What is the deep purpose of working with the Enneagram?
We cheat ourselves out of the expansive treasures of our being if we approach the Enneagram as just another tool that leads to identifying our dominant point on the Enneagram, i.e., our Enneagram “type.” If we take the next step in learning about the type—this particular sphere of consciousness that seems eerily familiar—we begin to unlayer new levels of awareness about how we show up in the world and how aspects of the inner terrain of our lives operate. We are often surprised to discover that our long-held ideas, previously hidden motivators, and our great gifts become illuminated, as if someone had read our private journal. But here they are, revealed as part of a type.
Continuing our exploration, we gain glimpses of the unintended ways that our personality—that which we have taken ourselves to be—has impacted our life experience. For example, the propensity to achieve one success after another, striving to gain some form of external recognition, may result not only in exhaustion but also to a fractured relationship with one’s own heart. Further, we begin to recognize both the positive and less-than-beneficial consequences of type in our personal and work relationships. It can be difficult to take in what we learn, and it’s not unusual to feel a full-range of emotions that can include a sense of relief about not being alone in one’s experience, some embarrassment or shame over not yet having had awareness of type patterns, and grief over what has been lost when living a life dominated by the personality’s automatic patterns.
Discovering this more predictable nature of one’s personality structure is an essential part of the journey to greater self-knowledge. But there’s so much more to us than what’s predictable. We’re invited to enter into the mystery of who we are, of our very nature. As friend and colleague Pamela Eakins writes about her own work with the Tarot, “In a mystery, though much is concealed, much is also revealed.”
Our work, excavating into the truth of our nature, seems most easily supported when we create the conditions for layers of our lives to be revealed, allowed, and embraced. I have found that five presence-based qualities support this inner work:
1. Wakeful curiosity
2. Unending compassion for ourselves and others
3. Willingness to be radically honest about ourselves (at least with ourselves)
4. Trust in the process of our unfolding
Building our capacity to meet ourselves with these qualities creates a reservoir of self-acceptance that leads to taking further steps.
But where does this all lead? We are each, of course, on our own unique paths. But the destination is the same—we are all on a journey back to ourselves, back to our hearts. In recovering our true nature, we return to Love that is inherent in our Being. That’s why I have long called the Enneagram a “Map of Love.” If we are willing to trust our own unfolding with the support of the Enneagram, we become more awakened—in the right time and in the right way—to the particular dimension of Love that we are. This is one of the secrets, the essential gift, embedded within the Enneagram.
**You can pre-order Roxanne’s newly revised and updated book, Deep Living with the Enneagram: Recovering Your True Nature here.