January 20th, 2017
The Way of Growth: Uranio Paes
Meet Uranio Paes
I’m very pleased to post this special guest blog, the first of two parts, written by my good friend and fellow Enneagram teacher, Uranio Paes. In my book, The Complete Enneagram, I offer an updated definition of the Enneagram’s arrow lines. The arrow lines connecting the points of the Enneagram are a key feature of the system that defines one important way we can use these “connected points” to guide our growth. But within the larger Enneagram community, there is a great deal of confusion about what these lines and connected points mean and how we can best interpret them to further personal development.
When I experienced the incredible energy work Uranio is doing shortly after I published my book in 2013, I was very pleased to see that he uses the arrow lines and their connecting points in the same way I expressed them in my book.
In The Complete Enneagram, I built on the work of A. H. Almaas and Sandra Maitri, who implied that these connected points are more than being about where we “go” in a fixed way in “stress and security,” or “integration and disintegration.” (And by the way, I think the use of the word “disintegration” applied to the point ahead of the core type — with the arrow — is one of the most unfortunate terms to ever be promoted in the Enneagram work). Rather, these arrow-line-connected-points are developmental resources we can use in a specific way to consciously further our growth once we know our core type. Far from “disintegrating” when we go to the point ahead of our core point, I believe this point represents one of the key paths for consciously manifesting the higher self. While this movement can understandably involve stress, it also provides us with a means of becoming more whole.
In particular, I believe that with respect to the arrow lines, we must first go back (against the arrow) to the point connected to our type, to explore our relationship to that point and integrate its lessons and issues. We must do this before we move on to the point connected to our type in the direction of the arrow. In other words, we must go back before we can go forward. Uranio says something similar to this about the arrow lines and also with respect to our wings. Contrary to the idea that the wings define a kind of “wing subtype,” Uranio suggests that our wing points are best understood as points to be used in development—in a particular order.
You can read about my re-definition of the arrow lines on pages 35-36 in my book—and also in the third section of each of the type chapters, where I describe these two movements for each of the nine types. And if you are interested in learning more from Uranio and the amazing energy work he does, he will be doing a three-day workshop in the San Francisco area after this year’s IEA conference—and right after my 3-day subtype workshop— in early August. Go to my Upcoming Workshops page on this web site for more information!
Uranio’s Guest Blog: The Way of Growth Associated with the Enneagram’s “Wings” and “Arrow Line Points” (Part 1)
The meaning of the nine interior lines and arrows of the Enneagram diagram inspires interest both in those who already know the nine personality types and newcomers to the subject. The image created by the shapes of the inner triangle and “hexad” symbol understandably arouse curiosity, theories, and deep interest about what it is they symbolize. These arrow lines and points, together with the “external Enneagram,” the circle and the points around the circumference of the circle, make up the whole of this powerful and profound symbol.
But, how can we correctly and usefully understand the real meaning of the internal lines and arrows? How can we best understand the relationship between the main type and its “wings”? And how exactly can all of these elements help us in our personal growth?
This article is the first of two to be published here highlighting this important topic of the theory and practice of the Enneagram. (Note from Bea: And, for those who wish to deepen their felt experience of the integration paths of arrows, you can attend one of Uranio’s trainings that he offers in his native Brazil and around the world!)
The first important thing we need to understand is that the Enneagram is dynamic. Or, as Gurdjieff said: “To be understood, the Enneagram needs to be thought of as moving. A fixed Enneagram is a dead symbol. ” In other words, the Enneagram, which in Greek means “the drawing of nine,” must be seen not only as a nine-point static theory about personality descriptors, but to truly see what the enneagram symbol is all about, we must consider the relationships between the points. We do this by recognizing the meaning of the design and directionality of the lines connecting the points and by understanding and contemplating what is behind its different interior spaces.
To help communicate the meaning of the “arrow lines” connecting the points on the circumference of the circle, I developed a specific Enneagram-related definition of “personality” which recalls the importance of “drawing the nine”: “Personality is a resistance, or a contraction against, the wise and supportive movements offered by life, that invite us to follow the flow of energy from one point to another to expand and grow, using the arrows and wings of the diagram as a guide.”
Why do our personalities cause us to resist the positive flow of energy in our life?
For several reasons: 1.) we may have a fear of encountering our shadow material, behaviors and feelings we don’t want to see, but that we need to face in order to grow up; 2.) we may be attached and “fixed” to our central, deeply ingrained patterns of self-protection, or 3.) we may not be doing the inner work we were born to do and need to do to expand beyond our egos – often because growth and change naturally inspire fear.
So, if our personalities constitute an unconscious obstacle to our own growth and fulfillment, how can we stop resisting our own positive growth and align with the opportunities life provides us to develop our full potential? And how can we use the Enneagram to guide us in this exciting journey?
We can stop resisting and start moving with (instead of against) the natural course of our own growth path by taking conscious advantage of the positive movements indicated by the four points to which our core Enneagram points have more direct access: the two points connected by the arrow lines and our two wing points.
For example, we can see on the Enneagram diagram that for point nine, the two wings are eight and one, and the two arrows lines connect to three and six. As for the Four point, the two wings are Three and Five, and the two arrow lines connect to points One and Two.
When I am talking about resisting or facilitating growth, I want to emphasize the word “positive” in describing these four connected points. This is because we all have the tendency to focus on or act out negative aspects of these other four points. As part of the defensive activity associated with our core Enneagram point, we can often manifest the more unconscious and less developed aspects of these connected points.
And when I say “positive,” I want to be clear that I do not mean “easy” or “painless.” This is because many of the positive and necessary growth movements associated with our wing and arrow-line points play a role in taking us out of our comfort zones. And some of these movements go well beyond simple forward momentum in our development. At times, “moving to” or experiencing the energy of our wings and arrow line points can lead us to reconnect with important memories, emotions, and sensations that are not pleasant — so we can reprogram them and overcome them.
An example of this is that, when we experience the point our core point is connected to that is against the the arrow line, we more easily get in touch with our inner child, with all its resources and essential truths, painful feelings, and growth shocks. Sometimes experiencing the point along the line that is connected against the arrow reveals very important themes that need to be consciously confronted and processed and integrated, be they based on real traumatic events or subjective perceptions.
As many people have observed, it is common to access one wing more than the other wing. But contrary to the idea that this wing represents a static list of personality traits that colors the core point, my sense is that this tendency reflects the fact that we often have access to one wing more than the other. However, it is important to understand that this reflects a kind of dysfunction or imbalance, which can be consciously worked with to support growth.
It may be, for example, that a person with the core type of point Eight has more access to point Seven (the Eight’s forewing) and point Two (the point connected against the arrow). For this person, it becomes important to train herself to access (more consciously) the wing point of Nine and the arrow line point of Five. For another Type Eight person, the situation may be reversed – this person may have more ready access to types Nine and Five and so this person may more usefully adopt the intention of consciously manifesting the positive qualities of Type Seven and Two. That is, some of these points may be especially important for us learn to access with awareness, depending on our history, our current situation, and what our challenge of the moment is in life.
Moreover, in my view, the most promising movement to be invoked in the wider work of personal growth follows a certain specific order. In the case of wings, I believe we all must first access the forewing (the wing just before our core point), then the posterior wing (the wing just after our point). In the example of type Nine, this would imply that a person should seek to consciously access point Eight first, as her initial growth task, and then access point One, after work has been done to integrate point Eight.
And in the case of arrows, the most promising order for growth is first accessing the contrary arrow (the point connected to the core point against the arrow and then accessing the arrow ahead of our core point (in the direction flowing with the arrow). In the example of type Four, this would mean consciously accessing point One first, and then going back to the Four, doing work to integrate point One there, and then moving on to consciously access point Two.
To better illustrate this path of arrows, here is an early example involving the Enneagram Type One. The One personality is very self-controlled, self-critical and focused on being “right.” By accessing Point Seven, (sometimes called the “heart” point or the “security” point), the Type One has the opportunity to relax and have fun, things that may be difficult for the highly controlled, hard-working One. By consciously accessing the Seven point, this One may also be able to become more flexible, curious, innovative, spontaneous, and humorous – a very good thing for someone who tends to be more serious.
However, the path of arrows also provides another point that can be usefully accessed for conscious development, another movement that can add flexibility to the Type One outlook: the point Four. By consciously accessing point Four, this Type One person can access emotions and express what they “want” to do based on their deeper longings – not just what they “should” do. By doing this, this person’s life can also acquire greater meaning and emotional depth, providing relief to the habitual One self-control around impulses and emotions.
These moves are both important steps in the growth of those whose focus of attention is shaped by the usual standards of the type One. And it is important to see that the move to Four would be much more difficult—and even unsustainable—without having first accessed the Seven point in a meaningful way. That is, the seven spot (the opposite—against—arrow) opens the way and acts as a sort of prerequisite and support to accessing the Four point (the arrow in favor or with the arrow).
In the next post, we will discuss the best moves for the arrows of all other types. For now, I believe it is important to understand, more generally, that the two points to which our type is connected with inner lines and arrows of the Enneagram diagram are two very important resources for our growth. And, ideally, we need to access them consciously in a specific order to further our growth – first the point against the arrow, and (necessarily) second, the point connected to the core point in the direction of the arrow.
Finally, I will address another common question for students and scholars of the Enneagram: What is the difference of the way of arrows and the way the wings?
There are many things to be said about this, but I will restrict myself in this first piece, to address one aspect that I find very central and almost never explained.
In my view, the path of the wings is a more gradual movement, while the path of the arrows is more radical, or more revolutionary. Accessing our “fore-wings” (before the core point) and then accessing our “hind-wing” (after the core point in numerical order) is easier than accessing the point connected to our core point against the arrow and then (later) making the move to access the point with the arrow.
This is because the motion along the circle of the diagram follows the rhythm of life and nature. Although this movement of the wings already represents a large growth potential, it occurs in a step-by-step fashion that is a bit easier to assimilate. The path of the arrows produces a more rapid and radical transformation, a process that can be understood as alchemical. This is because the inner lines of the diagram are like shortcuts or more powerful levers through which to activate our growth processes.
In summary, the path of the wings is the path of inner evolution. And the path of the arrows is the path of inner revolution.
Is one kind of development better than the other?
My answer is that it depends on the moment and the possibilities for growth that are available to a given person in a given moment. For example, someone who has already prepared enough with techniques of self-observation and inner work and whose life is “demanding” rapid change, is likely to adopt the path of arrows. Meanwhile, someone who is in a moment of “overdose” of interior work that they have already done and has already undergone recent major changes in life, can perhaps more usefully access the path of the wings to grow. And in general, someone who is just starting a journey of development might benefit from the slightly more conservative approach of first adopting a strategy of following the path of the wings.
And you? At what point are you? Your time is evolution or revolution? What is your next step?
Uranio Paes is an internationally recognized Enneagram teacher and organizational consultant. He has worked with thousands of people in organizations and groups, particularly in Latin America. He teaches the Palmer/Daniels Enneagram Professional Training Program in Brazil, Spain, and Portugal. He served as the IEA (International Enneagram Association) president in 2008 and 2009 and is a Senior Member in Enneagram in Business network.