I came across this quotation from Lao Tzu (whom one might regard as an ancient Chinese C Influence): When I let go of who I am, then I become who I might be…

It may seem very presumptuous to tangle with one of the great thinkers of all time but another great thinker, Gurdjieff, said, in his provocative way, “‘I’ is a lie…”

How are we to reconcile the two statements?

The ‘I’ that lets go is different from the ‘I’ that is—which is different from the ‘I’ that may be…

There’s a discipline that we can very usefully adopt

•    as a valuable bit of self-observation
•    when we are playing the role of coach
•    as a general change mechanism

The discipline is that whenever we hear ourselves refer to ‘I’, whenever we hear another person say ‘I’, we might ask, as Gurdjieff did, “Which ‘I’ are you referring to?” This will open up an encounter, when appropriate, into a pieces-of-paper-on-the-floor exercise! Or even just a more meaningful exchange…

To practise, we could ask a few questions of Lao Tzu. We could respectfully present him with this: you say—When I let go of who I am, then I become who I might be…  It might be interesting to elaborate the possibilities of this useful dictum by asking:

•    which ‘I’ has made the decision that some ‘I’ or the other might be different from other ‘I’s that might have existed in the past?
•    which ‘I’ will do the letting go of which unwanted ‘I’s?
•    which ‘I’s will venture into the ‘I’s that another ‘I’ imagines it might evolve in the future?
•    which ‘I’ will manage the transactions involved…?
•    which ‘I’ will deal with the ‘I’s that might object to the change?

The thing is that, because we are far more than one single Unified-I,

•    the ‘I’ that feels the need for change is not the same ‘I’ that will
•    decide for change which is not the same ‘I’ that will
•    organise a letting go of ‘I’s deemed no longer useful which is not the same ‘I’ that will
•    make decisions about possible new ‘I’s which is not the same ‘I’ that will
•    manage a swapover which is not the same ‘I’ that will
•    deal with the ‘I’s that might object to the change

The Enneagram is a huge system of systems that manages the complex of ‘I’s that we have inside us. People currently in different parts of different Fixations would respond to this analysis in different ways: somebody in TF5 would be entranced by it; a DS7 might simply say, “I’m off to a party…”; an SS6 might ask, “Sez who?”; in TF a 4 might look for the pattern they might create but if they were in DS they might object to being cut up in this way; a TF9 might lean back and go, “Wow!” and begin to unpick the possibilities; a TF2 would maybe take the analysis just as it is into their next counselling session and make it work; a DS3 might assert, “I am who I am and that’s that…” and so on round the system.

What practical exercises could be derived from all this?

2 thoughts on “ENNEAGRAM §16

  1. The Enneagram Dreams Us.

    “When I let go of who I am, then I become who I might be.” Hmmmm?

    I think it is important to understand first that we can FEEL a vast repertoire of the “Is” that swirl around inside us. Since change requires action(we can’t think our way into change) Let’s say we want to change the way we feel the world is pushing and pulling us around. We may feel a bit worn out by just going along with the program “I” or feeling like a leaf in the wind “I” We find ourselves unconsciously nodding our heads up and down, and side to side to side. Then later we beat ourselves up for feeling like a doormat. We can write these “Is” down on pieces of paper and then stand over them. This may give us a sense of these “Is”. We may also receive images of these “Is” and if that happens, it is always good to write down how these “Is” look, and picture ourselves in moments when these “Is” are acting upon us. Our face and body language (muscle tension) is key here.

    We’ve already started the process of change. We may without knowing it opened up intention “I” We may even go back to Leo Tzu now and feel something different about his words. Now let’s go with the energy that is right here right now!

    If we have the enneagram drawn out on the floor, or have access to this sort of thing, we may want to step into the centre of the whole. If we can’t manage this we can place the fixations on paper and build our own disposable enneagram. The Intention “I” must have a certain amount of energy, but don’t get discouraged by a lack of anything. The Enneagram Dreams Us “I” is amazing!

    By standing in the centre of the enneagram we may feel our bodies in a different way, this depends on our own energy. Let’s move now to our fixation and feel these pesky SS “Is”. I call them Middle of the Road ‘Is” Their energy may be identified with Sentimental “I” Don’t rock the boat “I” Live and Let Live “I” It doesn’t matter “I” I’m too old to change “I” This is who I am “I” If we move in a DTA this repertoire would continue to expand.

    WOW, what happened to that wonderful Intention “I” ? Let’s not forget the enneagram is doing most of the work here. There is always time to pause, stop the movement, and return to the Centre, if we are feeling overwhelmed. An experienced teacher may introduce the idea of Meta I. An “I” that allows for us to pull back from all the other “Is”.

    Meta I can see the positive intentions of even our darkest “Is” with more clarity. Remember it is all energy. The enneagram can be viewed as a transformational alien intelligence, for those brave enough for deep space travel. Deep emotional space travel.

    If we begin to move NOW in a DOI we should feel the Middle of the Road “Is” transform into a repertoire of robust warrior TF “Is” We are beginning the final movements – the dance of transformation. Get Ready for Lift-Off!

    Now it seems Lao Tzu’s words are not just something to ponder. By moving in a direction of DOI the transformation of energy should and does join us to Lao Tzu and many others in a real and practical way. Humility it seems, is Being shot in the solar-plexus by trans-historical-musico-vibrations, or light-genius!

    It may be a good idea to move once more to the centre. We may feel the ripple of these TF “Is” Meta I makes good use of non-identifying with things. We don’t want any of this to go to our heads. The centre of the enneagram is maybe not discussed enough, I wonder why? It seems our essence is maybe not too far away.

    Later we might do a simple walking exercise. Just taking in impressions of nature and such.

    We may reflect on Lao Tzu for a moment. Maybe give up a short prayer to those that have forged ahead, not who we are, but who we might be! Imagine.


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