What is the Enneagram
An enneagram is any nine-point shape that was originally defined by the Sufi tradition of sacred geometry. The most renown Enneagram systems the Sufi's devised was an Enneagram of the Passions, which can be applied in the description of human beings.
The nine enneagram types serve as road maps for personal growth. They clarify the intentions underlying human behavior by investigating our unconscious motivations as human beings. The identification of these motivations, or patterns, allows the individual to choose behaviours that will aid them in the evolution process, lessening their suffering and allowing the elimination of developed neurotic patterns.
The Nine Types
The enneagram system is based on an initiate tradition that began in the east, each type drawing parallels with 9 of the 10 original sins (otherwise known as ‘passions’) as described in Christianity (the 7 Deadly Sins were popularised in Dante's model of hell, after the revisions to the list made by Pope Gregory in the 4th century). In regard to the Enneagram, the ‘passions’ are thought to be the emotional shadow of an individual stemming from early emotional life, and form the basis of emotional habits developed in the fall from grace into the material world.
Each type has its own path to psychological and spiritual freedom, and distinctly different coping mechanisms for relating to self, others and the environment.
The nine types include:
Chief Feature: Resentment
One’s are intense, hard working, focused perfectionists.
Chief Feature: Flattery
Two’s give to get, are empathetic, service-oriented, flattering and like to play the rescuer.
Chief feature: Self-deception
Three’s are image-oriented, accomplished and efficient performers.
The Tragic Romantic
Chief feature: Melancholy
Four’s are self-absorbed, sensitive and creative.
Chief feature: Stinginess
Five’s are noncommittal, secretive, deliberate, reflective loners.
The Devil’s Advocate
Chief feature: Cowardice
Six’s are a responsible, opinionated, community-oriented and moral.
Chief feature: Planning
Seven’s are analytical, entertaining, self-indulgent and visionary.
Chief feature: Vengeance
Eight’s are sadistic, aggressive, rebellious, dominant and exhibitionistic.
Chief feature: Indolence
Nine’s are generous, distracted, habit-bound, and prone to procrastination on their own behalf.
Know Your Enneagram Type, Know Yourself
Many people find it a relief when they are typed by the Enneagram as they are finally able to recognise where their neurotic aspects of their personality stem from. As a result, they are able to change the neurotic patterns of behavior that they dislike that they previously thought unchangeable.
Know Others Through the Enneagram
Each of the nine personality types lives by a different set of values that influence their way of being in the world. They like and dislike different things, differ in opinion on what is right and wrong, and have different expectations and needs of others in their lives.
The personality types of the enneagram give us a template that allows us a great understanding of the ‘other’, opening up the possibility for clearer communication and compassion.
Other benefits you may experience in identifying your enneagram type and the type of those around you include:
A greater understanding of the motivation of others and yourself.
Improved communication in your relationships.
Resolution of problems in relationships.
Increased support to the healing process in identifying the core of self-destructive behaviours and habits.
Increased self-esteem through the elimination of self-defeating thinking or acting.
Increased clarity of goals and drive to attain them.
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