WHAT IS THE ENNEAGRAM?
Series: The Enneagram
For the next few months we will be taking a deep dive into the Enneagram; what it is, how it is helpful and what your type might be. Whether you have never heard of the Enneagram or have been studying it for years, this will be a great place to deepen your understanding, pick up some tools and broaden your perspective.
I believe that Richard Rohr does an incredible job and introducing the Enneagram. He has been studying and writing about the Enneagram since the 1970s and is one of the few true experts. Here is an introduction to Enneagram adapted from the Center for Contemplation and Action’s teaching (where Richard lives and works).
Photo by Lukas Juhas on Unsplash
The Enneagram is a dynamic system for self-knowledge and spiritual transformation. It is a wonderful tool that can help us see and let go of the false self—which masks the image of God within us—and allow us to live from our True Self—the unique manifestation of Love that God intends us to be. It seems we are most defended against that which we most deeply know to be true, our original blessing. This ontological belovedness and okayness is hard to trust because this true mirroring has invariably been distorted, denied, or even betrayed. The Enneagram serves as a very helpful mirror to reveal our egoic habits that keep our authentic self from thriving.
Although the Enneagram is an ancient tool, with roots in the Desert Fathers and Mothers, it was neglected for centuries. I first learned about the Enneagram from the Jesuits who brought it to America during the early 1970s. The Jesuits discovered this tool for their gift of spiritual direction. It is used in “the reading of souls” to help people rediscover who they are in God. When used in conjunction with a regular practice of contemplative prayer, the Enneagram can be powerfully transformative. It can open us to deeper and deeper levels of understanding and insight, love and grace.
Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash
The Enneagram describes nine different personalities (View List Here), each of which covers a broad spectrum from “immature” to “mature,” or “compulsive” to “redeemed.” It is more about recognizing “energies” than it is about describing precise traits. People who know the Enneagram in a superficial way think it’s about putting people into boxes, but its real goal is to let people out of their self-created boxes. It makes us aware of our root sin,our passion, our particular trap or blindness that prevents us from experiencing reality holistically and honestly. These passions were called the seven “capital sins” by Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century, although predictably he missed the most common ones in Western civilization, which are fear and deceit. You can’t see as sin what you have idealized as virtue.
Freedom from our habitual trap comes through some in-depth experience of Love, be it a sudden overflowing, hitting the bottom and being lifted up, or the gradual opening through contemplative practice. At some point many people wake up and begin to realize, however tenuously, their own True Self, a one-of-a-kind reflection of God’s love in the world. There’s a part of us that has always been in union with God. Gradually we learn more and more to trust our deepest soul and draw our life from that Source. We learn how to live more consistently from this true identity of original blessing, who we are in God and who we will be through eternity. Then we know that any notion of heaven is not just later, but has begun here and now.
Schedule Your Enneagram Session with Matt Today!
Deeper Ministry – The Nine Types List
The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile
Enneagram Institute RHETI Type Indicator Test
Enneapp – A complete mobile Enneagram Guide
Center for Action and Contemplation Website
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert