ENNEAGRAM §17 (R6)


I was fiddling around with the structure of an exercise to do with getting rid of Negative Emotion—the kind of thing that gets in the way of what we want to achieve. Doesn’t happen very often, of course, but it can be pretty debilitating when it does. It could be adapted to help people cope with anything negative for them: self-demolition, negative or constantly carping inner voice (difficult to imagine, of course!)…

The diagram is the bare bones of the exercise.

It’s no good running the exercise unless you’ve ‘been there first’… It’s no good if you’ve never had a Negative Emotion in your life! Imagine that you have something negative that often goes on inside you…

This is an example I worked on myself this week. It’s very real! It’s based on the presupposition that all behaviour has a Positive Intention for us.

My planetary being—it still has nightmares about working in the Inland Revenue which it left in 1961! There’s a part of it (Starting-out-in-work-I) that still strongly identifies with this period in its life and the idea of the annual completion of an Income Tax Return (due by 31st January) is filled with horror; since it is an expert procrastinator this has the effect of contaminating the activities of several months. What goes on in the Emotional Centre contaminates the Intellectual Centre and can have the effect of immobilising Moving Centre. There are several Getting-on-with-other-things-I’s so having to fill in an Income Tax Return is not entirely debilitating! And incidentally I’ve grown to enjoy the nightmares since I keep trying to meet somebody in charge there who will at last recognise that I’m far too old to be working now and will arrange for me to be retired.

So here’s what happened when I tested a system for getting out of Negative Emotion one day this week:-

1. Favourite Negem: horror & rage at having to complete the Income Tax Return. Feel it!

2. It’s associated, I reckon, with an ‘I’ from fifty years ago—a not long post-adolescent ‘I’, not at all good at figures, faced with having to learn the complexity of income tax calculations. Firstly, back then, I now see, there was Anxious-to-get-on-top-of-the-income-tax-process-I, then Fear-of-figures-I and then a Feeling-hopeless-at-the-determination-to-succeed-I. The absolute hopelessness produced the lasting horror: a Being-afraid-of-failure-I then Raging-at-being-afraid-of-failure-I. That’s what runs the horror & rage; it may also be associated with Fear-of-being-found-wanting-I, Not-living-up-to-the-expectations-of-others-I.

3. So two linked ‘I’s run this Negem: Raging-at-being-afraid-of-failure-I and Fear-of-being-found-wanting-I.. CB steps into them now, one foot in each. CB identifies with the twin ‘I’s and recognises that they exist in contexts other than completion of Income Tax Returns!

4. CB thanks them for doing their best for him for many years… Their existence inside his being resulted in a persisting attempt to respond to them with other ‘I’s pushing him into Being-determined-to-succeed-I—they have been very useful in that respect—that was their purpose in life, their positive intention—‘succeed’ in the sense of becoming a more or less Good Householder. Some other ‘I’ suddenly smiles: What-a-lark-I puts in an appearance;  Raging-at-being-afraid-of-failure-I and Fear-of-being-found-wanting-I kind of shrink into small misshapen beasties and go skittering off making squeaking noises… CB knows they’ll always return though!

5. They are useful because they act on behalf of Being-determined-to-succeed-I.. In the completing an Income Tax Return context it knows that all it has to do is to lay out the hundreds of bits of paper on the large kitchen table and sort them into order. What-larks-I is still around! What-larks-I injects humour into the situation and so Negem simply dissolves…(for the moment…)

6. This is what Desiring-I is hoping for. CB steps into it. It feels right especially with What-larks-I still being there…

7.  Laying-out-the-hundreds-of-bits-of-paper-on-the-large-kitchen-table-I will make it all flow.  What-larks-I feels so comfortable with this!

8. I stepped into it and almost before I knew what was happening all the stuff was laid out on the kitchen table.

9. Negative Emotion gone. Feeling-elated-I sensed that the Return was already as good as done. Feeling-elated-I helps to generate energy. Not too much though…

10. Exit.

If there was still any lingering Negative Emotion I would simply have worked the process round again on the look-out for things I’d missed first time round—‘I’s that I perhaps had not acknowledged.

The Negative Emotion returned when I attempted to negotiate the uncertainties of on-line submission. It didn’t last very long because Feeling-elated-I was still around and was promising a glass of whiskey…

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