I just spent the weekend in an advanced Enneagram workshop with two of the most spiritually influential people in my life.  The Enneagram, in brief, is a system of personality typing which helps us to become aware of our habits of thinking and acting.  The premise in this system is that if we become consciously aware of our patterns then we do not unconsciously act them out over and over again.  Instead, through awareness, we are able to choose our actions.  In doing The Work, as it is called, we start to live more authentically and freer from our compulsivity.  As a One on the Enneagram I am prone to perfectionism and judgement of self and others. Becoming aware of it through work in the Enneagram and yoga has allowed me moments of clarity, through which I am able to function consciously in the world.  I become able to know that judgement may be functioning but it doesn’t have to define my whole experience.   Yesterday, I questioned one of the workshop facilitators, who also happens to be my long time yoga teacher, how the Enneagram fits with the philosophy of yoga.  She commented that, as a non-dual system, the Enneagram asks us to honor the dualities of life (good and bad, sadness and joy, darkness and light etc) as part of our human, embodied experience. She explained that when dualities are in a useful relationship to one another a third force is revealed.  This third force is Grace or Spirit and is the simple Isness of life.    She commented that working in the non-dual practice of the Enneagram with the compulsion of the One toward judgement does not mean eliminating judgement.  In a dualistic system which seems to be predominant in the self help culture of our time judgement would be seen as a negative quality to be eliminated through various techniques.  In dualism, one might say,  I would be seeking to purify myself of judgement.  In the non-dual tradition judgement is simply seen as part of the human experience.  I can notice judgement, know it, even honour what it has to offer.  Then I would bring the opposite experience of non-judgement in to my awareness in order to nourish it.  In holding both experiences I am lead to a deeper experience of the fullness of my humanity.  Nothing repressed or denied, nothing aggrandized or overvalued.  In this fullness is Grace, Spirit and the simple Isness of life.
As  I descended to my teachers basement to set up for my class with her I suddenly felt a wave of emotion come over me.  I realized that at a very deep level I had associated Grace and Spirit with non-judgement and I also knew that I would never be completely free of judgement.  What this meant is that I would never be in the light of Grace, that I would never know Spirit.  Of course, at a cognitive level I knew this to be false.  But yesterday, the knowing birthed in my heart and I wept in relief knowing that I could be who I am, and it is BECAUSE of who I am not DESPITE who I am that Spirit is available to me.I often ask my students to invite all of themselves onto the mat.  I have a deeper understanding of what this means now.  Today, whatever your spiritual practice might be, can you bring all of you to it?  Can the practice be a way to honor your fullness rather than purify yourself of what you’ve labelled undesirable?  Can you know, in the deepest part of yourself, that you are Loved in all of your humanity, and rest there, even for a moment?  I’d love to hear about it….