Author and co-founder of the Enneagram Institute, Russ Hudson, explains how the Enneagram was developed, how it helps us grow personally and with others, the nine interconnected personality types and what it means to be present.
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Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
The Enneagram originally was always paired with a study of presence or mindfulness. Be here now, pay attention, to notice what we’re up to. It was to train us in a system of self awareness so that we could choose things other than that default.
We learn a practice of getting more grounded in our body, in the here and now. The good thing about the body is it can’t be anywhere but here and now. My thoughts and feelings can be all over the place, but if I can feel myself breathing or feel myself resting in the chair, or standing, or wherever I am, in the car, wherever I may be, it brings me into a kind of contact with myself.
Confidence arises out of our relationship with our body. The more I feel embodied, the more I feel I’m here.
When we are actually present, we’re present with content. We’re present with what’s happening in our body. We’re noticing our postures and how we’re breathing. We’re noticing what’s in our emotions. We’re noticing what’s in our mind.
Meaning is not cognitive. You can argue endlessly in your head about what’s meaningful, but if it doesn’t land in your heart, you don’t get it.
Narcissism, if we look at it this way, is a pretty normal human thing. If we’re going to work with this stuff, it needs to stop being a dirty word. We need to acknowledge everybody has some. But it’s, “To what degree is it running my life? And what is it defending me against?”
I find that it’s especially good for executive coaching and leadership development. It’s kind of the formation of qualities that are needed for people to be effective in any kind of leadership role in organizations. And I also find it very good for team building.
People when they’re having difficulties are always hoping that someone will show up for them in the way they would for us when they’re at their best.