To get free, first you gotta see the cage you’re in (your personality type).
Here’s a mouthful: Enneagram. It means “9 drawing” but it’s Greek to us 😉
Yet every day we bump into these nine personality types. Soft bumps, hard bumps. When somebody’s got your goat, is it you? Is it them? Is it both? Get a clue with the Enneagram, which is rooted in ancient contemplative wisdom and modern psychology.
As humans we develop a personality style to help us deal with the world and express ourselves. Our personality certainly does not express all of Who-We- Really-Are (each of us being a wondrous unique Essence like none other). But the personality is a useful structure that helps us cope effectively with physical life.
Each of the 9 types has a particular Habit-of-Mind. A distinct way of looking at the world, as if through personality-sunglasses. My sunglasses may be far different than my neighbor’s, making it hard to see eye-to-eye. We may disagree on what the world looks like. How safe is it, or not? Is it intrusive? Lonely? Vengeful? Melancholy? Never good enough?
As we mature, many of us begin to feel our personality growing tight, like a jacket we have outgrown. We start asking ourselves, why do I have this automatic reaction over and over again? Why do I have this ax to grind or this blind spot, but other people don’t?
Or perhaps we’ve spent years watching our partners or friends getting stuck in repetitive behaviors that don’t serve them. (Of course, we are a little stuck too, if we would take a look.) We all have outmoded defenses.
Working with the Enneagram helps us take off our straitjacket, little by little. We can breathe, we can heal, we can grow. We find ourselves with more compassion and more tolerance. We receive the balm of new understanding upon our relationships.
It helps immeasurably with our family life, our work life, our community life. It brings us stability, peace, happiness.
As we observe our personality structure, we are led to a deeper inner life. Enneagram combined with meditation helps us get in touch with our Essence and with the Source of all.
Okay. Let’s get practical with some resources. Terrific sites you will enjoy:
www.enneagramworldwide.com Helen Palmer & David Daniels
www.enneagraminstitute.com Russ Hudson
www.enneagramspectrum.com Jerome Wagner (free quick quiz)
www.azenneagram.com Arizona Enneagram Association
Questionnaires on the Web can help you decide which personality type you are. Most of them charge a fee, probably worth it. Many of us take several years to examine ourselves deeply enough to decide which personality we are. (BTW the Enneagram community suggests to look into yourself, but not try to tell anybody else what type they are, because this is about our inner motives. We ourselves are the only ones who know our motives.)
Years ago I designed the following brief quiz. It is not exhaustive, but it might get you started in the right direction. Check all the tiny boxes that apply to you. Whichever area gets the most marks might possibly be your personality style (the number in the colored ball). Click on the grid to enlarge it.
Some of your marked-up areas might indicate one of your ‘arrows’ or one of your ‘wings.’ What are those? Find out from websites above, the books and workshops available, or contact me and the Arizona Enneagram Association — they have a great seminar coming up November 7 – 9, 2014
Enneagram is an ever expanding adventure. It becomes an intricate orchestra of humanity. This is just one small post to whet your appetite. (See also my post, Step Out of the Box.)
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