When we began the topic of the Inner Triangle in the Enneagram Insights I mentioned that I would be showing you how the Inner Triangle points to both the self-awareness and the problem-solving wisdom of the Enneagram. During the first half of the Inner Triangle’s journey keen self-awareness and wise problem solving have been in short supply. But now we turn our attention to the second half of the journey starting again at Point 9 but moving to Point 3 and then on to Point 6.
To begin this part of the Inner Triangle’s journey something critical needs to show up,…self-awareness. When you consider all the forces that have been at work against becoming aware of ourselves, that is, seeing ourselves accurately, it is quite the miracle, so let’s pause a moment and be properly amazed.
We began all this active defense work (in response to current threats) and then proactive defense work (designed to never let “that” happen again) alone, inside our heads and hearts and bodies, during those first few decades of life. We felt the danger and we designed our responses; we did our best and believed ourselves without much questioning. A lot of time and practice went into perfecting our strategy, lots of investment went into supporting and maintaining our ways of navigating life.
After all that, it is a marvel to witness the turn-about experienced by those of us who begin to recognize what we built for our protection is, in fact, causing us pain – that the very behaviors we have been practicing are not bringing about the seeing and real belonging we had hoped for. It is a miracle to recognize that all too often they have instead led to feelings of isolation and invisibility. This painful recognition is one we push down, until we began to face it and that is the miracle. It is this miracle that occurs here at Point 9 where instead of falling asleep as we did the first time around, we wake to see ourselves more accurately and so begins a second journey offered by the Inner Triangle.
Richard Rohr says it is in the first half of life that we build our house and in the second half of life we evaluate that building. Back in the day we had no option but to build something…, that was our task. What is fortunate about being the one who constructed our house is we are in the best position to de-construct and re-construct another. It is the honest “looking” here at Point 9 that makes two breakthroughs possible. First, we are able to recognize the cracks that represent the ineffective ways of protecting ourselves from what was real but has become habitually perceived threats. Second, we can face the realization that much of our defensive work has had the surprising effect of preventing us from experiencing connection and deep pleasure.
Here we get to see more clearly what we have constructed with the benefit of all our accumulated life experiences behind us. Here at Point 9 we make what some refer to it as return trip around the Inner Triangle this time with the awareness, maturity, and courage to see so much more.
Next stop, Point 3, where we will focus in on the cracks and what improvements are needed. – Sali