We all wrestle with contradictory voices and inner conflict. Nobody is all one thing. We are made of polarities. Selfish/giving, kind/mean, strong/tender……the list is endless.
Which voices do we listen to? Which do we ignore or shame or stuff away? And why can it be difficult to hear one clear voice through the other voices? Sometimes we are paralyzed by too many voices. Sometimes we blindly follow just one perhaps ending up somewhere we did not want to go.
Some time back, my colleague Ruth Hill and I facilitated a retreat on the Harmony Triads of the Enneagram: The Pragmatists (3,6,9), the Relationalists (2,5,8), the Idealists (1,4,7).
For example….inside every 9 who wants to be comfortable is a 3 who wants to kick ass and be the star of the show. On top of that, there is also a 6 who starts doubting herself the minute she springs into action. This bouncing between polarities can cause pain and self sabotage. When a 9 stuffs her 3 and 6 energies away to stay comfortable, she disowns important aspects of herself. She is incomplete.
But what if we could cultivate a relationship with these seeming opposites of our harmony triad?
What if the 2 who feels shame for having needs, could tap into the anger of her 8 energy? There is a part of her who is tired of meeting everyone’s needs. What if that anger helped her set boundaries as a 5 does so she can do some objective, clear thinking that isn’t complicated with emotions?
Allowing these energies to be in relationship with each other instead of battling each other brings wholeness, health and self compassion. We do this by listening to and being present to the voices that are speaking to us. Understanding our harmony triad gives us a guide to this inner landscape.
For the 1/4/7 triad this relationship might look something like this…….Inside every upbeat 7 there is a 4 who wants to allow her darker emotions without fear she will drown in them while there is also a 1 who judges those feelings as bad. This inner dynamic, if ignored, can become a vicious cycle of avoiding pain and judging themselves harshly. When we bring these three characters of the triad into the light, the 7 can cultivate a deeper appreciation for the darker parts of her soul as well as the part that has good judgement and discernment.
In all three triads, we can experience wholeness instead of fragmentation and inner conflict.
As we do this, we grow in our capacity to be more present to others thus we can listen more deeply.
Thanks to Dr. David Daniels, Russ Hudson and the Bergamo Learning Community for their contributions to this teaching.