Enneagram

Harmonious This is the first in the series of articles about the Enneagram.

The Enneagram is a method through which you can understand human personality. There are 9 personality types, which I will describe in later articles.

I have written about Personality – and also about the Ego – before. In the system of Reverse Therapy, your personality/ego is a creation of Headmind, which bears no relation to who you actually are.

A common problem with  Enneagram books is that they try to label people as belonging to a certain ‘type’. Nothing could be further from the truth. All that knowing someone’s Enneagram type will tell you is how far they have got stuck in Headmind.

You are far more than your personality. Somewhere, deep down, you possess a Personal Genius which holds  the personality you give out to others in contempt, and which seeks to break free of it. Personal Genius, if anything can be, is your real self. But you have no control over it for that was given to you at birth.

Your Enneagram personality, by contrast, is something you need to work on in order to abolish it. Your personality is not you; rather it is your Prison.

The ideal, the goal, is to become ego-less and to cease to possess a personality.

Only then can you become that which you are truly are. Gurdjieff, the originator of the Enneagram taught precisely this.

Before you read the second article in this series you might want to take the Enneagram test and here are two:

Eclectic Energies (This is a free test which is reasonably accurate).

The Riso Hudson test (The Riso-Hudson test is the most thorough test currently available. It costs $10.00).

Hugh Laurie, Schopenhauer, and the art of life

Schopenhaue This is the follow up article to Schopenhauer: a philosophy for grumpy people? Which attracted  a good response from many readers, many of whom had never heard of him, and were intrigued by his pessimism. Like Hugh Laurie in House he attracts people with his attitude problem.

In fact both Dr Gregory House and Schopenhauer have much in common:

  • Both are loners
  • Unconventional thinkers
  • Grumpiness combined with a wish to help others
  • Black humour
  • Grim realism
  • Mockery of conventional, pompous, people and ideas
  • Atheism
  • Disillusion
  • A (well-disguised) compassion for others.
  • Both are skilled wind-up merchants

For Schopenhauer, the world was a place he never made and little admired. Unlike almost all other philosophers, he did not believe that human beings were created to be happy. The reason for that is that our Will for personal gratification is out of all proportion to what Life can actually offer us. That, he claimed, was the reason for our continually recurring states of frustration, heartache and boredom.

Now, while I believe Schopenhauer was right in some of his diagnoses, I disagree about the cause. It is not the Universal Will which is the cause of personal misery but Headmind obsessions working through the Ego. I have written about this before in my article on How your Head F*cks You Up.

While I agree with Schopenhauer that we are not created to be happy (because we are blessed/cursed with an enlarged Headmind/Pre-frontal cortex), I disagree that we cannot, in fact find it. We can find it if we persist, through Awareness, and through downsizing the Ego.

However, I will leave you with a few more conclusions from the Master:

  • Make good use of the only thing you can control: your conscious mind.
  • Strive to live in the Now
  • Set limits everywhere: on desires, wealth and power.
  • Accept limitations: that leads to peace of mind.
  • Accept misfortunes: only dwell on them if you can change something about them.
  • Seek out personal space and time for yourself; other people may try rob you of peace of mind.
  • Keep busy, always.
  • Do not expect too much from other people: like you they are only human.
  • In the long run, assume disappointment will be your lot more times than not.
  • You are not alone: others share your disappointments.
  • Your recognition of your shared humanity with others is the basis for compassion.
  • This recognition frees you from the Ego.
  • At times of great difficulty you can take consolation from the fact that every other human being has endured similar difficulties.
  • Contemplation of Nature, Art, Music, Literature and the Spectacle of life raises you above it.

Schopenhauer – a philosophy for grumpy people?

Schopenhauer In my last article – Can feeling grumpy be good for you? I mentioned one of my favourite philosophers – Arthur Schopenhauer – who was a grumpy old man already by the age of 19. I first read him at 15 and developed a ‘bah humbug’ attitude which was delicious and self-indulgent while it lasted although I no longer think it is clever – or even profound – to be pessimistic about life. Even so, I still think that Schopenhauer possessed a genius for philosophy. (He also wrote a lot about sex).

Here are a few gems:

After your death you will be what you were before your birth.

Everyone takes the limit of his own field of vision for the limit of the world.

The conscious mind may be regarded as a kind of parasite of the organism, a pensioner, as it were, who dwells within the body.

If you want to know your true opinion of someone, watch the effect produced in you by the sight of a letter/email from that person.

The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.

We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.

Console yourself by remembering that the world doesn’t deserve your affection.

Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.

There is no absurdity so obvious but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to introduce it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.

The closing years of life are like a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped.

Compassion is the basis of all morality.

Wicked thoughts and worthless efforts gradually set their mark on the face, especially the eyes.

The greatest of mistakes is to sacrifice health for any other kind of reward.

There is no doubt that life is given us, not to be enjoyed, but to be overcome.

In my next article I will write about the advantages – and disadvantages – of pessimism for life.

Can feeling grumpy be good for you?

Moods1 I receive a mischievous communication from my very good friend Mark McGuinness who wants me to comment on a research article he has looked into, written by some ‘Australian psychologists’, which claims that being in a ‘bad mood’ can be ‘good’ for you.

Now, some of my best experiences in life have been prompted by my ‘bad’ moods. With the aid of those I have got rid of countless annoying relationships, irritating jobs and pointless activities. So my first thought was that – yet again – a bunch of overpaid academics were being subsidised to announce discoveries most of us learned in primary school. And that Mark had forgotten our many rambling midnight conversations about emotions and the meaning of life.

Yet I realised immediately that these gorgeous, Bondi-beach seeking academics have made yet another category mistake: While bad moods can, indeed, be ‘good’, those are not the same as ‘bad emotions’.

To remind you: there is no such thing as a bad emotion. Emotions are an expression of Bodymind
intelligence. A mood is different. It is a  Headmind attitude. It expresses a relationship between our attitudes and the world as we find it. You can read more about moods here.

A grumpy mood, for me, is a relationship based on suspicion. It means that I no longer trust that experiences, situations, people, or the Lord God himself are doing me any favours. And that, in turn, is a cue that I need to revise my trusting attitude towards these entities. I need to retreat, stand-off, complain, and have a moan. I may even need to disengage – permanently.

So yes – a grumpy mood can be good for you if it helps you get rid of your intellectual garbage.

The funny thing is that I actually find grumpy moods enjoyable. Entraining my suspicion and pessimism on the planet gives me a god-like sense of detachment and playfulness. It also gives me a playground for wit.

Rather like one of my favourite philosophers – Arthur Schopenhauer – who once wrote:

“If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.”

Come to think of it, Schopenhauer deserves an article all to himself, so I will write that next.

Think like Charlie Chaplin

Charliechaplin

I have never been that thrilled by Charlie Chaplin. I get that lots of people admire his films but the little tramp and his amazing adventures leave me cold.

But here are some absolutely brilliant thoughts on life written by the man himself, apparently for his 70th birthday celebrations in 1959.

Thanks to Stephan Langguth for sending this to me.

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY“.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT“.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY“.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE“.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness; things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY“.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF“.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I have been wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY“.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILMENT“.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART“.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS “LIFE“!

Image by mansionwb

The 30 most important life lessons

Moses These lessons are borrowed from Regina Brett, who wrote them when she turned 50 three years ago. Thanks to Lindsey Jones for sending this to me.

1. Life isn't fair but it's still good.

2. When in doubt just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

6. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

7. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

8. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

9. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

10. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

11. Don't take for granted what you have got – or you may lose it.

12. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.

13. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

14. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

15. Whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.

16. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

17. When someone breaks your heart quickly bestow your love on others.

18. Over-prepare, then go with the flow.

19. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

20. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

21. Forgive everyone.

22. What other people think of you is none of your business.

23. Time heals almost everything.

24. However good or bad your situation is, it will change.

25. Don't take yourself seriously. No one else does.

26. Don't audit your life. Make the most of it now.

27. All that truly matters in the end is love.

28. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting to happen.

29. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

30. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

 

How to be a victim

Victim1 Being a victim is hard work. For those of you out there who think that it is important to become one here are my top tips on how to make victimization work for you.

1. Live in the past.

This is the golden rule. Thinking that you have been fucked up by your childhood, or by people who bullied or abused you, is a cast-iron guarantee that you have joined the Victim Club.

2. Hand your power over to others.

This is Rule number 2. You simply have to see other people as more attractive, happier, and more powerful than you are. Be sure to think of these people as part of an unspoken conspiracy to do you down.

3. Whinge – often.

One sure way to draw attention to the fact that you are a victim is to complain a lot. This takes practice, I recommend that you use a dictaphone and develop a script which explains why you can’t do things you want to be doing but your childhood, bad luck, current illnesses, the system, the authorities, your enemies, etc., won’t let you do them.

4. Keep listening to the bad thoughts.

Like: “I am a stupid/bad/guilty/fucked up/useless failure”. Be sure not to do anything else with your day but sit around and listen to Headmind.

5. Do as little as possible.

Good losers don’t actually do anything. They just sit around and think about the what-might-have beens.

6. Do resentment

This is really a re-run of rule number 2. Gossip as much as you can about people who appear to be better-off than you are. Be sure to dwell on their weaknesses and problems and try to make out that they owe everything to ‘luck’.

7. Do Depression

This is related to tips Number 4 and 5. If you want to be a victim then think as much as you can about your past failures and your future hopelessness. Learn how to be depressed and do it well.

8. Be a pessimist.

Professional victims believe they are doomed. That they are in the power of things that they cannot control. That little they do makes any difference, That the world is in the grip of evil powers. Be sure to think the same way.

9. Blame your frustrations on other people.

When Bodymind notices that you are acting like a victim it creates an emotion called frustration. This signal-state is actually telling you to get a life. But don’t do that. Instead, tell anyone who wants to listen that your horrible emotions have been caused by dark forces beyond your control.

10 Do things that demean you.

This is a tricky one. You could stay in a dead-end job. Or you could stay in a relationship that’s past it’s sell-by date (see next item). You could also stay in a rut. Or focus all your attention on other peoples’ problems. But the safest tip is to always talk yourself down. Don’t stint on this: keep telling people how miserable you are.

11. Keep doing dysfunctional relationships.

Victims never learn from their mistakes. They keep choosing the same stupid partners again and again. Always do internet chats/fantasize about/go to bed with/marry people who are losers just like you. Be sure to end the ‘relationship’ by telling as many people as you can how awful your ex-partner was and how this has screwed you up even more than before.

12. Believe everything you are told.

Spend as much time as you can reading the newspapers, watching morning television, or Googling items that explain why you are a victim. Then go and see a Therapist.

13. Visit doctors/psychiatrists/psychotherapists/counsellors – often.

See Rule 2 and Rule 12. Because you are a victim you will need constant help. Help in understanding why you are a victim. Prescription drugs to help you through the pain of failure. Counselling so that you can become a proficient whinger and get even more stuck.

14. Do lots of courses that promise a better life – and fail.

You might need some government grants for this. Always choose dodgy courses that
suggest that you will cease to be a victim once you have mastered the
formula for success. Then, once the course has finished, you can blame
your failures on the trainer.

15. Rage on about conspiracy theories.

See Rule 2. Adolf Hitler – who was perhaps the most famous victim in history – believed that the Jews were behind a plot to do him and his friends down. Other groups that control victims include the ‘System’, the Freemasons, the Templars, Opus Dei, the Illuminati and spaceships from Venus. Follow Adolf’s example and use monotony to explain why your life has been spent in a long struggle against dark forces.

16. Ignore your passions.

This could well be Golden rule number 3. It’s important to understand that you are not important. You are not here for any particular reason and nor have you been provided with any particular gifts, talents, or Personal Genius. Because you live most of the time in your Head you find it unbelievable that Bodymind is continually using emotions to prompt you towards being a real human being.