In Part I and II of “Who Are We and Why Are We Here? Meet Your Personality” we examined secular and spiritual versions of personality profiling, including Myers Briggs, several versions of the Four Temperaments, Astrology, and the Chinese Zodiac. Some were inaccurate and others left little or no room for spiritual transformation. In the tradition of Jesus serving wine at the Wedding in Cana, we have saved the best for last, the one most suited to esoteric spirituality and meditation –the Enneagram.
Key to Transformation
“Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, people laughing
A man selling ice cream”
The Chicago hit song “Saturday in the Park” describes the natural childlike fascination of the Enneagram Type Seven personality. Compare this to the vibrations of the Type Four reflected in the Coasters hit song “Yakety Yak”.
“Take out the papers and the trash
Or you don’t get no spendin’ cash
If you don’t scrub that kitchen floor
You ain’t gonna rock and roll no more
(Don’t talk back)”
Type Fives experience an incredible change in awareness when they begin to meditate, their minds taking a quantum leap from Yakety Yak to Saturday in the Park. Similar effects occur when they integrate Type Seven traits into their personalities. Ditto when any type integrates traits of another type. Certain paths of integration are more beneficial than others. Your divine nature knows what it needs and will pcik the path. Meditation connects us to that source and catalyzes transformation. Our conclusion is:
Meditation is the key to spiritual transformation of each personality type.
The word Enneagram is from the Greek “ennea” for nine and “gram” for pattern. We each live in a bottle where there are nine bottles representing nine personality types, each tinted a different color. We each view a situation outside the bottle according to the tint. No one tint is superior. The more we know about the limitations and potentials of our own tint and that of others, the more we understand the total nature of the situation and how we can all work together to share it. Thus:
Knowledge of the Enneagram helps remove the illusion of individuality.
The tints come from our genes and events in our lives that shape and form us. Some believe the tints are downloaded into our spirits when we reincarnate. These tints tend to develop us into one of nine basic personalities, based on our response to our experiences, both good and bad.
For instance, infants who suffer rejection from a mother have the option to (1) fight back with aggression and trouble-making, (2) busy themselves with siblings, or (3) withdraw into themselves. However, if there are no siblings, the option of displacing rejection by eliciting substitute approval from others is not available. If the child also has been conditioned to be well-behaved, then the only option is to withdraw, where he is challenged to fill a void with inner intellectual resources. He suppresses the pain of rejection by becoming mentally detached rather than reaching out, needing others, or interacting with them to meet his needs. This results in a Type Five personality referred to as the “Observer” or “Investigator”, depending on which books you read.
Rejection and feelings of unworthiness are not resolved below the conscious level, so the Type Five will instinctively seek to master some skill or field of knowledge in order to compensate, but the inner wound is never fully healed if fear of rejection at the unconscious level is manifested by fear of failure at the conscious level, the Type Five may become an obsessive perfectionist or a workaholic, and he can easily slide into becoming hypercritical, pessimistic or depressed.
When distressed, the Type Five withdraws into a quiet cave to detach from it all until the storm passes. “It’s a jungle out there” is the motto of the obsessive/compulsive Type Five TV character “Monk”.
One of the greatest dilemmas for Type Fives is that they detach from their bodies, emotions and intuition. Meditation, practicing mindfulness of body, and learning to tune in to intuition is equivalent to a Type Five being “saved” from hell on earth.
Knowledge of Enneagram theory also provides direction as far as what additional characteristics need to be integrated into the personality. For instance, in the illustration, the Type Five is connected by lines to Types 7 and 8. If they work toward assimilating the traits of those types they will become more balanced, happier, connected, and successful in whatever they do. The same is true for other types who assimilate the traits of types at the other end of the connecting lines.
There are other features about the Enneagram that I do not have space to describe in this post. These include: (1) Wings, (2) Instinctual Subtypes, (3) Division of types based on dominance of Emotion, Intellect, or Intuition, and (4) Integration/Disintegration of personality within each type. You can read about these online at the following recommend site which is a quick, simplified, but an extensive resource; or you can check out the more extensive resources listed in the next section. http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/intro.asp#.UvH6k_v-tn
Meanwhile, readers, you now have enough of an introduction to plunge right in. Why not find out your type by taking the following free and confidential self-administered, online assessment.
This may be the most important assessment you may ever take.
It is suggested you do this right now while you have limited knowledge, otherwise if you continue to study this topic, then you might subconsciously alter your responses to change your type to what you wannabe or shouldabeen.
So buckle up, my friend and take a test drive at http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test.php.
This is an imperfect tool, so some may require taking other self-assessments or additional study to determine their type. A more complete assessment, recognized as the Gold standard, is available for $10 at http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/tests_battery.asp#RHETI.
If you are still in doubt, send me a comment and I will try to direct you to a suitable resource.
Enneagram: Past, Present, and Future
Where did this marvelous gift to mankind come from? Some sources claim it was developed by the Sufi Muslims in 1500 AD who lived in present day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Other sources claim that the Sufi and their practices predate Islam, and that they go back to very ancient times.
Today, modern Enneagram practices are divided into two schools in the West. The second school emphasizes meditation and developing intuition:
(1) The Enneagram Institute
- Website: http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
- b. Major Authors: Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
- Major Book: “The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types”
i. This is the first landmark book describing the Enneagram http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553378201/ref=assoc_qcb_im?ie=UTF8&tag=theenneagraminst
ii. Contains volumes and volumes of personal narratives.
- Major Assessment: The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/tests_battery.asp#RHETI.
(2) Enneagram Worldwide
- Websites: http://www.enneagram.com/index.html and http://www.enneagramworldwide.com/
- Major Author: Helen Palmer and David Daniels
- Major Book: “The Enneagram in Love and Work: Understanding Your Intimate and Business Relationships” http://www.amazon.com/Enneagram-Love-Work-Understanding-Relationships/dp/0062507214
- Major Assessment: http://www.enneagramworldwide.com/register.php
The Enneagram was originally taught by a tribal leader to a small group of initiates. The leader would draw the Enneagram on the ground, instruct them, and then each would share their personal narrative about self-discovery. There is still no better way to learn the Enneagram. Groups are available at spiritual communities, churches, meet ups, and training centers. Some are free and some require a fee. They are conducted by experienced trainers who are certified, usually at one of the two aforementioned schools. If you are interested, but cannot hook up with one in your local area, you can look into joining an online student group and interact via your computer video camera at http://www.enneagramwork.com/teaching_schedule.html.
The institutions which keep the secular and spiritual personality profiles alive are beginning to play leap frog with one another, borrowing and revising their curriculums to keep up. Notice the illustrations that attempt to correlate them. These allow you to confirm your type by comparing where you stand on different profiling systems. This demonstrates that:
True wisdom is not privy to any one school of study, secular or spiritual.
I hope this has been helpful. I would be glad to try to answer any questions you submit or refer them to my trainer for you.
Meanwhile, “Live long (meditate) and prosper.”