When I can learn to be aware of my patterns in the here and now, Don Riso and I call this catching ourselves in the act in “the Wisdom of the Enneagram”. When we can keep doing that, those reactions don’t get the same grip. And so when they come up, there’s a little more space for me to not go with them. Or if I do go with them to notice sooner. Mr. George Gurdjieff used to say that we start to develop a ‘real’ eye.
Russ Hudson about the patterns and the dangers of the Enneagram in Enneagram Insights Podcast
As past of a mini series, originally published in Enneagrammet Next Level Podcast, Fleming Christensen is interviewing Russ Hudson.
In this interview Russ Hudson is talking about how the Enneagram is about recognizing our patterns and catching ourselves.
The main thing you notice is when you study the Enneagram, according to Russ Hudson is that you start to see how your personality is a collection of habits, almost reflexes.
“They’re very automatic responses.
That’s not always a behavior. It could be an emotional reaction.
Could be when certain things happen, I think certain things. And what happens is you get more freedom from those reactions. And it doesn’t mean they go away forever and never come back.
They might come back”, Russ Hudson explains.
“But even if they do, you tend to notice them. You tend to say, oh, I’m having a reaction. Or you might not say it, of course, but you can observe the fact that you’re doing this. And that gives you freedom.”
Russ Hudson explains that the tricky thing about the Enneagram work is that initially we think we’re choosing things, even when we’re just reacting that way.
“We’re not really deciding anything. We respond to things very automatically, much more than we realize.”
Quotes from the podcast episode:
Awareness of patterns
“In the Enneagram, we’re working with the idea that we have the ability, and the possibility to be aware of our conditioning.
And when we’re aware of it, it gives us choice. So, for example, maybe there are certain kind of things that traditionally will put me in a bad mood or maybe even get me depressed.
Say I have bad news at work.
Somebody’s things aren’t going well in my relationship or- Tone of voice. Somebody makes an unkind comment. They can even be a stranger, right?
And I’ll see myself telling them off in my head or getting into a bad mood or not being very kind to other people that day. And what’s interesting is that ordinarily, I get triggered by events.
And then that inner pattern just goes.
When I learn about my patterns, and of course, it’s not enough to just describe them. It’s the practice of being present with them that is the core, I think, of real Enneagram work.”
“When I can learn to be aware of my patterns in the here and now, Don Riso and I call this catching ourselves in the act in “the Wisdom of the Enneagram”.
When we can keep doing that, those reactions don’t get the same grip.
And so when they come up, there’s a little more space for me to not go with them. Or if I do go with them to notice sooner.
Mr. George Gurdjieff used to say that we start to develop a ‘real’ eye.
That you start to have a more coherent self and that self can be more responsible.
I can be responsible for my emotions and for my reactions. I can choose things more consciously.
It’s the result of really staying in working on my personality for a considerable period of time.
You’re still in the same home and it’s the same people around you, but you are in such a different place that it changes everything.
So it’s like the difference between reacting and responding.
And if we’re looking at sometimes when people think that I’m transforming or developing, then it’s my mind.
We do change our mind or we get more open-minded or curious, really.
We’re less convinced by our own old ideas. It doesn’t mean we discard everything, but we are noticing when we are caught in assumptions about things.
What happens is we start to live more in our body. And we feel our body. We feel our life. We relax more.
We feel more at home in our body, and that makes it more possible to stay present.
We have more life force and energy, which gives us more confidence. And we’re not so tired out all the time, living in a lot of resistance and numbness.”
Taking better care of ourselves
Then we start to take better care of ourselves according to Russ Hudson:
“You know, that doesn’t always look like somebody else’s idea. How that is supposed to look.
But we start to pay attention to what increases our body’s well-being and energy, and what takes it away, what depletes it.
Many different deeper wisdom traditions around health and the human body deal with different kinds of energies, and they operate at different levels. When we’re aware and present in the body, the relaxation of the body tends to support the flow.
The point is coming back to the centers in presence.”
The dangers and traps of the Enneagram
“What’s the trap of the Enneagram?” Flemming Christensen asks.
Here is part of Russ Hudson´s answer (listen to the Enneagram Insights podcast for the rest).
“The trap of the Enneagram is that it’s easy to know enough to be dangerous. It’s easy to know a little.
What I mean is you can know a little bit about the Enneagram and be very impressive. But you’ve done no inner work.
There are people who have written books and do workshops and they’re out there, but their inner work, in some cases, they don’t even know what it is.
Just describing the personalities is pretty interesting. And no psychological development is needed to be able to learn,memorize the traits, and tell people about their personality.
But you haven’t really, at that level, entered into how the Enneagram is here to help us.
What it’s really supporting.”
The Enneagram is bringing in another kind of dimension of human experience according to Russ Hudson.
“But when we’re identified with our personalities, we can’t see that dimension.
We don’t experience it. We forget that it’s here.
Yet, whenever we remember this other dimension of human experiences here, which is presence, it makes all the most beautiful, important experiences in my life.
Every moment that really mattered to me, those kind of moments that I’m going to look back at when I’m in my last days on Earth, I’m going to remember these moments as the most sacred, precious times of my life.
Every one of those had something to do with the fact that I was there for them. But our personality just runs so well, normally, that it doesn’t seem to need this dimension.
So we live our life without the sacred ground of our soul, our being, as it’s called in philosophy. The problem is, here we are living in a flat world.
Personality, imagine it is flat, like a tabletop or a piece of paper. There are ways things operate in the flat world, and you can learn very well how to do things in flat world.
People who live in that world, that’s what they perceive, and they travel around in it and so forth.
But the Enneagram is like coming from above that flat surface and touching it.
When it’s trying to show us this other dimension of up and down that we don’t usually notice, the mistake and the danger in the Enneagram is we take this vertical perception and turn it into flat world.
That’s what most people do. Even people who know better, we do it on a regular basis.
Because when we’re identified with the ego, we literally forget that there’s anything more to us or to life. And we’re even resistant to making that little turn where we would remember.
One of the reasons is because it’s painful to keep realizing how much we forget what’s important to us. How much we forget what our truest heart is telling us.
We start to feel the ways that we’re unconsciously betraying ourselves. That’s not fun, but it’s necessary if we really want to shift and discover that we are, in fact, three-dimensional beings.
We’re not flat waters.”
Listen to the rest of the conversation in Enneagram Insights podcast – On Awareness, Presence and Relationships.