Mindfulness is a key
development strategy for individuals and leaders in their quest to cope, thrive
and compete in a fast-paced, agile world – and yet mindfulness practices, such
as meditation, may not come easily to some of us! Casper Oelofsen offers
specific strategies to overcome the hurdles experienced when practicing
mindfulness techniques, for each Enneagram type.
The very important
question raised is: Do you want to focus better on that spreadsheet, in those
important meetings or to be more present with the people in your life? Easy! We
have heard that meditation is the key to finding an inner focus and calmness
which permeates through us into our environment and interactions with others…
But if sitting down and focusing on your breath is all it takes to gain this
focussed attention and live life more in the moment, then why aren’t more of us
No matter what your Enneagram type, there are
powerful benefits, such as…
1 = Experience the bliss of letting go
2 = Spending time/energy with Self
3 = Realising the benefits of Being
4 = Feeling grounded
5 = Realising the wisdom of/in a direct experience
6 = Experiencing the safety in Feeling/Being
7 = Realising the excitement/joy/opportunity in the ordinary
8 = Experiencing the strength of not being in control
9 = Getting in touch with the harmony within
Based on his own
experience and research from over 10 years of mindfulness based interventions
in the Corporate World, Casper has found that by understanding what is blocking
you from ‘finding your backside in the meditation seat’, allowing you to accept
this barrier rather than push against it, takes you to a realisation of ‘I can
do this’. In his programmes on Mindful Leadership, Casper uses a combination of
the Enneagram and Mindfulness based applications with great success and he has witnessed
and measured significant positive changes in the EQ levels of participants.
Casper describes mindfulness
as “experiencing the exquisite vividness of this moment, non-judgementally”.
What most of us do, however, is unconsciously avoid being present as we’re
making sense of the past and planning for the future. Could it be that life
feels like it is racing past us because we are not paying attention? Meditation
is for the brain what the push-up exercise is for the body. It is the ‘Mother
Tool’ of awareness to allow for the ability to pause and reflect. It helps you
to ‘anchor’ into the now.
Claudio Naranjo’s reflections on
way of experiencing no-body or no-thing
personality / our type
1st step of experiencing who
we really are
is a meeting point between 2 people with transparency
is also a meeting point between 2 people: the real self and the idealised
assist us in meeting the other without losing the self or seeing the self in
it’s not a one size fits all for all types…
Enneagram as a self-awareness experience and coupling this with mindfulness
practices, Casper brings the art of meditation into the grasp of every Enneagram
“When an individual
has an increased ability to respond (rather than react) it becomes much easier
to apply the Enneagram wisdom, for example, the lines of integration are easier
to access. The wisdom of the Enneagram only gets unlocked when we can “catch”
ourselves (re) acting out our auto-pilot Enneagram type behaviours. Only after
we have caught ourselves do we have the ability to have the choice to access
other Enneagram lenses and respond accordingly”.
– Casper Oelofsen
hurdles, remedy and allies of each Enneagram Type brings an awareness of where
you or your clients may be getting stuck and what strengths you are equipped
with to really submerge yourself in mindfulness practice.
The table below
highlights the hurdles, remedies and allies for each type.
Enneagram Type 1
One of the remedies is to normalise
and welcome critical thoughts….
Remedy (towards the imperfect)
Is this right? Values… Religion…
Impatience: “Am I doing this right?”
Over identifying with what's wrong and therefore
miss the present
Striving for perfection (which does not exist)
Fear of experiencing hidden anger
Create space for questions and discuss secular
Reminders: There is no right or wrong
Normalise and welcome impatience and critical
Discuss ‘Perfect’ vs ‘Good enough’
Prepare/Warn re the possibility of feeling anger
Breathe in: My next breath as it is.
Breathe out: My need for the right breath.
Clarity of focus and attention already developed
Idealistic concern for people and causes beyond
Self development is good for the world
Enneagram Type 2:
Relationships are key
for the Ennea 2, and mindfulness is in relationship to the self….
Remedy (towards self love)
Guilt for spending time on myself
Service comes first: I need to teach / help
others to do this?
Sitting for others
Difficult to sit with own feelings that arise
Anxiety when alone and becoming aware of a deep
unmet need of love
Allow permission to spend time with the self
Invite them to assist themselves:
How can I
help myself to do this?
Explain how this serves others:
me…..and therefore to the benefit of others
Experience feelings as feelings of the
Breathe in: My own breath. Breathe out:
Natural attraction to Love and Kindness
Generosity with care/ time / energy
Meditation is a relationship to the self and
others. Relationships is what life is about
Already gentle and kind hearted
Already very good listeners
Sense of worth comes from the self
Enneagram Type 3:
Welcome (rather than
compete against) old habits and explore new ones.
Remedy (towards the journey)
Linear thinking prevents meditation benefits
The goal is NOT to have a goal
Doing is the only form of progress
“Getting it slowly”……is not productive
How can I just be…me… sitting and breathing?
(losing the successful self image)
Explain outcomes / benefits of “being”
Explain the limitations of goals (driving in the
Define process as a result
Give regular reminders of patience. Again and
again (with patience)
Welcome (not compete against) old habits and
explore new ones
The automatic breath (I don’t
have to do anything).
Breathe out: Doing
They get things started……bum to the seat
Enough energy to accomplish something new
Optimistic and enthusiastic
Capacity for hard work
They are loyal to the self. If meditation is
what my self needs, I will do it…..
In the Corporate aspect the Enneagram 3 brought
the most challenges in getting to realise that mindfulness is not a linear
movement or direct experience to increase performance. Feedback from the 3s was
that by not being so focussed on the end goal, they could ‘see’ more.
Enneagram Type 4:
A hurdle is that ‘I
am my feelings and they change all the time, who am I then?
Casper finds it extremely helpful as a remedy to
give ‘The Guest House’ poem by Rumi to Fours.
Remedy (towards stepping back)
I am my feelings. (Who am I then?)
Difficult to observe (and not feel)
Continuous self referencing. Difficult to step
A need to always “fall into” deep process.
Feeling misunderstood when others can’t go that deep.
Seeking happiness through pain (enjoying the
suffering in meditation)
I am Casper, and currently I am experiencing….
Rumi - Guest House poem
Regular guided meditations, with lightness in
intervals. Dyads allow for referencing of others
Experience the ordinariness and yet beauty of
Ask them how “observing” their feelings can also
enable self development instead of “feeling” the feelings?
Breathe in: Beauty of the breath. Breathe
out: My feelings
Their creativity welcomes something new
Focused on the self
Already intuitive and connected to own and
Attuned to feelings and moods
Well developed emotional resonance
Fulfilled when in the present
Enneagram Type 5:
mindfulness is not from a distance, you are the experiment. Jump in and analyse
Remedy (towards direct experience)
I don’t need this. I am the king of observation
I have always been mindful (observing).
I will try this out (experiment first). No
I need more information / intellectual security
Confuse disengagement with objectivity
Observation in mindfulness is NOT from a
YOU are the experiment. Jump in and analyse
Information/Wisdom is hidden in the
Mindfulness replenishes on so many levels.
to charge your batteries you have to be plugged in.
Breathe in: Energy.
Breathe out: Isolation
Attracted to possible wisdom
Seekers of truth
Very perceptive. Natural ability to objectively
Fair and non judgmental witnesses
Ability to focus on the essence
Deep appreciation for solitude
Independence is their game
Enneagram Type 6:
“If you are not
confused, you don’t know what’s going on.”
Remedy (towards uncertainty)
Am I safe? Who is in the group and who leads
Will I be exposed (what is expected from me)?
Lack of certainty. How do I know this will work
Constant need for more information (more
Very busy mind / racing thoughts
Container building is extra important. Group
information and leader resume is crucial, beforehand (make use of emails /
Share the planned process / agenda / flow
beforehand (no surprises)
Get them to trust that even if this does not
work, they will be ok.
If you are not confused you don’t know what is
Normalise busy mind / racing thoughts
Breathe in: Trusting the in breath.
Breathe out: Fear of no next breath
Committed to commitments. Loyal to Sit &
Already trust their own inner world
Respect for ritual (law and order)
Cautious and realistic. Start slow….
Deep need to be in present
Enneagram Type 7:
This will remain
new. Every sitting is different, feelings don’t have rank, all feelings are
Remedy (towards boredom (feelings))
False starts. This is so exciting (because it’s
new), lets start!
Now that we have meditated, what is next? Not
willing to do the hard yards.
Ouch… Feelings other than joy just surfaced - I
Only trust excitement. Boredom…is this
it?...Let’s move on
Wow, there are so many opportunities with this.
Jump to the next.
They get swamped by their stories and miss the
realness of meditation
This will remain new. Every sitting is different
Feelings don’t have rank. All feelings are good
Boredom is a sign of something new…stay with it
Help them focus….back to the breath…..back to
the current opportunity
Breathe in: The new breath. Breathe out: Releasing the old breath
Keen for new opportunities / gifts
Visionary. Easy buy in to benefits
Advocates of growth
Childlike responsiveness to the NOW
Enneagram Type 8:
They can cut through the noise and get to the real thing
Remedy (vulnerability is strength)
I can do this, my way though.
Lets get on with this and don’t waste time
Frustration of no control. We are not getting
Huge discomfort with arising vulnerability
Physical discomfort and pain with sitting
Make sure they know this is NOT easy. Prepare
them for pain and vulnerability beforehand
The body breathes itself, even without our
Redefine vulnerability as a strength
Normalise (and welcome) pain and discomfort
No pain, no gain
Breathe in: Strength.
Breathe out: Control
Already self confident. I can do this
Healthy self image. I can face me
Comfortable with directness / honesty
They can cut through the noise and get to the
real thing (the breath)
Energised by challenges
Enneagram Type 9:
Easy to sit, but
slow/distracted to get there
Remedy (just do it)
If I can only get to the sitting… slow to sit
Distraction in and around sittings
Once they sit… peaceful… too easy, ”fall asleep”
Unreflective and diffuse activity for yourself
Need to run from possible inner disharmony
Create Routine & Ritual (Rinse &
Get your left brain in charge to get your bum on
Emphasize/Start with intention of sitting
Get a sitting buddy… peer pressure
Normalise and welcome disharmony
Breathe in: Breathing action of the body.
Breathe out: Numbness
Value peace and tranquillity
Intuitive sense for harmony… when things fit
Ability to let things unfold in their own way
(let the body breathe itself)
Open listeners with limited judgements (essence
Down to earth and no need to impress
More about the presenter
holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economic Science (University of Stellenbosch).
He is completing his post graduate course in Mindfulness based applications
(Faculty of Medicine at the University of Stellenbosch). He completed the
Coaching to Excellence course at UCT Graduate School of Business, a course in
Process Work facilitation for Transformational Leaders (University of
Portland in association with USB) Casper is one of the founding members of
is a registered member of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa), a
member of the Neuroleadership Institute based in Sydney Australia, a member
of the Institute for Mindfulness in South Africa (IMISA) and a member of The
International Regulator of Coaching (ICRM).
To get in touch, please visit the website at www.mindfulleadership.co.zaor
contact Casper directly at email@example.com
This article is based on a
presentation from the South African Enneagram Conference 2014, on “The
relationship between Enneagram Types and Mindfulness based practices” by Casper
Oelofsen. The original presentation review was written by Cherise Nortje in
collaboration with Casper Oelofsen.