accomplished you are. If they can see your accomplishments, you will feel like you have some value.
Your experience of your inner self is kind of empty, but at times it can feel curious, excited, and alive. Because it’s mostly hard for you to find a sense of self inside, you look out to others to see who you are, and whether or not you are OK.
Your vulnerable emotions are unavailable to you. You don’t mind this, because these emotions don’t seem useful. When others are emotional in ways that seem dramatic, you find them annoying and don’t know how to respond to them.
If you fail at something in your life, or run yourself into the ground working too much, you might seek help. You usually don’t seek therapy, and you don’t see how the Enneagram is useful.
4 – the internal heart point
Put your attention in your heart. Feel the sadness in your heart, as if all the painful losses and disappointments are right there, happening now. Then, sink into this feeling. Let it overtake your body. There is heaviness in your heart, but also a sensuality. It’s as if the sadness is experienced sensually, and savored.
Your eyes are always a bit watery, with tears brimming just below the surface. Your body is watery, and when you move, each movement is filled with emotion, grace, and depth. When you speak, your voice is also filled with emotion, deep and rich. Your experience of life is internal, full, and laden with feeling.
You feel separate and alone. The emotional depth you experience and the uniqueness of your style exacerbates these feelings. You so much want to be seen by others. You want them to love you and see your beauty. But when you try to connect with others, you feel so different that it is hard to relate, so you pull back into your well of sadness and grief.
Your inner experience can also be warm, rich, full, and deep. You don’t want to learn how to let go of any of these emotions, or learn to be ordinary like everyone else, so therapy becomes a place to talk about your pain over and over again. You seek counseling to share yourself with another and finally be seen and understood. You find the Enneagram helpful because you are always seeking to understand yourself more deeply.
5 – the internal head point
Find a place on your couch and curl up in the corner. Pull your energy in, with the intent of becoming invisible. Feel your energy getting smaller and hardly taking up space.
Now, pull your attention into the back of your mind. The world outside your mind is small, and you can see a sliver of it through your small, squinting eyes.
With your attention drawn back into your mind, you are aware of the richness of your inner mental world. Your mind is full of interesting ideas to play with and develop, or there may be a fantasy world there for you to explore.
You are hardly aware of having a body, and it seems like the body you have is invisible. People tell you to get more involved with the world and to engage more, but you don’t understand why you should want to do this. Your inner world is so satisfying and safe. When you engage the world you feel overwhelmed and frightened, as if you have no outer skin covering your body. You may seek counseling or turn to the Enneagram people close to you ask you to, or if you decide to engage in life more.. The Enneagram may feel safer because you can study on your own, or disappear into a group..
6 – the adapting head point
You can be anywhere you want, but put your attention in your mind. You are alert and attentive, noticing everything around you. You automatically put together the information that is around you, and you understand how the world works from that information you are gathering.
You want to feel safe, so you are hypervigilant for potential dangers, physical and emotional. You are not very connected to your body, since you spend so much time in your mind. You may like to be physical, and yet not really know your physical limits. You think fast and you talk fast, so fast that at times you interrupt yourself and stammer to get all your thoughts out at once. Once they’re out, however, they change again. The meaning you give things causes you to scare yourself, so you feel anxious much of the time.
When you are with people, you hold back your opinions and feelings, trying to avoid conflict. You may even change your personality to fit in better.
You like being in counseling, it gives you a place to explore your fears, to bounce ideas around, and get some help making decisions. This works for you as long as the therapist doesn’t act like an authority, or tell you what to do. The Enneagram is confusing because you can relate to nearly all the patterns, and believe you are different types at different times.
7 – the outward-moving head point
Your attention is in your mind, but your thoughts are focused on the exciting things you would like to do, big and small. A trip you want to take, or the next meal you want to experience. You are also noticing all the wonderful things in your life. Life is wonderful and exciting! Your energy moves forward, always in the future. It’s as it you are in constant motion, moving ahead into a future time, and it’s exhilarating.
Your body is lean and tight, filled with enthusiasm. If you were to slow down you might notice some of this excitement is anxiety, but you don’t slow down. If anything, you add to each moment, with a drug, or alcohol, or just an exaggerated way of seeing things.
Everything has a positive side and that is all that you see. Why don’t others do this? They would be so much happier. Being happy and having fun is what life is all about. The enneagram is interesting and you have the best type, but why would you go to counseling?
8 – the outward-moving gut point
Make your body as large as you can. Expand your physical energy way beyond your body, and get the sense that your muscles are throbbing with energy. You are alive – full of the life force. You are also vigilant. Your body is attuned to any threat of danger or violence and you are ready. You are always ready. You may need to protect yourself, but more important, you may have to protect others that are weaker.
Your body is always alive, and alert with readiness to act. You are quick to anger, quick to blame others, quick to react. There is no way you will take the blame for something. It angers you so much when people even suspect that you are wrong.
You feel protective of the people who are weaker than you, and you are ready to act on their behalf. There is a place in you that feels really bad, toxic even. You hide it from everyone, and you even try to keep it hidden from yourself. Why would you seek counseling that’s for weaker people? You find the Enneagram interesting but not for you. You may get more involved through friends and by studying on your own.