Maybe you’ve heard the word “enneagram” before and wondered what it meant. It refers to a traditional system of personality classification, a tool used to move past fixations of our egos. It’s not so much a personality – which changes over periods of time and under different circumstances – but a deeper, ingrained tendency. The idea is, everybody has one of the nine tendencies, and once you recognize yourself, you can best know how to grow. These tendencies are based on the old Christian idea of the seven deadly sins, plus two more. The Enneagram was a tool frequently used by early Christians and early Muslims.
This is a great book for beginning to understand where you are on the Enneagram – but it also really gets into what you can do to grow past your fixation and become a more integrated person. Under each type, there’s a questionnaire, a very detailed description, what to look out for, and how to amplify your strengths. There’s also another section called “Tools for Transformation” that is incredibly helpful. Altogether very well-written and well-organized– a great reference book.
LESSONS FOR YOGIS:
1) The Enneagram system provides us with a way to understand ourselves and our impulses. The next step is to bring the practice of mindfulness to everything: “Combining knowledge of the Enneagram with spiritual practice consists of: One: becoming present and aware as much as possible throughout the day, Two: seeing your personality in action Three: not acting out your impulses.”
2) Having a personal daily practice is important: “Most spiritual teachings stress the importance of some kind of practice, be it meditation, prayer, yoga, relaxation, or movement. The important thing is to set aside some time each day to reestablish a deeper connection with our true nature.”
3) Watch out for putting things off or reading too much! Svadhyaya must be balanced with action: “It is not enough merely to think about transformation or talk about it or read books about it. Procrastination is a great defense of the ego. The only time to use the tools of transformation is now.”
This book is probably available at your library – it was at my branch of the Santa Fe library – and used copies are easy to find, too.