Post Webinar Forum – Thoughts from the Webinar Reflection Questions

Share a reflection on either of these questions posed in the webinar. Feel free to comment on the thoughts of other participants (just hit the reply button under each comment). Be sure to be encouraging and respectful of everyone’s perspective.


(How could you) let yourself be silently pulled by the stronger pull of what you truly love?-Rumi

How could you create a space where you can discover the secret yearnings of your heart? -Ignatius

60 Comments on “Post Webinar Forum – Thoughts from the Webinar Reflection Questions

        • That makes sense to me when I think of 7s. Getting out in nature is huge for me as well as a heart center type, which I didn’t really learn until I did Michael Kearney’s track on Nature. Being required to go out daily in nature helped me see how helpful it was being away from people and what they thought I should be doing. Breath has become healing and stress reducing as well.

          • I find birdwatching is really helpful because I have to disappear to be successful. A very good lesson for me. I think that’s probably good for sevens and threes.

    • I’m not finding a way to initiate my own comment so I will tack this on. 20 years after my first Enneagram introduction and bouncing between 15 years of being told I was a 6, then thinking i was a 9, then trying on pretty much all of them, I am fairly sure I am a Heart Center type. I am so hoping that Soul Child work will give me more clues and certainty as well as potential for growth.

  1. I am a 2 and during the reflection time in our journals, I found myself wondering about how to even begin listening to the voice within that leads to freedom. How do you, other 2s know that it is your inner voice – your essence and not yet another aspect of listening to the outer world? What practices have you found helpful?

    • Hi Anna, good question! A yoga teacher years ago really encouraged us to “just notice” and try to hold back on judgement. That’s helpful for me. And in my spiritual direction training, and as Richard suggested, noticing and naming experiences of desolation or resistance throughout the day, not just consolation or resonance, has been helpful and freeing. Listening through yoga, chi gong, breath work, lectio divine, and centering prayer have been other practices I like.

      • Kate, Thank you! This is helpful! I am curious that in the noticing, did you find patterns? Was there a heart feeling? Or something else? that helped you identify this as the authentic voice?

        • Yes, there were definitely patterns for messages I told myself that were deflating. I didn’t realize I was putting myself down in so many different ways! And then I could counter balance those by trying to let them flow down the river and not stick to me. I’ve also found exercises about building trust in my inner voice really helpful. Maybe a mantra like “my authentic voice is strong” or an intercession like “help me to know my authentic voice” might be helpful

          • One thing I know is that the authentic inner voice is not critical. If I sense criticism at any level I know it’s not my inner voice. My inner voice can be playful or very serious, but it is always loving and valuing.

          • I resonate with the deflating messages that for me were probably instilled by life/family systems in childhood. The intention of a mantra is helpful too. I also am reminded by this conversation about childhood and actions that were inherent (such as creative expression through art) that I “lost” in adulthood and the opportunity to reintroduce them in such a way that may help reconnect with the inner voice. It may get me beyond the filter of words and stay within the wisdom of the heart.

          • Jeanne, I want to press a “like” button for your comment about the authentic inner voice not critical but loving. This is so helpful in my discernment!

  2. I am an 8 and reflected on the second question that I needed an assurance of safety and being taken care of before I could consider discovering the secret yearnings of my heart. I was wondering if any 2 types out there feel a need for those conditions naturally or is that just my 8 nature setting conditions that of control??

    • This is just an opinion: I know there are greater and lesser degrees, but it seems to me that a big part of our forming our enneatype is in order to create a way to feel safe in an unsafe world. So I think you are far from alone in this. I am either an E9 with a strong E1 wing or an E1 with a strong E9 wing, but I definitely need to feel safe. I think the depth and intensity of this need may vary among people based more upon Instinctual Variant within the Enneatypes. I am a strong Self-preservation variant. The need for physical safety and home goes with that variant to a greater degree than with the other variants.

      • Thanks Stephanie, I find myself thinking how to listen and accept the safety messages without allowing them to become a wall. Kind of an inner dialogue where I can say “thanks for the warning, I heard you. please take a seat so we can let others speak too.”

        • My husband is an 8 and I have to very consciously let him know that I am on his side, that he is safe. When he gets that, we experience deep connection and growth. I can imagine the importance of you needing to talk to yourself and creating a safe space.

        • I second what Jeanne says below. I was involved with an E8 for a few years. He was a very powerful and dominating personality, could be very rage-ful, but I learned that his “bigness” and control often had to do with his feeling unsafe in the world, coupled with a powerful fear of being left alone, &/or rejected. I learned that when I could reassure him that he was safe and loved, it really helped deescalate his fears and thus his negative behaviors. I also learned over time that no amount of reassurance was ever going to be enough when it came from someone else. He needed to learn to give that to himself. I wish we had had the enneagram to learn from..

          I have read and been told that of all types, E8s often come from the most traumatizing of childhoods. This explains why the fear might be so strong. If I might suggest, for me it has very helped over the years to go into a kind of meditative visualization, invite my frightened or angry child to me, put out my arms and invite her into my lap. I was not cuddled or held or hugged or comforted when I was upset as a child. For me, offering this to my young inner self as been so potent. It took a long time, but I think now “she” really does believe that I, the adult, am here for her, will show up to comfort and to protect her, and that I am capable of caring for and protecting her. It has changed my inner experience dramatically over time.

          • Wow! I just sent today’s message and it perfectly fits with what you’ve just written here. Your thoughts are so beautifully expressed. Thank you!

          • – “…no amount of reassurance was ever going to be enough when it came from someone else. He needed to learn to give that to himself.”

            Thanks Stephanie, this resonates with where I am. This week’s reflections have been very helpful so far.

  3. For many years I’ve thought I was a 2 and since an Enneagram workshop with Richard in November I’ve wondered if I’m actually a 3. I appreciate this approach of heart point and trance point, but it kind of continues to muddle the waters! 😉 I feel more automatic (maybe trance point) with 9 (wanting things to be peaceable) which would imply base of 3, but feel soothed and more at home with who I was as a young child with 4 (deep authentic relationships, creative, hypersensitive) which would imply a base of 2. Lots to explore! And definitely the heart space spiritual practices need attention!

    • I’m impressed by your openness to your internal voice. It’s easy to just look for an easy “typing” and leaving it at that.

  4. As a 7 I have felt a duality, almost to the point of being fraudulent, much of my life. The idea of a soul child makes so much sense to me. I distinctly remember the day and place I told myself as a young one that I would become much more outgoing. Now the work of bringing myself together.

    • Tami, I have a memory of being very present and engaged as a young child. I used to be both active and fully focused. I think I lost the quiet focus in pre-teens. Fully threw myself into my seven ways.

  5. I am curious to hear the ways that any of The enneagram types use to create the energy of doing the work of going against the arrow to your Heart point. I am particularly interested in ways that you uncover the unconscious or subconscious parts of your essence.

    • For me (as a seven) it is about calming my mind and leaning into the enough-ness of focus and full engagement of a five. It’s about being satisfied even if things aren’t perfect.

    • HI Marianne, I appreciated what Richard noted about paying attention to desolation or experiences that prompt resistance. I’ve also found dreamwork to be really helpful to notice unconscious/subconscious work. And with regards to moving against the arrow of your heart point, I jotted down “which feels more soothing? because I wasn’t held there as a child?” to help me discern between two different heart points. During the journal time I started thinking of components of myself from childhood that felt really free but got squashed by external forces.

    • I haven’t quite come down firmly on a type, other than I’m quite sure I’m a heart type. I resounded though with the slide Richard showed of Heart Space Spiritual Obstacles. I obsess and operate on the opinions/practices of other and struggle to be myself. I HAVE to put myself in a place apart, where other things/people/opinions don’t pull at me and be intentionally silence in order to hear anything at all from inside of me.

      • Yes! I resonate with that too! I’m recently married and need to navigate finding place apart in new ways! I love our time together, but I also wish he had more evening activities out of the house. 😉

        • i hear you! 😉 I very much need/crave time with my husband but I also must have time for myself or I start to lose myself.

      • Jeanne,
        This need to pull away from others to hold onto yourself can also be an E9. One question might be to what extent to do you feel answers and feelings arise from you body? If you do, you might be a body/gut E9. Another way to approach it might be to ask whether your pulling away comes from overwhelm or fear or shame, which feeling triad. I remember hearing Richard Rohr once say that E9s experience the world as “a full body blow,” and thinking “Oh my God, that’s exactly how it feels to me to be out in the world!” It’s total overwhelm.

        This could just be me projecting, but it seems like many people who strive and want to be “good” people, interpret that as being “in the heart” and so gravitate toward being a heart type. Yet often heart types are the least in touch with their hearts. And other types can be very deeply heartful.
        For what it might be worth…

  6. For me this seems to come from being in nature, letting the song of birds, the energy and mood of the elements meet my soul and remind me of my connection to the beauty and oneness all around me.
    Additionally, when I exercise or move my body. I love the animal in me. I love to pay attention to how energy is moving through me. Movement helps me clear out the sore or stuck areas in my body and mind, and open my senses to whatever place I find myself.

  7. The posts above about Sabbath Rest and trusting the Inner Voice evoke some thoughts in me. I am a 9, and I think that what i’m about to say may not be unique to 9s. For example, I find the quiet time, the silence I get in my daily centering prayer practice allows for increased awareness. I have found that important discoveries about my self, my shadow, my soul child occur during silent retreats. So perhaps I need that container for these things to open themselves to me. Does this make sense?

    • I do think all types must pull themselves out of their normal routine or the normal way of being will have it’s way.

    • I’m not sure how you experience it, Robert, but as I’m pretty sure I’m an E9, I’ll share that for me the difference seems to be that I have to experience peace in my body. When I go out in nature with others, I have to be very selective, because what others experience as peaceful I often do not. I have to have time to let my body down-regulate and find its own deep quiet. THEN the peace of nature and communion can fill my soul and heart and mind and spirit. So I love silent retreats and long weekends or days at the ocean in a remote cabin with a wood stove and no internet or tv. I need to long hours of deep silence and stillness to go really deep to that place of profound Peace that also encompasses Joy and Oneness and harmony. I can get tastes and bite-sized portions through daily contemplative practices, but for what I most crave and love, I must be away in nature and silence. Doing both allows me to carry more of that silence and stillness within to guide and nourish me in daily life. Does this resonate for you too? I’m curious, because I really do need to connect more with other E9s and check out what seems to me, in me, to be E9.

      • Wow, Stephanie, you are rocking your Nine-ness! Your overall description makes me appreciate that it takes a long time for Nines (most likely for all ennea-types) to get in touch with our essence, with our true self. Working with the soul child these past several days, I am more aware than ever of how shut down I am. It was not okay to feel and express anger in my family. That air tight lid makes it difficult for me to access any feelings, especially in the day to day. What breaks through that is being on a trail in a forest and sensing that I am walking through Mother Earth’s lungs. Or drifting on the Colorado and looking up at canyon walls that hold a couple of billion years of history. Or seeing a baby. Or doing centering prayer with inmates. These experiences both take me out of myself and make me aware of the oneness of all creation. In any event, I think the spiritual practices that I engage in daily or weekly help loosen the soil so that the seeds hidden within have a chance to emerge. So, all of it (the daily and the retreat) complement one another. I hope that speaks to what you so beautifully described.

  8. Marianne,
    haha, that’s my sister’s name. I have a good friend who is a 3. When I watch him or think of him, sometimes something ‘jumps’ in my heart. That’s a recognition, I believe, of that part of the 3 that resonates with me. So, allowing that feeling to sort of infuse me and recognizing those aspects of 3 that seem alive in me are very life giving.

  9. Oh, I guess I should say my spiritual path is resting on a three legged stool which includes centering prayer, feldenkrais (or awareness through movement), and enneagram work. The feldenkrais is a way of paying attention in the body and to the body. It complements the experiences I have in centering prayer and enneagram.

      • The body scan I do before centering prayer isn’t like feldenkrais, and tai chi is more of an active movement. My feldenkrais lessons are mostly on the floor. A very basic direction might be to bring my knees to standing. Well, as we learn to pay attention, we become aware that there are lots of moving parts in the body to get those feet to standing. Try it. Anyway, it’s a way of being in the body, which I find useful as a Nine. It’s not for everybody as there is no need to achieve anything.

  10. I happen to be reading chapter 6 in The Wisdom of the Enneagram, which talks about integration and disintegration. If I recall, Richard was telling us in the first webinar to stay away from that language. So, I am just trying to get clear about the issues associated with integration and disintegration and how we’re addressing the ‘vertical’ aspect of growth/the enneagram.

    • Gwen, does this last comment I made, really a question about our first webinar, need to be posted in a different forum?

      • Yes, I have passed these questions along to him, but, in general, the “questions” forum page will be a more direct path. I know he did see your question, and I hope to have an answer tomorrow. It may be something he wants to address in greater depth in the next webinar. I appreciate your questions and comments very much! Thank you for your terrific insights.

  11. Wow, Richard, way to blow our socks off once again! And, you do it with such kindness. I am grateful to you for sharing your knowledge, your wisdom, and your heart.

    As I continue to engage with this enneagram work, I am becoming aware that there are no coincidences. While doing my soul collage, I had ripped out a photo of a naked child (maybe two years old) enjoying the projection of her/his shadow on a wall. I loved this image of playing with the shadow, which virtually all children enjoy discovering, and its juxtaposition with what we adults know of the Shadow (Jung, Bly, etc). And I came to the conclusion that I would benefit from approaching my shadow from the playful, innocent perspective of my Soul Child. I might add today that there is no difference between that Child, myself, and the shadow. So, may as well have a party knowing there will be suffering in the process.

    Retrospectively, it looks like my unconscious was anticipating this session. Mind you, this may have been prodded by a square made by my friend Patricia on a retirement quilt. Her square had a little diagram of an adult and a small child. She wrote “aunqu eres un hombre, aún tienes el alma de un niño.” She noticed long before I could truly see it myself that, although I’m a man, even so I have the soul of a child. Just recently noticed this with new eyes. How richly I have been blessed with these realizations, with this webinar, and with this sea of down-time!