The Enneagram is an ancient symbol that maps out nine fundamental personality styles and their complex interrelatedness. It combines contemporary psychological understanding with universal wisdom from many ancient spiritual traditions.
Each ‘type’ is a constellation of particular ways of seeing the world, particular desires, fears, sensitivities, blind spots, Achilles’ heels, strengths, natural gifts and ways of bringing love to the world. Understanding the Enneagram shows us where to focus our personal development efforts, supporting us to move away from the patterns of thinking, behaving and relating that seem to undermine our best interests and intentions.
People can initially be concerned that the Enneagram is trying to put them in a box. This is an understandable concern. I had it too. It is true. We are not a number or a ‘type’. We are each a unique human soul, moulded by experience into a particular shape that keeps us functional and helps us make sense of what we are experiencing. But this is not who we are. In fact, it is not about putting us in a box at all. It is about discovering the box we are already in! Teachings on the Enneagram give us helpful signposts back to our inherent qualities and potential.
Current Uses of the Enneagram
The Enneagram is a powerful tool for understanding human relationships and behaviour. It is therefore becoming more widely used in the business world to help with performance issues and team dynamics. It is used increasingly by therapists and life coaches like myself due its psychologically robust and wise teaching. Combined with the practice of presence, it has extraordinary potential to support our spiritual exploration, shedding light on the deeper dimensions of reality.
There are are also various projects across the world successfully using the Enneagram with prisoners, assisting them to understand their behaviour and effect positive change. Follow this link for a short video about the Enneagram Prison Project in California.
I use the Enneagram to support our exploration in whatever way is most useful to you. If you do not feel the Enneagram is for you, we do not have to focus on it in our work together.