Some twenty-five years ago, studying Transcultural Shamanism with Mushtaq Ali Al Ansari, I was introduced to the mystic symbol called the “Enneagram”. I was fascinated by its endless uses and the power to diagram complex and sometimes invisible processes, and puzzled that of all the myriad uses, no one outside our little study group seemed to understand anything about it other than its applications to personality.
For instance, when I diagrammed the Hero’s Journey on it, a fascinating thing happened: the EXTERNAL journey (plot) traveled around the outside edge, but if you looked at the internal connecting lines a completely different approach to story was revealed.
Just one example. At position #1 (1:00) is “the hero is confronted with the challenge.” That’s pretty straight-forward: unless your lead character wants something he doesn’t currently possess (an external goal, relief from an external threat, an internal state of being, relief from a painful internal state) your character will take no actions. Living systems crave homeostasis.
So…you have to design your character and ask what they want and need, deny them that thing, and force them to take actions to change or regain their status. Simple, right?
But the Enneagram goes much further. #1 connects with #4: It also connects to #7.
Let’s focus in on just #4, the Road of Trials. If we know that the next step after #1 is “Rejection of the challenge” then the question is: WHY does he reject it? Why not take the action that will relieve pain or gain pleasure, once they see what must be done?
Because of the pain they must endure to get there. Oh, yes. The greater the potential reward, the greater the obstacle or journey must be. Why? Because we are programmed to move away from pain and toward pleasure.
If it is a straight road, we are NEUROLOGICALLY programmed to move in that direction. You can teach tapeworms to tap-dance if you get this Skinnerian aspect right. But if you look into your own life, you might say “well, if this is true, why do I X? (smoke, overeat, procrastinate, etc). Why? Simple. You see more pain than pleasure associated with the actions.
- You might not have a clear idea of what must be done.
- You might see a path, but lack belief that you, personally, can and should do it.
- You might have a reference group (tribe) that tries to dissuade you from taking those positive actions (damaged sub-cultures often have this issue)
- You might have past experiences that create beliefs contrary to the actions you’d have to take.
It took me SEVENTEEN YEARS to earn my first black belt, because I was still carrying an image of myself as being small and weak from a bullied childhood. I trashed my own college education for fear that I would absorb the negative habits of my writing instructors, and sabotaged my career because my mother had been terrified that I would be killed if I was too intelligent and aggressive.
My road of trials was one of finding clarity, courage, healing my self-image, and having the confidence to speak my truth and be who I was. Finding a tribe that would support my dreams, developing flexible plans to go over, under, around and through my obstacles.
Anyone who knows me will see that the martial arts gave me confidence and strategy for my career and relationships, my relationship with my first wife Toni gave me the self-confidence and support to make my career moves, and my writing career gave me the connection with my child self that powered my “adult” through years of martial misery (protecting your child educes the maximal defensive/survival response). They were all intertwined. Which meant that progress in any of them fed into the others, in an ascending spiral.
People who are blocked by their own pain, fear and confusion, and have struggled with it, often say “well, I guess that’s just me.” They then make the mistake of looking at others who are struggling, including entire social groups, and instead of seeing the knots they’ve been tied into, or the corrupted ground on which their seeds were sewn, just say “well, I guess that’s THEIR nature.” You see it? They can’t get out of THEIR box, so they define their box as “them” and then do the same to others. Worse is when they had advantage and privilege, don’t give thanks for it or even see it, and become one of those “born on third base and thought he hit a triple” types who look down their noses at “lesser” beings and “breeds.” If it weren’t so sad, it would be infuriating. So much human damage has arisen from people who simply never understood themselves. Who mistook confusion and damage for wisdom. Ugh.
Whew. That’s the power of the Enneagram. The “Hero’s Journey” tells you what is coming…in advance. The Chakras tells you the path of balance and human maturation. But the Enneagram is kinda like an internal map showing you how all these parts and processes RELATE to each other. It is as if you have a secret way to pretend to be smarter and wiser than you really are. Amazing, really, and with infinite uses once you understand it.
It’s been my secret weapon for decades. Why didn’t I share it? I COULDN’T. I didn’t understand it well enough. My mind just didn’t want to grasp its power, because if I did…I would integrate my life at higher and higher levels, smash my ego again and again, build sky-castles and move into them.
I so dearly wanted to understand it enough to share it. But I needed Mushtaq to do that, and he wasn’t at all sure it could be done, outside the “small group” format. It took me almost twenty years to convince him to give it a shot.
The result is the ULTIMATE ENNEAGRAM program, which is…well, it just rocks. There are hundreds of classes dealing with the “personality” stuff, which is like eating one bite from a banquet and hallucinating that you’ve had the entire meal.
Hell, that wasn’t even a balanced SNACK.
There is just so much more.
And what we’ve done is make this amazing secret available in a webinar format FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. Much of this information has NEVER been revealed publicly. From time to time I’ll be plucking apples from the grove and sharing them with you. But…this is amazing. I’m so proud of it. This is so powerful that the Fiverr lady who transcribed the sessions said her life had been changed JUST TRANSCRIBING THE SESSIONS.
That is power. That is THE ULTIMATE ENNEAGRAM. We’re still building the class, taking feedback and adding features, which is why I’m happy to be offering such a uniquely high value at such an absurdly low price.
More on this later. My head is still spinning. Can’t wait to share my secret weapon with you.