Gerry Fathauer, a Senior Member of the Enneagram in Business Network (EIBN), wrote the following Insight Activity on Inspiration and inspired me to explore this topic in depth for each enneatype over a 3-part series.
The word inspiration is derived from the word in as in breathe in and the root word spire, as in spirit. The very act of breathing is expansive. When we breathe deeply from our diaphragm, our body expands to take in breath, to fill us with life.
Inspiration avails us of spirit within, and spirit is that which brings us alive. Key to inspiration is seeing anew: the beauty in nature, a pet at play, an authentic masterpiece, even an intricate machine when viewed from a place of awe and wonder has the capacity to inspire.
The fuel for inspiration can be found in the ordinary when viewed with fresh eyes. If you have ever lapsed into total absorption in the explorations of a child, or in the antics of squirrels at play, you’ve momentarily stepped aside to experience the world anew. Yet inspiration is not an outside job, though the seeds for inspiration may originate elsewhere. Inspiration arises, as the word suggests, from inside.
The inside job of inspiration requires awareness. Where does your awareness of inspiration arise? Is it in your Enneagram type’s Center of Intelligence – the Center from which your Enneagram type is formed – or is it another Center? Inspiration is an asset when coaching clients and becomes an asset that most clients covet for themselves. How might you support your clients in being inspired?
Allowing spirit within is a simple act of awareness. Imagine the possibilities in a world open to inspiration as a way of life!
In this 2nd blog based on Gerry’s insights about how to become more inspired, the focus is on the three Heart Center styles – Two, Three, and Four – and how they can use one of the Centers of Intelligence for enhanced inspiration. In reality, we can each use all three Centers of Intelligence to do this; however, I’ve selected one Center for each style just to give a sense of how to do this.
Heart Center Enneagram Styles: Two, Three, and Four
Twos: Using Their Mental Center for Inspiration
It’s been said by many Enneagram teachers (including me) that Twos do not have direct access to their Mental Centers on the Enneagram (this is true) by virtue of their wings (points 1 and 3) or their arrows (points 8 and 4). For this reason, Twos may not come across as “intellectual” as some of the other Enneagram styles, but it would be misleading to then say that Twos are not intellectually oriented. Social subtype Twos (I am a social Two) are known as the “intellectual” Twos, and Twos of the other two subtypes can also be intellectual. For example, Bea Chestnut is a self-preservation Two, yet she is a thought leader in the Enneagram and is quite intellectual. Just talk to her, and you’ll see this for yourself.
So what is “intelligence” and being “intellectual?”
Intelligence: the ability to reason, learn, retain, plan, problem solve, comprehend complex ideas; learn quickly, adapt to one’s environment, to ‘catch on’ quickly; derives from the Latin verb intelligere which means to “discern.” Of course, this definition is a Mental Center-based definition, and there are really multiple intelligences (emotional, physical, musical, etc). But for the purpose of this blog, the focus is on the Mental Center variety of intelligence.
Intellectual: a person who uses his or her intellect in a profession or personal capacity, particularly the capacity to reason and think; the three forms of being an intellectual: (1) involved with abstract, erudite ideas and theories; (2) being in a profession that involves the creation and dissemination of idea; and/or (3) possessing notable expertise such that this knowledge or intellectual authority grants the person intellectual authority in public discourse.
By the above definitions, many Twos are already both intelligent and intellectual. To become more inspired, however, it can be really helpful for Twos to more fully “own” their intellectual capacity – that is, to recognize, acknowledge, and truly honor their mental capabilities – and to also learn to use their Mental Center in more ways than they may normally. Here’s how Twos can do this:
Suggestion 1: Think about how smart you really are. Be objective. Think about what you actually know really well. Think about your innate curiosity about how things work. Think about how annoying you find people who are intellectually arrogant, then recognize that you can really “own” your intelligence and intellectuality without becoming arrogant about it. The two – intelligence and arrogance – do not necessarily go together!
Suggestion 2: Breathe into your Head Center for 5 minutes three times per day, and do this while sitting down so you don’t get dizzy! After a few days, do this same activity, but do it while walking. Then continue this activity on a daily basis, even doing it more and more often as you feel comfortable. Why do this? Twos often breathe directly into their heart area (and sometimes into their gut areas), but they often bypass their Head Center. Breath is fuel and energy for enlivening the Centers.
Suggestion 3: Tell people what you know, and do so without either apology or arrogance (Twos rarely do this!). Many Twos do hold back their thoughts and analyses until they feel they can no longer do so (often when someone else says something they strongly disagree with or that is not based on experience or logic). Just say what you think, and say it early and clearly.
Threes: Using Their Heart Center for Inspiration
One of the most frequently asked question I am asked about Threes is this: If Threes are a Heart Center style, why don’t they seem as emotional or sensitive to others as Twos or Fours? The answer is straightforward: Threes generally use their Heart Center functioning to read their audience and then adjust their own behavior (performance) for a positive effect; Twos, by contrast, use their heart to tune into the feelings of others (aka sensitivity), and Fours use their hearts to tune into their own feelings.
Because Threes do not spend very much time or attention focusing on their own feelings, it becomes difficult for them to know what they really want and desire or what inspires them. The answer to these questions comes from the Heart Center. In fact, to ask Threes what they really want and aspire to (other than what they have aspired to based on social expectations) is to usually send Threes into some inner confusion! They have just not focused on what they truly and deeply desire from, as Gerry points out, the inside. Going more deeply into their Heart Center can thus be their basic source of inspiration.
Suggestion 1: Breathe, but breathe into your Heart Center. Many Threes breathe into their shoulder area, but not deeply into the heart area. When you do breathe more deeply into your heart, make sure you do so gently so that you don’t startle yourself or cause yourself to feel anxious. Simply practice heart breathing, going more and more fully into your heart chamber area. This will awaken your feelings, allowing them to be increasingly available to you. Without knowing how you feel, it is near impossible to know what you really want or to feel inspired.
Suggestion 2: Once you have more access to your Heart Center via the breathing technique above or some other approach, ask yourself this: What do I really want? What matters to me? What will make me truly happy? What inspires me at a deep level? After you ask yourself each question, wait for the answer. Ask yourself these questions at least 2 to 3 times per day. Keep a journal of your answers if you like. Every week, look through your answers and notice the patterns that emerge. The more you ask, the more answer you will receive.
Suggestion 3: Give yourself permission to do what you deeply desire rather than believing that you must calibrate your desires based on your interpretation of what success and confidence look like. If you don’t know what you want, then it’s easier to follow social expectations. In addition, following social norms keeps you from exploring your deepest desires. But once you know what you want, you need to say this to yourself: It’s really OK to do what I love! And a hint, as you explore what you want, you may find it easier to articulate what you don’t want. In this case, simply ask yourself this: If this is what I don’t want, then what do I want instead?
Fours: Using Their Body Center for Inspiration
Why did I select the Body Center as a way for Fours to become more inspired? And aren’t Fours already inspired; after all, they are usually creative, going along with their own inner aspirations rather than following convention?
The answer to the first question is that many Fours have a “collusional” relationship between their Heart Centers (emotions) and mental Centers (thinking). In other words, Fours may experience a variety of emotions (often tumultuous) and then use their thinking function to analyze and even over analyze what they are feeling. They want to figure out what they are feeling, so they go through a list of A through Zs: “it could be this!” “It could be that!” “Is this it?” Because of this interwoven Heart-Head Center functioning, the Body Center can be an excellent way to stand steady and be the source of truer inspiration. The answer to the second question is that there is a difference between being creative and being truly inspired.
Suggestion 1: Engage in a body-based grounding practice on a daily basis. Stand up, breathe throughout your body, and feel your breath going right down your legs through your feet and into the floor. Although you can do this sitting down, it is easier to penetrate your entire physical body when you stand. Do this several times each day; it will be easier and easier. Once you fully inhabit your body, knowing what really inspires you and then taking action upon it becomes much easier.
Suggestion 2: When you have feelings, especially ones that are confusing to you – that is, you don’t know what the feeling is or you are feeling several emotions simultaneously – find the place in your body that has the sensation you associate with your emotional response. Focus on the sensation, not the feeling. After you have located the physical sensation and focused on it so you feel familiar and accepting of it, then ask yourself: What do I really feel? From this more pure feeling state, you can then ask yourself: Given this feeling, what do I want? What do I feel inspired to do?
Suggestion 3: Based on what you truly and deeply feel (using the above suggestions to determine this), take deliberate action. Many Fours frustrate themselves by not manifesting into action that which truly inspires them. Is this because, at some level, most Fours do not believe that they will get their needs and desires met? If so, Fours need to challenge themselves on this assumption. Why do others seem to be able to manifest their desires, but not Fours? That is a good question, but what is the answer? Is it because Fours have so many complex ideas that they don’t know which ones to manifest? If so, get to the core of the idea by going deeper and simplifying the truer aspiration (see the first two suggestions) and then take action. Is it because Fours prefer to create and dream than to manifest? If so, ask why?
The next and final blog in this series will focus on the Mental Center styles: Five, Six, and Seven.
Mental Center Enneagram Styles: Five, Six, and Seven
Fives: Using Their Heart Center for Inspiration
Sixes: Using Their Body Center for Inspiration
Sevens: Using Their Mental Center for Inspiration