The Enneagram is a precious gift
to humanity at a time of great need.
Working with the Enneagram is a practical and powerful way to awaken, realize, and actualize our human potential, revitalize our personal relationships, and clear the path for each of us to contribute to the evolution of a better world.
"No problem can be solved from the same level
of consciousness that created it." ~Albert Einstein
The Enneagram (ANY-a-gram) is a system of nine personality types arranged in a specific order around a geometric "enneagram" figure. "Ennea" is the Greek word for nine, and the word "enneagram" simply means a circle with nine equidistant points connected by interior lines. Unlike other personality typologies, the nine Enneagram types are interconnected and
together, they form a whole picture, a dynamic illustration of human
Each of the types represents a survival strategy for getting our basic human needs met within the context of our family and society. Although we use all of them from time to time, everyone favors one of these strategies above all the rest; this becomes our default worldview, social role, and way of operating in the world. These strategies run the gamut from relatively benign to seriously harmful (see The Nine Types for more about this), but basically they all represent business as usual-- we rarely question them, although we often complain about them!
Our dominant personality type is who we THINK we are,
not who we REALLY are.
The fact that we are much more than our dominant personality type makes intuitive sense. In our secret hearts we know how complicated and contradictory we really are, despite our efforts to present a particular, consistent image to the world. Most of us also have a sense that there is something more, that we could be bigger somehow: stronger, more peaceful, more loving, more satisfied.
The Enneagram is about remembering and integrating our wholeness, not putting people in a little box. In fact, any time we feel "stuck" in our life, we've put ourselves in a little box! The fact is we're really stuck in our habitual personality and being any other way is literally unthinkable. It just doesn't arise as a possibility.
The Enneagram opens the door to possibilities we never knew to dream. To offer myself as an example, for most of my life I have been shy, self-conscious in public, and petrified of any sort of public speaking. This is still my habitual self-image (and I still get pretty nervous) even though the truth is that I am also friendly and articulate, and if I have something important to say, I really like being the center of attention!
Understanding my Enneagram type (Four, the Individualist) sets me free: not only by helping me be kinder to myself about my self-consciousness (it's just part of the territory and not anyone's fault), but also by giving me the courage to actually DO what I had always been convinced I couldn't do. Taking action contrary to my type's habit always generates new possibilities and clears away the melancholy that settles in when I allow fear to restrict my heartfelt contribution to the world.
Understanding other people's Enneagram types sets them free too. Just like we do to ourselves, we tend to put others in a little box labeled "who I think you are," and quite often, "who I need you to be." We are rarely open and curious about who is actually here right now, what they are really thinking and feeling. We want to be able to rely on people to be the strong one, the peaceful one, the loving one, or the reliable one (for example), especially if we don't feel up to that task. Sometimes we unconsciously "project" our own dark side onto others, seeing someone else as the intimidating one, the lazy one, the selfish one, or the irresponsible one (for example), which makes us feel better in comparison.
The Enneagram reveals our common humanity,
the best and worst of us. Believe it or not, this is good news!
Why is this such good news? Because a felt sense (in body, heart, and mind) of our common humanity is absolutely essential to getting everyone out of their little boxes and into real relationship with each other. We can quit playing the unwinnable game of who's right and who's wrong, who's better and who's worse, who's healthy and who's unhealthy (and the modern favorite: who's more "spiritually evolved") and just show up as we are, with the humble knowledge that it could change at any moment.
Awakening to a higher consciousness is not only possible, but inevitable, when we are willing to observe our Enneagram type patterns with as much kindness and curiosity as we can muster, no matter what we are feeling or what is happening. We know our efforts are working when something fresh, unexpected, and positive arises in ourselves or the other person. In these grace-filled moments we realize that a block that seemed intractable has dissolved in the light of our growing awareness that we are all doing the best we can.
Real change in consciousness must start at home,
in the center of our own being, and spread outward from there.
This is the purpose of the Enneagram.
To learn more, please have a look around my website. The Nine Types page invites you to begin your inner explorations. About Jenny tells you a bit more about my orientation toward this work and lists my qualifications. The Spiritual Mentoring page explains how we do individual work and the Current Schedule page tells you what classes and events are coming up next. Finally, the Testimonials page says better than I can how this work touches people and changes their lives for the better. Happy Exploring! Also please check out www.enneagraminstitute.com where you will find a wealth of high-quality information on all aspects of the Enneagram.
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