Excerpts from Helen Palmer's book "The Enneagram" that I'm sharing here for you. I plan to create another thread which contains descriptions of various enneagram relationships.
Note: It has been brought to my attention that posting these excerpts might in the worst case induce a copyright claim. I posted this material for individual learning purposes only. I am ready to remove them should posting them prove violating some sort of law.
How Ones Pay Attention
Perfectionism is supported by the habit of making mental comparisons. It is a way of paying attention in which thoughts and actions are automatically judged against an ideal standard of how perfect the situation could be. The internal terrain of a One's decision-making process carries the image of a courtroom scene. An opinion is mentally brought into court, where it is then attacked, defended, and finally judged for correctness.
I am sitting in meditation, and become immediately aware of the loudness of the critic in my head. A small space of deep quiet, and I hear, "Not deep enough" or "Was better last time you sat." Then the argument starts: "Sit up straighter." "You're not trying." "Yes I am." My mind gets caught between attack and defense, as if I have no say in the situation and can only listen to the voices in my head until one side or the other wins out. Each quiet space in the meditation is interrupted by mental comments, until, happily, I can disengage from my thoughts.
Ones also suffer from the habit of comparing their own levels of achievement against each other. Was this meditation productive? Am I improving or am I slipping back? There is a painful need to check out progress in order to feel assured of a continuous march toward self-improvement, which can also produce the feeling of never measuring up to the mark.
In meditation practice this way of paying attention is called judging mind. To some extent we all judge our progress against standards of excellence, but Ones live with an internal measuring rod that also extends to chronically comparing themselves to other people. It is like an internal seesaw in a children's park: one child goes up, the other goes down. She goes up because she makes more money, but she goes down because I have status. I'm up on this point, but I'm down on that point. His face is handsome, but my body's better. The making of mental comparisons by Ones is often an automatic and unrecognized factor in their perception of daily life events and is a major cause of suffering. Ones automatically notice what is right and what is wrong in any given situation, and because they are attached to a one-right-way point of view, another person's win makes the One feel like a loser.
When Ones begin a self-observation practice, they realize, perhaps for the first time, how pervasive the mental habit of making comparisons can be. Because judging mind is clearly a source of suffering, Ones can become highly motivated to learn to meditate so that judging thoughts recede.
Ones can begin to change the Perfectionist style of attention by noticing when the mental chalkboard goes up. Each time attention shifts into a detailed account of someone else's pluses and minuses, and the feeling that when that person is one up that the Perfectionist is one down, there is an opportunity for learning to shift attention to a neutral ground.