January 7, 2021

Reflections on January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021 was a critical juncture in the life of all Americans. It was a shock point to each of us, regardless of what our political views may be. Whether you are among those who have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new Administration on January 20, or among those who may have felt that the presidential election was not a full and fair one, or among those who live with little or no interest or concern about politics, it was a day that deeply impacted each of us.

It is likely that many of us are left in a state of increased anxiety, fear, and uncertainty about the future. A good number of individuals I have spoken with yesterday and today seem at a loss about how to deal with their strong and confusing emotions and reactions to these events. And yet, this is where the power and wisdom of the Enneagram can help us. We are now presented with a remarkable opportunity for change. Either we move forward or we move backward, but it is not possible to remain the same.

Knowing and observing the automatic reactions of our personality type – our ego defenses, our fears, our anxieties – is of course fundamental to our inner growth. Whether our reaction is to withdraw and erect boundaries of denial, or to distract ourselves by plunging into activity, or to respond with a frustrated desire to exact revenge on those who have so disgraced our nation, we must take the time to step back, and observe the automatic tendencies that yesterday’s events may have triggered in us so that our minds remain focused, clear, and balanced.

Coincidentally, the Teaching that accompanied yesterday’s Enneathought noted the importance of taking time out for yourself to meditate, that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do that, and it invited each of us to enter into “a sitting” (as we call the meditations) in a spirit of open inquiry and allowing, in order to encounter whatever comes up for us in the moment. This can be especially helpful at a time when we may feel stressed and are having difficulty with things that are out of our control. For those who may be unfamiliar with the basic “sitting”, we offer the following.

Give yourself as much time as necessary to sit in a quiet spot, where you can feel open, relaxed, and comfortable. Take several deep breaths slowly and consciously, while remaining aware of your inhaling and exhaling. As you take each breath, sense any relaxation of stiffness and anxiety from your body. Notice whether your mind is releasing the thoughts and worries and tensions that you may have been holding on to. Continue to sit silently, noticing what fleeting thoughts arise and let them go. Just try to settle in to yourself and fully allow yourself to be consciously aware that you are safe, that you are here, and that you can deal with whatever emotions or reactions may be distracting you from being fully in the moment.

As we say in Understanding the Enneagram, “Because it is not what is real in us, but merely a construct in our minds, personality [and our reactions and fearful concerns] does not have any authority or power in itself. When we are lost in personality, it is not surprising that we often feel powerless, confused, and unsafe because we are basing our identity on an artificial construct. (If we are identified with something that is not real, then many things are going to be extremely threatening.) Our entire identity structure has been built up in our memory and imagination, whereas…when we trust in the process and give ourselves over to it, …our authentic self comes forth. The result is real integrity, love, authenticity, creativity, understanding, guidance, joy, power, and serenity.”

May each of us remember that we are in control of our life, and that, while none of us can know where these recent events may lead us, applying the Enneagram as a spiritual tool in our daily lives can bring about profound and lasting change.

Warm wishes to each of you,

Brian Taylor