When talking about the Enneagram types, something that has felt a bit off for me is a bent toward the low side of each type. I often hear people speaking of their type with the low descriptors, giving no amplitude to the high descriptors, as though these high ones don’t exist. In my teaching I have come to use the labels “Gift” for the high side and “Defensive Strategy” for the low side of each type. While the Defensive Strategy behaviors may be more easily identified as we begin our transformation work, the invitation of this work is to move into the Gifting of our type.
In this transformation work we look with love at the Defensive Strategy and, as a result, come to understand it better. In love we recognize the promises it has made (a way out of suffering) but that it has been unable to deliver. This recognition then enables us to loosen our grip on our defensive strategy as the answer to suffering and invites us to step toward Gift. Remembering the Law of One, we have no need to throw our defensive strategy away: we know everything belongs, both gift and defense. Instead, we can now decide which of the two we practice in the moment. And because our choice will not change our status within the circle of belonging, we are free to try and fail, try and succeed, or decide to try another time. Love is patient, Love is kind.