A Presence-Based Orientation

“The Enneagram was not given to us to enhance our self-identity, but to awaken us to the mystery of who we are beyond type.”

Roxanne Howe-Murphy, Deep Living with the Enneagram: Recovering Your True Nature
dark blue sky with one bright star and dozens other small stars. rolling browning green hills at twilight.

How do you awaken to this mystery of who you are beyond type?

One way is through presence. In the Deep Living approach, presence is having direct contact with your grounded belly, open heart, and clear, quiet mind. 

By learning the Enneagram while developing your capacity for presence, your personality relaxes and more choices become available to you. Your inner freedom flourishes.

The following three practices to build your capacity for presence, while simple, can  feel challenging. An uncomfortable sensation may trigger frustration. Swirling thoughts may derail you from the sensations in your heart. An emotion of sadness can take you out of your grounded belly. All of this is okay, even expected. Presence isn’t rising above any of this; it’s being with what comes up. As Roxanne shares, presence “is an invitation to the truth and experience of our real nature.”

We invite you to try the following three practices. For the first two practices, find a position that feels supportive to you. This may be lying, seated, or standing. For the last practice, write in a journal or share your experiences with a trusted friend.

Practice One: Grounding

brown tree trunk with green leaves and many roots exposed
  • Notice that you are breathing.
  • Allow your breath to find its pace.
  • Notice the places where your body is in contact with the ground or is being supported. What are the qualities of those places? What are the sensations? Are they intense? What is the temperature?
  • Allow your body to be held by gravity and by whatever is supporting you.
  • If you notice your thoughts or emotions pulling you away from this practice, come back to noticing your breath.

Practice Two: Attention to Your Heart

sun sits low in sky
  • If it is accessible to you, place a hand on your chest, wherever you feel in contact with your heart. 
  • What sensations do you experience in your heart center? Can you feel your heart beating? What is the speed? How soft or hard does it feel? Is your heart exposed or protected? 
  • Stay with these sensations. If at any time you feel overwhelmed or unsafe, come back to noticing your breath.

Practice Three:  Spacious Mind

  • Staying with your breath, take a moment to soften the space behind your eyes. (Some people like to picture blackness behind their eyes.) 
  • When thoughts begin to come, acknowledge the tendency of the mind to become busy, then return to breath. 
  • Find a still, curious point inside yourself and allow it to arise.  
  • Sit this way for a few minutes.

After these exercises, you may find Belly, Heart, and Head Centers supporting one another–and you–in a beautiful dance. If not, that is okay. The practice of presence takes just that–practice. Allow any presence you feel to stay with you throughout your day. You may return to these practices daily.

Learn about your Three Centers of Intelligence and how to access and utilize the wisdom of these centers.