The Enneagram

I have had the opportunity to attend an Enneagram workshop at Skyline Harvest and also have Diane Pendola present a series of Enneagram sessions for my non-profit staff. Two very important shifts happened in both groups that are not easily achieved. First, everyone was excited about finding the enneagram point that they most identified with. This made talking about our individual strengths and challenges easy and fun. Secondly, the group energetic field at the end of workshop was relaxed, friendly, open, with a renewed hope that differences could be tolerated and strengths developed and celebrated - Yana Slade, MFCC

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a system of personality development with ancient roots. The word derives from the Greek, ennea meaning nine and gram meaning something written or drawn. The Enneagram is a nine pointed figure drawn to represent nine different personality types or nine different ways of perceiving oneself and others. The Enneagram is part of an oral teaching tradition intrinsic to Sufi mysticism. It also has parallels to mystical systems within both Christianity and Judaism.

The Enneagram describes how, through our inherited nature and childhood experiences, each of us develops certain coping strategies to help us survive in the world. These coping mechanisms shape our particular personality type so that each Enneagram type sees the world through a very different filter. By gaining an understanding of the way we filter our experience and how our attention returns in habitual ways to repeating patterns, we expand our capacity for choice, eliminate barriers to change and deepen our capacity for freedom and self-awareness. To better understand ourselves and others in our lives is a great step towards compassion and greater kindness in the world.

The Enneagram is more than a system of personality typology. It is truly a system of transformation. By knowing your personality type you can begin to utilize the energy bound up in the concerns of personality as the fuel for the conversion process. The “vice” or “passion” particular to each type is converted to its higher “virtue.” The virtue is the essential quality that is ever-present beneath the personality structure, but obscured by habitual patterns of attention that present a deluded or partial view of the whole of reality.

The Enneagram is also an effective tool in the workplace. It can help in identifying leadership strengths and weaknesses, improve communication, promote an appreciation of different learning styles, facilitate conflict resolution, build teams and reduce reactivity. A group of individuals, with a working knowledge of this system, can utilize the Enneagram as a gateway to group creativity and accessing the intuitive capacity present within the group field. By coming together in a receptive state, that is supported through Enneagram practices of self-observation and self-emptying, we make ourselves available to a level of collective consciousness where we are already connected. Questions and challenges can be explored through this attitude of receptivity and open awareness where new possibilities for creativity and group unfoldment can emerge.