Poetry and the Enneagram
Just as study of the Enneagram can lead us to a new understanding of ourselves, so too can imbibing a perfectly crafted poem bring us into contact with our deepest gifts and our thorniest of flaws: the impact we make in the world or our retreat from it; the way we engage love deeply, or in contrast close down our hearts; the manner in which we cope with adversity in life or flee from it.
There are three things extremely hard: Steel, a Diamond, and to Know One’s Self.
~ Ben Franklin from Poor Richard’s Almanac
~ ~ ~
Without Beauty, Art, Music, Drama, Literature and Belief, how can the emotional life of mankind ever be lifted?
~ Dr. Maurice Nicoll, G.I. Gurdjieff student and Teacher
~ ~ ~
What is dark in me illume; what is low raise and support.
~ John Milton, Paradise Lost
How we, as unique individuals 'be,' that is, fit into this cosmic scheme is, and has been, the impelling question our species has pondered since the dawn of time. Biblical Job asked it as did Shakespeare’s Hamlet and, in our own era of expanding scientific knowledge, so too do particle physicists.
These core human concerns permeate both our work with the Enneagram and our engagement with great poetry. The Enneagram is a tool for bringing order out of the stunning complexity of human behavior; the great poem likewise brings order out of the chaos of our thoughts, and feelings, and biologic drives. Czeslaw Milosz, towering Twentieth century poet, said this of poetry’s capacity to help us see once again with a kind of beginner’s mind: In a way poetry is an attempt to break through the density of reality into a zone where the simplest things are again as fresh as if they were being seen by a child.
In spite of things silently gone out of mind, and things violently destroyed, the poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society as it is spread over the whole earth and over all time.
~ William Wordsworth