The Embodiment of Our Enneagram Work

By Neil Anderson - April 2015

In our work with the Enneagram we often speak of being "in and down" as a prerequisite or as the resident state for doing the work. This groundedness is so central to what we do that we cannot hope to fully tap into the innate wisdom of our type, its Holy Idea, or for that matter the full field of gifts that the Enneagram has to offer without this grounded sense of reference. As a bodyworker/Massage Therapist this emphasis on "being grounded" carries a special significance for me, as it is the goal of my work, for if nothing else the teachings must  be made concrete in the body as well as the mind and heart, and the Enneagram is not complete without the somatic component.

In all wisdom traditions the importance of breath is universally recognized. We know it is essential to all life yet simply giving it our attention is an ongoing practice!

It occupies a special place in our experience not only because it keeps us alive but because it is a function of both the conscious and unconscious worlds. It is a bridge between the two. We can regulate it when we give it our attention and yet it goes on just fine when we're not, permeating all our experience.
How are you breathing as you read this? Where are you breathing? Where are you not? Can you direct the will of breath into the subtle barriers in your body? The belly? Feet? Shoulders? How about the pores in your skin? Can you soften the back of the throat to allow the cool rush of breath to cascade down into your Hara? (Belly) Take note of the changes. Throughout your life you have your attention, will and breath. And its free.

When we are in type, defending, judging, thinking or reacting we create microminiature muscular contractions in our tissue and membranous network, restricting the the free flow of our life force. Assume that your body is wise (no matter what you think of it) and that it is always eavesdropping on your experience. Because it is. Always.
How does bringing your attention to your favored center change it? Can you suspend judgement to see what it has to say? Your body is anything but mute.

To bring awareness of breath to our Hara, the area two or three fingerwidths below the navel, we must first listen to the self imposed/maintained barriers to its full access. Try some of these preliminary exercises and enjoy the ride, knowing that the process is the goal and you'll be surprised at what arises into awareness. It is your birthright to experience your place of imbeddedness in the greater body of Nature, and the tools of breath, attention and body form the ever available matrix of your holy work. I will delve into this topic again, but in the meantime use what you have in the spirit of play and open curiosity and you'll reap benefits from the moment your attention shifts.

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