Introspection: Knowledge Helps
|Once you know your
personality type then the challenge is to begin giving up the way you compulsively live it
out. The challenge is to change. You must work to acknowledge both positive and negative
aspects of your style. You must work to give up the compulsions and avoidances. You also
begin the work of broadening you personality by trying to raise yourself to the highest
level of your type while integrating the positive characteristics of your Enneagram
neighbors. Furthermore, you work to avoid the easy movement under stress towards
disintegration while making the effort of moving towards the high level traits of the
integration type. Once the integration process is begun then as you continue to follow the
arrows you are able to journey around the Enneagram towards wholeness. Eventually, you
arrive where you started. Now you are becoming free of the "trap" of personality
as you discover your essential nature. You can live with more freedom and flexibility. You
can access the energy of the different types because you now see through more than one
lens of personality. You have learned new dance steps of personality so you do the dance
proper to the music.
No magic is needed to bring this about. Knowledge of the Enneagram can change you. Knowledge can change you if you are willing to use it in the process of introspection. Introspection is the process of becoming self-aware. Introspection is actually risky. Thomas Mann says, "Introspection is the first step towards transformation after knowing himself, nobody can continue being the same." Do not attempt introspection unless you willing to risk being transformed out of the comfort zone of your type. Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline tells us that the " structures of which we are unaware hold us prisoner." Becoming aware of hidden structure of your personality sets you free but also gives you full responsibility for yourself.
With self-awareness you wake up to your compulsion and avoidance. With self observation you usually catch yourself having done the same thing, the compulsion, once again.
To see this in action you only have to listen to that voice that talks to you. It is the voice that begins a new each morning when you arise. It may actually wait until you look in the bathroom mirror before it speaks up. Whatever you hear that is the voice that is meant.
In the process of introspection that voice will speak and say, "Well damn, you just did it again." Whenever you hear this voice, you should congratulate yourself. You have made a lot of progress because always in the past you would have engaged in the compulsion or avoidance and never even have known that you did it. You would think that it was normal. Progress is when you are observant enough to catch what you have been doing. You catch yourself after the act.
Now, you just keep observing and soon the inner voice says, "Here you are doing it again." And, you go ahead and do it. Progress has been made because you now find yourself in the act but are not yet able to stop. More progress is seen when you hear the voice saying, "Well, you are about to do it again." Once more you continue with the behavior. You are, however, becoming more mindful. You are catching yourself in the act sooner and sooner. Eventually, with a lot of hard work, you will hear, "Look out. You are about to do it one more time." At this point you do not immediately proceed. You do not help, correct, control, or avoid the situation. Carefully evaluation results in a conscious choice. You are now getting out of the box of personality and consciously shaping your reaction to life events. You are moving into your gift and beginning to broaden your personality.
With proper motivation and observation we eventually realize that we are responsible for ourselves and that change is possible. It just takes awareness and a new decision.
To learn how introspection works read about The Hole in the Sidewalk.