Welcome! I'm Ben, an Enneagram teacher based in the Boston area. I completed the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Training Program at the Enneagram Institute®, and I've been doing sessions professionally since October 2017. I received my B.A. in East Asian Studies at Bates College, class of 2017, and I spent a year studying in Kyoto, Japan, at Doshisha University.
How the Enneagram has helped ME
I sincerely believe that there is no knowledge more essential for the development of ourselves, the pursuit of happiness, the wellbeing of the planet, and the strength of our relationships to ourselves and each other.
Why, though? Well, my "home base" type is Six. As a Six, I often had intense anxiety as a child and teenager (anxiety is a universal human condition, but Sixes experience it most acutely and pervasively). I was afraid of everything. I was afraid of windows, the dark, nameless enemies, men with guns out to get me. Whatever. I could talk myself into being afraid of anything. I remember sleeping on my parents' floor once when I was fifteen, because I was terrified that something was going to happen to them. There was never any basis in reality for these fears, they were all just born out of the craziness in my head, yet I would convince myself my fears were rational. "People get shot every day, what makes you think you won't?" "Just because you don't know of anyone who wants to kill you, that doesn't mean there isn't somebody." What a thing to think! Imagine walking around like that all the time, terrified that people are out to get you.
That's the more extreme side. I also had anxiety about social situations, especially would-be relationships. I would talk myself into why such and such didn't like me, agonize about how long it took my crush to respond to my texts, and weave stories about why this was all happening. I convinced myself I was unattractive and not worth talking to, never mind the fact that I was always in loving social circles, that my friends would tell me about girls who liked me. But I never saw that, because all of my attention was focused on thinking about what could go wrong or how I was messing up. I also wouldn't trust myself: every time I had to make a big decision, I would stress over it, checking in with everybody I knew, questioning their answers, and then second-guessing myself some more. More than any other type, Six is about how we self-defeat. And that's what I did, over and over, sabotaging my own attempts at success by being unwilling to let myself feel successful and safe.
My work with the Enneagram is the only thing that helped me see that none of my fears were true. I can't remember a single time in high school when I was actually in danger, nor even when someone actually disliked me (not to the point of worrying about, anyway). Also, the first gift the Enneagram gave me was that I no longer felt crazy. I realized that there are millions of other people in the world who share my characteristic patterns... So maybe I was crazy after all, but at least I wasn't alone! The very fact of knowing that my fears were based in ego patterns was incredibly liberating. First of all, it meant I could finally start to learn that my fears were not true. The Enneagram provided that objective basis for me. Then, it gave me tools for what to do when I was under stress! It always involves getting grounded and seeing what the anxieties are really about, and then letting them go. Little by little, I learned to let go, and little by little, I learned to trust myself. Enough to feel confident in my ability to start a private business at age 22, anyway! Inner Work is an eternal process, but I have learned a lot in my years so far, and I'd like to share it in the hopes that others my age can get some freedom from their self-defeat during this crucial time of self-discovery and making our way in the world.
My journey that I described above was particular to my own experience. Nobody is going to have the exact same problems as anyone else, just as nobody will have the exact same gifts as anyone else. Even so, my particular sufferings were remarkably "6ish" in nature, and there are eight other basic forms of suffering, each one of which is fundamentally human; whether or not your "home base" type is 6, there will have been times where you experienced a similar feeling of angst, of not knowing what to do or what other people thought of you. Through my work with the Enneagram, I have become "fluent" not only with my own brand of suffering, but with the other types' as well, and I bring that knowledge to my sessions.