Who Exactly Are the
“Good Guys” with Guns?

Another Shooting, Ignited with Concern…

One week after the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, killing 20 children and several adults, the executive vice president of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, finally declared that he  “Had the answer.” What follows is his entire speech as broadcast on television.

“The answer to bad guys with guns is good guys with guns,” he confidently said. That was it.

That’s his answer to the horrific acts of violence we are enduring in America.

This approach, where you feature two opposing concepts or views in a single sentence creates a blind dualism that cannot be integrated. This is true for much of the world we live in today. Simply spend a few minutes reflecting on what is going on in the Middle East, the killings by ISIS, the political battles here in America and elsewhere, and the endless oppositional views on multiple issues.

Furthermore, the National Rifle Association (NRA) with more than five million members claims that the right to bear arms is an inalienable right of the individual American citizen guaranteed by the Constitution. This refers to the right to acquire, possess, collect, exhibit, transport, carry, transfer ownership of, and enjoy the right to use arms as stated in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

Implicit in this meaning is the right to shoot to kill.

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Forgiveness: How It’s Truly
a Path to Freedom

Overview: Forgiveness, the profound letting go of grievances, provides a key to reclaiming the essential self and building healthy relationships.  Ironically, each type holds specific resistance’s to forgiveness which are tied to the type’s survival strategy. The barriers to forgiveness, the costs of holding grievances and resentments, and how the barriers to forgiveness be worked with are all explored here. In reading and responding to this blog, bring an open mind, heart, and spirit and an example of something or someone (could be yourself) you need to forgive.

Forgiveness: How It’s Truly a Path to Our Own Freedom

Without forgiveness, life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” — Roberto Assogioli

Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you are bitter at heart, sugar in the mouth will not help you.”
— Yiddish Proverb

Forgiveness is an absolute necessity for continued human existence.”
— Desmond Tutu


In working with inmates for the Enneagram Prison Project (EPP), I rediscovered how, “We are all prisoners of our own making,” as Susan Olesek[1] puts it. And a key to remaining in this “self-imprisonment” is the lack of forgiveness. This is key to both those incarcerated as well as for the rest of us.

First, we need to define forgiveness as both the pardoning of offenses and the releasing from resentments. And here’s a critical distinction: Pardoning an offense does not mean we deem the offense as unimportant nor deny the consequences, but rather, an allowing for penalties to be applied in a way that is respectful to both offenders and pardoners.

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Why Do We Love?

Why Do We Love? Why Do We Need It Want It, and Seem to Thrive In When In It?

Book_KalilGibran_200pxw There’s a saying, and it goes something to the effect of “ultimately all we have is love.” Or as Kahlil Gibran put it, “Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not, nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love.”

Love, which is an experience at the root of human bonding, is so vital to human beings that without it, we don’t develop properly. We remain impoverished. A loving bond between a human infant and a human caregiver not only creates the potential for development, it contributes to it and is necessary for healthy development to occur.

AdultsBonding_300pxwIntimate adult relationships are a great source of love and nurturance. And sexual intimacy with a loving partner fosters connection and bonding. Spiritual experiences even, of oneness and of unity, can be experienced during loving sexual intercourse.

In addition and an important fact specific to human beings is that we are one of the only mammals that practice sex throughout the female’s entire monthly cycle, not just during ovulation. Why? Research is showing that sexual behavior stimulates all sorts of bonding hormones to be released, the “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin and vasopressin and the positive-feeling neurotransmitter dopamine, as well as testosterone and nor-epinephrine. These chemicals are released in even greater amounts during orgasm, all of which nurtures our emotional, psychological, and physical selves. We are fed, fueled, and rejuvenated, if you will, through all forms of contact that engender bonding and intimacy. We are literally designed for it.

Studies of maternal deprivation in Rhesus monkeys conducted by psychologist Harry Harlow in the 1950s were monumental studies not only in the study of primates, but in the study of mammalian attachment and loss. Harlow aligned his experimental subjects to human children and media of his day treated his findings as major observations about love and psychological/emotional development in human beings. These “monkey love” research experiments were powerful studies for any and all separations of mothers and infants, including adoption, as well as childrearing in general.

MamaLoveBabyMonkey_300pxwIn his University of Wisconsin lab, Harlow examined the nature of love, aiming to illuminate its first cause-and-effect mechanisms based on the relationships formed between infants and mothers. First, he showed that mother love was emotional rather than physiological, supporting the adoption-friendly,widely-accepted theory that continuity of care —“nurture” — was a far more important factor in healthy psychological development than physiological “nature.” Next, he showed that the capacity for attachment was closely related to critical periods in early life, after which it was difficult to impossible to compensate for the loss of early emotional security.

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The Chemistry of Touch

Sex is Much More than just “Sex” and Bonding is More Important Than We Ever Knew…


And How Does our Enneagram Type Play Into It?

PHOTO_AEAWorkshop_Daniels2014In a new book I’ve been working on, slated for completion in 2017, I focus on the nature of intimacy as it relates to our sexuality and overall happiness. I include a powerful section on the sexual enhancements and diminishments by Enneagram type, suggested antidotes for each type, a section on how to develop true intimacy, the stereo-typical male-female differences, the key difference between sensuality and sensuousness, some of the many myths about our sexuality, and much more.
What I’m thinking about currently is the power of touch and the critical importance of bonding in our ability to experience loving, sexual relationships that will not only thrive but endure.

This vital topic has not been addressed much in the Enneagram world. The experience of love, touch, affection, and “bonding” are critical components of our human nature. We could even call these biological imperatives. What is their relationship to our sexuality? I feel this question is ready  to be explored, and from an Enneagram type perspective.

Over the years, working with countless couples, I have become immensely passionate about this question and this potential by-Enneagram-type discovery.  It’s been fulfilling for me to work with individuals and on this topic, couples, who have been willing to create a genuinely receptive and open-hearted environment for this discussion, which allows all of us to expand our understandings of such precious and delicate of subject matter and the possibilities for growth and exploration.

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Losing Robin Williams…

Robin Williams: Could the Enneagram Have Made a Difference?

by David Banner, PhD and David Daniels, MD

Image_RIP_Williams_450pxwThe remarkable actor, comedian and humanist, Robin Williams, who left us too soon, was likely an Enneagram Type 7*[1], the type that comes to believe that to assure a good and satisfying life you must keep life expansive, upbeat, and flowing.  It’s a type structure that believes that life should not be restrictive or limited by suffering and agony in a world that  underneath you experience  causes pain, distress, and frightening restrictions. Similar to 7s in general, Robin’s attention likely focused on positive options and opportunities so that he wouldn’t get trapped in pain and suffering. He probably became a glutton for new experiences and adventures. In reading biographic material about Robin, we can see how he tended to stay stimulated with ideas and adventures and avoided sad or painful feelings, even though these feelings were lurking below the surface and, of course in time, surfaced.

Robin was able to manifest a depth of feeling, a longing for wholeness and acceptance, and the welcoming of all possibility in his movies. Depth was a core part of his roles, including his characters in “Good Will Hunting” and “Dead Poets Society.” This “darker side” seemed to lurk within him, but perhaps without his acceptance. He likely feared sinking into darkness and suffering. In his relationships, he would have most likely been optimistic, possibility-oriented, pleasure-seeking, and adventurous in an effort to avoid limitation and suffering. But, at times, he may have also expressed preoccupation, longing, deep distress, and moodiness.

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Living on Borrowed

On Having a Separate Self:

We Can’t Really Live With Someone If We Can’t Live Without Them, No Matter How Much We Believe We Love Them

Living on Borrowed Oxygen
We all need to develop a separate self with good personal boundaries. What does it mean to have good personal boundaries? It means having a distinct self with a sense of who we are individually. When absent or deficient, this easily overlooked core ingredient in relationships makes it difficult to work with all the other ingredients. Without this ingredient, we’re living on what I call “borrowed oxygen,” with the other person becoming in a sense, our “must have it” oxygen supply. If you leave me, I’ll be without oxygen. So it goes from joy-mode to survival-mode, with me having to hold on to you at any cost. Borrowing oxygen from others keeps us from breathing on our own and takes away our own empowered ability to fully inhale and exhale – to truly give and receive – love. This is a set-up that leaves us limited, dependent, clinging, demanding, and even dominating. Just check out figures #1 and #2 below. I even have a saying that goes, “We Can’t Really Live With Someone If We Can’t Live Without Them, No Matter How Much We Believe We Love Them.” We each need to have, and be, our own definitive oxygen supply, one that the sustenance of our being, of our own aliveness, provides. As with the oxygen on our planet, as with the aliveness in our being, there is plenty of what’s needed for each of us.

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