Enneagram Type 6: Fear and Courage
Discussion with Grahame Morgan-Watson, Judith Priest and Lynne Citroen-Barratt
Moderated by Iain McNay
Iain: Hello, welcome again to Conscious TV. I am Iain McNay. Today is a second program in the series about the enneagram. There are four of us gathered together and we have Grahame Morgan-Watson, Judith Priest and Lynn Citroen-Barratt, and, of course, I am Iain McNay. We are going to talk about a specific type in the enneagram, type 6. So, before we start that though, Grahame is going to tell us just briefly what the enneagram is.
Grahame: OK, the enneagram, as a symbol, is about showing us the nine points; the word is ennea; nine, gram; points. The enneagram of personality types, which is what we are discussing today, is a way of utilising that symbol, that kind of map and putting certain behavioural structures, motivational structures about human nature, and I guess most of us will have seen how different people act in different ways and in some ways we see people act similarly to someone else, and we think, “Gosh, that’s just like so and so; that’s just like my friend; that’s like my mother.” So, the enneagram of personality types has been constructed as a way of mapping these clusters of behavior, clusters of traits. There’s many kinds of psychometric tests out there that test things like traits, like value, proactive or reactive, or if you are kind of introvert-extrovert; and no personality structure is that one thing, but a cluster of that and many, many, many others. It is still only a map; it is still only a way of helping us to see the kind of habitual patterns that we get ourselves into, the sort of psychological movement, emotional patterns…
The purpose of that of course is to help us see some of the things that get us into stuck places, things that get in the way of us really showing up and becoming something a little bit of a truer nature, something of our real essence, our soul if you like. So it can also be seen as the way in which the ego structure - an aspect of our personality that has formed through growing up, through the kind of formative years - has taken on a certain way of seeing life, a way of taking certain aspects, interpreting if you like what we see, and thinking, “Oh that must be that, because it links in with how I have seen my world and taken myself to be.” The whole point of doing that, of course, is to uncover, get rid of all that - not totally, it would never go completely - but to see through that and see something of our True Nature, of what is really, really us here, as the soul.
Iain: Without all the conditioning on top.
Grahame: Without all the conditioning, without the fears and the things that get in the way, the activity, the things we think we have to do, must do, should do, all that stuff. All of that structure and so the enneagram provides us with these nine basic kinds of domains - nine types if you like - which actually are within us all. We really will see all the nine aspects of the enneagram of personality types within us. We will see the type 3 within us, type 4…
Iain: So there are nine different types, yet we are primarily one type, but we all have parts of the other types in us.
Grahame: Yeah. The more we become identified with the ego structure, [the more] it takes on a certain dominance, if you like, because it means that we only stay in that. As we are going to get loose from that, all those other aspects of all the other types - the higher qualities if you like - become more accessible to us and we will experience the slightly less unpleasant [traits] of the other kind of types as well, which is why you have that symbol with the nines. I am not going to talk about that necessarily, but there is ways in which we connect through to some of the other types specifically: under stress or in certain other conditions. But yes, we have the nine types, but there is one of them, which if we look closely enough, will have a bit more of a charge to it. So we are going to be discussing, today, one type…
Iain: I must be honest with you, when I first discovered I was a type six it was a bit more than a bit of a charge. I was reading something and I thought: this person who wrote this really knows me. It was like it really hit home. But before we get on to that, Judith, why don’t you tell us what are the clues to find out if we are a type 6.
Judith: OK, so in the development of the young 6, very young usually, has been some experience of a lack of holding, of a lack of support. And that has impacted that child at a very deep level so that, with this feeling of “The world is not supporting me in some way,” they begin to feel very fearful.
Iain: So, when you say, lack of support, what would be a practical example of that?
Judith: A practical example of that may be that physically, their life was actually a challenge to them; they may have been physically very ill. It may be that the parents were rather inconsistent, in their parenting. It might be that, in some way, they began to interpret repeated behaviors, or experiences in their life as, “Okay, the world is now becoming, feeling to me, like a dangerous and uncertain place.” And so, as that child begins to experience the world as an uncertain and dangerous place, they begin to see and perceive that their whole worldview becomes, “The world as a dangerous and risky place in which I need to be anxious and frightened.” And I begin to be wary and cautious and plan ahead and look for how I can, if you like, insure myself before whatever it is I am frightened of is going to get me. A very nice little story that Tom Condon, who is a teacher of the enneagram, gives is that 6’s are very like zebras, and zebras out in the plains of the Serengeti, you know, are in danger, in actual danger of being eaten by a lion… and they approach actually very close. They, intentionally, get quite close to the lions, so the lions are within their sight. And they do that because if they run away too far from the lions, then they don’t know where they are; “[the lions] might creep up behind me and take a chunk out of my buttock!” If they are too close to them; “Well, now we are really in danger of being eaten,” so they keep [the lions] within their sight. And that is very descriptive of this whole 6’s way of being, [which] is: let me just be close enough to what it is out there that is frightening me, so that I am always prepared, I can always be prepared for what I might need to do. I am ahead of the game.
Iain: OK, so that’s a good clue; someone who is always prepared, always ahead of the game…They are a bit nervous, from what you’re saying?
Judith: Certainly there are a variety of styles within 6’s. Type 6 is one of the problematic types in some ways, to get a grip on, because they have a wide range of manifestation of their behavior. Some 6’s are more phobic, they are more frightened, they withdraw, they feel frightened, they know they are frightened, they are very doubtful and uncertain and they move away from things. Other 6’s are kind of going against that fear, they want to, in some way deny it in themselves and meet it head on, so they can become quite risk-taking, quite rebellious, to try and prove to themselves, [it’s] a kind of a muscling up against this deep inner fear and anxiety that’s inside.
Iain: OK. So one of the books I really like, which is a very basic book, is The Enneagram Made Easy. I actually listed a few points last night just so viewers can get as wide a feel as possible on type 6. Plagued by doubt, this is something that I know from myself, sometimes. Always alert to danger, which you recognized there. Take things too seriously. Very hard workers. Loyal and supportive. Good sense of humor - they take things too seriously but they also have a good sense of humor. Support people through thick and thin. They either procrastinate or plunge in headlong, which is what again you’ve alluded to there. Exhaust themselves by worrying, they overreact when stressed, and I think all of those also as a type 6 I can identify with. I am not necessarily always overwhelmed by these things, maybe I was certainly in the past by some of them, but they are all things I can recognize in me at times. Anyway, Lynne, you are also a type 6. I just wonder, when you first found you were a type 6, how was that for you? Was it a relief or did you feel insulted, or…
Lynne: Well, I am like you, Iain. I doubted it, because doubt is what I do. (laughs) I wouldn’t believe that I was. It doesn’t look like any fun to me.
Iain: So did you go to a seminar to start with?
Lynne: I went to a seminar and I sat as they went round and they explained what all the different points were. And by the end of the day everybody knew what they were, except for me.
Iain: So you were sitting there on your own procrastinating and doubting…
Lynne: Yes, procrastinating, fearful, “I don’t fit into any of them.” And then the group leader, who is Eli Jaxon-Bear, said to me, “You are a 6.” I didn’t believe it.
Iain: Right, but you were actually displaying 6 traits.
Lynne: Absolutely, absolutely.
Iain: Has it helped you to understand? You are a 6; has it helped you to know more about yourself, understand yourself better?
Lynne: Yes, yes. When you invited me to come here, I thought, “Great.” So, as you just described, no fear, just meet it on. “Yes, I have never done anything like that, I am coming.” Then last night it’s, “Who will be there, what will they be like, what will I wear, where will I sit, will I sit next to Iain, will I sit on the other sofa, which side of the camera?” You know, on and on, just whizzing, whizzing. And then I caught it, and then I laugh, and then I relax. Otherwise, I might still be spinning.
Iain: So you realized that the 6 in you was something that at another level you had some control over. So, you could watch it.
Lynne: Yes. I don’t have to do that anymore. It has been really helpful.
Iain: Right. Let’s go back to you, Grahame. I’ll ask you similar questions. So when you first found out you were essentially a type 6, how did that alter the way you saw life?
Grahame: Oh, specifically I think it was… I came to the decision of 6 through a process that was initially around looking at the centers; where do you spend most of your time, what are you kind of mostly preoccupied with? And for me - we had had some teaching about the aspects of the different types - I thought, I am just thinking about this and I am thinking, “Where do I spend my time, where do I spend my time, oh my gosh, where do I spend my time?” And ding! Light goes on, “I’m up here, spending my time in my head.” So, I knew I was somewhere in the head side and I wasn’t sure between type 5 and 6. Some of the aspects that came out when I then sort of decided, “Yeah, this I can recognize” I don’t think necessarily changed my life in a great way at that point, because there was other training I was undergoing. But it became a constant thread. It was really on the full retreat training, on the teacher training, that I began to see, more and more, how this structure gets in the way. So, what it did is, it started the process of awakening actually - which is for all people, for all human condition - that awakening moment. And one of the things that I think I’ve realized most of the 6’s is that they, like with two other types in the triangle, tend to be more revolutionary. Doesn’t mean to say that we’ve got it, and we’ve got it all sorted out, but to get the structure and understand it and start to see it. But of course it is still very much a head thing, so the analytical side, what became more important, was to catch myself in the act of seeing that. To seeing how I am thinking about the thinking about the thinking about the thinking, and the over-thinking structure. So, it is catching myself in the act of that. Over the years it’s made a huge difference to me.
Iain: And you, Judith, how has it helped you?
Judith: Well, those who’ve accompanied me on my journey with the enneagram would be laughing heartily now because my journey to finding out I was a 6 was a very long and tortuous one. In the end they named me a ten, as a joke; it wasn’t that funny. Because I am a 6 and because 6’s have great imagination, when I came to the enneagram I really could imagine myself in very many places, and I could find all of those in me. There were certain types I just knew I wasn’t, but I was left with quite a few that I thought I was and there is similarity of behavior. In the end I kind of got back down to 9 and 6. And I worked for a very long time on myself as a 9 and it was really, really valuable work. I spent a long time trying to work out where I was on the line between 9 and 6 - in that dynamic - which was my home ground. I began to see of course that my whole process in terms of that journey and that questioning and that self-doubt and every time I thought I’d landed with one, I’d then pick it to pieces, was 6 at work! I never felt secure and a sense of rightness of where I’d landed. And all that work with the enneagram really began to help me stand outside myself, to observe my process, to observe my type at work, and then begin to really, in very subtle, first of all gross level if you like, and then in subtle ways of how that was at work within me, and be able to then get a flavor of, “OK look, this is happening again, this is something you need to relax, this is where you are at it again, this is where you keep banging your nose against the same wall. So how about not doing that; because it hurts.”
Iain: OK, I know for me, when I first found out I was a 6, it was actually an incredible relief. Because I thought, “Well, there are nine different types. A ninth of the population might essentially think a similar way to me a lot of the time.” I thought, “That’s really good to know.” I know when I was a child I would be puzzled that I would feel so strongly about something, whether it’s positive or negative, and other people seemed to be so indifferent to a situation or a feeling or an event. And so, when I had that information that I was classifiable if you like, purely classifiable, it was just this relief and I started to understand myself a lot better. I started to have ironically more compassion for myself, because I thought, “Well yes, that’s why I feel that, or react in that situation. Because that is my essential personality type and there are reasons for that.” The other side of it, equally important for me, was I became very interested in the enneagram and I got lots of other books - some of them are here - and I started to look at other types. Especially in my place of work, my world of business, I played the game of if I found I didn’t get on with someone, if I found them difficult, I’d look through one of the books and see if I could spot their type. I may not have got their type right, but it was really helpful because I’d find the main characteristics that I saw in the person and then I could work out how a 6 would not react, but relate to that. And that was a big doorway that opened, so practically it’s been a big impact on my life and I still play the game. My wife Renate and I often play the game when we’ve met someone, “I wonder what number they are, what type they are?” We may not get it right; it doesn’t matter because we’re exploring that person more, how we feel, how we understand them. And not just as a separate person, but our relationship with that person.
Lynne: I think for a type 6 particularly, it helps us make sense of the world and other people and gives us a little control back, if we feel we can understand ourselves better and can understand other people better; we are less intimidated, less fearful. We can manage better and, well, that’s my experience.
Grahame: The interesting thing is, the biggest impact on me of learning about the enneagram itself is more about that understanding others. Understanding certain situations others have been through, seeing through certain kinds of movements, understanding my own children. My own experience of this 6 quality, if you like, is a desire to understand, to know. That looking out for guidance, that looking for the answer, getting the books, the self-help books… maybe this book has got the answer. That’s kind of the movement of 6ness, which of course is part of the thing that gets us into trouble, is always looking outside of myself. The biggest other part of the whole journey for me in using the enneagram, working with the enneagram, has been putting myself back in touch with my own instinctual sense of my own being, the physical part. My wife and I completed a four-year training in Feldenkrais movement. I did it not to necessarily go out there teaching or using Feldenkrais, but it was actually because I realized the disconnection from myself with the physical being, which is one of the things, the qualities of six, is kind of walking around just up here [pointing at his head]. And one of the sayings that you hear people say is, “Wears his heart on his sleeve.” Now I probably in my own mind thought that I was pretty well controlled, that I was holding my emotion. Absolute rubbish! Everyone could see the coloration, physiological changes and that I was either worried or nervous. That comes out in a certain ways, hand movements, whatever. So, getting in touch with that is one of the biggest shifts for me. And certainly one of the recommendations I would say for anyone in the type 6 who sees this, is how do we come back into this physical being? Just to be here, to be present, to become here, instead of thinking about what’s going to happen next.
Iain: Yeah, so how is this feeling to come back into your body, for type 6? [nods to Lynne]
Lynne: When I read about the type 6 being very mental I go, “Yes, that’s where I live!” Not being very emotional, that’s not true, I am very emotional. But I don’t live in my body. It’s a tremendous effort for me to get into my body, to do yoga, and to breathe... just breathing. It’s really hard work for me, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve started to exercise, because we have to as we get older.
Grahame: What I find even now, I mean, I enjoy doing the Feldenkrais awareness through movement lessons, but I notice there is always a part… there is a real reluctance to really do it. There is a part of me saying, “Well, I don’t want to bother with that, I just go read a book or something.” Or even go for a walk, which is good physically. But to actually bring the attention into the physical being, into the movement, the functioning… that is the work. One of the qualities of the work is really to be there. So it is interesting to hear you say that, [nods to Lynne] because it’s something I often, even now notice, after five years.
Iain: How do you find this fear and courage? Because it is the fear on one side, and the potential of the 6 is to have courage. How do you find that has practically impacted your life?
Judith: Well, I remember doing the first inquiry or an exercise around courage, and actually my whole body having a reaction to that, because there was an inner knowing that all my life I had been fundamentally courageous and frightened at the same time; and that those had been in tension inside me. One of the things that a 6 has tension around is authority. They place it outside themselves and they give away their own authority, they give away their own power, they give away their own strength and they place it out there. And I began to see, well, in fact I didn’t begin to see, I just knew that that’s what I’d done and that’s what I was doing, and that really to be walking a path of courage was to begin to take all of that back, and actually own who I was, all the time. The part that I was disowning, because there is an aspect of being a type 6 where you disown your own power. It feels a bit like, “Okay, I might be too powerful, I might be too forceful, I might be too much in here. So, I’ll push it out there, where I can kind of give it to somebody else”. And then I am in tension with that. And so the whole journey of courage is the courage to be. It’s that courage to actually really fully be who I already was and to find that.
Iain: And did you find that difficult?
Judith: Oh yes, tremendously. I’d had enormously challenging experiences in my life, which had seriously, profoundly challenged my courage. And those were transforming experiences. I went to, if you like, to the bottom, really at the bottom of what lies at 6, and that’s because life brought that to me. And it was only right at the bottom, that I found the courage was actually there.
Iain: So it was there, but you had to get like almost to the bottom…
Judith: I had to get to the bottom to find, that what actually was at the bottom was me. It wasn’t somebody outside, it wasn’t my husband, it wasn’t my family, it wasn’t even God - I’d decided that God had deserted me. And so in that depth, I found that actually there was me. And that’s where I located, if you like, that “me” had enough.
Iain: So it was there, but it was hidden.
Judith: It had been hidden, or I had hidden it.
Iain: What about you, Grahame, how are you with this? [with fear and courage]
Grahame: One of the ways that I recognized when I first heard it talked about, was an underlying sense that I might be told off. That somehow or other, I have to be careful because I may have done something that someone could reprimand me for. It is slightly different from just being good or evil, it’s like, “Am I responsible for something?” That would be the kind of fear part. The courage that I experience more and more now is this trusting in myself, trusting in my own being, which comes from the presence of just being in this moment. In other words, instead of thinking of that future part, instead of thinking, “Have I checked everything, I’ve got the SatNav coming up here today, have I thought about what I’m going to say, which would be a very typical sort of 6… [behaviour]
Iain: Do you trust your SatNav? This is the question. (laughter). I don’t trust mine either! I have to double check it… (group laughs)
Grahame: I think, the thing is, it is becoming more aligned to this moment. That actually when I am just here, and that’s being in the physical and sensing into my physical reality of now and realizing actually, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen from one moment to the next; for the next second I really don’t know what’s going to happen. And actually seeing that that is the thing to trust and that actually, I can never know what’s going to happen. If I get out of my way, things pretty well turn out quite well - and that’s the courage part, because that can be very frightening. If I don’t have a plan, if I don’t have a strategy, if I really don’t know what I’m going to walk into, that’s the stepping off into the unknown, which is the courage that for the dominant 6 feels very much at the core, the root of the basic fear.
Iain: And you? [nods to Lynne] Do you have a story for us on fear and courage? Or a feeling?
Lynne: All I can think is it’s becoming more confusing to me. Because as I get older there are new fears that come with getting older, and there is more courage that comes with getting older.
Iain: The body doesn’t do what it used to do, does it?
Lynne: And it doesn’t want to be uncomfortable, or to be pushed too much. The nervous system doesn’t want to be pushed too much; I’ve done that, I don’t need to go there. It’s becoming a more wavy line. It moves differently.
Iain: It’s just reminding me…we were discussing earlier some examples of famous number 6’s, to maybe give people a context. And some I had written down beforehand from books. There are two recommendations from you guys, we’ve got Robert Kennedy; Bruce Springsteen, you know, Born to Run, but I guess he’s running in the right direction. Mel Gibson, which is maybe fairly obvious. Richard Nixon, that was a surprise to me; Diane Keaton. And then one of you said Woody Allen; that almost typifies the neurosis, let’s say, of a number 6 and Tom Hanks. They are some of the famous people that probably people have heard of.
Grahame: I think Woody Allen films, particularly, bring out the humor side of the 6. A lot of comedians make fun of it and often people in relationships say, “I’m married to a 6, or I have a 6 brother, how do you deal with them?” Humor is a great way of defusing a situation.
Lynne: Woody Allen, I also read recently that he likes to work within a small budget on his films; they’re always low budget. That’s because people will always give him a little bit of money to make films and he can keep on making films then. And also he feels safer as he’s got a limit to work within. Very 6.
Grahame: I think Tom Hanks, in terms of other examples behaviorally, the character in Saving Private Ryan that he plays. There is something for 6’s around home which has a sort of sensitivity, a charge. There’s almost a yearning to be home, whatever that is. It can take the form of our actual home, so home can be a very precious, very sacred place. And in the film there’s that thing about, “Actually what I want to do is go home”. That was really what he was going to do, was go home, but of course then there’s that other part which comes, which is the duty. So the 6 quality also has a sense of duty, “Well OK, I am responsible, but really, I’d rather just have gone home, but you know, I will do this”. Of course ultimately, what’s our real home? (chuckles)
Iain: Maybe we can now step up a gear in terms of the overview, which is also very much part of the enneagram, in seeing our potential to move beyond the neurotic side and the conditioning ego side, to as we say our potential, more in alignment with who we truly are. So do you want to talk a little bit about how you are seeing your own process in moving towards that alignment?
Judith: Yes, I certainly began to truly acknowledge for myself the gifts that I had. 6’s have real difficulty in acknowledging their gifts. They have difficulty with success; if you are successful, you’re going to be out there and visible. So, it makes sense within the 6 style to have difficulty with success and part of that is a difficulty with actually recognizing what your true gifts are. I began to recognize and it was brought home to me in life that my intuition was a real gift to me, and that I hadn’t followed it. I had followed other people’s advice instead. That I’d had very strong intuitions and then other people had said something and I took myself off my own path. So, to really and truly get in touch, that’s one of the gifts of the mind. I fell in love with my mind. I fell in love with the aspect of my higher mind, which was informing me, but which - because I kept doubting it - I wasn’t listening to. And when I began to fall in love with my mind truly, instead of just playing about in it, then I began to access a greater self-wisdom.
Iain: What form did that self-wisdom take?
Judith: It might be in very small ways, so I’d have kind of precognitions about things. I did psychic development for quite a while and I began to take notice of them. And then I’d think, “Oh, actually yes, I have had some presentiment about that.” I began to listen to my intuitions about other people without hanging on to them too much, without dissecting them and analyzing them. I began to listen to the clues and the intuitions that came to me, say in relation to somebody else, and I came to realize that in fact there was a “me” that was talking to me all the time. That if I settle down inside myself and listen to, had some really good, wise words to tell me. But I needed to practice and continue to need to practice (laughs), that settling, that settling of anxiety, or overthinking, or overanalyzing, to allow that to come through.
Iain: Yeah, so it comes down to really - we were saying near the beginning - understanding yourself more. When you understood yourself more, things could settle down.
Judith: It’s a bit like we’ve made a cake of ourselves and we’ve over-egged it or we’ve put in a bit too much of this or a bit too much of that. And to begin to get a feel for which ingredients have I just added a bit too much to. You know,”I’m a bit too salty now? I’m a bit too acidy now? Or oh boy, that was sweet!” You know, to get the flavor of yourself and really get a lived experience of, how is that working now? You know, right in this minute, how is that at work? And to catch oneself. Self-awareness is everything.
Iain: OK. And you, Grahame, how is it for you to go on this journey of your potential?
Grahame: Picking up from what Judith was referring to about success, one of the characteristics of 6’s is to have this amnesia of success. Forgetting the things that actually went right in my life and only concentrating on and fixating on those things that have maybe gone wrong. Like the criticisms in feedback forms that come from some of the workshops [I do]. Out of eight people, seven people give a lovely glowing report, they loved it, and then one person makes one little comment, which may not even be a criticism, but just something they didn’t particularly find sat with them. And that’s the bit that will sort of niggle and stay with me, and I overthink and think about and chew it over and obsess about it. That certainly happens a little bit and I catch myself in the act, but the potential part is the awakeness of that clarity, of just being able to let go of that, and stay in this present moment. I mentioned earlier about the physical connection and this trust in myself. Some of the things I’ve started to do - which I have always enjoyed of others - like art, writing, I’m believing in myself, that these things have a place. They mightn’t have been magnificent, but they are worthy of putting out, worthy of showing, without feeling any criticism or judgment from them. That’s the potential: to not have that sense of I always have to justify what I’ve done, what I’m doing. Just be who is here, be myself, be whatever this sort of spirit, this soul that is manifesting in the world, and allow that to blossom.
Iain: OK. Lynne, I want to ask you the same question.
Lynne: Well, a little bit different perspective for me because when I first understood the number 6 -sorry, the point six - I saw it as a template, a blueprint. I looked around the room and I saw other people who are also 6’s and how it fitted on them. And as I was driving home that night, I saw how it fitted for me, and it was who I used to think I was. I used to think that template was Lynne. When I saw that other people had exactly the same template, I was then able to ask, “If everybody has that, who is a 6, then that’s not Lynne. And who is Lynne? Who am I really?” It was a moment of profound awakening for me because I saw that I was not the six. Then who was I really? And it took me to the essence.
Iain: And what did it feel like to go to the essence?
Lynne: Tremendous freedom.
Iain: Tremendous freedom? Wow.
Lynne: Freedom, liberation, peace, joy, excitement, bliss, happiness, relief.
Iain: Sounds wonderful.
Lynne: Yeah, it was great. (laughs)
Iain: And are you able to still have that reference point in your day-to-day life?
Lynne: Absolutely, it is always with me.
Iain: It is always with you.
Lynne: Always with me. So, I am very grateful. It’s been a tremendous tool for me.
Grahame: That quality of realization, of awakeness, is something that 6’s, when they get it, they really get it. And it’s discriminating between the quality of alertness. The alertness can be more fear-based, which would be - I don’t know how many people here have - if you walked along an alleyway and you hear steps, there’s that kind of “I’ve got to keep an eye out, I’ve got to keep an eye out”. That’s a kind of an alertness that’s more fear-based. But in awakeness, just to be awake, “I am here”, I notice without having any judgments around it, without having any fear around it. That quality is available to all people, to all human beings, as a high quality of the type 6… of us all. Just like every other type has a high quality; they’re all available to us. For 6’s, when we get that, it’s a real, “I am here, I am the awakeness.”
Iain: It seems that there are almost two levels of value here. There is the value of recognition of the patterns, the neurotic patterns, the programming, and seeing how that doesn’t always serve us for the best and seeing that we can approach things in a different way because our understanding is deepened. And there’s also what you touched on quite beautifully, quite dramatically, is something really quantum can happen, when you see the template there, see that it is just a template, and that something else is the real you. That’s big stuff isn’t it?
Lynne: Big stuff.
Iain: Yeah, and you kind of get beyond the mind. You get beyond, “Well, I can be a bit less fearful because I understand the dynamics” to “There is something else there.”
Judith: And the personality then becomes the vehicle of who you are. So instead of being I am a personality and the real me exists somewhere else, there is the core self, there is who I am, and I have a personality and my personality can then become much more open and porous, if you like. The soul can shine through my personality. And so my experience was, that those aspects of 6 which were constraining, limiting, tight - the space inside it, got a bit too tight - became aspects of my personality which became a gift. For example, questioning. Questioning: there is a real gift in doubt. Doubt and questioning allow you to explore. There is a great curiosity, a childlike curiosity. If you think of a tree and you’re investigating this tree, a 6 is quite happy to go right to the end of a twig. They’ll follow that thought right to the tip of that twig, wherever it’s going, whether it’s going in a positive or negative direction, because they want to kind of know. There’s this intense curiosity. And then when they get to the end of that twig, they think, “OK, found that one out, I’ll do another one.” So, there’s a great freeing up of the joy of questioning. There’s a joy in searching, there’s a joy of being curious. So, it stops being a questioning because I need to feel secure and safe, and starts being, “Ooh, let’s find out what’s here.”
Iain: So, in a way there is a value in what we could call the negative traits, but it is maximizing that value somehow.
Judith: It’s transforming it.
Iain: Transforming the value.
Grahame: Yeah, I think that it’s always important for people watching this program, or they’re listening to this, I would always offer to anybody that comes prepared to listen to me gabble on about the enneagram: don’t take my word for it. Don’t take my word for anything. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend anyone believe anything until we can actually prove it for ourselves, to actually experience it now! For a six that comes as a natural, “Oh, right, OK, I can doubt this stuff.” But there’s a difference between doubting it and then going and looking on the books to support my doubt, “What do you think about this? What do you think about this? What do you think about this?” And that’s one of the characteristics of 6’s, to go around and ask everyone what’s the right thing to do, to store that and then to go back and kind of use them as references. Of course, no one is going to agree with each other, which leads to that kind of confusion. There’s a difference between that and saying, “OK, that’s an interesting point, let me see if I can prove it like a good scientist, a good sort of Sherlock Holmes would do. Let’s test it out, observe it in myself.” Then when I find something which is a truth for me, that’s then where the courage comes, to trust that. Because the next step would be for the 6 personality to come back in and say, “Well hang on, I’ve had that experience, I’ve had that, I’ll just check that out with my Guru, or with someone else, to see if that is actually verifiable.” That shift is the single little shift to catch, away from myself, from trusting my own experience. And it is only my experience; it doesn’t have to be everyone else’s experience. That’s the other part, not to become kind of, “Oh, this is the way and this is the only way.” When 6’s kind of get that, they can be an incredible inspiration to people and say, “Well, actually, what’s your truth?”
Iain: Yeah, it’s interesting, because I know one of the ways that type 6 is classified is The Questioner. I know that in The Enneagram Made Simple book, it is “The Questioner” title that they give it. I’ve always been a questioner. I know in business, one thing I always do, and I’ve done well in business, is that when we have a new project my type 6 always goes to, “Well, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” Now, not because that is the only scenario, but because that is actually quite a good starting point when you look at a whole new project. If the worst thing happens, is it going to bring the company down? No? If it’s not, we can go up a stage. And so you are looking at something from a very grounded point of view, i.e. you have looked to the downside. And many people in business in the world, they go racing ahead. They haven’t really checked out the possible potential downside and they get in a mess. And so there are certain things about the 6 for me, there is something very sensible and intelligent sometimes about it, and it’s the excess which can bring us down if we haven’t got that understanding and awareness.
Judith: All our type structures seem intelligent to us. They centered around a way, and we compensated for that which we had lost touch. And so they were sensible, they were intelligent ways. You know, if you feel that you’re unsupported and you can’t trust the world, then why not be frightened? It’s very logical and yet the problem was that, that became an over-compensation and it becomes the reality. And so we begin to get so constricted into that particular view, and it becomes an overdoing. And of course, then we’re out of touch with the other possibility, that actually the world and the universe and people and our environment and us will always be there to support us. They are of themselves supporting. And so it becomes very binary, or I’ll choose this reality and that means I am not choosing that one.
Lynne: People listening to this, hear us talking a lot about fear and doubt, and anxiety and courage. One of the things I learnt through identifying all that in myself was the antidote for all of that, which is faith, for me. I mean, some people call it trust; I like to call it faith, more recently. And that brings me tremendous peace and has helped me calm myself and…
Iain: So, what does faith actually mean for you, Lynne?
Lynne: Very good question. Very interesting question, which is what a 6 would say. Umm, what does faith mean for me? Well, that there is something much bigger than myself, much greater. And that my little pinprick of fear and anxiety is only that.
Iain: So, it shows you a bigger perspective somehow.
Lynne: There is a bigger picture and the bigger picture is good.
Grahame: I think that’s actually a very nice description of another aspect most 6’s will recognize, that there is - and actually feel a great grace - joy in being part of something bigger than ourselves. I think that the ego version is the kind of allegiance, or rebellion against the authoritative aspect, the kind of structure that’s sort of thinking, “I have to be; who can I trust?” Whereas that whole idea of actually, we are all one, we are part of that, and that’s the honor. It certainly speaks to me. The other thing that I just wanted to pick up from what you were saying, that even the worst thing that can happen - and I know that it’s not just 6’s that do that - for me that’s a kind of a 6 mental strategy that becomes one of the personality strategies that is always used. Now, I think for anybody watching this, maybe doing coaching, life coaching, this is the value of understanding the enneagram and the different types, because when we have a sense of what’s the normal default strategy of the personality structure, we know the one not to use. (laughs) As you’ll see throughout the series, different people, different types are going to have different strategies. We have seen it with the type 3 earlier, having an outcome, always having a goal. That can be very useful for a 6 actually; it can be part of the antidote, because the 6 is always in that away from: I don’t want this, I don’t want that. It’s like being sent to the supermarket with a list of all the foods you don’t want to eat. And so, what do you come back with? You don’t know; that’s part of the problem. So, to actually move to having a goal is useful. Now equally, that strategy you mentioned of, “Think of the worst thing that can happen, and where are we?” There’s a whole series that Dale Carnegie did in how to stop worrying and start living, many years ago, and it’s very valuable. But if you actually gave that to a 6, what is happening is you are giving that structure the very thing which takes us more and more deeper into the personality. So, it’s kind of the one strategy that I wouldn’t recommend someone use as a coaching strategy, for a 6, because that’s already happening, that’s the default mechanism. And if we can get clear on that, any sort of assistance we are giving to friends, advice… if we have a sense of that, that would be one to say, “OK, we know you are doing that already, and you probably do that really well, all the time. (laughs) So let’s look at something else.”
Iain: Yeah, the example I was trying to give… for me anyway, it was the way of actually ending up doing something that was new and creative, and maybe had a risk element, by looking at the possible downside. But the thing I’d like to ask about, in the last five minutes or so, is to really look at, you [Judith] introduced the type 6 and you were talking about this lack of holding when we were very young. And of course that brings up what you mentioned, trust, basic trust. And that is very much, I think, part of the progression of the 6 towards its potential: this basic trust, isn’t it? And then I just wonder how that has manifested in your life.
Judith: OK. Lynn put faith beautifully, actually. And what I would say about faith, first of all, is to distinguish it from belief. And belief is, somebody teaching you something or somebody saying, “This is how it is” and you say, “Yes, OK, I believe it.” Faith is a gnosis; faith is an experience inside, which you described. Faith is that, the experience of self, of something which is known. It is really grounded in something very solid, very real. It is an aspect of reality, faith. I was pondering faith actually yesterday, and I was reminded of when I was a little girl. I was a little girl who had a great deal of faith, actually. I remember going to church and the Vicar saying, “Believe in God,” and being completely baffled; it was like saying to me, “Believe in your mother.” Of course, she is standing next to me, why do I need to believe in her? I already had that; they were telling me something which I knew, because as a child I was close to it. On my journey I kind of left it behind in some sense. That is what faith brings back; it brings back to you that experience inside yourself of the greater reality of who you are. We are not just our personality. I am not my body, I am not my thoughts, I am not my emotions. I am more than all of those.
Iain: And you know that.
Judith: And you know it. It’s not that you believe it; you know it. You have a real experience of knowing that there is a constant. There is a constant, eternal self, essence, soul, whatever one’s frame of terminology might be that means, whatever it means to the people watching this. But there is something which remains, always. And that is both in me and greater than me, and it is that connection that you described so beautifully, that connection with that. And that experience for me really, was like I remembered. I remembered who I was. And day-to-day life is about continuing to remember that. Remember who you are. That’s right, you remember that. Be that.
Iain: So, you did somewhat already know, but you’d forgotten, so it was like rediscovering, remembering.
Judith: Yes, in enneagram terms, I fell asleep. I fell asleep to it.
Iain: Well good, we’ve almost got to the end of our little journey here, 50 minutes on the enneagram. I just wanted to plug some books that have been helpful for me and you might recommend some books as well. But this one, The Enneagram Made Easy, is very basic, but it’s a really good starting point if you know nothing about the enneagram. And then there is The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram, by Sandra Maitri, which really widens the picture, and I found that very, very interesting. And I think probably, this is quite advanced in its own way, but Facets of Unity by A.H. Almaas. Really towards the end of the program we were getting into the depth. This probably describes the depth very, very well. But of course at the end of the day, as what you so rightly said, it is down to what we truly experience. Otherwise it is just another idea, isn’t it? Is there any books, quickly, that you guys would recommend?
Judith: I would recommend two websites from my training, which is Helen Palmer and David Daniel’s, which is Enneagram Worldwide. And the other one is enneagram.com, which is Helen’s website. And Enneagram Worldwide is of the whole school that I was taught in and it has a wealth of information.
Iain: OK, wonderful. So, Judith, Grahame and Lynne, thank you very much for coming along and joining Conscious TV this afternoon and I really hope you found it useful. I certainly very much enjoyed. I was able to really participate in this as it’s my type, type 6. We’ll be covering the other seven types over the coming months. We’ve already done type three, the Achiever. If indeed you live in England and can get to London and you’d like to be in one of these programmes, and you do feel the enneagram has been valuable in your life, then get in touch with us and maybe we’ll meet you actually on the set here in this Conscious TV studio. Thank you for watching us and I hope we see you again soon. Goodbye.
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