Coping mechanisms and addictions show up everywhere.
You know when you can absolutely count on them showing up?
When we’re tailgating the Unknown.
Think about what happens to you when you’re at your edge. What coping mechanisms show up in those moments?
I’ve spent this past month or so attempting to be proficient at various things I’ve never done before. Establishing an e-learning environment, for example.
Some months into creating the content for my first e-course, I decided in some fit of inspiration that it would be way cooler if people could just log on and access everything in one place. Makes my life easier and theirs, was my thinking.
I write to you at the end of a week where I am pretty sure I must have aged at least ten years, and I am asking myself repeatedly just what am I doing with my life.
How has something I was so excited to share with the world turned into unrelenting misery?
Type shows up everywhere
It’s the same reason that a six week trip to Bali last year wasn’t as magical as it had the potential to be. My addiction, stepping in and creating drama where there needn’t have been any.
I have always been a planner. Planning is where my mind goes to attempt to get some control. Where does your attention go in those moments?
Of course, being able to plan has its upsides. But those upsides only become available when I am drawing on my future-planning as appropriate, rather than habitually recoursing to planning when I could be feeling what I am feeling, or moving things along.
Any biggish goal is going to involve work. But any suffering involved is optional.
Truth is, I met the doubt and uncertainty I felt at times during this project with my habitual coping strategy: overplanning-based action. This resulted in a lot of extra work and wasted time/effort dealing with unneccessarily opened cans of worms. Also, I lost the wood for the trees several times.
I forgot what this was all about.
Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Why a course about the Enneagram
But this e-course, and my deep and abiding passion for the Enneagram, is not really about the Enneagram. Never was.
It’s about humans. Me and you. How we get stuck, and how we can get untuck.
From my first encounter with the Enneagram, I sensed how powerful it could be in my life. And I wasn’t wrong.
There are so many great reasons to learn the Enneagram. For me, along with helping me to understand why I do what I do, and helping me to see my blind spots so I can grow out of them, it’s really helped me to read others better, develop deeper empathy, and to transform my ideas into reality.
And as with any perceived treasure that I discover – be it a life-changing psychological map, or a new gem of a restaurant – sharing is (for me) caring. Sharing things that I have personally vetted for quality and awesomeness – or in this case, profound utility – brings me a lot of joy.
Back in the woods.
Why we need maps
The result, I think, is a complete-for-now model for how to grow with the Enneagram, for each type. I’ve worked hard to distill the developmental access points for all the Nine Types.
It does raise a question for those who already use mindfulness to free themselves from mental prisons of their own making. One may wonder what can a map like the Enneagram add. It’s a good question to ask.
It’s also quite simple to answer.
“Be here now” mindfulness only takes us so far.
The leap from being “at one” with our thoughts and emotions, to the comparative objectivity of mindfulness, is a huge shift in waking up. But it doesn’t actually help us to grow up. To do that, we need maps. Maps help us to be present to the things about ourselves and our experience that too easily sneak below the radar. You can say that maps empower a mindfulness state.
The result is nothing short of self-evolution. More specifically, what can result is a clear, still, undistorted perception; an awakened heart, full of compassion; and an alive, undistorted instinctual centre, evenly balanced across our deepest survival needs – for self-preservation, belonging, and charge/vitality.
That is why we use the Enneagram.