What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is an amazing system that explains human behaviour with surprising accuracy. The Enneagram’s description of the Nine Types is very profound and enlightening and often leads as people to “aha-moments" and to understanding how they perceive themselves and others at a profound level.
The nine types can be divided into three distinct triads: instinctive, emotional and mental.
Instinctive Triad: Types Eight, Nine and One.
Emotional Triad: Types Two, Three and Four.
Mental Triad: Types Five, Six and Seven.
A little bit on history.
The original Enneagram was developed in ancient times, but its exact origin is still unknown. Egypt from 2,000 BC seems to be the place where the Enneagram was first developed. There are references to similar concepts and even to similar diagrams in several ancient scriptures.
The system was introduced for the first time in the West in the early 20th century, with the work of the philosopher George I. Gurdjieff.
The Enneagram of personalities was best developed from the 70's, with the Arica School (Oscar Ichazo) and with Claudio Naranjo.
Today, there are many renowned Enneagram teachers and authors in the world.
The Enneagram already has scientific and academic validation, including several master's and doctorate thesis in the US and Europe and neurobiology studies.
In the business world, the Enneagram has been discovered by many very well known organizations in different countries.
- There are nine Enneagram types and everybody can be aligned with one of these types.
- No type is better than the other.
- Our type does not change, but we can develop within our type. People of the same type may be very different when they have different levels of awareness. The greater the level of awareness, the more flexible the personality and the more prevailing are Essence/self qualities.
- We have traits of all personalities, but the worldview of our nuclear one dominates our life experience and blinds us to objective reality.
- To define our personality, there are two key concepts: “passion" and “fixation”, which need to be understood and observed in detail and in the Enneagram account for more than the visible behavioural traits. Passion is the central emotional vice and fixation is a limited worldview or limited belief of this personality.
- Personality is a defence, a mask and a limited state of awareness.
- The uncontrolled nature of our type causes stress, conflict, and suffering at work and in relationships.
- The Enneagram helps us to get out of the type, teaching us to control our reactions.
- This is done with self-observation, that is, with the control of attention, energy and behavior.
- Self-observation can be taught and gradually broadens our awareness, but never becomes habitual. *
- Growth requires commitment, effort and time.
- There are several Enneagrams (system with many dimensions).
- Our Enneagram type describes our raw or basic instincts and emotions but with awareness we can work beyond our type.
- Personality is a "false self" that we adopt in the place of truer Essence.
- We can be reunited with true Essence.
- Observation of others leads to understanding, acceptance and tolerance. Do not stereotype, do not judge and do not justify.
A Little About the Nine Types - the Nine P’s of the Enneagram
Type Eight: Power
Believes that you must be strong and powerful to ensure protection and respect in a difficult world. Consequently, Eights seek justice, are direct, strong and action oriented, but are also overreacting, excessive, and sometimes impulsive.
Type Nine: Peace
Believes that in order to be valued, you have to harmonize and you have to agree to relate well. Consequently, Nines forget about themselves, seek harmony, maintain comfort and stability, but also avoid conflicts and, at times, are stubborn.
Type One: Perfection
Believes that you must be good and right to be deserving. Consequently, Ones are conscientious, responsible, self-directed, and self-controlled, but they can also be critical, resentful, and self-righteous.
Type Two: Providing
You believe that you must do things for others to receive approval and have rights. Consequently, Twos are considerate, helpful, encouraging and relationship oriented, but they can also be proud, intrusive and demanding/insistent.
Type Three: Performance
Believes that you must accomplish and succeed to be recognized. Consequently, three are hard-working, diligent, goal-oriented, and efficient, but they can also forget feelings, be impatient and driven by image.
Type Four: Profound
Believes that you have to achieve the ideal situation and be recognised and valued. Consequently, Fours are idealistic, feel deeply, are empathetic and authentic, but can be dramatic, have fluctuating moods and feel either inferior or superior - but never equal.
Type Five: Privacy
Believes that you have to protect yourself from a world that demands too much and gives very little. Consequently, Fives seek self-sufficiency, do not ask for themselves, are analytical and non-invasive, but can also be contained, disconnected, and overly reserved.
Type Six: Protection
Believes that you should get protection and safety in a dangerous world that you cannot trust. Consequently, Six are themselves trustworthy, inquisitive, good friends and questioners, but they can overly doubt, be accusatory and fearful.
Type Seven: Pleasure
Believes that you should never be discouraged and should always be open to see the positive side of life. Consequently, Sevens are optimistic, always seeking pleasure and adventurous, but they can also avoid pain and difficult decisions, have difficulties with commitments and be a little too self-centered.
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