The Three Instincts (Subtypes) Workshop® in Austin TX
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The Three Instincts (Subtypes) Workshop
Our instinctual nature, while extremely powerful in our decision-making processes, lifestyle choices, and orientation to day-to-day reality, is often given little emphasis in many spiritual paths, and the Instincts are often treated as an inherent problem—a distortion to be eliminated. This is understandable since this part of our nature is usually little interested in our spiritual or psychological development. Yet, without a clear and viable relationship with this aspect of our souls, it is extremely difficult to maintain an integrated approach to our path.
The Enneagram deals very directly with this aspect of the Self through teachings about the Three Instincts—Self-Preservation, Sexual (Attraction), and Social (Adaptation). Seminal ideas about the three Instincts go back at least as far as Gurdjieff’s teachings about the Centers and have equivalents in other spiritual traditions. In recent years, many Enneagram students have discovered the explanatory power of seeing how their instinctual bias operates in combination with their dominant Enneagram type. Learning how their type plays itself out through one of these Instincts can be as exciting as when we first learn about the Enneagram.
In this Workshop, we will first clarify and deepen our understanding of the Instincts, seeing them at work in our personal experience. Of great importance will be understanding the Blind Spot (or weak Instinct) and how not paying attention to it keeps us in a state of emotional imbalance. For many, leaning into the understanding of the Blind Spot creates room for deep emotional healing. In addition, the dominant instinct will be understood from the standpoint that when we are under stress we are habitually taken out of presence by the addictive power the dominant instinct can wield, limiting our ability to perceive reality accurately. Thus we will see how our particular instinctual “stack”—the way we prioritize our basic human needs and values—is the pattern that most keeps us locked in the repetitive habits of our personality. (One of the quickest ways to unlock the power of our Emotional Passion and Mental Fixation of our type is to understand and work on the imbalance in our Instincts.) Recognizing the way we give energy to certain needs while neglecting others brings balance and helps us integrate the deeper experiences of Essence and Being that we may have had. Without such Inner Work, even profound experiences of Spirit and Oneness cannot affect our lives the way they could.
The Workshop will employ experiential dyads and triads, meditation, movement work, and music to help participants recognize the ways that these patterns express themselves in their lives. We will also explore concrete ways in which to bring greater balance in our approach to our instinctual life. Our approach is relaxed and conversational, with an emphasis on the development of our capacity to remain in Presence.