Integrating Bodywork Into Your Enneagram

By Neil Anderson, LMT

In our experience with the Narrative Tradition of the Enneagram we come across the myriad ways to not only share our stories, but to ground those stories in a process of direct experience brought about by various techniques and approaches. 

Many of us come across that teacher or method that somehow cracked through the combination lock of our defenses to dispense just the right teaching that we needed at the time, and the teacher may not have even been of flesh and blood. This is an essential aspect of our work - that our teaching be grounded in direct experience of some kind.

As a professional bodyworker (Massage Therapist), I'm inspired to think about my initial motivations for entrance into this field, and among them was a desire to assist or facilitate a person's return to something concrete, grounding and felt directly. I am constantly challenged to find ways to help those who, in their own way, are striving to become more conscious of their experience and how my work would enhance or augment this process. If being present to one's experience is what unlocks the gifts of the Enneagram (or ourselves), then this is what forms the bridge to bodywork, for in some sense the goals are the same - to sensitive oneself to the restrictions that keep us in cages of habituation which mask or hinder our true adaptability. 

Far more than an aesthetic exercise, bodywork in the hands of a skilled practitioner open the receiver to obscure or unconscious holding patterns - barriers that have arisen as our response to life. Through proper guidance and prompting the receiver can become aware of the Niagara of sensations that have become dampened, muted or dismissed in service to our "shape" or type if you will, that has become our identified home.

It would not do justice to the totality of the experience by saying that the sensations are merely physical. They often cut across our entire tapestry of mind, heart and body, allowing temporary lifting of the self-imposed ban on freer movement - internal and external. From here we can choose or allow new feelings, perceptions and conscious movement as we use the power of breath, directing our will and attention around a new axis. 

Our work in the Narrative Tradition pursues the equivalent of this in an atmosphere of loving trust as we are given permission to unwind ourselves free of judgment both from ourselves and others. I encourage anyone who engages in self work to include regular exposure to massage or bodywork where possible and to take the time to find a good fit with a skilled, qualified and caring Massage Therapist who fits their needs. The rewards are many. For those who have questions, need consultation or referrals around this I can be reached here.

Many thanks.

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