What we want and what we settle for in life

Out of our deepest desires
What we want and what we settle for . . . 

These notes are shared from an afternoon with Richard Rohr with the Arizona Enneagram Association Professional Members in February, 2011.  

Out of our deepest desires our life energy seeks what we want in life.   The energy of our vices never get us to our deepest desires; it fact they will make it impossible.  When we discover how to let go of our vice, that sticking point that we habitually insist on using, then we begin traveling the road to freedom.

What we want at our deepest core through our Virtue
What we settle for through our Vice

Type One desires SERENITY, a peacefulness and calmness through the midst of life - Serenity.
They often settle for ORDER, a pseudo-peace.  One’s get in trouble when they try to enforce order according to their own set of laws.  They allow inner irritations to take focus about picky things.

Type Two desires TO BE LOVED FOR THEIR TRUE INNER SELF.  They look you eye to eye for the I-Thou present moment - Humility.
They often settle for IDLE PRAISE AND AFFECTION FROM OTHERS, reveling in the pride they receive from providing for others.

Type Three desires TO BE LOVED FOR WHO THEY ARE and not what they do or bring - Honesty.  
They often settle for the IMAGE that is driven by the future desire.  It energizes them to settle for what they don’t want, like a carrot on the stick - the reality of the images just always out of reach.  They twist reality to fit the image they have.

Type Four desires a PERFECT RELATIONSHIP with all things  - Equanimity/Balance
They often TRY TO DESERVE SOMETHING ELSE.  They want the perfect relationship, living in perpetual longing for what they can’t achieve.  They love the metaphor/symbol more that the object itself.

Type Five desires a TRUE ABUNDANCE in all of life - Non-attachment.
They often settle for the IDEAS AND INFO IN THEIR HEAD.  The past feels safer and so they substitute attachment to ideas for God, intellectual riches; the more info they have the more secure they feel.

Type Six desires FAITH, a knowing  everything is all right, effective, practical - Courage.
They often settle for SECURITY that gives a superficial approach to faith.  They search for a way to live without fear to get things done with no whining.  They can rise above bad feelings by mental activities.

Type Seven desires SATISFACTION.  Only when they rest in the now can the find that they have enough.  They learn to enjoy their own satisfaction - Sobriety.
They often settle for MORE.  The desire for more never allows “enough”.  Planning is more fun than the actual event. 

Type Eight desires JUSTICE.  They are acutely aware of injustice and protecting the small - Innocence.
They often settle for REVENGE on reality.  The lust for life is an over identification with masculine energy.  They have to find the softness in themselves and value it.

Type Nine desires HARMONY/UNITY that refuses to let problems dominate - Right Action.
They often settle for SLEEP.  Let the issue resolve itself.  So they sleep through the conflict; self-forget with no opinion about the events of the day.

The Nine Facets of God’s Image through the Nine Types of the Enneagram: Exploring how Defense Mechanisms keep us in a holding pattern blocking our virtue

The essence of our self lies deep at our core.  We are made in God’s image and that image is expressed through the nine virtues (similar to the nine fruits of the spirit) in that they express the nature and essence of God.  When we connect with these virtues life is full of meaning. The nine virtues seen through the Enneagram system are:  1- Serenity, 2- Humility, 3- Honesty, 4- Equanimity(Balance), 5- Non-attachment, 6- Courage, 7- Sobriety(Constancy), 8- Innocence, 9- Right Action.  
Each of the nine personality types is grounded in a virtue that bears the intelligent quality of energy.  We live out of that energy.  Along the way as our personality develops we run into conditions and problems.  To protect ourselves we develop a natural but unconscious response (by way of an emotional energy) generated by the frustration of being deprived of our virtue.  Deep within us we desire to return to the virtue.  To do so we develop a defense mechanism that manages the emotional passion with a mental projection to explain the passion.  For example, for the Type One - the virtue is Serenity.  The One’s passion is anger with the defense mechanism being reaction formation (which means feeling one thing but doing the opposite, such as feeling resentful but acting nice).  The defense mechanism leads to the mental projection of constantly looking for error.  When the One’s perception of the world is disturbed they automatically seek out the perceived error, and on finding it the mind thinks it has accomplished what is needed to reestablish serenity.  But in actuality the One has merely settled for a rigid perfectionism instead of the calm, peace of true serenity that contains it’s own perfection.  Sensing failure, we try harder by way of working through our passion, because it fuels our energy as we keep our mind on the projection, in the One’s case of looking for error.  
In a misguided way, we struggle with ourselves in an unconscious effort to return to the virtue.  The way back to the virtue is not through the passion.  Each type has a different sticking point that they have to learn to let go of to allow themselves to become receptive to see the world as it is instead of how they imagine it.  For example, One’s believe if they can just make everything line up perfectly, then things will BE perfect.  The need to be perfect according to a rigid personal set of rules becomes the answer to living a successful life.  Focusing on error actually brings forward the need to correct, which quickly crosses over to criticism delivered both internally and externally.  
So the One must learn to drop their anger and begin observing themselves, truly seeing that where they see error, someone else may see an opportunity to try something different.  Their reaction is only a developed habit, there could be a different way.  
The habits that develop our defense mechanisms build a wall around the virtue which separates the person from God and is difficult to pierce.  For the One, the defense mechanism keeps the emotional habit (anger) and mental habit (looking for error) in place.  Look at is as a visual:
Visualize the Defense Mechanism as managing the passion by the habit of the mental projection.  The virtue is imbedded deep within (visualized by being in the belly-but not meant to be a physical location).   The Defense mechanism keeps us in a holding pattern as we act out of habit.  
People want to live out of the virtue, but as one pays attention through the practice of going in and down - through mind and heart, the habits of a lifetime get in the way.  People must learn to drop the mental habit and passion in order to bypass them to reveal the virtue that has been there all the time.  Each person has their own unique set of habits they have developed to deal with life.
You have heard it said that all you need is inside you - you are born with all you need to be you.  But our potential lies buried deep inside by all the habits we created to protect our vulnerable selves when we were young.  As adults we need to learn ways to uncover these automatic defenses that no longer serve us well.  It is like peeling an onion to reveal who we really are.  On those occasions when One’s act out of their grounded being, everyone knows it.  And that is the time when people truly see God/goodness being lived out in the world.  
So the defense mechanism creates a holding pattern through our emotional and mental habits that get in the way of living life through our virtue.  To operate from the virtue one must:
  1. Recognize the energy flowing through you as the passion.  Develop your “Inner Witness” through receptive prayer practices.  Spotting the projection of the type’s mental habit provides clues this is happening.  
  1. In a reflective practice, such as the “In and Down” practice release the hold the energy of the vice and defense mechanism bring up.  Allow that energy to go, to be able to receive the energy of the virtue that is available.
  1. Going into a receptive mode, a vulnerable state, we are open to seeing the world as it is instead of how we usually perceive it through the lens of our passion. 
Each type holds only 1/9th of the wisdom of the world, only 1/9 of the face of God. We need the wisdom of each type to live in wholeness.   We see the world as we are and not as the world is.  Finding ways to become receptive opens the world to us.  Being able to fight your demons comes through prayer and fasting (denying energy to the passion).  Each type must find their own way of acting out of their virtue.
Andrea Andress

Class for the Foundations of the Enneagram - October 1

If you are stuck, if you don’t feel as close to God as you want to be, this is a class that can help you change.    Rev. Andrea Andress

Foundations of the Enneagram
Saturday, October 1, 9 AM - 4 PM

Grow your spiritual potential through understanding yourself and others.  Discover how and why you get stuck in your spiritual development.  The 6-hour class provides a thorough foundation for understanding and working with the Enneagram system.  It describes the nine personality types, the habits of emotion and thinking, and the avoidances, defense mechanisms and habits of attention that hold each type in place.  Methods include teaching, exercises and brief panel interviews with class participants.  The Enneagram Discovery Inventory developed by Dr. David Daniels MD is used to assist participants to identify their own Enneagram personality type.

Please register ahead at:  www.azenneagram.com  or by calling Mary Bencomo at 602-266-4228,marybedu@cox.net

Location:  in Room H-1   (park in the south parking lot)
Paradise Valley United Methodist Church 
4455 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ  85253
Instructor: Andrea Andress   Fee: $70 (includes class materials – please bring your own lunch)
Questions?  Please contact Rev. Andress

Rev. Andrea Andress,
Children and Family Ministries
Paradise Valley United Methodist Church
602-840-8360, ext. 142
fax:  602-840-8767

How would knowing the Enneagram Personality system benefit you?

In answer to questions about why would someone want to invest the time to learn about the Enneagram as a way of spiritual growth I wrote some thoughts to express what I find helpful in the system.  

How would knowing the Enneagram benefit me?         
“I don’t like being put in a box!” is the complaint of many when looking at a personality system.  But each of us is already in a box of our own making.  The accumulations of years of habits of how you think, feel and behave have created your personality.  With the Enneagram, by careful non-judgmental observation of the structure of your habits (not so much the content), it can allow you to identify the box you are already in.  With that knowledge you can begin to develop new choices and habits that allow you to go beyond the limits of your box.  
The Enneagram System
The Enneagram comes to us from an ancient spiritual path of observing and understanding our own nature, a system that has experienced a renewal in our age of psychological awareness.  It is a way to understand the patterns and habits of emotions, thoughts and actions we create in our lives.  By observing our patterns we discover ways to get out of them.  People are creatures of habit and we love repetition; it’s how we learn and grow.  But too much of a good thing creates its own downside.  We become so attuned to our habits that we don’t realize we are doing them.  Detrimental habits can trap us in unhealthy lifestyles.  Just try to change eating, sleeping or exercise habits!  How much harder it is to change who we believe ourselves to be.  Consider your habits as patterns you have created that once served a good purpose.  But as you grew, ingrained habits became rigid and couldn’t adapt to meet the person you were becoming.  So within you is a tension, a war against who you think you are versus who you can become.  
As a Christian, I take the premise we are created in God’s Image.  In the center of our being, the essence of who we are lies buried.  Spiritual disciplines don’t create our being; they allow us to discover the essential being that is already there.  We have covered it up habit upon habit by thought upon thought, emotion and action upon one another. 
The Enneagram is a valuable tool uncovering patterns inherent in our personality.  Remember the story of the blind men looking at the elephant and how they couldn’t “see” the “whole”, but only the part they touched.  So we don’t see the essence of God in us, the mystery of faith, the hope of glory. God has given us what we need to live and that includes a personality. We are not trying to wipe away our personality, but to see how we can live to our fullest potential.  We come together in community to create a whole, not just for our self, but for all of us together.  As we see the internal difficulties that we and others struggle with, we become more understanding of the pain and grief we bear and become tolerant of others as we begin to work together.
The Enneagram details nine basic types/patterns people develop, but within that are subtypes, how we react to times of stress and security, and dynamic avenues that lend toward creativity and uniqueness within the system.  People resist being forced into a box.  But habits create types and structures that can be observed.  As we notice the patterns, the Enneagram helps individuals discover the box you are in and ways to break out of it.  
Enneagram Introductory, Basic and Advanced classes are being offered at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church.  Please call for more information.  
Rev. Andrea Andress, Paradise Valley UMC
602-840-8360, ext 142; andrea@pvumc.org

The article was published in the TALK magazine, the magazine for the Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition.  Explore the magazine at:  http://www.aetnt.com/why-AET/talk/