A Fascinating Overview of How the Enneagram Personality System Works

Seven years ago I began learning about the Enneagram Personality System. It has changed my life for the better. I am much more compassionate and forgiving of myself. I have a lot more patience and compassion to work with people who experience the world differently from me. I am a healthier and happier person. It has helped me so much I want to share it with others.

This is a story of how the Enneagram the Enneagram personality system works.

Ennea means nine, and gram means figure in Greek. So together it means a nine-pointed figure. What is its history?  Here is a short synopsis:

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The symbol dates back about 2500 years. The actual date of its beginning or where exactly it started is unknown. It is a coming together of the wisdom of many different spiritual traditions. Much of it has come from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam (especially Sufis) and Judaism.

Much of this spiritual wisdom, was forgotten for hundreds of years. In 1875 Gurdjieff re-discovered the symbol in his search for the knowledge of the esoteric religions of the past. He formed a group called Seekers After Truth.  He and his friends traveled through Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece, Persia, and India.

Gurdjieff used the Enneagram as a tool to help his students to find their way in the world through dance and movement.

He explained that the Enneagram has three parts that represent the three central laws that describe divine law which governs all existence.

The circle represents unity, wholeness, and oneness and symbolizes that God is one (Hudson, 1999).

The next symbol is the triangle. In Christianity, this is referring to the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or in the Enneagram world, the Law of Three. This symbolism found in the Kabbalah, an esoteric teaching of Judaism. The ancient traditions do not see the world as a place of opposites but of non-duality. Hence the world is full of many hues of color rather than black and white (Hudson, 1999).

The third part is the hexad, referring to the Law of Seven. It demonstrates to us that nothing is static. Our world is continuously changing, recycling and evolving or de-evolving. The Periodic Table and the Western musical octave are all based on the Law of Seven (Hudson, 1999).

The modern Enneagram as we know it came to life in California in the 1970’s under Claudio Naranjo.  Naranjo and many others since him have woven psychology into the Enneagram to bring it into the modern age. He used panels of each type as one way to teach the Enneagram.

Today the Enneagram teaches that when you are born into the world, your ego chooses one of the nine fundamental ways to survive in the world. These represent the nine Enneagram types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

You could not have survived without the ego type your inner self chose. No one knows why we choose the type we do. It is probably a mixture of genetics mixed with early life experiences.

Our personality can begin to get in the way when we become adults if we do not become aware of the limitations of our nature.  When you are stuck in your personality, you are only using one-ninth of the tools given.

All the things you do without thinking are your personality speaking. When you begin to be aware of your limited pattern (type) talking, you then become open to responding in new and different ways.

I always say to my clients that when you can notice your personality acting out, you then have the option to respond in ways that are more appropriate for the situation in which you find yourself.

The Enneagram is like a map. It shows you when you are healthy, and not so healthy. It points you in the direction you need to go to get healthier. It warns you when you are getting stuck in old habits that no longer serve you.

When you look at most Enneagram images, you will see arrows pointing in the different directions of integration and stress (disintegration).

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The Enneagram is never static. The health of your personality is never static. Each day you go up and down depending on how much stress you are experiencing.

There is movement on the Enneagram as you move to ether your integration point or your stress point.

The integration points you toward the functional aspects of another type when you are dealing with life well. When you are integrating, you are living beyond the trappings of your personality.

There is nothing wrong moving towards the stress type. The stress point is a safety valve. It prevents you from moving down to a lower level of health than you have ever been before.

Just to learn the types can be a fun thing to do. It can be a great party conversation. But it is only of use if you commit to learning through this tool through workshops, reading, reflection, counseling, and coaching.

The only person who can tell you who you are is yourself. For many people, it takes time to discern what type you are. It is easy to misidentify when you are not self-aware.

The Enneagram is no excuse to behave in a particular way. The gift of the Enneagram is that it points out to you the personality box in which you find yourself. A healthy person will develop strengths in all nine types. This is how the Enneagram personality system works.

Learning the Enneagram together with someone that knows you well such as your spouse can be a lot of fun. Your partner can help you to see who you are. When we are so close to ourselves, we can easily deceive ourselves into believing our desired image of our self when in reality people around us experience us differently.

The Enneagram teaching is an excellent tool for any group such as spouses, a whole family, congregation or business to learn how to get along better with each other. You begin to understand your differences because of how you see the world through your different lenses.

I expect at some time in your life you assumed that everyone thought the same as you did—until you got a rude awakening.  We all have different ways of seeing and experiencing the world.

You will discover that most people don’t want to annoy you. They just see the world in different ways and have different priorities.

The nine Enneagram types divide into a triad of gut, heart, and head. These are our three energy centers. Your type suggests which one of these energy centers you either avoid or overuse. It just means this is where you are most comfortable but to be healthy, we need to keep all three of these wisdom centers open.

You can also use another triad of assertive, withdrawn and dutiful.

The assertive types of people move out into the world with force and conviction. They are a force to be taken seriously.

The withdrawn types when under stress like to withdraw into themselves to recharge. They are usually great observers of what is going on around them. They are easy to get along with.

The dutiful types when under stress feel responsible for taking care of everyone around them and making sure everyone stays safe. The dutiful types can often feel overly responsible.

The Enneagram is all about finding ways to live with as much presence as possible. Presence is the ability to stay open to the wisdom of your three energy centers: the gut, heart, and head.

The Enneagram is meant to help you move out of the fog of life. When you are stuck in your personality, it is easy to go to sleep to your true self. You live out your image of yourself without any self-awareness. Your life becomes more and more limited unless you find the courage to discover who you indeed are.

Using the Enneagram takes time and intentionality. It is a tool that will give you new things to learn each day no matter how old you are. It is no quick fix.

If someone claims you need fixing with the Enneagram, run away as quickly as you can. These teachers are dangerous!

I love the Enneagram! I hope it can help you as much as it has and continues to help me. I learned that being a type six explained why I had had lots of anxiety issues through my life. I have a lot more compassion for myself. I have learned how important meditation is for me to quiet my mind.

The Enneagram can change the world!

Learning that I am a type six has helped me to acknowledge my strengths such as my ability to look for problems before they become serious.

It has been a blessing in my relationship with my wife, Jen. She is a type five (the investigator). She thinks everything through before she says anything. She finds it difficult to express herself especially when she doesn’t feel that she has enough information.

I am the opposite. I think out loud. I learn through my conversations with others. We have had to learn much. I have learned to give Jen lots of time to think. She has learned that she needs to tell me what she is thinking, especially when it is a decision that affects both of us. We now laugh together instead of cursing each other.

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I invite you to try out the Enneagram. It is a productive tool that reflects the complexity and holiness of each person.  It shows you where you are right now and where you need to go to get healthier.

This fantastic tool helps you to find your true self or God self. The Enneagram shows you a way to be aware of your sensations that are full of wisdom. The Enneagram shows you a way to remain open to your emotions through your heart. This is how the Enneagram personality works.

You learn that your feelings shine the light on how you are experiencing the world in each moment. Then your mind, when quiet, helps you to connect with your intuition.

Please join me on this journey to new life. May it be full of surprises, wonder, and hope.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

Originally published at http://www.relconsultants.com/blog

Author: Roland Legge

 

 

Nine Powerful Tips for How to Manage Transitions

Conceptual tree in summer and autumn

Life is full of transitions. Right from the beginning of life, you experience change. Your life changed when you left home for the first time. Your life changed when you graduated from College or University.

Your life changed when you got married.  Your life changed when you had your first child.  You experience these changes throughout life. The challenge is how to manage life’s transitions.

I am going through significant change. I left the full-time congregational ministry position in the United Church of Canada to start a Life Coaching business in my mid-fifties. I have been a minister for twenty-five years, and so much of my identity is with congregational leadership. I loved my job, but I had come to a ti

me when I was experiencing a  call to coaching. I had been feeling this for a while, but fear of change prevented me from acting until recently.

Changing my career is one of the most difficult things I have done.

I want to work with people who want to better their lives. It is such a thrill to experience people growing through coaching. My job in the congregation was no longer meeting my needs.

For the good of my health, I needed to make a change.

But this new path is requiring me to learn a lot of new things from going to coaching school and learning the tools to become an entrepreneur. It is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

Not everybody understands why I am doing what I am doing. I keep having to tell people I have not retired, I am merely going into a new field.  I am learning to be okay with it.

This experience taught me Nine powerful tips to manage life’s transitions.

 

1.       Ground Yourself:

Grounding yourself is all about the practice of living in the moment.

What do you find helpful to relax your muscles? Do you like to practice yoga, play a musical instrument, walk, get a massage? When your muscles are relaxed, help you to enjoy living in your body. Get comfortable with paying attention to your body. Your body offers you great wisdom every moment of the day.

What are you feeling in your heart? You need to be careful that you don’t confuse thinking with sensation. How do you know the difference? You might ask these questions: Does your chest feel open or closed? Does your chest feel warm or cold? Are you feeling happy or sad? Are you feeling hopeless or hopeful? Are you feeling calm or frazzled?  With practice, you will notice the difference.

To stay grounded you need to acknowledge your emotions without any judgment and let them go. There are no bad feelings. They come and go. Each different reaction will give you a clue about your well-being and how you need to respond to staying fully present in the world. A healthy person will be aware of the many different emotions you feel each day. You are not your emotion!

There are many ways to quiet the mind. Have you tried to guided meditation or breath exercises?  An excellent meditation App is called Insight Timer and is available on Google Play and at the App Store.

Listening to classical music can calm the mind. Going for a walk is great for our mental wellbeing if we treat it as a form of meditation. If you love gardening, this is an excellent way to become more present. Do something you enjoy doing that helps you to calm your mind.

2.       Pay Attention:

When you are grounded, it is much easier to pay attention to your inner and outer world because you are living in the present.  You have been blessed with vast spiritual knowledge if you just pay attention.

Stay attuned to your body. If you are feeling sore, tired, uptight, and strained are signs that you need to make changes in your life. Maybe you need to rest more. Perhaps you need to get more exercise. Maybe you need to spend more time with family and friends.

These sensations may be pointing out more significant concerns.  Maybe you need to get help for your relationship or end it.  Perhaps you need to get a new job that is more suitable for your well-being. Possibly, you need to see a doctor, a counselor or coach.

When you are grounded in the sensations, emotions, and thoughts of our bodies, there is much wisdom to be learned. The knowledge from our inner selves can help us to make smoother change throughout our lives.

 

3.       Share what is going on in your life with a friend, spouse or family member:

As human beings, we are intended to be in a relationship with others. You might think you can do life all yourself, but this is impossible. We need each other.  We need each other for companionship, play, work, and survival.

Your friends, family, and colleagues are often able to see things in yourself that you can not see yourself.

When you are going through challenges in life, it doesn’t seem as dark when you have someone else to walk with you through the ups downs.

In the end, a good friend is a person who over a period of years is there for you as you are for them. If someone consistently is sucking the life out of you. You either need to define some boundaries or end that relationship.

 

4.       Exercise:

Exercising helps you to remain connected with your body, heart, and mind. It helps you to move into the present. Being focused at the moment,  helps you to stay open to the universal wisdom of the earth.

When you honor your body, your heart and mind, everything begins to work in harmony. You know what you need to be about in life. Life becomes one of a surprise because you never quite know where each day will take you. The big difference is that you find this exciting instead of scary.

If you are driven to exercise, you are probably not living in harmony with yourself. But if exercise becomes a daily practice of caring for yourself then you are moving in a healthier direction.  You will not feel forced and desperate. You will feel satisfied each day even if you are not feeling at your best.

Exercise will just feel right!

 

5.       Play

Can you imagine a world without play? When you were a child, this naturally came to you. Games were how you experienced the world. The game is how you worked out conflict. The play is how you stayed fit.  This how you enjoyed the company of other people. Playing is how you learned.

Managing life’s transitions through play is an excellent way for you to weave your way through the ups and downs of life. How do you like to play?  Here are some ideas that you might enjoy?

·         Golf

·         Tennis

·         Bowling

·         Painting pictures

·         Photography

·         Singing

·         Dancing

·         Hiking

And much more!

I encourage you, along with me, to reclaim the gift of play. Life will become more fun and enjoyable. You will be more fun making you desirous to others. You will stay healthier. Moving through life’s transitions will become easier. When you are working, you will probably be more efficient, happy and satisfied.

 

6.       Befriend Your Fear:

You are programmed to be fearful of dangerous things that can hurt you. If you were a hunter in the early human era, you were afraid of wild animals who could kill you. Mothers in ancient times stayed attuned to their physical environment with its many dangers.

You were fiercely protective. The trouble is that we have moved so quickly into the modern age to a sedentary way of life our nervous system has yet to adjust.

So today your nervous system is activated when you don’t need it be. With breath work, bodywork and exercise you can manage this old automatic response by befriending your fear. All you need to do is allow yourself to feel the fearful sensations, emotions, and thoughts. When you can be with these painful vibrations,  emotions, and beliefs, they gradually begin to lose their power over you.

Claim your freedom and roar like a lion!

 

7.       Learn Valuable Lessons:

You are always learning!  When you stay as present as you can there is so much to learn each day. There are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn more about yourself and the world. When you can learn through the trials and tribulations of life each day gets a little more comfortable.

Your ego is always trying to protect you. The trouble is that the ego usually likes the status quo. So if you still listen to your inner critic, that part of you that wants you to stay safe through staying with the tried and true; you are going to miss a lot in life and have great difficulty dealing with the surprises.

When you do try on new learnings, it takes practice to live them out. Be gentle with yourself as you try living in new ways. Celebrate every achievement no matter how small it may seem to you.

The more you practice lifelong learning in your life the easier and more exciting it will become!

 

8.       Take Time for Rejuvenation:

You live in a busy world. With all the time-saving devices you are given the illusion that you can do more. Finding balance in your life is an on-going learning. A right place for you to start is to learn how to say NO  to activities/jobs that are not in your best interest. Life is short, so you need to use each moment well.

No matter whether or not you are introverted or extroverted you need to find the right balance of time for yourself or with companions.  Locate the balance for you that is regenerative.  You need balance, and you are the only one that will know what you need.

Slow down and smell the roses!

 

9.       Be Yourself:

Most of all,  be yourself!  Don’t try to be anyone else but yourself.  You are the supreme gift to the world when you bring your particular gifts and skills to the world.

When you can be yourself, you do not need to be in any competition with others. All you need to do is allow others to be themselves and don’t let your ego trick you into thinking you need to be someone else.

You are the most fantastic person in the world! But don’t forget every person is the most amazing person in the world.

So go out and be you in all the fabulous you can be!

 

How to manage life’s transitions is one of the most critical skills you learn.  We do it by grounding ourselves, paying attention, sharing with a friend or family member, exercising, playing, befriending your fear, learning valuable lessons, taking time for rejuvenation, and being yourself.

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With perseverance, you can begin to name the habits that are no longer benefiting you. Once you become aware of patterns that are no longer serving you, then have the choice to develop healthier ways of being. The more freedom you feel helps you to manage life’s transitions with greater ease.

There is a better way to live! Go and enjoy your life.

 

Roland Legge offers presence based life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, and organizations to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online. Please click on “Discovery Call.”

 

This article was first published by REL Consultants  

 

What It Means To Connect with God or Your Internal Source

 

spiritual

Finding the Truth Within You 

Are you feeling alone in the world? When you are amid feelings of despair it can be hard to see your way out. The good news is that there is a way out of hopelessness. Often the answer is right within you.  I want to help you to discover the wisdom and strength that is within you. This is what it means to connect with God.

Reconnecting with Source

How many books have you read that promised you peace of mind and happiness and it didn’t help? The problem is that these self-help books are what someone else needs.  Not what you need. I invite you to check out that place within you, that knows you best.

As you connect with Spirit, the darkness will gradually begin to fade as you become open to the wisdom of your body, emotions, and mind. It takes time and practice to become present enough to stay aware of the wisdom that comes from your three body centers. But every time you become a little more present it makes a positive difference in your life.

Your body, heart, and mind have been trying to communicate with you since the day you were born. What have you learned from your gut, heart and quiet mind? You have probably had gut feelings leading you in a certain direction. You have most likely felt love. When have you experienced intuition?  If you have experienced any of these you are already connecting with spirit!

Listening to your internal source will shine the light on your life. The light will reveal what you need to hold on to and what needs to change.

Your process will be unique to you. Learning to love and honor yourself is a long-term process. The light within you will reveal sensitive places in your psyche that you have been repressed for years. It will be months and possibly years of healing to overcome the pain you experience. Yet, with practice, these parts of ourselves will become lighter and healthier.

Quieting Your Mind Down

Getting in touch with your inner self-sounds great but how do you do it?  A good place to start is to quiet the mind. Here is what you can do:

  • Practice some form of meditation gradually adding to the length of it as you gain confidence.
  • Sit and be quiet or go for a walk in a quiet place.
  • When a thought comes to your mind just acknowledge it and let it go.
  • Do something you love such as gardening that does not require a lot of thinking.
  • Often deep intentional breathing can help to settle your mind down.

 

Find a Practice to Help You to Go Deeper into Yourself

There is no one way to get in touch with your inner self. Each of the great religions has practices to help this to happen. If you are part of a church, synagogue, mosque or temple check to see what they can offer you.

If you are a Christian, you might like to check out Centering Prayer. It is a simple practice to get in touch with the Holy within ourselves through saying quietly to yourself a simple mantra to release your mind from being in the past or future. If you are interested, check out this website from Contemplative Outreach http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org).

Learning yoga is one way to get in touch with your inner spirit through breath and bodywork. This is has come out of some of the Eastern Spiritual movements but is not considered a religion. You will find yoga studios in most towns and cities.

Mindfulness and Meditation use breath work to connect with what is going on inside yourself. Using guided meditations can be helpful if you struggle with quieting your mind. There are some great apps available in the App Store and Google Play.  One I use is called “Insight Timer” and it available at both App stores.

Check out what is available in your own community. There are many groups to choose from whether you consider yourself religious, spiritual, or secular. You are more likely to make these changes in your life if you do it with others. When you do this in the community you have people to support you and hold you accountable.

Going on The Journey

Enjoy the journey as you learn for yourself what it means to connect with internal source. What it means to connect with God, Spirit or Oneness. Remember the answer is no further than yourself.

Life is full of challenges. You know how easy it is to get caught up in hopelessness and despair. But once you begin the journey to wholeness there is no turning back. While this journey is never easy, it is a journey worth taking.

You have all you need! Go forth and live it!

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 (306) 620-7478 or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com. 

 

This article was first published on REL Consultants  https://www.relconsultants.com

 

 

 

7 Steps to Stay Grounded During Chaotic Times

 

A man is dealing with intense work rush hour traffic jam stress by getting relief doing yoga on top of his car in this humorous scene that shows PEACE on the license plate of the car he is sitting on.

You live in chaotic times. With electronic media, you are overwhelmed with news from around the world twenty-four hours a day. Most news is negative, full of fear, violence and despair. You feel weighted down by negativity. You want to experience joy without having to put your head in the sand. Here are seven ways to stay grounded despite all this and enjoy life.

  1. Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a great place to start. Mindfulness is a meditation practice to help you to live in the moment. The good news is that living in the moment does not require you to silence the mind. It is normal for your mind to think just as it is for your heart to beat.

 

Mindfulness can help you to quiet the mind through not getting overly attached to your thoughts. If you have not done this before you will need lots of practise just because you are starting a new habit. Start small with a goal you can achieve. So, you might want to start meditating for only five minutes each day.

Your daily practise can help you to reconnect with your highest self leading to a more meaningful life. You are at your best when you are open to your three energy centers. The three centers are body (physical), heart, (emotions) and head (thoughts). You will discover an inner knowing that you will grow to trust. Over time you will find your inner peace that will help you to live with hope, joy and purpose.

  1. You are what you eat

You have probably heard this statement before “You are what you eat”. When you are grounded you pay more attention to how your physical and emotional self responds to different types of food. Your body will let you know what it needs.

Your body will also let you know what type of exercise it needs. Have you heard that you should exercise until it hurts? You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t pay attention to the wisdom of your body. If your body is hurting you probably have pushed yourself to far.

Your body is unique to you. What others need does not necessarily mean you need the same thing. If you have tried, unsuccessfully, many exercise and diet programs do not despair. The more you practice mindfulness the better you will be with giving your body what it needs.

  1. Friends

Spending time in person with good friends can brighten your day. Have you noticed the difference between messaging, texting, talking on the phone and visiting in person? Meeting in person is always the most powerful way to connect with another person.

Most importantly you communicate not only with your words, but with your whole body. There is much you miss when you can not see the other person face to face, body to body.  When you are grounded, you can learn a lot about another person by how you feel inside yourself. You simply need to be open, to fully experiencing another person and be willing to go deep within yourself.

Have you noticed that you treat and are treated better when you are in person because there is no place to hide? There is much hatred and intolerance on social media because people don’t have to take ownership for what they say.

  1. Music therapy

Listen to music/songs that inspire you. What is your favourite song? Have you ever noticed what you experience on hearing different types of music and songs? Many of us are oblivious to how music impacts us.

Music and songs can touch as at a deep level. Some music gets us angry. Some music brings us feelings of peace. Some music is very disturbing. Have you ever reflected on how screen writers use music and song to heighten the emotions in a movie?

 

What music calms your mind? What are the songs that help you to cry?  What songs bring out the courage in you? Just remember what brings out these emotions in you won’t necessarily bring it out the same way in another person.

 

  1. Random acts of kindness

Practising random acts of kindness not only helps others, it changes the way you experience the world.  Have you noticed how good you feel after doing something positive for another person, an animal and/or for the environment? Acting with love changes the way you experience the world.

When you act with compassion your own energy is transformed. The energy of compassion permeates your whole being. You may not always be aware of it, but the people you meet are impacted by the emotional, spiritual and physical energy that emanates from you.

You attract the people with the same type of energy you have. Compassion attracts people with compassion. Calm attracts people who are calm. Contentment attracts people who are content. You will also attract those who desire to change. You can be a shining light for those caught in the storms of life.

 

  1. Joy of playing

Do you remember the joy of playing when you were a child? Playing helps you to find the inner child within you. A way of being when you are open, free and non-judgemental allowing you to experience the world through the lens of wonder and simplicity.

Growing up you have had to put on armour to protect you from all that all life throws at you. This is your ego at work. You could not survive without your ego, but as an adult it can hamper your growth. The good news is that with play you can rekindle that same spirit in you again.

 

Finding your true self can begin along journey for transformation. When you can begin to reside in this place of openness, wisdom and love suddenly the impossible is possible.

 

 

  1. Volunteering

Volunteer for an awesome non-profit organization is a great way to find hope, meaning and joy in life. What are your favourite non-profits? How would you like to make a difference in the world? What skills do you have to offer?

There are so many ways to volunteer in the world. Do you like to work in teams or do you work best work alone?  Maybe this will even lead to a job of your dreams.

Volunteering with a group that fits your values can change the way you see the world. When you feel good about what you do; you can change your emotions, your body chemistry and the lens which you see the world. The world will start to look a lot friendlier. You can choose to move from despair to hope. You will be a light to the world.

 

With intention, you can stay grounded no matter what is happening in the world.  Stay grounded through caring for your body, emotions and thoughts. Meditation helps you to stay in touch with your inner self. Caring for your body through exercise and eating well is life giving. Connecting with friends helps you to stay connected. Music and songs uplifts your spirit. Playing, like a child, opens your heart to experiencing the world with openness. Last and not least, volunteer for an organization that fits your values which helps you to radiate hope wherever you go.

 

Roland Legge offers life coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or book your appointment online at   https://www.relconsultants.com/calendar/ .  Please click on “Discovery Call”.