FINDING OUT MY TYPE
makes me squirm
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QUOTE: “Always remember that it is your birthright and natural state to be wise and noble, loving and generous, to esteem yourself and others, to be creative and constantly renewing yourself, to be engaged in the world in awe and in depth, to have courage and to rely on yourself, to be joyous and effortlessly accomplished, to be strong and effective, to enjoy peace of mind and to be present to the unfolding mystery of your life.”
Don R. Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram (p. 41)
Essentially the Enneagram shows us how we CAN BE, at our best, as well as how we are – in our weaknesses. It is a merciful delusion-buster that opens us to the truth of our experience by the use of radical awareness and compassion.
• It is a Map of Wholeness. Its primary purpose is to study the universal Human Soul expressed in each of us, to connect us with what is deeper than our persona – legitimate but limited – and to that which does not come from our ego-fixations (weakness to be overcome).
• It is a “nature/nurture” system, with both social & genetic components to each Type, psychological templates tied to brain development as well as the influences of our environment, & so can be considered ‘programs’ or life-scripts. They also point to Carl Jung’s 9 psychological processes of consciousness & 9 distinct versions of the his Shadow archetypes, all of which makes the Enneagram a powerful system for self-understanding.
• The 9-point diagram gives us nine different sets of values & filters through which we can view the world, a way of describing inner experience as well as conscious self-image. But it goes deeper, indicating unconscious motivations as the source of thoughts, emotions & actions. It can help people recognize & expand the boxes they’re already in, & ultimately a way to dissolve those boxes.
• Although everyone has some aspects of all 9 numbers, we are each born as one basic type, with the others operating in the background to drawn from throughout our life. Based on this foundation we then develop a ‘passion / fixation / weakness’ as a reaction to our earliest experiences. This fixation governs our outlook & behavior until modified or corrected.
• The Enneagram symbol is an ancient form to describe the path of self-development. It can be traced at least as far back as the Greek mathematician Pythagoras (c. 500 BC), developed by Christian & later Sufi mystics (c. 500-1000 AD). It was re-introduced in the 20th cent, starting with the Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff (a controlling Type 8), the founder of an influential Inner Work school, who drew from Sufi tradition & focused on sacred dance.
• Then Oscar Ichazo, the South American student of ancient wisdom, formed the Arica School, updating the Enneagram by creating a system of Types using Gurdjieff’s ‘chief feature’ as a starting point. More recent writers, including Claudio Naranjo, Don R. Riso, Russ Hudson & Helen Palmer, have developed the Enneagram further, adding a psychological emphasis to its spiritual base.
The symbol is made up of :
A circle, representing the whole experience of life. It’s used as a Process when moving around the circumference, and as an Experience if taken as a whole, or as a Point in time. It speaks to the cyclical nature of change – death follows life, life follows death – with its progression through time
A triangle, dividing the ‘one’ into 3 parts, representing Processes that have internal intention & connection to each other. The points touching the circle (9, 3, 6) are where external energies provide the fuel needed to drive any process, including needed Change. It exemplifies the universal Law of Three (man-woman-child, Body-Mind-Spirit, the physical-emotional-intellectual body)
The Six straight Lines show the Processes which overlap & are coordinated. They are the ‘one’ divided by 7, which equals a repeating fraction* (.142857142…), not including the triangle points. Placing these decimals around the rim form the 6-line web showing the essential internal movement of the universe, & gives us the direction of our personal growth-work as we move around the outer circumference. The “missing” 7th line is the point in the center of the circle.
*The Enneagram has been associated with the invention of the decimal system.
We can say the Enneagram is:
● a mirror, reflecting the truth of who we really are,
● a map, guiding us toward growth and liberation, &
● a catalyst, speeding our journey of self-knowledge & transcendence.
NEXT: Enneagram Basics (Part 2)