How Different Enneagram Types Pay Attention

How Different Enneagram Types Pay Attention

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This is a discussion on How Different Enneagram Types Pay Attention within the Enneagram Personality Theory Forum forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; Taken from here: Enneagram: how types pay attention How Ones Pay Attention Perfectionism is supported by the habit of making ...

  1. #1

    How Different Enneagram Types Pay Attention

    Taken from here: Enneagram: how types pay attention

    How Ones Pay Attention

    Perfectionism is supported by the habit of making mental comparisons. It is a way of paying attention in which thoughts and actions are automatically judged against an ideal standard of how perfect the situation could be. The internal terrain of a One's decision-making process carries the image of a courtroom scene. An opinion is mentally brought into court, where it is then attacked, defended, and finally judged for correctness.

    I am sitting in meditation, and become immediately aware of the loudness of the critic in my head. A small space of deep quiet, and I hear, "Not deep enough" or "Was better last time you sat." Then the argument starts: "Sit up straighter." "You're not trying." "Yes I am." My mind gets caught between attack and defense, as if I have no say in the situation and can only listen to the voices in my head until one side or the other wins out. Each quiet space in the meditation is interrupted by mental comments, until, happily, I can disengage from my thoughts.

    Ones also suffer from the habit of comparing their own levels of achievement against each other. Was this meditation productive? Am I improving or am I slipping back? There is a painful need to check out progress in order to feel assured of a continuous march toward self-improvement, which can also produce the feeling of never measuring up to the mark.
    In meditation practice this way of paying attention is called judging mind. To some extent we all judge our progress against standards of excellence, but Ones live with an internal measuring rod that also extends to chronically comparing themselves to other people. It is like an internal seesaw in a children's park: one child goes up, the other goes down. She goes up because she makes more money, but she goes down because I have status. I'm up on this point, but I'm down on that point. His face is handsome, but my body's better. The making of mental comparisons by Ones is often an automatic and unrecognized factor in their perception of daily life events and is a major cause of suffering. Ones automatically notice what is right and what is wrong in any given situation, and because they are attached to a one-right-way point of view, another person's win makes the One feel like a loser.
    When Ones begin a self-observation practice, they realize, perhaps for the first time, how pervasive the mental habit of making comparisons can be. Because judging mind is clearly a source of suffering, Ones can become highly motivated to learn to meditate so that judging thoughts recede.
    Ones can begin to change the Perfectionist style of attention by noticing when the mental chalkboard goes up. Each time attention shifts into a detailed account of someone else's pluses and minuses, and the feeling that when that person is one up that the Perfectionist is one down, there is an opportunity for learning to shift attention to a neutral ground.

    How Twos Pay Attention

    Attention is by habit focused upon the emotional fluctuations of significant others, guided by the wish to become the object of their love. On the level of physical cues, this would mean some thing like watching to see who the partner pays attention to, or watching to see whether he or she smiles or frowns when a particular topic of conversation is brought up, and then trying to join with those interests in a pleasing way.
    On another level of perception, Twos say that they find themselves altering to become what others want without being aware of any facial or behavioral cues that have caused them to modify their presentation. They say that when their attention is attracted to someone that they find themselves adapting to what they imagine that person's innermost desires to be and that their habit of falling in with another's wishes means that they can become the prototype of what the other believes to be desirable.

    It starts out with hating to be rejected. What you do to not ever get rejected is learn how to be the same as someone else. You learn to look at a stranger, sense how the two of you are the same, and then slide into that feeling. It can happen on the street, where I find myself going out to someone and fitting into how we're the same.
    At the level of intimacy, it's far more intense. It feels like whatever you want, I also want. Whatever you desire, I feel that same desire. Whatever you wish for sexually can be acted out through me. When the chemistry is working, it's the most wonderful form of intimacy. But when I feel like I'm standing on the street corner, tilting into someone else's life just because I feel insecure that day, the whole idea of merging is a burden to me.

    Because attention is outwardly focused upon what others want, there is a systematic lack of attention to personal needs. From a psychological point of view, these repressed needs get satisfied through helping others live out a life in which the Two would like to share. A Two can be helped in therapy by learning to recognize personal needs and by learning to stabilize a consistent sense of self that does not alter in order to meet others' needs.
    From the point of view of attention practice, Twos can learn to intervene in their habit of sensing signs of approval from others by learning to shift attention away from others and refocus attention at a reference point within their own body. With practice, Twos can recognize the difference between staying present to their own feelings and allowing their focus of attention to go out to others.

    How Threes Pay Attention

    To an observer, a Three looks like a highly focused achiever; Threes report, however, that they are only trying to keep up. If someone else is good, the Three has to be better, because a Three's self-esteem is riding on a win. Activity is a form of control, and personal value and security depend on how much you can get done. A Three habitually does several things at once, a way of paying attention that is called polyphasic thinking.

    I'm in the car and slightly late. At the same time that I'm driving, I'm conversing with the back seat rider, scanning mirrors for cops, moving back and forth over the speed limit, eating a sandwich, and checking in and out of the radio. There's a sense of well-being with it all going on at once; like being on top of things.

    Polyphasic activity has its counterpart in an internal habit of attention that is largely focused on tasks. Attention rarely stays with the project at hand, but moves rapidly on to the next thing to do. There is practically no space between thoughts for reflection, for reconsideration of priorities, for paying attention to personal feelings about the job.

    You've got to be best, because otherwise you don't exist. The sense is that you're perpetually number 2, trying to be number 1. There are always three or four projects under way, and you're running through the physical motions of one, with your mind on the mechanics of the next. By the time I'm near the end of the first project, I'm so involved in the next that I hardly realize the first one is over. It's like the present doesn't exist, because I'm always ahead onto what to do next.

    As a way of understanding this stance of attention, you might imagine yourself established at permanent high speed, gravitating toward stress and competition as a preferred way of life. You are sensitive to anything in the environment that iwill contribute to your current goal, and you see people in terms of what they possess or what they can do to help the project materialize.
    As goals become more focused, your interest increases and so does the speed at which you want to work. Attention narrows to those cues in the environment that will support forward motion toward the goal, and people start to look like automatons who are either blocking forward motion or who have something that will serve the work. If they are automatons who are in the way, you either ignore them or walk around them. If they are automatons who can serve the project, you seek them out for what they can give.
    Obstacles only serve to increase your focus of attention. Focus increases under pressure because if you fail to achieve the goal, or somebody else gets there first, you will feel anxious about being an unlovable failure. Runners-up are unlovable. You either take first place or have no place at all.
    If obstacles continue, then you go inside yourself and brainstorm every similar situation that you can remember, ferreting out every relevant past solution that has any bearing on the current case. This narrowing of attention to all the bits and pieces of environmental cues, old memories, and past solutions that relate to a current goal is called convergent thinking. It is a state of mind that Threes are particularly suited to and that helps them find creative solutions when routine solutions have failed.

    I've turned several businesses around to where they've become extremely profitable. Some of my best saves have been when I've geared up for a deadline by pulling out every half-feasible idea from all the other projects I've been on. My saves have been through a bizarre combination of ideas that worked successfully in other contexts.

    Identification Exercise

    This is an exercise that can help you understand the shift of attention that Threes undergo when their attention merges with an image.
    Sit facing a partner. Designate one of you to be teh observer, and the other to be the Three. If you are the Three, you are the active partner in the exercise, so close your eyes so as to be undistracted by the observer's reactions. Keeping your eyes closed, choose a quality with which to identify. Choose a quality that you don't believe you actually embody. For example, you could choose to identify with the quality of beauty, or handsomeness, or intelligence, or compassion, or joy; but try to pick one that feels alien to you.
    Imagine feeling that quality within yourself. It will help you recognize the quality's feeling if you remember a time when you actually did feel that way. Notice the shifts of attention that you go through while you "make up the quality." Notice the fact that the quality comes and goes. When the quality is present, you are feeling like a Three who is becoming identified with that quality, and when you have to exert effort to keep the quality present, you are feeling like a Three who is holding up an image.
    With your eyes till shut, focus fully on the imagined quality and let it permeate your body. When you can stabilize your attention on the sensations or feeling that the quality stimulates in your body, open your attention to include the observing partner, and pretend that she or he is an important person in your life; someone such as a boss or a spouse, who has the power to affect you, and who you are going to pretend is susceptible to the quality that you are embodying.
    Now open your eyes, and while keeping your attention focused inwardly on the presence of the quality, simultaneously carry on a simple conversation with the observer. Notice the shifts of attention that happen as you attempt to identify internally with the quality to which your partner is susceptible. Threes would recognize these internal fluctuations of attention as the difference between times when they are faking an impressive image and times when they have become so immersed in an image that they are the quality that the partner values. Threes habitually shift their attention to identify with culturally valued images and begin to project these images as themselves without remembering to question the difference between an adopted image and their own internal feelings.
    When a Three can successfully personify an image, she or he will become acutely aware of other people's reactions. If the image is effective, the Three will remain identified with it. If the public does not approve, then self-presentation will tend to be unconsciously modified.
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  2. #2

    How Fours Pay Attention

    Fours rarely live in the present. Their focus of attention travels away: to the past, to the future, to the absent, to the hard-to-get. There is a background preoccupation with whatever seems to be missing: the absent friend at the dinner party, the missed connections in an intimate talk.
    The preoccupation with absent things is flavored by a highly selective remembrance of the positive aspects of whatever is missing. "The evening would have been complete if only John had been there." John's better aspects are remembered when he is at a distance, and a tenuous connection of yearning is set up that acts to draw a Four's attention away from what is actually going on in the present. If John were present and accounted for, his less-than-interesting aspects would begin to surface, and the Four's attention would tend to drift away to one of the other pieces that seem to be missing from life.
    Romantics say that they feel an intimate connection with absent friends, that, in fact, their feelings of affection can get stronger with enforced separation. They say that in any relationship, there must be time away in order to reawaken the true feeling of connection that occurs only with distance and separation.
    When a Four is forced to focus on the actual events happening in present time, there is a feeling of being let down, of seeing the negatives of the situation, perhaps for the very first time. It can feel like a blow in the face, because there are so many disappointments, and they all come at once. It's as if the light goes out of a lover's face, and all that is left is a set of mismatched features.
    Fours unwittingly engage their imagination in such a way that the missing positives become devastatingly desirable and, by using the same shift of attention, they imaginatively amplify the present negatives so that they look far less appealing than they actually are.
    This shift of attention can be illustrated by way of the false self-image that people can create of their own face, depending on how they feel about themselves when they look into a mirror. The same face can look quite different, depending on the way in which we selectively pay attention to the strength and weaknesses of the features and how we imagine the strengths to be more or less than what is actually there. An ordinary face can become positively radiant if we imaginatively heighten the colors of the eyes and soften the textures of the skin; and that same face can appear to be grotesque if we focus on, and imaginatively amplify, its plainer aspects.
    An unfortunate example of negative amplification can be drawn from the reports of Fours who are predisposed toward anorexia nervosa. It is striking to note that a high percentage of Fours report that they have what could be called an anorexic self-image, where, when they look into a mirror, teir bodies appear to be shapeless and fat when, in fact, they are quit thin. Some Fours report having developed a distaste for their own bodies, such that their own objectively attractive physiques have become mentally preoccupying and repulsive.
    The same unconscious attentional shift that serves to imaginatively alter physical appearances can also act to amplify emotional reactions. This shift of attention serves to exaggerate a Four's authentic emotional responses in the same way that visual imagination can overlay and enhance a reflection in a mirror.
    For example, the thought of a distant friend can quickly summon wonderful feelings, an emotional counterpart for the thought of being together again. If attention then shifts from the authentic response that develops from thinking about the friend into imagining the greatest possible warmth that humans are capable of, the authentic reaction has been lost in an imaginative and unrealistic overlay of false feelings. Likewise, a small oversight by that same friend could stimulate powerful feelings of rejection and hatred, which would quickly overlay the authentic, small reaction that the oversight actually warranted.
    In order for real feelings to emerge, it is first necessary to stabilize attention at a neutral reference point and learn to pay attention to real physical sensations being experienced in the present moment.

    How Fives Pay Attention

    A Five's isolation does not depend solely on withdrawal into privacy, or even on putting up emotional walls. The psychic isolation of the type can be seen as the habit of disengaging from feelings in order to observe. This habit of attention can become particularly obvious in stress, intimacy, or unpredictable situations that demand a spontaneous response. In extreme cases of detachment, a Five can attempt to disappear by freezing attention at a spot located just outside of the physical body.

    I was a literal hermit for most of my twenties. No phone, few friends, and a long drive down a bad country road. By the time that I decided that I wanted to study photography, I couldn't remember how to hold up one end of a conversation. The first year of school I got into therapy. They recommended bodywork. I shut down so completely during the breathing exercises that I couldn't feel my body at all.
    One session I went through a full body convulsion and found that I had detached and was watching myself go through it without any feeling in my body. I am periodically aware of being outside and watching ever since. It comes up when I have to "go onstage." Even if I'm rehearsed, I can suddenly find myself separated, watching my body going through the motions of what I'm supposed to do.

    Besides providing a buffer to the immediate experience of a strong emotion, the habit of detaching from feelings in order to watch can produce a dramatic experience of what meditators recognize as the separation between the object of attention and the inner observer.

    I sometimes feel like I'm one of my old paper dolls, with a nice dress that's hung on my front, with little laps over the shoulder. Nobody sees me, just the front of the dress and my paper-doll face. Meanwhile, I'm standing behind myself, like a third party to my conversations, watching the face of whom I'm talking to and myself, standing there in the dress.
    When I was seventeen, and first started having sex, my mind would flip, and I'd be outside watching myself. Making love is the clearest example of where I go when I'm under pressure. Basically, I want to avoid pressure, but when I have to face up to it, I will find myself detaching from the feeling. The harder my own life gets, the more fascinated I become with watching myself. I keep wondering what I'll do next. I got married because I wanted to see what I would do, and I've let the wolf get really close to the door, because I want to see how I'm going to get out of it.

    Attention Practice

    This practice can give non-Fives a taste of what it's like to detach and observe an object of inner attention. This is the placement of attention that Fives learned in childhood as a way to feel safe in threatening situations. There are differences between a Five's habit of separating attention from objects that frighten him or her, like intruding people or strong sexual feelings, and a meditator's awareness of the separation between the observing self and the object that is contemplated. One significant difference is that a Five gets frozen in the detached stance, compelled by habit to watch as a frightening event transpires, and constrained to keep attention separated from the feelings connected to what he or she sees. If the Observer merged with the feelings generated by the frightening event, Fives would lose the defense of keeping mind and emotions separate. The Five would then be vunerable to being affected by others and to feeling his or her own desires.
    In constrast to the frozen watching of a Five, who is avoiding feeling, a meditator's inner observer is able to merge, and become one with, inner objects of attention, such as body sensations, the resonance of chants, images, and pure emotions.
    Imagine yourself standing in front of someone who tried to intrude into your life. It might be the mother who checked your dresser drawers when you weren't home, or the brother who broke into your diary and read it for months before you became aware of it. Get the feeling in your body of how you felt about being violated in a way you couldn't control, and also imagine what it would be like to have to live with this person in your house day after day.
    Now find a way to isolate yourself from being affected by what the person has done. The emphasis in this exercise is on protecting yourself from having to feel by isolating yourself from the intruder, rather than clamping down to hold back the emotion. Fives report a sense of control and even pleasure in being able to detach from being affected by outside influence.
    Some Fives say that they move deep inside themselves to where there is no emotion. Others say that they separate themselves from an intruder by moving behind a wall or a one-way mirror, or they shift attention to a safe place just outside of the interaction. From that vantage point they can observe what is going on without becoming emotionally involved.

    How Sixes Pay Attention

    If you are not a Six, this exercise will help you understand the unconscious shifts of attention that underlie the Six's worldview. You will need a book to read as part of the exercise. When you have found a book, sit down and keep it closed on your lap.
    Now remember someone who made you feel afraid when you were young. Visualize this person standing before you, the face, the body stance, the clothing, and particularly remember the way that he or she looked at you when you felt intimidated.
    Now believe that you have been living with this person on a day-by-day basis for a long time in a very small house. Your intimidator has access to anything in the house and could show up at any time.
    Now open the book and start to read, while at the same time remembering to stay aware of the person in the house. Split your attention between reading the lines and checking out the potential intruder's movements. You will either be able to pay attention to both tasks simultaneously, or your attention will shuttle back and forth between reading and being aware of the other's whereabouts. In either case, you have adopted the state of mind of a person who has been made to be afraid.
    The next practice should be done facing a friend who is gracious enough to let you stare at his or her face while you practice shifting your attention.
    Now form an idea of something that this friend might be thinking about you that he or she has never expressed. It can be either a positive or a negative opinion, but you should believe that your friend is very likely to be holding this opinion, and you are going to look for confirming signs.
    Now, hold an ordinary out-loud conversation with your friend, while at the same time scanning the face for signs of the hidden point of view. All of the elements of the paranoid style are now present: an inner hypothesis (in this case fabricated), and a split of attention between the talk going on between the two of you and the need to look for confirming signs of the hidden opinion. For the true paranoid, the inner hypothesis is really a conviction. He or she knows that the painful opinion is true and is looking for corroborating evidence in the mannerisms and facial cues that the partner is bound to produce in the course of an ordinary chat.

  3. #3

    How Sevens Pay Attention

    From an outsider's point of view, a Seven can look like a dilettante, with many scattered intersts: several projects moving at the same time, three or four half-finished books on the floor. Attention moves through experience and on to more experience, in a headlong rush to the next fascinating enterprise.
    From the point of view of a Seven, all these interests appear to be related. It all seems to be leading somewhere. At some point in the future it will all come together. How wonderful to find the perfect fit! In an escapist sense, attention can move fluidly between sweet memories, fascinating thoughts, and interesting future plans. The following statement was taken from a young Seven who was having trouble placing his interdisciplinary workshop material in the catalogues of California's growth centers.

    I lead consciousness raising workshops and human development groups. I know at least ten systems that I can draw from; I use an eclectic approach. What I love is to go in cold, with no preparation, and just work with whoever has come. The syllabus will cover any needs the people bring. My writeup reads, "We will do meditation, marital arts, Neurolinguistics, and Reichian breathing." I always ask participants to bring a dream to work on.

    This workshop leader has not developed the ability to focus seriously on a single problem area. What he wants to do is explain problems away by switching systems or by changing the scope of his plan.
    The constructive side of his attentional style could come into play if he could commit himself to facing real problems rather than prematurely throwing in a new technique. If he could take the consequences of having to face up to real difficulties and stick with his clients through their very real pain, then his lifelong habit of fitting new information into multiple option systems might lead him to insights that could help his students to grow.
    The next statement was given by a Seven who has organized his way of paying attention into a useful problem-solving method. His approach is different from that of the young workshop leader because he is able to focus all of his options on a single problem, rather than shifting options in order to diffuse a problem.

    I work as an organizational development consultant. Our clients are corporations that are mainly in crisis or in some process of breaking down. The businesses that we advise are often multilevel companies that have severe departmental differences. Each department wants to make it at the expense of all the rest. I get reports that are totally contradictory, and I handle all of them like a deck of cards.
    I mentally overlay the departments, until I get the points that fit. If I keep shuffling the different systems through, I'm going to find certain points about which they all agree. I see my job as brainstorming ways in which the points of agreement can be controlled so that the different departments have to cooperate with one another in order to survive.
    The shuffling often causes trouble when you have to change procedures and hierarchy. Those meetings where I have to face telling people about changes give me a great deal of grief. However, my deck-of-cards technique gets the job done.

    How Eights Pay Attention

    Eights have several ways not to perceive threatening information. Their psychological defenses revolve around an idea of themselves as more powerful than any potential opposition, so consequently their perceptions tend to maximize their own strengths and minimize an opponent's real advantages. One exemplar described himself as "not really brave, because I rarely see anything to be afraid of. I would believe myself to be brave if I felt fear and went ahead in spite of it. As it is, when I get into an argument, people look like pushovers to me." One classical way to not perceive a threat is to bury it by shifting attention to something else. For Eights, excesses like bingeing and overspending easily serve to block out the surfacing of a painful insight, or an awareness that could threaten a sense of personal power. A self-aware Boss can actually use the urgent desire for immediate satisfaction as a reminder to look within and find out what real needs are being subverted by excess.
    A second way in which Eights can block unwanted insight from awareness is to so forcefully deny a painful issue that for them it ceases to exist. This way is not a matter of burying something you don't want to think about by diverting your attention to pleasurable excess. This way enables you to stare straight at something and not perceive it is there. An extreme example of the attention style that supports denial was reported by a recovering alcoholic, who, at the time that she was drinking, confronted her husband from behind a mound of whiskey empties piled in their basement. She believed that she had convinced him that she did not drink, because in her mind the bottles didn't exist.
    Another example of our capacity to deny what we cannot accept is illustrated by the common request that physicians make when a severe diagnosis has to be given. The request is that a relative or friend accompany the patient, on the assumption that people tend to deny or rationalize threatening information. Eights are particularily prone to the specific shift of attention that includes only safe information and blocks out the rest. They are prone to this attentional style because of the childhood circumstance of having to oppose superior force.
    A skillful adversary necessarily overlooks a great deal of information that is incidental to the task of laying waste to the opposition. In combat, perception takes on a black or white coloration, with a minimum of nebulous grays. In the kind of altered state of mind that anger can generate, attention narrows to a measuring of the opponent: "How do I take him?" "Where's the hole in her character?" "What will make him back down?" The internal assumption of one's own position as fundamentally right is essential; it guarantees immediate, unwavering action. The unfortunate side effect of a full-out confrontation is that the ability to accommodate new information is lost.

    I still don't want to listen to other points of view. I was so angry at adults who "couldn't help it," and kept messing up, that I just want to know exactly what to expect and ensure it's going to happen. The idea that there are multiple correct positions for different people is okay as a mental construct, but put into practice it so weakens my idea of being fundamentally right that I feel I must be totally wrong. It's a question of being all right or all wrong.

    Outsiders may see an Eight as being stubborn in the face of rational alternative arguments. The Eight's perceptual ground tends to take on either/or reference points. "Are you a friend or foe? Leader or follower? Strong or weak? Against me or for me?" The insight that a middle ground of compromise exists is generally accompanied by a feeling of extreme vulnerability. Compromise leaves an Eight psychologically open to attack from any side, because the situation, being no longer black or white, is no longer predictable.
    The following statement comes from an eighteen-year-old Boss. He is describing his predicament in becoming aware of threatening infromation that he had previously denied. He is also giving a voice to the attentional dilemma that we all face when our prejudices are aroused, when our racism is tested, when our politics come under question. In any situation where people become polarized into "me against you," attention quickly fixates upon the weakness of the enemy's position, with a consequent denial of the enemy's better qualities, or the weaknesses of one's own. The opponent starts to look like a nonperson, and his or her better qualities case to exist, because one cannot afford to keep them in mind.

    I got my full growth by the time I was in my second year of high school, so by the time football season came around, I was 6'3'' and about 240 pounds. Prime meat for the line. During an early season game, someone on the other team baited me, so I took him out. I got mad, and got my head down, and hit him as hard as I could, which cracked his ribs and three vertebrae. He was hospitalized for a long time, and then gradually recovered movement. For all that time I'd hear about it, but it wasn't true to me that it was serious, and it wasn't true that I had done it. The idea would come into my mind and it wasn't true, so I'd forget about it. I got the nickname Killer, which was fine because it backed guys off on the field, and because it didn't apply to me.
    Around midseason it happened again. Same setup, a hard hit, an injury, and the guy was out cold. It was stunning. The whole first incident came back to me while I was lying on the ground. It was like taking blows. His pain, the weeks in bed, and I believed I felt the hatred of the guys who had been calling me Killer. It all came at once and kept coming up for the next few days. The end of the story was that the second guy I hit had a clean fracture that wasn't much; and that I quit playing. I took a lot of badmouthing from the team, who liked having a hulk on their side, but I didn't trust what could happen if I got into a blind rage again.

    From the point of view of meditation practice, denial could be illustrated by the notion Don't let yourself think. This is a false practice, a mistake that beginning meditators commonly fall into when they first attempt to clear the mind of thoughts. In this false practice, the meditator does not really withdraw attention from preoccupying thoughts as they come and go, but instead attempts to block out thoughts with forced concentration on an interior blank space. The rigid focusing of attention on interior blankness has the side effect of blocking out the internal awareness of thoughts and other impressions. As soon as the meditator relaxes concentration on the mental blank space, thoughts rush in again, and it becomes clear that awareness has never really shifting away from the thinking state.
    Bosses will recognize the "don't let yourself think" state of mind as a kind of controlled wall staring, which they are likely to find themselves doing when something painful needs to be buried. An Eight can wake up in the middle of having been staring at a blank wall or an empty tabletop for God knows how long and find that he or she has a hard time thinking. The Eight is perceptually blanked out. If the mental blankout had a voice, it would say, "nothing painful gets past the tabletop blockade."
    One Eight described the lifting of denial as "like opening the curtain on a stage. Everything you've been fighting against is staring straight at you with the force of total truth. You're totally wrong. You're an idiot, you've made an unforgivable error, and you want to punish yourself for what you've done." The special problem with denied material is that it can emerge into awareness suddenly, and with great force, which, given the Boss's preoccupation with justice, precipitates a barrage of self-hatred and self-blame. In the case of the young athlete, he was either a hero or a killer, with no apparent middle ground between the two extremes.
    Eights also report that the lifting of denial with respect to one incident can act as an interior wick that allows other examples of the incident to emerge, in a kind of chain reaction of memory. Eights say that once they perceive something bad about themselves, they also remember many other examples of that bad thing that they've done in the past.
    Eights say that insight can act like a jack-in-the-box with a shocking punch. They open the box of an opinion where they believe themselves to be totally right, and the fact they have been wrong is so startling that they move into battle stance attention and cannot think of any compromise to cushion the insight. What was totally right has become totally wrong; and the need to punish wrongdoings is immediately turned against the self.

    How Nines Pay Attention

    When Nines "go on automatic," they can complete complicated tasks without paying conscious attention to what their hands and bodies are doing. We all have the ability to learn skills and to perform them mechanically. For example, there is the common experience of "waking up" upon arriving home, with no recollection of having made the drive. There is also the example of speed typists, who report that they can fantasize or think about a problem, while turning out reams of accurate copy at 90 wpm.
    The trick for the typists is to type without reading the material. They section off just enough attention to get the mechanics of the job done, while simultaneously ruminating about other things. This style of attention can be called coprocessing, a way of doing more than one mental operation at the same time.
    Nines report that they dip in and out of conversations. A sector of their attention is mechanically focused on what is being said, but they can simultaneously coprocess another train of thought or feel themselves merging into what they suppose other people are feeling. Most Nines describe coprocessing as sliding from one object of attention to another. For example, a word in a conversation may trigger a memory, trigger an inner monologue about the memory, trigger feelings about how the present conversation is similar to the past.
    These interior diversions go on while the Nine is still aware of how the conversation is developing. Like the motorist who arrived at home without a memory of having driven there, Nines can wake up to hear themselves give a passable reply, having forgotten the topic of conversation. Nines say that they tune their mental radio to two or three stations, slipping between classical, country, and rock 'n' roll.
    A profound version of the ability to coprocess is described by some Meditators as having a mind full of pinwheels. In this version attention is simultaneously focused on several things at once, perhaps the carpet pattern, the buttons on a sleeve, a profound emotion, and a couple of trains of thought. A Nine who looks blanked out and inattentive to others may internally be laboring under the burden of too much to do.
    Because Nines are asleep with respect to their own position, they do not habitually look for information that supports a strategic course of action. New situations can be perceived globally where all the elements are recognized and can be described, but one one thing stands out as particularly important or worthy of mention. This is in contrast to the perception of point Three which is focused on the elements in new situations that support particular tasks. It is also distinct from the perception of type Six, which is skewed toward the hidden interactions between people.
    Nine is aware of all the surface elements and all the interactions under the surface, but finds it hard to pick out what is important and significant from the inessential details. Nines are aware of everything, but they find it difficult to identify the correct starting point or discriminate between the critical issues and the background noise. Attention circulates freely between what is essential in a situation and what is irrelevant to the central task. It is this habit of attention that perpetuates the loss of a personal position. How can one decide upon a meaningful position when everything seems to have equal importance? There is no sense of conflict, because nothing stands out as more important than anything else.
    Inky, Tucken, AquaColum and 18 others thanked this post.

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  5. #4
    Type 5

    Imagine yourself standing in front of someone who tried to intrude into your life. It might be the mother who checked your dresser drawers when you weren't home, or the brother who broke into your diary and read it for months before you became aware of it. Get the feeling in your body of how you felt about being violated in a way you couldn't control, and also imagine what it would be like to have to live with this person in your house day after day.
    Now find a way to isolate yourself from being affected by what the person has done. The emphasis in this exercise is on protecting yourself from having to feel by isolating yourself from the intruder, rather than clamping down to hold back the emotion. Fives report a sense of control and even pleasure in being able to detach from being affected by outside influence.
    Some Fives say that they move deep inside themselves to where there is no emotion. Others say that they separate themselves from an intruder by moving behind a wall or a one-way mirror, or they shift attention to a safe place just outside of the interaction. From that vantage point they can observe what is going on without becoming emotionally involved.

    I never realized this was a type 5 thing. I thought everyone did this I guess because it is so automatic for me.
    perfectcircle and Cloudlight thanked this post.

  6. #5

    Where did you get these from? Did you write them? They are awesome!!!

  7. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by kittychris07 View Post
    Where did you get these from? Did you write them? They are awesome!!!
    There is a link at top of first post for where I found these descriptions.
    kittychris07 thanked this post.

  8. #7

    oh this is actually from a book on enneagram ... I didn't notice that ... so you can get this in written form

  9. #8

    bump 10 char

  10. #9

    ^ SOMEONE wants more thanks.
    madhatter and Conundrum thanked this post.

  11. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by MBTI Enthusiast View Post
    ^ SOMEONE wants more thanks.
    haha not really, I have thousands of thanks on my old account here

    I know a lot of people struggle finding their enneagram type and many have found this article to be very helpful. That's why I keep bumping it.
    MBTI Enthusiast thanked this post.

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