Enneagram: Week 2
Type SIX: The Need for Security
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
SIXes have chosen an entirely defensive posture against their primal knowing, which was true and perfect Presence. Russ Hudson calls it “the quality of awakeness in which you can feel very directly this Presence all around you and within you that gives you an unshakable courage to take your place and walk your walk in the world.”  When SIXes lose the sense of resting in the full presence of God, instead of trustfully being held by Being they insist on forcing the issue. “I will assure it, I will prove it, and I will maintain it,” they say. They once held an image of an utterly reconciled and peaceful world, a safe and secure universe; yet instead of trusting it from Another, they try to manufacture it themselves by laws, authority, and structures of certitude (conservative religion, patriotic militarism, highly conceptual theories). Thus they have an ambivalent love/hate relationship with all authority.
Hudson explains that when SIXes lose presence, their passion or root sin of fear or anxiety begins to grow and their awakeness shifts to vigilance, then to watchfulness, hyper-vigilance, suspicions, and finally paranoia. “Their anxiety is awakeness without presence, [just as] fear is excitement without breathing,” Hudson says. He recommends breathing with the fear and anxiety, being with it as a signal of your own disconnection from the Presence. 
As in all the head types, a mental fixation feeds the passion and vice versa. A SIX may mentally decide that a certain look means their spouse wants a divorce. Hudson says, “Thinking that way keeps the anxiety going. To your nervous system, it’s as if those things are actually happening. When you’re a SIX, your life could be pretty good, but you’re telling yourself all the ways it could fall apart, so it feels like it’s falling apart. . . . SIXes get the sense that keeping myself keyed up like that will keep me on top of things. Fear becomes the false way I try to be with my wakefulness. I’m like a guard, trying to stay on duty, making sure my world doesn’t fall apart.”  Hudson calls this constant feeling of angst and anxiety “Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.” 
The pitfall of phobic SIXes is cowardice; the pitfall of counterphobic SIXes is taking foolish risks. All SIXes both overestimate and mistrust authorities. They feel weak, which can lead them to submit in a sort of blind obedience (Germany is a SIX country). But it also leads them to join other underdogs to find strength in common. The strong or orthodox group (like the Infallible Catholic Church or Biblical Inerrancy Churches) help them deny and overcome their personal insecurity. Counterphobic SIXes tend to be panicky. Before their fear-filled fantasies can gain power over them, they plunge into risky undertakings or rebel with the courage of despair.
The root sin of SIXes also has a positive side. SIXes are very loyal, cooperative, reliable team players, and in their own unique way usually quite humble. They are the work force of the world, and probably the most common number by far. Their friendships are marked by warmhearted and deep feelings. They do their utmost for the people they love.
As the SIX starts to breathe through the fear and anxiety, Hudson says, “the virtue of courage arises. It’s the courage to show up, to live in the truth, to stop hiding in our ego delusions and live in the living daylight of this moment, right where I am as who I really am and not make excuses.” The SIX must hold even their excuse making (i.e., their chickening out) “in compassion and see it and understand it, in the sense of letting it be illuminated. . . . Then like the little hobbit, Frodo, in The Lord of the Rings, they will take their stand and ask ‘What must I do?’ knowing with a true faith that nothing bad can happen ultimately because the victory is already won.”  Redeemed SIXes have found their true inner authority which allows them to trust in the benevolent universe and perfect Presence they once knew. Then their over-reliance on outer authority significantly lessens, but it is always a struggle for them. Love and be patient with your dear SIX friends. It is not easy to suffer such constant self-doubt.
Gateway to Silence:
Open me to love.
 Hudson, The Enneagram as a Tool for Your Spiritual Journey, disc 5.
Adapted from Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2001), 46-47, 131, 137.
Is the Enneagram new to you? Are you wondering, what is the Enneagram? How can the Enneagram help me? Which number on the Enneagram am I? Does the Enneagram work? This is just one post in a two-week series about the Enneagram. Click here for an introduction to the Enneagram and links to additional reflections and resources on the topic.