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What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a model of psychological and spiritual growth. It is a dynamic map of your personality. “Ennea” means nine in Greek, and “gram” comes from “grammos” which means graphic. It is a graphic or figure with nine points placed around a circle describing nine different ways or strategies for coping with reality.

Those nine ways are defined as Enneatypes or personalities which describe nine different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.

The Enneagram is a combination of traditional wisdom and modern psychology. It is a very powerful model for understanding yourself and others. It explains our motivations and the interconnections of the types around the circle. It transcends nationality, gender, religious beliefs and anything that could bring the illusion of separateness.

Through the Enneagram you can discover your gifts and mission in the world as well as your shadows from which to start your journey of unraveling the veil of your vision of reality.

The nine different ways of confronting life are unconscious strategies we learned in the process of socialization in order to cope with the environment.  As we develop our ego structure in the first years of our life, we start forgetting who we really are.  We start loosing connection with our True Nature of Being. 

WHY SHOULD YOU USE THE ENNEAGRAM AS A KEY?

The Enneagram will give you the key to open the door and start your inner journey of self -discovery, as well as understanding others. It will make you a more complete and compassionate human being.

We come to the world with our genetic baggage and in the process of socialization as we grow up, we start to develop a strategy for coping with the environment. Thus, we start believing that our personality will be the way we are going to be loved and accepted. This process is unconscious, and it works for some time until we start to suffer and make others suffer too with our behaviors. Relationships start to become difficult and we can’t seem to understand different ways of seeing reality. 

 

the SYMBOL

THE CIRCLE REPRESENTS THE UNITY:
Alfa and Omega, completeness, eternity.  The infinite nature of energy.

THE TRIANGLE REPRESENTS THE LAW OF THREE:
The Law of Three is described by George Gurdjieff, the armenian born mystic, philosopher and spiritual teacher who discovered the enneagram symbol during his travels, as “the second fundamental cosmic law”. This law states that every whole phenomenon is composed of three separate sources, which are Active, Passive and Reconciling or Neutral. This law applies to everything in the universe and humanity, as well as all the structures and processes. The Three Centers in a human, which Gurdjieff said were the Intellectual Centre, the Emotional Centre and the Moving Centre, are an expression of the law of three. Gurdjieff taught his students to think of the law of three forces as essential to transforming the energy of the human being.

THE LAW OF SEVEN:
The Law of Seven is described by Gurdjieff as “the first fundamental cosmic law”. This law is used to explain processes. The basic use of the law of seven is to explain why nothing in nature and in life constantly occurs in a straight line, that is to say that there are always ups and downs in life which occur lawfully.

 

Formation of the ego structure

The inner triangle represents the three core personalities:  types 9, 6 and 3.  At Point  9, the top point of the Enneagram,  we start loosing contact with our True Nature.  When we are born we have a sense of being part of a whole, but with our first experiences of pain we start forgetting and within the first years of our life, up to four years old, we come to believe that we are not part of this oneness any more.  Then the ego-structure goes to Point 6 for security when we sense this alarming sensation of our needs not being fully met.  Then the lack of necessary holding and mirroring from our caregivers takes us to Point 3 to seek that holding and mirroring.  

The personality or ego-structure starts to develop as different manifestations of the three inner points of the triangle in the Circle. The lack of consciousness of the True Nature is what brings our personalities to manifest.  As a result, we start to mimic this Qualities of Being through what we unconsciously think will alleviate our pain of falling asleep.  Through applying  different filters, nine views or lenses, we develop nine different strategies with specific patterns of feeling, thinking and acting which are embedded in our brain.

 

three CENTERS of intelligence

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As human beings we function with three different centers for processing the information received from the world.  These are called centers of intelligence and are as following:

THE INSTINCTUAL OR BODY CENTER
(Reptilian Brain- Survival)

The body center is our vehicle for being in the world from which our senses manifest.  It is our gut instinct which gives us the kinestesic sensation of landing in our bodies. The focus of this center is of being in control of the territory; the space in which we move and live.

Type 8:  The Powerful/Challenger

Type 9:  The Mediator/Peacemaker

Type 1:  The Perfectionist/Reformer

THE EMOTIONAL OR HEART CENTER
(Lymbic or Mammelian Brain- Emotions)

The types in this center connect with the world through their emotional states, trying to adapt to what they feel is required to establish relationships.  They attune themselves with others.

Type 2:  The Helper/Giver

Type 3:  The Achiever/Doer

Type 4:  The Creative/Idealist/Individualist

THE REASON OR HEAD CENTER
(Neo Cortex Brain- Human Brain- Higher- ordered thinking)

The types in this center connect with the world through analysis, ideas, perception, and collecting information which they think will give them the security they need to survive in the world and calm their fear.

Type 5:  The Observer/Detached

Type 6:  The Loyalist/ Skeptic

Type 7:  The Enthusiast/Optimist

 

the three INSTINCT domains

THE ENNEAGRAM WORKS WITH THREE INSTINCTS OR INSTINCTUAL BIASES:

  • Self-preservation or Preserving
  • Social or Navigating
  • Sexual or Transmitting

Like all animals, human beings have instincts which are genetically hard-wired behaviors which draw the energy and focus of attention to different instinctual domains to cope with the world.

    Preserving or Self-preservation instinct:  Pertains to everything that has to do with the survival aspect of the individual or group.  People who have a predominant preserving instinct focus their attention in everything that has to do with their nest, such as having enough money,feeling comfortable, taking care of their health, having  enough food, how can we support one another.  It also includes self-preservation activities.  In relationships preserving types tend to be warmer and seek support and standing side by side with their partner.

     

    Navigating or Social instinct:  Their attention goes toward networking, social image and social activities.  Sense of community and when balanced, good for the greater of the  community.

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    Transmitting or Sexual instinct:  Transmitting or sexual instinct is a force towards realization through transmitting genes, ideas, and connecting with what makes us vibrate.  Its a magnetizing force that takes you  towards and activity, idea or person.

     

    THE NINE VIEWS TYPE DESCRIPTIONS

    click on any type to learn more

    1 | The PERFECTIONIST

    The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionist

    2 | THE HELPER

    The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive

    3 | THE ACHIEVER

    The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious

    4 | THE INDIVIDUALIST

    The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

    5 | THE INVESTIGATOR

    The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated

    6 | THE LOYALIST

    The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious

    7 | THE ENTHUSIAST

    The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distracting, and Scattered

    8 | THE CHALLENGER

    The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational

    9 | THE PEACEMAKER

    The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable and Complacent


    THE CONNECTING ARROWS

    These are some samples of what happens in the dynamic of the types connecting with their arrows

    Type 1 goes to type 7 to relax and enjoy or to evade a painful situation.

    Type 1 goes to type 4 to get in touch with feelings or become moody.

    Type 2 goes to 4 to get in touch with what they really want and need or to victimize themselves.

    Type 2 goes to 8 and can become aggressive and dominating  or can speak up for what they really want.

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    Type 3 can go to type 6 and be more group oriented  become insecure.

    Type 3 can go to type 9 and become more compliant or can become lethargic.

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    Type 4 can go to type 1 and become more objective or can become critical.

    Type 4 can go to type 2 and become more clinging or become engaging .

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    Type 5 can go to type 8 and make things happen or can become aggressive.

    Type 5 can go to type 7 and relax and enjoy or can become unfocused.

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    Type 6 can go to 9 and become less dutiful or can stay in an inner sanctuary evading reality.

    Type 6 can go to type 3 and become more secure of themselves, or can become vane.

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    Type 7 can go to type 1 and become more responsible or can become critical.

    Type 7 can go to type 5 to start a journey within or can live in the world of ideas.

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    Type 8 goes to type 2 and becomes more empathic or  can become more needy.

    Type 8 goes to type 5 and become more reflective or can become more detached.

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    Type 9 can go to 3 and become more energetic and assertive or they can become deceitful.

    Type 9 can go to 6 to analyze a situation clearly or to become insecure.

     


    THE WINGS

    Each number has two adjacent numbers which are energetic resources that give a different flavor to the personality.  There are no pure types.  Enneatypes or personalities are a mixture of the preferred strategy and one wing (adjacent number) or both wings, plus the instinct.  Some Enneagram traditions teach the wings and others don't.