The Enneagram

Excerpt from Chapter 12 - Six Spiritual Disciplines

The Enneagram diagram (above) is an ancient symbol reintroduced to the modern world in the last century. The system is a complex teaching with roots in psychology, cosmology, meta-physics and spirituality. While complex, it is also relatively easy for us to understand and apply to ourselves.

There have been many contributors to the development of the Enneagram personality types that are so popular today, with the most important originator being Oscar Ichazo -

"We have to distinguish between a man as he is in essence and as he is in ego or personality. In essence, every person is perfect, fearless and in a loving unity with the entire cosmos; there is no conflict within the person between head, heart and stomach or between the person and others. Then something happens: the ego begins to develop, karma accumulates, there is a transition from objectivity to subjectivity; man falls from essence into personality." Interviews with Oscar Ichazo, (Ichazo, 1982, p. 9)

(Reminder- In this book I imply that essence=soul=higher self)

I suggest study of Riso and Hudson's book, The Wisdom of the Enneagram or Palmer's The Enneagram. According to Enneagram theory, each of us develops a personality type that has both positive and negative qualities. If we have less fear, then we will evidence the positive qualities more often.

As a part of my college program in Transpersonal Psychology, I was required to take a yearlong course that compared the teachings of the Enneagram with the personality disorders given in the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistics Manual. The major overlap between these evaluative tools helped us to understand that personality types were a fact for all of us. Most of us are not in the pathological (sick) end of the spectrum most of the time, but we do display the negative stuff on occasion.

It was mildly amusing back then to discover that two personality types generally do not like the Enneagram. These two are the narcissist (Enneagram point 7) and the romantic (Enneagram point 4). These two types don't want to look at the negative sides either of themselves (narcissists) or others (romantics). For all of us, significant inner fears will make our studies of the Enneagram shallow and unimportant.

Enneagram Types II - Next Page

© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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