In Conversation with Russ Hudson

Russ Hudson is one of the principal scholars, leading teachers and innovative thinkers in the Enneagram world today. Co-founder of The Enneagram Institute, he is the co-author of best-selling books The Wisdom of the Enneagram, Personality Types, Understanding the Enneagram and Discovering Your Personality Type.

Here we share a snippet of the conversation Siewfan Wong and Paul Chan had with Russ on shadow work. Siewfan and Paul are the organizers of The Enneagram of Shadow and Virtues with Russ Hudson in May 2019.

SW | What is Shadow?

RH | The shadow is a concept that is generally seen as coming from the psychologist Carl Jung, who was a student of Freud. Simply put, the shadow is any aspect of ourself that we’re not aware of. So the idea is that most human beings, we are aware of some things about ourself, but there’s other parts of ourself we don’t know very well. Those could be certain feelings that are suppressed, or it could be motivations that we’re not aware of. Really, the parts of us that we’re not familiar with.

Sometimes, shadow is created by difficult childhood experiences. Painful emotions, or times where we were very scared or shocked, and so we can psychologically repress those kinds of experiences, but they are still influencing us. And you can know when that kind of shadow material is coming up because it can make us do impulsive things that we would not otherwise do, kind of hard to explain.

But you know, shadow material can also be positive things. Some people aren’t necessarily aware that they are happier or their life is better than they think it is.

So basically, most serious psychology, and I see the Enneagram as involved with serious psychology, is in some sense an investigation of shadow material. What about me do I not know about? If I already knew about it then, well, I could do something about it. But the Enneagram helps us see the parts of us that we don’t usually recognise, especially in the areas of motivation as I was saying.

PC | Many people talk about shadow work in psychology. How does the enneagram help?

RH | Well, it’s part of why, I think, the Enneagram is more effective but also not as popular as some tools because the Enneagram really is explicitly looking at shadow work.

When we talk about the passion of each type [of the Enneagram] related to the sins in terms of the Christian view of it, you know, envy and avarice and pride and gluttony and all these kinds of things, or the fixated view, the Enneagram is really helping us see both emotions or motivations that we’re not aware of, but also it’s helping us see how our perspective on ourselves and life is more limited than we would usually recognise.

When we have shadow material going on, we don’t know that our view is limited. And you know most of the time, for most human beings, our view is limited somewhat.

The Enneagram is helping us see how we’re limiting it. It’s helping us see some of the underlying emotions that we might be feeling or have covered over in some way. It’s helping us see motivations we might not initially recognise that we have. Things like working very hard for success because we want our parents to love us and approve of us. Probably when we’re working we’re not conscious of that motivation. But if we were to look deeper we’ll see it’s there.

So the Enneagram helps us to see what we’re really after, what we’re seeking, and also points to maybe better ways to get the things that we’re looking for on the deepest level.

The Enneagram of Shadows and Virtues with Russ Hudson

Listen to Russ Hudson on the Enneagram Types.

The World of Enneagram

Dear Siew Fan,

I am pleased to share with you my experience of learning the enneagram… Eager to understand more about others for the purpose of connecting better to achieve better results has pushed me to pick up my first book about enneagram.

After entering into the world of the enneagram, I realized that it is more beneficial to have better self understanding, self awareness and to work on myself. It is possible to overcome my limitations to be a better person. After we shape up, we will be in a better position to inspire and influence others to achieve better results together.

I realized that after resolving my hidden childhood issues, I am now able to appreciate and better face my fears. I feel that I have permission to be important and to belong. I am able to see things from different perspectives given the same situation. This improved version of me will be more ready to see more opportunities, overcome limitations and have a better outlook in life.

Best Regards, Soo Ying

How does knowing your Enneagram Type help?

Enneagram Types
Enneagram Types

 

 

Have you ever noticed the number of times someone says “I” or “me” in a conversation? What is it we mean when we say “I”? Who exactly do we refer to? Who do we define our “I”? What identity do we take on? Are we identified with our job or profession – I am a lawyer. Or our image – what I wear, what I do, where I go, whom I’m with, where I hang out, who I take photos with. Our emotions? Our bodies? Our ego? When someone says this is me or this is not me. Think about what part of ourselves we are talking about.

Chances are that a lot of times we operate in the world by reacting. Reacting towards: with desire, with attachment, with liking something and wanting more of it. Reacting away from: with aversion, with fear, with anger or dislike, and with not wanting it. In the study of the Enneagram, we also come to understand how operate when reacting against and reacting towards. We learn to recognise the patterns that we repeat from childhood.

In Enneagram-speak, the twin mechanism of the Basic Fear and Basic Desire in each of us create our personality. The personality is a program we run in order to cope with life when we are separate from our true selves. And in running the program we loose sovereignty over our lives – people and the environment press our buttons and we jump, we keep experiencing the same repeated situations, relationships and emotions. We are trapped on the hamster wheel, the faster we run, the more firmly we stay in place. At some point, particularly at mid-life, we all get this insight, that life is not all we think it is. We are not who we think we are. This is a good place to be, although it can be un-nerving and downright unpleasant.

 

Isn’t this just another personality typing system that puts people in a box?

The Enneagram provides a map of how the personality works, reveals our habitual self and shows the box we are already in. In addition, it shows us the way back to our true selves, our true essence. This last bit is not common knowledge even in the Enneagram world, but it is the part that makes the most sense.

 

So how does it work?

Step 1: Learn about the Enneagram Types and where on the 9 levels of your type you are at now. Learn about the Enneagram Types of the people in your life and how your relationships with them are like.

Step 2: Learn about the Essential nature of each Type

Step 3: Learn how to get in touch with that essential nature. There’s nothing to achieve, just stuff to release.

 

How do I start?

Click the Enneagram icon below to take the free Enneagram test

 

So I know my Type, now what?

Review the detailed descriptions at The Enneagram Institute.

 

This is all very interesting but so complex, now what?

Join our mailing list to be kept abreast of our Enneagram classes or contact Siewfan Wong for an Enneagram coaching session.

Heads up: We will have 2 introduction to the Enneagram classes, followed by the Enneagram and Transformation class in May 2013 taught by Tim McLean, from the Enneagram Institute.