How You Can Use the Enneagram
Discovering Your Unconscious Strategies
Structure of the Enneagram
Types of Personality Defined
Dynamics of Your Personality
Can Use the Enneagram
The purpose of the Enneagram is self-knowledge
that can be used to further your spiritual growth, and your understanding
and compassion of others. This system can be applied for analyzing and
influencing unconscious strategies and behavior of not only people but also
organizations, cultures, and
The word Enneagram is from the Greek and means
"nine points". The original teaching may go back as far as 2500 B.C. to the
kingdoms of Babylonia, and the wisdom school of the Sarmoun Brotherhood. In
the 14th and 15th centuries it was passed on to Islamic mathematicians who
incorporated it into their mystical teachings. Traditionally it has been a
part of the secret oral tradition of the
Brotherhoods, being revealed only in part to any but the masters...
and Influencing Your Unconscious Strategies
We all born as Essence, but somewhere in early
childhood you develop a defensive strategy to deal with whatever is missing
or lacking in your environment. This strategy is characterized by a "chief
feature", also called a compulsion, a fixation, or a preoccupation. Because
this feature is defensive, it essentially negative and interferes with the
expression of your essential Essence.
For most of us, this strategy is largely
unconscious, manifesting itself as a continuing, recurring motivation for
behavior. Because it is defensive, and largely unconscious, it blocks your
psychological and spiritual growth. The purpose of the Enneagram is to help
identify your unconscious strategy, the problem it creates for you, to heal
it and address your deeper needs. It is only through honestly confronting
the ways in which you interfere with your own development that you can be
freed of these neurotic patterns. It offers the way through, and out of
fear, anger and depression.
This is an intuitive system, and most likely
when you encounter your unconscious strategy you will feel on this level.
Listen to your heart.
The Enneagram is composed of a circle enclosing
a triangle and a star, creating a nine pointed figure. The triangle
represents the mystical law of Three, the Trinity, which identifies the
three forces necessary for creation. These are the creative, preserving, and
After the creation of an event, the law of
Seven comes into play (octaves), represented by the star. This represents
the progression of events as they materialize in the world.
Gurdjieff's work on the Enneagram referred to these mystical properties. Most of the modern work on
the Enneagram focus instead on the psychological and spiritual aspects of
the Enneagram as they manifest themselves in individuals.
The inner figure of the Enneagram contacts the
circle at nine equidistant points. Each of these points represents a type of
Each point has three sub-types. We have
three primary areas of relationship, and one of them is our weak point,
where we have been damaged. These are:
Sexual - intimate and other one on one
Social - relating to the group.
Self-preservation - relating to your personal
Although you have concerns in all of these
areas, one will predominate.
Each number is also affected by the number on
either side of it. These are referred to as the "wings". The wings of 9 are
1 and 8. Your personality will have some access to the traits of these
neighbors, leaning more to one side than the other. Thus, a 9 can manifest
it's wing in 1 either lightly, or strongly, but the basic type of 9 will
always dominate the personality.
The Enneagram is also organized into
Triads. Points 2,3, and 4 are in the image triad. Points 5, 6, and 7
are in the fear triad. And points 8, 9, and 1 are in the anger triad.
Each triad also has an intuitive mode,
or center. Points 2, 3, and 4 are emotionally intuitive. Points 5, 6, and 7
are head, or mentally intuitive. And points 8, 9, and 1 are gut, or body
based in their intuitions.
Points 1, 2, 3, 4 are conformist, points 5, 6,
7, 8 are non-conformist, and 9 is ambivalent.
There are also three distinct self concepts:
Points 8, 2, and 5 see themselves as bigger
than the world. Points 3, 6, and 9 see themselves as needing to adjust to
the world. Points 1, 7, and 4 see themselves as smaller than the world.
The preferred modes of behavior
Points 8, 3, and 1 are aggressive, they move
against people. Points 2, 6, and 7 are dependant, they move towards people.
Points 5, 9, and 4 are withdrawing, they move from people.
Dynamics of Your Personality
The series of arrows moving along the lines of
the Enneagram represent the dynamics of your personality. Your personality
is not static, but experiences both growth and degeneration. Thus, the model
of the Enneagram is one of motion.
As your personality disintegrates, you move
with the arrows into what is called the "stress space". This movement
presents the breaking down of the defensive strategy through stress. If you
are a 7, you will go to point 1 when your defenses are stressed. In your
stress space you will typically manifest the worst aspects of that type.
Conversely, as your personality integrates, it
moves into it's "heart space", moving against the entropic flow of the
Enneagram. In your heart space you will manifest the higher qualities of