The Nervous Truce, Ego & Upleveling
Wild Morning on Saturday, 6/11, will unravel 1.5 hours of movement and breath around the wheel of human motivators and stressors, also known as samskara, In yogic philosophy, samskara are mental impressions, recollections, or psychological imprints. Sure, I like a nice vinyasa, relaxed or even power yoga class at times, but I absolutely adore utilizing ancient techniques to face all aspects of modern adulting while embracing the samskaras / experiences that have gotten us this far in life. A class like this Saturday calls for a change of venue to the hayloft at Acorns Wild.
For years now, I've been fascinated with understanding the brain and personality. After all this time, one thing is most clear . . . . every moment of life is a scientific field experiment involving a human in its natural habitat that tests their own hypotheses.
"If we observe ourselves truthfully and non-judgmentally, we can wake up, and our lives can be a miraculous unfolding”. – Russo
More often that not, the test proves what is believed on some level. Yet, even more often, our tests disprove some beliefs entirely if evidence is thoroughly reviewed. Doing "The Work" with Byron Katie is a great place to gather your own evidence. This humaning scientific field experiment will unfailingly yield an objective measure of the chemistry of our inputs, and a rock solid conclusion of the experiment conducted as either an A or B kind of moment.
What happens as a child to the brain and psychological development to this smaller human version of us is formative, so say the least. We are not born with a fully developed brain, this is general knowledge.
This frontal lobe (right behind the forehead), also known as "home of our personalities or “Control Center”, has limited cognitive processes (emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors) from the earliest time we can remember on into our mid 20s. Heck, I experience these on some days still and I'm twice that old now. But for some reason, in my adolescent and teen years I thought I was just really good at making mistakes. I didn't know I was working with less "matter" that was actually feeding on experiences, interactions & learning for its development.
And that's not all, we all have a built-in primal response from fear or stress, which certainly gives a better chance at staying alive. This Limbic System or "Reptilian Brain", smack dab in the center of the brain, does not even consider consequences. It does the thing without knowing why it's doing it.
“Deep inside the skull … there is something like a brain of a crocodile . . . It is a major source of our moods and emotions, of our concern and care for the young. On the outside, living in uneasy truce with the more primitive brains beneath, is the cerebral cortex; civilization is a product of the cerebral cortex.” — Carl Sagan, Cosmos.
So we begin life experiencing our brain and body's response to things we don't understand and then start piecing things together to give meaning to it all, cause that's what we do. This is where personality (a combination of characteristics forming a distinctive character) is formed.
There are OH so many approaches to personality and I've been a fan of any of them that provided insight into strengths and weaknesses with clear means to increase my gifts. But many seemed missing key parts that left me longing for more useful application of my predisposed optimism toward world peace and collective joy. Then I met the Enneagram (originating LONG ago and formulized in Chile into the current system around 80 years ago) and EVERYTHING suddenly made perfect sense.
My making sense of EVERYTHING includes: logic, levels of mental and physical health, cosmology, religion (components of Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.), ancient greek philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, spirituality, transformational practices of human consciousness, instincts, numbers, symbols, ego structure and chakra development, I had landed in the "Full Circle" - the name of Saturday's class.
For me, the brain and all it's genius, which had a big hand in personality development and ego function, had a system on the OUTSIDE related to behaviors and actions, that gave a clear reflection on what and how it happened and what's happening now inside because of it. Really, the brain is a small part of the koshas (or layers of being in Ayurveda) that is intricately related to the totality of anyone's system.
"In essence, every person is perfect, fearless, and in a loving unity with the entire cosmos; there is no conflict within the person between head, heart, and stomach or between the person and others. Then something happens: the ego begins to develop, karma accumulates, there is a transition from objectivity to subjectivity; man falls from essence into personality.“ - Ichazo.
There are 9 Levels within each "type", 3 Healthy, 3 Average and 3 Unhealthy. And they are ACCURATE as ****. I can see myself in more than one level on any given day or see myself upleveling or spiraling down in any given moment.
Thoughts, actions and behaviors can be seen objectively and with curiosity. Blame, shame and victimizing are really not possible within this system (though not long ago it was used by the Catholic Diocese to help the congregation determine their highest propensity for sin).
AH! And there it is for me, a real opportunity for world peace, collective joy AND everyone contributing their greatest gifts to the world . . . cause it's the Full Circle, every part of it experienced by every human now showing up as wholly complimentary.
“(Upleveling) is being more present and awake in our minds, hearts, and bodies. As we become more present, we become less fixated in the defensive structures of our personality and are more attuned and open to ourselves and our environment.” – Don Riso & Russ Hudson, Enneagram Institute,
The Enneagram Institute is one of my favorite sources to continue learning . . . once you start, you could examine and discover aspects of this system for at least 2 years before thinking you might know most of it. One of my greatest in-person teachers is Jaya Lalita, The Trust Coach. I splurged on some coaching with her because I simply couldn't resist her very truthful and compassionate wisdom. If you know Jaya, you know what I mean.
Quotes from Jaya run through my head randomly EVERY day. Here's 2 of my favorites.
In case you don't know about the Enneagram. You can take a free test at https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test. The test is going to take about 30 minutes. And remember to answer for what your closest go-to, NOT what you think you should want to do but really don't.
It will give you a number and this is your START, this is NOT THE ANSWER to world peace and limitless joy. That answer, of course, lies in doing the work of the Enneagram.
9w8 – Comfort Seeker
9w1 – Dreamer
8w9 – Bear
8w7 – Maverick
1w9 – Idealist
1w2 – Advocate
2w1 – Servant
2w3 – Host/Hostess
3w2 – Star
3w4 – Professional
4w3 – Aristocrat
4w5 – Bohemian
5w4 – Iconoclast
5w6 – Problem Solver
6w7 - Buddy
6w5 – Defender
7w8 – Realist
7w6 - Entertainer
Finally, we all know by now (well maybe most of us know?) that part of the work of helping our brains operate smoothly, increasing overall system functionality and showing up as the best version of ourselves (ego and personality) is boosted by meditation, yoga, healthy food, sleep & exercise. The National Library of Medicine published 11 studies examining the effects of yoga practice on the brain structures, function and cerebral blood flow. Collectively, the studies demonstrate a positive effect of yoga practice on the structure and/or function of the hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex and brain networks including the default mode network."
And for me, doing the work in yoga means showing up for my Kundalini practice, which takes me straight in (cause as a 7w8 Vata that's what works best for me) to the dark corners and blinds them with so much light I can't help but see the absolute, unbiased truth that leads to healing.
Sat Nam Loves,