This is a repost of notes taken from an enneagram workshop that was conducted in spring'012. There are a couple of good points covered here:
Edit: Added some more information in discussion below.
~ instincts are "the intelligence of life" -- intelligence of billions of years of evolution
~ personality is an activity; instincts are where the personality gets energy for that activity
~ ego issues feel like life and death because the activity of the ego is "plugged into" the instincts
~ instinctual matters feel non-negotiable / these are where the ego puts its foot down
~ the non-dominant instincts (even the blind spot/last instinct) are not missing. they just aren't as much of a preoccupation
~ fixation is imbalance
~ when other people are acting out the neurotic version of our personal blind spot instinct, it drives us nuts
~ presence is the only source of choice. without presence we have no choice but to keep running the same ego programs. presence brings the gift and capacity to do something different
~ when we're not present, the heart feels abandoned/rejected. the pain of that is the source of the passion. the story on compulsive replay is the fixation
~ personality is "the reaction to loss of presence that we call type x"
~ inner work cannot be done by negating things. grace is the bringing in of that which is in line with what the person more deeply needs. (in terms of the instincts, this means that squashing the dominant instinct doesn't work; instead, it's helpful to become more attentive to the genuine functioning of the non-dominant instincts - they already exist and operate in us, we just have to learn to let them into our awareness and give them enough space)
~ awareness to recognize where the seeds within us already are for bringing our own authentic expression of the blind spot into being. (iow, working with the blind spot instinct by discovering where it already exists authentically within us, and nurturing our own authentic expression of what is there)
~ we can only be truly aware of the undistorted instincts when we are present, and to the degree we're present
~ when we're present, we're listening to what the body needs moment to moment instead of making decisions based on our history and reactions
All three instincts manifest in one-on-one and intimate settings.
All manifest as flavors of love:
sp: building a nest, having a life together. it's easier to create a foundation together. wanting continuity, stuff you can rely on
sx: activation, immersion in the other. spark / fire / spice
soc: buddy, a person you can take on life with. helping each other do things, being "for" each other
~ each instinct can be distorted through slackness or through rigidity/overdoing
~ for each instinct, Russ described three arenas or "zones" (his word) that the instinct deals with. He said most people have stronger and weaker areas within each instinct, that very few people are strong in all three zones for a particular instinct, even their dominant one. I'll mostly use the word "areas" because I associate "zones" with hierarchical divisions and these are not hierarchical or progressive, just different.
~ obsessing about an instinct is not superior to overlooking it
It was mentioned that many people who thought they were soc-last, later find out they are soc-middle or soc-first once they actually understand the instinct. Social instinct is not about "liking to be in groups" or liking to socialize.
It's worth repeating that we do experience even our blind spot instinct. So when you read through the notes about each individual instinct, don't assume something's wrong just because you KNOW that's your blind spot and yet your experiences don't quite match. Stack is a weighting of how much attention and ego activity gets directed around the matters pertaining to each instinct. No one is completely devoid of any of the instincts.
Keep in mind that a person who has a particular instinct dominant in their personality does not necessarily express all the characteristics of the unfixated instinct. For instance, depending on the person, an ego distortion of the soc instinct might cause a soc-first individual to be preoccupied with excluding people or gatekeeping, whereas the undistorted instinct is very accepting and cooperative. Another example, also on soc instinct, is that an ego distortion depending on type) might cause a soc-first individual to try and squelch individuality in an attempt to achieve a "smooth" group dynamic; whereas the undistorted instinct is interested in who you really are and supportive of individuality. So if a characteristic in the list strikes you as "wtf??", maybe consider whether it might have to do with the difference between the natural instinct vs. the ego distortion.
In our blindspot instinct, we tend to feel perpetually like little kids, feeling unable to handle things in that area, putting ourselves down "I'll never get it together" in that instinct. Try to notice the ways in which you already do handle some aspects of the blind spot successfully. Find where you're already doing your blind spot instinct and doing it well, and start from there.
Also, in our blind spot instinct there is a tendency to procrastinate. Maybe we even feel the impulse of that instinct, but we put off acting on it. Again, bringing attention is a good place to start.
~ "life tries to have life in abundance"
~ conserves energy a lot (contrast with sx spending) - noted that most wild animals spend a large amount of time resting / even so, the sp instinct knows how much is enough, and when rested enough will get up and do other things
~ "the journey toward a sense of wellbeing"
~ kind attentiveness to ourselves
~ concern about resources, having enough/fear of scarcity
~ safety/security, comfort, back-up plans
~ awareness of "chronos" time (clock time, quantitative time); "crisper about deadlines"
~ time as a resource: how you use it, accounting for it
~ when rigid or anxious about this instinct, there can be a sense of chronos time being scarce, time always running out
~ when sp is dominant, one-on-one relationships emphasize someone to nest with, build a castle with; long term relationships common due to focus on stability. sp is realistic about commitment, not going with every whim of feeling. the ability to look back and say "look at what we've built/created together" -- things are taken care of and now we can enjoy it; cozy. endurance in relationship builds love and trust
~ one distortion is go-go too much, another distortion is lethargy. if you attend to the body's messages, either of these will correct itself.
~ sp-dominant tend to feel self-contained and place higher value on privacy
~ a danger for sp-first is to remain fearful/limited/stuck in a rut
~ health and wellbeing: physical needs such as hunger, fatigue; noticing what the body feels like after one thing or another
~ practical know-how / finances, work / establishing your practical foundation in life / attention to what needs to be dealt with
~ domesticity and nesting, making home a nice place to be
~ spends energy a lot (contrast with sp conserving)
~ "intelligence of the evolutionary process" / the drive to evolve / the sx instinct is what "attracts us to go beyond what's comfortable for us"
~ doesn't care about comfort; makes us leave the comfort zone to explore new things
~ throwing caution to the wind and going for it
~ attraction: what we're attracted to and what we attract / magnetism (and its opposite, repulsion)
~ display/showing off to get the other interested
~ on the most refined level, sx is the fuel for choosing to grow/evolve (e.g. inner work)
~ Russ differentiated between "liking" or "being inspired" vs. being "turned on"/aroused. the sx instinct is about turning-on/arousal. (my comment, think about the irresistible pull implied by "magnetism")
~ when we are tuned into the sx energy, we're more aware of the energy itself (e.g. the sense of arousal) than "the relationship" / a sense that the energy is pushing us into certain behaviors / sense of being compelled toward something (again, the flip side of this is revulsion, being compelled away from something)
~ sx makes you feel more alive, vigorous
~ awareness of "kairos" time - sense of it being the right time for something in a qualitative sense
~ fear is of not "getting to something" (climax, literally and figuratively), restlessness, sense that your life is, or needs to be, moving toward some kind of climax
~ a danger of sx-first is going out of control, "flaming out"/volatility
~ "edge" - exploration, pushing the envelope, risk. can involve aggression (the energy of hunting)
~ broadcasting, charisma, display (pouring out the energy) / think of animals doing the dance/spread/strut to attract the other gender
~ fusion - total involvement, enjoyment of completely losing yourself in whatever it is -- a person, a pursuit, etc.
~ ability to adapt behavior
~ beginning place of altruism (as animals became more complex, the young needing longer care, a need arose for an instinct that could override sp to ensure the survival of one's children even if one's own life goes)
~ soc is subjectively experienced as caring ("giving a damn")
~ play (for fun) (or flirting in case of romantic play)
~ acceptance, interested in who others really are
~ soc decides what we say "yes" vs. "no" to socially, it's how we read situations and people and decide where to invest
~ soc brings a certain humility because of the sense of interdependence. less overestimating the relative importance of one individual self
~ most communication is soc (except for territorial (sp) and mating (sx))
~ awareness of the other (compare with sx awareness of the energy between two people, soc brings awareness of the other as themselves, as a person in their own right) and of how one's self and the other are affecting each other
~ cited a study in which the biggest factor for longevity was friendship
~ bonds between species (e.g. humans and pets) are examples of soc instinct
~ one way of looking at all the major spiritual teachings are as an expansion of the soc instinct; ultimately, including all life within the soc instinct's movement toward win-win
~ under ego distortion, the soc instinct is involved in war, group dominance - though those are soc in combination with sp (survival/greed) and/or sx (competition). straight-up/undistorted soc instinct is always win-win.
~ reading people and adapting behavior
➙ sp wants other stuff to adapt to the self; soc is willing to adapt self in light of others' needs
as an example, suppose you feel the room is too hot and you see a thermostat on the wall. sp just turns down the thermostat, but soc gauges others' temperature - if everyone else in the room is dressed lightly, soc does not turn down the thermostat.
~ bonding, affiliating, communicating / creating connection
➙ attraction is sx, but creating and maintaining bonds/relationship is soc
marriage is primarily soc
~ contribution and participation.
➙we're wired to contribute. regardless of stack, self-esteem suffers when we feel we have nothing to contribute or what we contribute isn't wanted or doesn't matter.
➙ valuing each others' contributions falls in the soc area as well.
When soc is the blind spot:
~ opportunities to be with others are seen in terms of "what will it cost me". Can be a feeling of not caring, of being excessively selfish.
~ talking to self, may be really talking to self even when ostensibly talking to others, interrupting
~ always a feeling of not having made one's contribution even when one actually is contributing