Welcome to A New Season
March 25, 2022
Welcome Diana Redmond!
May 20, 2022

Three Practices to Awaken Who You are Beyond Enneagram Type

Tears streamed down my face as several pairs of eyes watched me open my birthday gifts and cards with heartfelt messages. All at once, my heart swelled with gratitude, while my gut dropped away: My Enneagram pattern of not wanting to be–not feeling deserving of being–the center of attention raged within.

Something deep inside encouraged me not to let my pattern of shrinking, staying small, and moving to the background take over.

I stayed with all of it: the joy, the embarrassment of my tears, the delight of the gifts I received. My heart melted as I now met the caring eyes of each friend. My breath faltering, I was on the verge of overwhelm, of feeling swallowed by these big emotions.

It was not easy, and this felt like presence.

I often read and hear about how presence is critical in difficult situations. Presence can help in summoning courage in moments of fear. It can help us meet others with love and compassion when judgment and blame feel second-nature.

This has been my experience, too, and yet the biggest shift I’ve felt in my work with presence is my increased ability to stay with happiness. To stay with celebration. To stay with being celebrated. I still catch myself, at times, shying away from intense moments of positive feelings, trying to protect myself from the negative thing that must be around the corner. And also I see the bud of embracing joy slowly growing and blossoming.

For me, the Enneagram has been a rich treasure of insights. What a gift it is to better understand myself and others! And, as Roxanne Howe-Murphy has said, “The Enneagram was not given to us to enhance our self-identity, but to awaken us to the mystery of who we are beyond type.”

How do you awaken to this mystery?

One way, as I shared above, is through presence. In the Deep Living approach, presence is having direct contact with your grounded belly, open heart, and a clear, quiet mind. And, this doesn’t need to happen in the confines of a meditation session. It can happen when you’re watching a sunset, having a difficult conversation with a partner, and even while standing in line at the grocery store. 

By learning the Enneagram while developing your capacity for presence, your personality relaxes and more choices become available to you. Then, your inner freedom flourishes.

While simple, the following three practices to build your capacity for presence can often feel challenging. An uncomfortable sensation may trigger frustration. Swirling thoughts may derail you from the sensations in your heart. An emotion of sadness can take you out of your grounded belly. All of this is okay, even expected. Presence isn’t rising above any of this, it’s being with what comes up. And, as Roxanne shares, presence “is an invitation to the truth and experience of our real nature.”

We invite you to try the following three practices. For the first two practices, find a position that feels supportive to you. This may be lying, seated, or standing. For the last practice, write in a journal or share your experiences with a trusted friend.

Practice One – Grounding

  • Notice that you are breathing.
  • Allow your breath to find its pace.
  • Notice the place(s) where your body is in contact with the ground or being supported. What are the qualities of those places? What is the temperature? What is the sensation? Is it intense?
  • Allow your body to be held by gravity and by whatever is supporting you.
  • If you notice your thoughts or emotions pulling you away from this practice, come back to noticing your breath.

Practice Two – Attention to Your Heart

  • If it is accessible to you, place a hand on your chest, wherever you feel in contact with your heart. 
  • What sensations do you experience in your heart center? Can you feel your heart beating? What is the speed? How soft or hard does it feel? Is your heart exposed or protected? 
  • Stay with these sensations. If at any time you feel overwhelmed or unsafe, come back to noticing your breath.

Practice Three – Being Curious

  • When you are ready, open your eyes. 
  • With curiosity as your guiding quality, how would you describe your experience of grounding and paying attention to your heart center? 
  • Were there any stories or judgements that came up during this experience?
  • If so, try meeting those stories and judgements with curiosity. What comes up for you?

Would you like to learn more about building your capacity for presence? We invite you to join us on a free five-day challenge to Stop Fixing and Start Living


Note: Quotes from Roxanne Howe-Murphy’s Deep Living with the Enneagram: Recovering Your True Nature

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