One of the most amazing tools I’ve ever found for self-discovery is the Enneagram. Unlike many other personality typing systems, the Enneagram doesn’t just give you a description of your type and then leave you dangling and wondering how you can possibly overcome your fears and hang-ups. Instead, it provides you with a road-map for growth, and it gives you red flags for the times when you are stressed and regressing to former less healthy, fear-based reactions instead of responding with empathy, love and your true nature.
The Enneagram is centuries old. Some date it as far back as the Ancient Greeks, and a more developed theory is found in Sufi mysticism and Christian desert mysticism. Modern teachers such as Don Riso, Russ Hudson, Helen Palmer, David Daniels, and Tom Condon, among others, see it as an elegant psycho-spiritual tool for self-development.
It is better to discover your own Enneagram type than to have yourself typed by someone else. This is because only you can know your true motivations for what you do and what you believe. Motivation is more important to typing than actual behavior.
For example, I may nurse you when you are sick. If I do this out of a sincere desire to help you during a time of difficulty, it is a different motivation than if I do it because I want you to think I am a really good person whom you should depend upon and need so I will feel safe in our relationship. Only I can know why I helped although others probably guess at our true motivations far more often than we give them credit. Indeed, we may need to do a little digging to face our true motivations. Sometimes we don’t want to face our darker inclinations. The Enneagram helps us do that.
There are lots of Enneagram resources on the Internet. The Enneagram Institute, where I was trained, has great examples of each type and tests you can take to help you determine your type. I’ve also included two handouts to help you explore your Enneagram type.
The first, At_a_Glance, is a two-page PDF that I have used in Enneagram trainings and classes that describes each type in a nutshell. The source is mostly my Enneagram training at the Enneagram Institute with Don Riso and Russ Hudson, but it also has information from other sources, which I have noted at the bottom of the PDF. You will probably see other people in the descriptions at first. You may even find yourself vacillating between two or three possible descriptions for yourself. If so, look at the descriptions of the numbers before and after. One of those will be your Wing. I am a Four on the Enneagram with a Three Wing. I sometimes think I may be a Six, but I have more Four qualities. Also, I had a Six mother and a Six sister. Four is what works.
The second handout, Chakras and the Enneagram, is taken directly from Mary Horsley’s book, The Enneagram for the Spirit, and is used with permission. It describes how imbalances in each chakra might affect each Enneagram type and which essential oils are most effective in crating balance.
If these handouts tweak your interest, I hope you will spend some time researching the Enneagram. Chances are there are workshops near you. Learning about your type is fun and informative and can be a tool for spiritual growth.