How Can I Stay Calm and Not Emotionally React?
Thunder wrote: I am beginning to think there might be something to these enneagrams. I was surprised when I read in your earlier post that the thing that drives us most is supposedly our fight/flight response. Looking over myself in the past weeks it seems obvious to me that I am a flight-type. With all my feelings from past experiences blossoming up at the smallest rejection, I freeze up and am incapable of action. It is strange that with all my self-work, all it can take is one nasty word and I freeze and am unable to respond in any other way than with silence. It really irritates me. It takes so little to push me down any little hill I might have climbed. Can you offer some suggestions to what I should do to keep my calm and respond in a more productive way?
To make it clearer, what I said before is that there is a certain ‘passion’ that is at the kernel or root of our personality. This passion is the way that we predominately use our energy to defend our self-image (our personality). The enneagram maps out precisely the nine possible ways that is possible for us to do so. The passions are divided into 3 groups, where either the strategy is to use one’s energy outwardly to change or make something on the outside (fight), to hold one’s energy by escaping to not have to deal with change on the outside (flight, one retracts into one’s mind), or to use one’s energy to adapt (these are the people-pleasers, conformers, chameleon’s). It does sound from what you wrote that you are on the right track, that your personality rests in the fear based or flight based triad. You should continue to observe to see closer which of the three in this group most closely match you. Okay, now on to the practical advise.
Some basic information is that your personality arises and is energized, primarily by the emotional response happening in your body. In essence, your personality is addicted to or relies upon creating the same emotional response over and over again to be able to ‘get it’s feeling of existence’ out of feeling oneself as emotional. So what happens is something in your life (person, place, or event) triggers an emotion in you, then this emotional energy causes reactions in terms of thoughts. Then your mental defense (one’s thinking comes into play), and the more thinking one does, this continues to feed the emotional reaction (you had a long time ago), and so then your personality is strongly in force, and you are not conscious about what is happening. So then it seems we can’t control the fear, the anger, the elation, etc. But you can and to do it you must find a way to stop your thinking and drop down into and observe the energetic feeling that is happening inside your body. So you realize you are having a strong emotional reaction, at this very moment, then ‘Stop, and drop down’, by focusing on your breathing in your belly. Close your eyes and just notice how the emotional energy feels in your body. What is it? How does it feel? What muscles are affected? How is your breathing? Are muscles contracted or tense, etc? Whatever you do, don’t think; just observe by FEELING the energy. Know that emotions arise and fall, if you don’t feed them with your thinking they will dissolve. The energy can’t be held in an emotionally intense pattern indefinitely. To say it again, it is the thinking that is happening as a reaction, so then one is overtaken by fear or freezing.
Find whatever technique you can that you can implement quickly and easily to direct your focus out of your thinking and down into your body to be able to simply observe the energetic response happening within. With continued practice like this, you will continue to learn about your emotional reactions and also your thoughts, what triggers it, and how to ‘transmute’ the emotion so you are no longer ‘taken over’ by it. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is also a good technique for this, but it takes a little longer (5 min.) to go through the routine. I found out that breathing down into my belly was the quickest way to do this. Someone else wrote something I read recently (Don Beckett), about holding one nostril, then inhale through the open nostril and exhale through it. Switch to the other nostril and do the same. He says this quickly takes one out of being identified with one’s emotions. Now that I know about Reiki techniques this could also be used, probably the most effective of all. By placing your hands on your belly and doing some reiki breaths, you could probably transmute the emotional energy quite rapidly. Once the emotional energy subsides, then your mind will be clear for action, not having to be subservient to the emotional response. But also realize this takes time and practice, and most likely the same emotion will pop back up rather quickly. You have to keep working at it, and to do so you have to really want to overcome your emotional programming. Most personalities aren’t interested in doing this, because it is against the nature of the personality. The personality can’t get it’s feeling of being alive if you stop it’s addiction to feeding on the emotions.