The power of the Enneagram


Dr Gabor Mate speaks on The Power of Addiction on TEDX. Whether this addiction be drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, shopping, the internet, power, control, love or work, it makes no difference.



Dr Gabor Mate speaks on The Power of Addiction on TEDX. Whether this addiction be drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, shopping, the internet, power, control, love or work, it makes no difference.

We all are addicted to something or other. Some addictions are just more dangerous than others, but they remain addictions.

What does addiction do? According to Dr Mate addiction temporarily relieves us of pain. For a moment in time we are simply disconnected from the self and the discomfort this brings, but in the long run addiction almost always creates more pain. He equates addiction to the hungry ghosts of Buddhist origin.

Basically all addicts are responding to a void inside. A void that creates pain. The pain in us is perpetrated continually, knowingly or unknowingly by the very people that should hold and protect us, nurture and support us. But the human race is such that we do not learn easily and we have kept ourselves in a loop of pain leading to addiction over and over again.

Dr Mate uses the example of war. An addiction to power can create war, literally and figuratively. Children from war torn countries are often the children of anxious, survivalist parents and grow up in times of shortage. A shortage possibly of an internal strength and peace from their parents, a shortage even of food. And whilst we can easily understand this on a rational level, it is much more difficult to do so on an emotional level and specifically not by little babies. It can then be easy to see how such a baby may grow up with an addiction to control, or an addiction to food or even safety, as all they have is their perception of threat.

These very issues and the fixations we have on certain addictions, whether internal or external, extremely harmful or less so, create the basis for the next generation of humans in pain.

I recently attended the International Enneagram Conference where I was privileged to be in the company of global leaders using this amazing tool in various ways to assist individuals and leaders all over the world to bring their better selves into everyday living. One of the phrases that stayed with me is, “When change is difficult, a step is missing”.

The Enneagram helps us to face, understand and overcome these perceptions or fixations as such. Based on the premise that we show up in the world making all our decisions from a specific lens of perception. This lens then shapes us, and along the lines of “what we focus on grows” we tend to reinforce our perceptions, our behaviours, our defense mechanisms and our world-view moving up and down the levels of our lens of perceptions.

The Enneagram opens up to us a more global view of the nine lenses enabling us to work with ourselves and our habitual responses and behaviours, creating a platform of stability and options, choices that are then able to broaden our perspectives and assist us in overcoming some of the more intra-personal addictions and fixations.

After working with the Enneagram for six years and having interacted with Ennea leaders such as Ginger Lapid Bogdha and student of Ennea Master Claudio Naranjo Wendy Palmer, leadership coach and founder of - I remain in awe of the power of this tool.

The world is very ready for the Enneagram. Our planet, our countries, corporations, schools, and families are crying out for new behaviours, new understandings and new approaches. Our leaders are living in VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic, Ambiguous) times and our children are being prepared for a world where the only guarantee is that we don’t know what guarantees there will be!

With a huge amount of emphasis being placed on leadership development within our organisations, it is impossible to do so without the concept of self-mastery and quite frankly there is no better self-mastery tool than the Enneagram in my opinion. The results derived from the use of this tool both in self-mastery and in team and organisational development are simply transformational.

It is, however, not a tool that should be used lightly and without sufficient emphasis on the ethical consideration of the impact this process will have on the individuals who are exposed to it. For those organisations or individuals who then want to invest and move on to an improved world, it is extremely important that the Enneagram is used responsibly.

As one delegate phrased it, “I will always have a life before the Enneagram and a life after”, I cannot wait for the future now!

If you are serious about the future, ready to embrace that which waits and wanting to have a life with more engagement, more purpose and less addiction and pain, if you are wanting teams that engage and departments with less conflict, better customer relations and more productivity. Less emphasis on short term profit and more emphasis on sustainable values and especially if you wish to be part of a more positive world that creates space for you and your children , consider joining us at one of our Enneagram workshops or calling us to assist with some organisational development workshops. The Enneagram transforms.

Dr Gabor Mate speaks on The Power of Addiction on TEDX.

© Debbie Engelbrecht is the MD at Staff Training - a national training provider. She is an accredited Enneagram practitioner in personal, leadership, and team practices and is passionate about the transformative power of the globally acclaimed Enneagram tool.




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