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How Do We Actually Change?

How Do We Actually Change?

By Interweaving Good Process with Content

Of all of the treatment modalities I worked with across my career as a therapist, nothing came close to healing hurting hearts and relaxing ego defenses as when I used the Enneagram system.

Have you studied much of the good content available in books as well as on the Internet, regarding the Enneagram? It’s an extraordinary, incisive system and profoundly insightful. But just reading alone doesn’t seem to bring it home. If that were the case, I could have sent my clients home with an Enneagram book and awaited transformation. Why is it that we can’t seem to enact real change after reading one of the many great Enneagram books or by simply studying online? I observed that something else is needed. Just “studying” the Enneagram is not enough to create transformative personal change. Why is that? What I would like to suggest is that in order for us to actually experience personal growth, it’s necessary to interweave consistent and dedicated “practice” — process — with the study of great content. We need process and we need interaction, trial and error, and ongoing, repetitive dedication.

I recall my time in medical school. I was studying content endlessly and hearing it lectured weekly from professors. I rarely received instruction regarding a process or method to incorporate the mountains of content I was exposed to. The only implementation seemingly happening was some practice with fellow students and on patients. I remember learning how to draw blood by first practicing with a fellow student — what fun. We didn’t volunteer for each other as a result of being instructed to do so by our teachers, nor was the notion suggested in our academic study. But something in me, and my fellow students, knew that while we had studied “how to draw blood” in our books, and had watched experienced nurses demonstrate it for us, we actually had to experience the task firsthand, which would include our own cognitive, emotional, and physical, skill-developing processes.

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Saving Our Lives
and the Planet

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Saving Our Lives and Planet

Bringing the Future into the Psychological Present through Consciousness

We live in stressful times with much conflict, greed, and violence in the world. Population growth continues as well as material growth and increases in wealth. There are current predictions that say we will eventually run out of basic resources, such as energy and water, and our rain forests. Yet each year we create further debt, regarding material resource utilization. These projections get ignored.

Why? Why are the projections being ignored?  This is my concern and why I’ve written this article. Resource utilization is fundamental to life. A rapidly changing world with multiple demands further limits our ability to bring a critical awareness of a challenging future into our psychological present. So how do we change this? Getting angry is a first step, but it’s not where we stop. We have got to develop a far more conscious approach to this dilemma, one human at a time.

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For What Are We Remembered?

What About Us Carries On?

If our parents have already passed away, what is it about them that we remember most? And what about our grandparents and great grandparents? Do we remember how they met? Where they lived? What careers they pursued? What they valued? And of course, what about some of the other influential people in our lives, like that special teacher, aunt or uncle, coach or dear friend? What about even our spouse, for those of you who may have by now lost your life partner?

What I find notable is that most of the factual information about our forbearers is forgotten or lost. So what is it about those who have passed on, that is really important? What is it that transcends their physical lives? Have you thought about how you would like to be remembered? This is a really tender question, but it’s a vital one. Virtually all of us have been a caregiver or nurturer for others at some point in our lives and sometimes, sadly, if we take stock of our lives, maybe we find that we did not give of ourselves in nurturing or caregiving ways. How did each of us make those life-sustaining connections to others? Did we nurture our relationships? Did we give of ourselves? Did we share in the betterment of other’s lives, as well as of that of our own?

What we come to find we are actually remembered for are our qualities of being. Our nurturance of others, our presence, our receptivity, our awareness, our compassion, our joy, our generosity, our hopefulness, and our expression of our own wants and needs. And all of that in congruence with that of others. Sadly, we may actually be remembered for how we actually lacked these qualities, or even, that we expressed much the opposite of these altruistic qualities.

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Integrating our True
Nature, into our Lives

Integrating the Higher Qualities of our Essence into our Lives

SYNOPSIS: This blog reviews what the higher essential qualities of the nine Enneagram types mean to me. For each type, I clarify the meaning of the words used in the Enneagram teachings, define how I experience these qualities, and give clear and short examples. I state the meaning of essence as those qualities of being that underlie all external manifestations and are always present in one way or another, such as hope, faith, and love. Then I describe a process for integrating these essence qualities into our lives, integration being the interweaving of these differentiated parts into ourselves, into our experience of ourselves. Often, this involves access to our own peak experiences as a resource, as a peak experience is one that included a direct experience of our essential higher spiritual qualities. In Enneagram terms, these are our inherent virtues. Integrating our inherent virtues into our everyday modus operandi over time results in transformation, a sustainable growth that can be experienced in our soma, our hearts, and our minds.

Descriptions of the Types’ Virtues and Essential Spiritual Qualities

img_integration_daviddaniels_400pxwThe essential qualities, meaning our embodied inherent virtues, and our Holy ideas — which are mental qualities — exist at the core of our being, at the hub of existence and at the core of our collective unity.

We all have had “oneness of all” experiences at some point. For example, when we either listen to or play music, find ourselves in a wondrous scene in nature, ski effortlessly down a a mountain of white powder, get swept away in blissful sexual union, while full of intention and deep in prayer, during meditation or a deep reflection, when experiencing delicate and beautiful acts of kindness, when imbued with warm, unconditional love, we are at “one” with all that there is. Moments of oneness may also occur in times of great challenge and when there seems to be little choice.

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The Miracle of Receptivity

The Power of Pausing, Acceptance, and the Breath

These days, we are all so active and fast-paced. It’s a hectic, modern world. Our children are “glued” to their video games and tweeting. They have a lot of homework and a lot of tasks to accomplish. Adults move endlessly from task to task, attempting to get more, or at least enough, accomplished in a day.

There are three fundamental energies we humans rely on, and boy, we need all three of these energies to really thrive in this world. But I have to say, the most neglected of these three energies in our particular society is the one known as “Receptive Energy.” Here is a brief definition of each:

  • Active or Yang Energy flows outward into assertive and decisive action that is unrestricted and expansive. This energy is over-valued in achievement-oriented, success-oriented cultures. When contracted, this energy can get expressed externally as unrestrained, not unrestricted action and aggression.
  • Receptive or Yin Energy flows inwardly as openness and receptivity and outwardly as flexibility and adaptability. It can also show up as stillness, even readiness, for action. When contracted, this aspect can lead to inertia and withdrawal.
  • Balancing or Yin-Yang Energy represents a reconciling energy, harmonizing both active and receptive forces. It manifests as a continuous adjustment that we make to the ever-changing circumstances wherein reaction occurs if either receptive or active energy seems to dominate. When contracted, this energy collapses into a narrow and amplified rigidity.

Both Balancing and Active Energies depend upon Receptive Energy. Furthermore, Receptive Energy also provides the time and space for the Balancing Energy to fully operate. Receptive Energy function reminds me of a teeter-totter that we as children played on, where there was just no fun if we couldn’t create movement and flow. Thus, Receptive Energy allows us to thrive efficiently and effectively.

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