Growth Process and Practice

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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Understanding Anger
the Socially Acceptable Emotion

SYNOPSIS of the BLOG ARTICLE: Understanding the emotion “anger” and learning how to work “with it” gets us closer to ending unnecessary violence. Anger, in particular, is one of emotional alarm systems system that tells us about personal violation and its potential threaten to our survival. It alerts us when our sense of inherent worth comes under attack, when getting what we want, need and/or value gets threatened, and when we can’t process feelings of shame, hurt, or fear.

PHOTO_ViolenceBook_Daniels_200pxwI began my study of violence in 1968 with other junior colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University after the assignations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. Our work culminated in 1970 with the publication of a book called Violence and the Struggle for Existence.

My interest in working with anger and violence continues into the present as a result of my association with the Enneagram Prison Project (EPP), working closely with colleagues Susan Olesek and Suzanne Dion, leaders of the project and EPP’s core instructors, both teaching weekly in California jails/prisons. Together we bring a great knowledge of the Enneagram and possess a deep understanding of the mammalian emotional alarm systems, including that of anger, to EPP’s curriculum. This past month, Suzanne and I have put this paper together.


Understanding Anger/Rage, the Socially Acceptable Emotion
Can Understanding Lead to Less Violence?


by David Daniels MD
with Suzanne Dion of EPP


Anger is a vital, vital energy source. It’s one of the three fundamental, aversive emotions shared by all mammals. These aversive emotions are key to the survival systems found in human beings and mammals alike. They are designed to protect us, warn us, and keep us alive.

How the Anger System Works

iStock_000004938320XSmallAnger, moreover referred to as rage, is part of the survival system that tells us about violation. It gets triggered when our sense of personal worth comes under attack, when getting what we want or desire is delayed or taken away, when something we care about gets threatened. It manifests when someone is about to take away our food, get in the way of our accomplishing something, or when someone tries to force us to do something against our will.

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A New Paradigm:
The Enneagram Prison Project

The Attitude and “5As” that are Making a Huge Difference

What I Witnessed, Working with Susan Olesek and the EPP

Susan Olesek, an enthusiastic reformer type who had just certified as an Enneagram teacher — through the school that I co-founded in 1988 with Helen Palmer —told me about her having been invited to teach an extended Enneagram class to inmates in a Texas prison. We all thought it was kind of a big deal and very courageous of her. Four years later, I watched Susan muster up the gumption to found a nonprofit that she and her founding board members named, “The Enneagram Prison Project (EPP).” She told me that she witnessed, time and time again, the incredible effect learning the Enneagram was having on the inmates she had been teaching, and she felt compelled. She felt she had to do something to bring this system to  more than just those in Texas who had found themselves in a prison of their own making, and behind bars.

Susan was honest with her fears and doubts when she first started out, as not many had ever attempted to teach the Enneagram system on a consistent basis in penitentiaries or jails. Would she get it right? Did she know enough? Would the inmates have any interest in this at all? Could they learn this? Would it make sense to bring this to prison? And on and on and on, she fretted quietly.

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Today’s Too Important
Pause

The Pace of Modern Life

We live in a world of audio and video sound bytes, racing from one stimulus to the next. We switch quickly between radio, movies, YouTube and Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or television programs that range from comedy to drama and tragedy to incredible amounts of violence and catastrophe. News coverage focuses on one tragedy after another, frequently over and over again without pause.

Rembrant_2015_phto When we find ourselves outside, we stroll through nature, we walk the streets or go to great places like museums and bookstores with our eyes instead glued to our cell phones.

What are we so concerned we’re going to miss?

“The Night Watch” by
Rembrandt van Rijn, maybe?

We multi-task wherever we are. We get utterly absorbed in computer games or mobile apps. We have become a species that speeds down the highways and roadways of life not actually present to what surrounds us. We scan over tons of data everyday on our computer screens. We send texts and various forms of communique incessantly.

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What is happening to us?

Our bodies respond to this pace by holding a simmering tension, one that builds in each step, with each movement, with each “next thing” that needs our immediate attention. Oftentimes, our muscles are tight and often strained, especially those muscles around the hands, neck, and shoulders.

 

The Cost of Today’s Many Distractions

PHOTO_coupletexting-2_400pxwIt’s my observation that we are not aware of what we are no longer tuned in to, of what we are disconnected from, as a result of this nonstop, highly stimulating pace. “Social Media” is yes, a new kind of connecting with others, but it’s also a form of interacting that leads to a less intimate way of connecting to others. It is fast replacing the more fundamental benefit of hearing someone, seeing someone, and registering that person live and in their energy, in front of you. And at the same time, we lose the opportunity to notice ourselves, our own pace and our own reactions, in the presence of another.

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