Introduction to Enneagram
by Torre Waag

When we begin to see ourselves objectively and see others as they are to themselves, we become grateful for the nine types. The nine personality types are part of the creative expression of the Divine. The vast human diversity we experience emanates from these nine types. Through coming to know the nine types we grow in empathy, compassion and even love.

Shakespeare wrote "All the world's a stage and we are but players on it." We may understand this as a metaphor for life, but according to the enneagram, it is literally true. We have acquired (chosen or been assigned) a role, a personality type, which we live out on the stage of life. The word "personality" comes from persona, which originally referred to the masks that actors wore onstage to mark the characters being played. Similarly, our personality type is the most visible expression of our often hidden essence or soul.

As children we refine our personas, then soon we become enchanted with our role. Like good method actors, we identify with our part. However, we are more than method actors; we have forgotten we are playing our role. We have forgotten we are spiritual beings playing at being human. (It is not necessary to believe this to study the enneagram, but through studying the enneagram we may begin to intuit that it is true) Through studying the enneagram, through seeing that we are playing a role, we may begin to experience our essential self.

We all play our parts differently. We come from different families, different climates, different genders, and different experiences. Some who play the tragic-romantic personality type fall into depression and despair expressing bitter sarcasm for a forlorn life. Others use the same sense of deep longing to ferment poetry, music and art. Some who play the Boss personality type become ruthless competitors who leave a trail of tragedy in their wake. Others use their same sense of power and justice to bring hope and security to the downtrodden. By learning our personality type we come to know who we are and who we are not, and we also come to know on what level we are playing our role.

Our personality type is the outward expression of our essential self. Through uncovering our personality type, we get some separation from it, and thus, we come to live more readily and often in our essential self. Likewise, as we glimpse the personality types of others, we begin to distinguish between their personality and their essence self. Over time as we live more in essence and come to know essence in others, we grow in forgiveness, gratefulness and love. Instead of taking offense from others abrasive or vain personalities, we rejoice in the diverse expression of the Divine.

Follow the link below to the nine types. Imagine yourself in the presence of an angel before birth. (You don't need to believe this to imagine it) In this solemn and pregnant moment you are seeing the role you are about to play. You are getting a vision of the world you are about to enter, the family with whom you will live, the country that will be yours. Soon you will forget this moment with an angel. You will forget you have acquired a role. You will forget you are a divine being about to enter divine play. When you awaken, you will awaken to the part.

"Just one more thing before you leave," our angel whispers. "You will have moments when you glimpse the whole play. When you stand outside of it, looking in. Everybody has these moments. Then you may see the divine perfection, the divine will and the divine love that permeates all things. Cherish these moments. Being present for them is one of the sublime gifts of life."  Learn more about the origins and evolution of the enneagram.

The Nine Personality Types
The nine personality types can be simple or very complex. We have tried to present the simple version here by looking for the center of gravity around which each type moves.

Each of us experiences the perspective of all or most of the types regularly, perhaps even in a day. Yet, one of them is our home base. It is the point we return to time and again. The first names after the number (i.e. The Perfectionist) are their more common names. These names came from Helen Palmer. The second names (i.e. ego-resentment) are their original names, which came from the Arica Institute. The ego-type name offers another descriptive key. The passion is the repeating emotional tone common to the type. We all experience all the passions, of course. The passions come from the seven deadly sins of anger, envy, pride, lust, avarice, gluttony and sloth plus two more: self-deceit and fear.

If this is your first time looking at the personality types you should be able to eliminate most of them and narrow your choice to two or three likely possibilities. After that, observe yourself, observe your concerns and motivations, observe your emotional tone and see what comes up, see which type is likely yours. If the personality types interest you, a seminar given by a skilled facilitator is the next step. In a seminar you can learn how to work psychologically and spiritually with your type.

1. The Perfectionist

2. The Giver

3. The Performer

4. Tragic-Romantic

5. The Observer

6. The Devil's Advocate

7. The Epicure

8. The Boss

9. The Mediator

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