The history of the Enneagram is uncertain and interesting. There are many readily available resources on this topic. In fact there is so much already written we found it unnecessary to include it here. Please see our Resources Page if you’re interested in finding out more about the much debated origin of the Enneagram.
The Nuts and Bolts of the Enneagram for our purposes:
The Enneagram is a tool that describes (in detail) Nine very different ways of interacting with the world. Using this tool to observe ourselves, we can begin to become aware of, and even predict, our patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. Each number represents a specific set of patterns based on that Type’s Core Beliefs.
To begin the journey of self-discovery into your habitual patterns, there are many resources available that offer questionnaires and other forms of self-identification processes. Please see our Resources Page.
Some important keys to consider:
- No Type is better or worse than another. In fact, they are all necessary for a peaceful complete existence.
- Accurately determining your type requires honest self-awareness.
- Honest self-awareness is only possible with deep self-acceptance.
- Only you can discover your type. No one can tell you what your motivations are and you cannot know another’s motivations.
- We are so much more than our personalities.
- We have aspects of all Nine types.
- Some discover their patterns quickly while many may take a while for their patterns to be revealed. It’s the process that matters.
- Discovering your type is only the beginning.
- This tool is not designed to put you or anyone else in a box. It simply reveals the box your habits have put you in.
- Community is a vital source of support in this process. This is inside work that only you can do for yourself, but it cannot be done alone.
The Three Centers of Intelligence
We all contain within us three distinct intelligences: origins of perception, interpretation and engagement with our world – Head, Heart, and Body or Gut. We have all experienced a time in our lives when these centers seemingly to contradicted each other causing us to say, “Do I follow my heart or my head?” And, we have had those moments when we’ve said, “I didn’t listen to my gut!” Problems arise when we emphasize one intelligence over the others and act from there. It is when we bring all three intelligences “online” that we can have access to a different, more honest, more creative Way to interpret and interact with the world. The diagram above shows that each Type tends to lead with one of the three intelligences. You could say that each Type has a “default setting”. We have access to all three, but tend to make our decisions more comfortably (automatically) from only one. Which one depends upon which Type lens we see life through to interpret our lives.
Heart Types: 2, 3, & 4
Love is the core desire of the heart types. If you’re a heart type, you tend to perceive the world through a feelings filter. You are attuned to the moods and emotions of others in order to have your needs of love and connection met. While 2, 3, & 4 are all heart types, they experience this intelligence in differing ways. For example, a person with a Type 2 perspective is attuned to the emotional needs of others and their own emotional needs go into the background. Those with a Type 3 perspective are attuned to the perceptions of others.Their own emotional state goes into the background so as not to be distracted from attaining their goal. Those with a Type Four perspective are more in tune with their own emotional state and moods and have a desire to be seen and loved by others but also experience an inner lacking or worthiness.
Head Types: 5, 6, & 7
Security is the core desire of the head types. If you’re a head type, you tend to perceive the world through mental faculties, by observing, analyzing, and planning. For the Type 5 perspective, this plays out by accumulating knowledge and information and avoiding becoming too emotionally involved. Those perceiving from Type 6 scan their environments for potential problems and plan for the worst. The Type 7 vantage point focuses on creative problem-solving and future options and possibilities.
Gut Types: 8, 9, & 1
Worth is the core desire of the body types. The gut types tend to filter and respond through physical sensations. Feeling their way in the world they act from instinct. For the Type 8 perspective, this plays out by testing the limits of boundaries and seeing what happens. The Type 9’s version of this filter is going along with the agenda of others, sometimes losing sight of their own instincts. For the Type 1, the gut impulses are held back in order to feel right.