**I wrote this blog post for another organization, Wayfinding, while co-writing a 10-week study on the Enneagram last year. This post serves as the introduction to a new blog series I am kicking off: Spiritual Formation through the Lens of the Enneagram. Read on to find out more!!**
Crossing the Abyss
I had taken nearly every personality test that existed throughout my eleven year career in higher education: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strengths Finder, DiSC Profile, Multiple Intelligences Inventory, Intrinsic Motivation Assessment Guide, and the list goes on. It was part of my full-time job to teach college students how to grow in self-knowledge and find a career path through these assessments. So, it comes as no surprise my confidence level regarding my own self-knowledge was fairly high.
Then…life took an unexpected turn.
I walked away from a job and career I loved and found myself home full-time, doing laundry, scrubbing toilets, and carting kids to and from school and soccer practice. About a year or so before I left my job in higher education, I began feeling restless. I began wondering if there was something more, something fuller, more expansive. Slowly and quietly, questions and yearnings began welling up from a deep place within me. When our childcare arrangement unexpectedly fell apart and we decided I would leave my job, the questions and yearnings became louder and more present than ever. I could no longer ignore them or keep pushing them down.
Despite having been raised in the church, educated and trained in seminary, and working my entire career in religious settings, I came to realize I had lived most of my life disconnected from myself, my True Self. Trappist monk and spiritual master, Thomas Merton, once said, “What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?” I had not yet crossed the abyss. The shadows of the abyss were lurking within. It was in this new season of life that I found the courage to embark on the journey inward.
The Enneagram became and still is a tool that is vital to my inner work and transformation. As I grew in awareness and self-knowledge, the Enneagram gave me a way to interpret and understand my experiences. This tool was unlike any other I had come across because, not only did it supply content for accurate interpretation of my experiences, it set me on a path toward growth and transformation. The Levels of Development in the Enneagram along with a regular spiritual practice continue to open my eyes to greater awareness and Presence.
It is not uncommon to feel as though personality assessments stereotype and pigeonhole people into select categories. The Enneagram is unique in that it recognizes that individuals don’t fit neatly into one category and it fosters growth toward a fuller, truer version of Self. Ironically, despite being a personality assessment, the wisdom of the Enneagram reminds us that we are not our personality type. The growth along the inward journey is greater awareness of our personality and its tendencies so that we can begin the “letting go” process. In letting go of the defensive reactions and limiting patterns of our personality, we are more able to live out of our True Self – a way of being that is a unique manifestation of Love in the world.
In the coming weeks on the blog I’ll be unpacking how the Enneagram can lead us toward spiritual growth and transformation. We’ll dig into things like True self/false self, self-emptying (kenosis – Phil. 2:5-8), and the Welcoming Prayer – a contemplative spiritual practice that targets each Enneagram type’s core emotion. If you are not already familiar with the Enneagram, I have provided a list of resources packed with information and test options to assist you on your journey into the Enneagram. Also, I just might be offering access to Enneagram type-specific playlists on Spotify in the coming posts. So fun! Stay tuned!
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Center for Action & Contemplation – https://cac.org/the-enneagram-an-introduction/
The Enneagram Institute – https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works/
The Road Back to You – http://theroadbacktoyou.com/category/podcast/
The Liturgists – The Enneagram (Episode 37) – http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2016/8/23/the-enneagram-episode-37
Enneagram Type Indicator Tests (FYI – paid tests will be more accurate):
http://www.wepss.com/ – $10
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, by Ian Cron & Susanne Stabile
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, by Richard Rohr
The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People, by Elizabeth Wagele & Renee Baron
The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types, by Don Riso and Russ Hudson
**By purchasing the books listed above through the links provided the maintenance of my website receives assistance at no cost to you. Thank you!