A friend inquired today why I am so interested in these personality frameworks like the Enneagram. I recalled something author Mark Epstein said in On Meditation, a documentary on… well, you know. He said,
“Get who you think you are out of the way, so that who you really are can arise.”
I think that sometimes meditation is thought of as a way to take a break from our false identities. And, that’s true. In silence, we can tap into the truest essence of ourselves. The more we do this, the more that we can ostensibly navigate from that place more and more. Unfortunately, sometimes meditation can be used as an escape haven, a place to ignore the areas in our lives that are, in fact, crying for attention. As Carl Jung said,
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
In viewing myself from different paradigms, I can get a closer look at those dark – as in unseen – parts of myself. Why does my temper flare so often? How can I soften? Why haven’t I yet figured out how to speak my needs without demanding something from another? The more I ask these questions and read about the tendencies of “my type,” the more I can learn something about myself.
This is what I meant in an earlier post (What’s this ego thing about?) by trying to expand the ego. The more I push my egoic tendencies away and pretend they don’t exist, the more they will unconsciously continue to erupt – most often in relationship. Buttons get pushed, defenses engage, power struggles ensue. I assume this person thinks this thing about me, I have my own story about them. Yes, we need to discover what’s behind those made-up narratives, but we need to know how to identify them first. That’s why, for me, I’m getting a lot out of knowing the tendencies of 8s or ENFPs or Cancers, because it helps make conscious what wasn’t before.