The Enneagram is a catalyst for
spiritual awakening and a guide
to living a soul-centered life.
Which still might not tell you what it is, exactly.
So let's start here:
The Enneagram (ANY-a-gram)
uses a personality typology as a doorway to the
deepest truths of soul and spirit: who we are and why we are here. The usefulness of understanding type is that it reveals what it looks like when we are NOT awake to Truth: all the ways we get lost, stuck, blocked, scared, and confused, causing ourselves and others unnecessary suffering.
Enneagram wisdom is both ancient and modern, personal and universal, and not associated with any religion or belief system. Its purpose is to awaken humanity and facilitate our evolution as a species, and it works through individuals and groups who are willing to seek, know, and live into the truth of who they really are and what they are here to do.
Basic Structure of the Typology:
The root word "ennea" means "nine," and "enneagram" refers to a circle with nine interconnected points. Each personality type is located at one of the nine points, and related to each of the others and to the whole in particular ways.
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, but basically they all represent business as usual-- we rarely question them, although we often complain about them!
Important: No type is better or worse than any
other. Each type represents a continuum of attitudes and behaviors that range from healthy to unhealthy. We each have one dominant type as our "home base," but all nine
types exist within each of us to varying degrees.
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. Understanding that our Enneagram type strategy is a habit, not a necessity, sets us free to claim a more expansive and flexible way of being in the world.
Understanding other people's Enneagram types sets them free too. Without realizing it, we tend to do the same thing to others that we do to ourselves. We put them in boxes labeled "who I think you are" and "who I need you to be." Even with people we love dearly, we are rarely open and curious about who is actually here right now, what this person is really thinking and feeling.
We want to be able to rely on certain 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 being that ourselves. 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 (and gets us off the hook so we don't have to work on ourselves).
In any case, none of these "selves" or identities or personality types describe what a human being really is. The Enneagram of Essence (below) comes a lot closer to the truth of the spiritual reality that our souls long for and that each personality type is trying to imitate.
The normal human tendency toward self-limitation and self-fragmentation keeps us disconnected from our Essence as it manifests in both soul and spirit, anxiously focused on basic survival, ego insecurity, and relationship drama instead of doing the hard, joyous, and generous work of living into our callings.
I believe that a collective awakening is well underway, which gives me hope even when each day's news seems to be worse than the day before. We have more tools and practices and healers and teachers readily available than ever before in history, which just might help a critical mass of human beings wake up and turn the tide toward a sustainable future. As Einstein knew, we must shift to a higher consciousness before we can create a shift in the material world.
"No problem can be solved from the same level
of consciousness that created it." ~Albert Einstein
Luckily, 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. We know our efforts are working when something fresh, unexpected, and positive arises in ourselves or another 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 so much more than we've been taking ourselves to be.
Each time we experience one of these little miracles, it gives us the courage to keep going and learn more. Before we know it, we are healing our childhood wounds, letting go of unhealthy patterns, expanding our sense of who we are and bringing our life into ever-greater alignment with our soul and the Source of all life, call that Spirit or God or any name you like. As we grow in health and wholeness, we become conscious agents of human evolution, without which our beloved planet Earth, and all her creatures, doesn't stand a chance.
If you are suffering, feeling desperate, or maybe just kind of blah or spiritually empty, know that's where most of us begin this kind of work. The suffering will crack our defenses, open our hearts and minds, and make us teachable, if we let it. (If we don't, it will stay the same or get worse, as you may have already discovered.)
Suffering comes from refusing the call of the soul to step into our purpose. If that's you, please contact me. Join me and countless others walking the heroic walk of personal, collective, and planetary transformation, to which the Enneagram is inviting and guiding us, as far and as deep as we're willing and able to go.
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 Classes and Events page tells you what group events are coming up. Finally, the Testimonials page says better than I can how this work touches people and changes their lives for the better. 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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