Wisdom of the Enneagram: Moving Beyond Personality
Most of us encounter the Enneagram as a useful system of personality types. We find it fascinating to see ourselves and others through the insights that the Enneagram offers. But at a certain point, we begin to see that the characteristics described in Enneagram books reflect only part of the picture.
At a deeper level, however, the Enneagram tells us about the relationship between our personality and our Essence, or spirit. This Workshop will focus on exercises to help us see through the veils of our personality structures to have a more direct experience of our Essence, our true spiritual nature. We will look at the personality types as nine distinct aspects of human nature that can be found in all of us regardless of our type. We will see how these different parts of ourselves manifest personally in our lives, and how, rightly understood, they can lead us to deeper inner resources and lasting joy.
This Workshop will feature exercises for each type, as well as music, meditations, and practices that will help bring our Centers of intelligence (Thinking, Feeling, and Instinct) into greater alignment, thus opening us to the transformative action of Spirit. We will focus primarily on the spiritual gifts of each type. If you are interested in finding more effective ways of using the Enneagram in your spiritual practice, or if you are interested in exploring the underlying meaning and Wisdom of the Enneagram, this Workshop will be highly relevant to you.
The Journey of Growth (Levels): Working with the Dynamism and Levels of the Enneagram
The Journey of Growth Workshop is about harnessing an understanding of the vertical dimension of the Enneagram, with all the dynamic inter-relationships of the types, to help us in our journey of psycho-spiritual growth. We explore how the Levels of Development, which provide a vertical dimension to the personality types, make clear the “inner logic” of each type and reveal how the various type traits and motivations as well as the movement along the arrows form an interrelated whole. All of these complex inter-relationships weave a subtle and profound web of inter-connections among the types which gives us guidance for our inner growth.
At their most profound, the Levels are the measure of each person’s degree of fixation within his or her own type, that is, the degree with which one is able to be Present vs. being swept away by past conditioning, reactivity, and defenses. Working with the Levels and internal dynamism of the Enneagram not only provides recognition for where we are in our journey of growth, but also guides us toward greater health and transformation.
The Levels were discovered by Don Riso in 1977 and subsequently further clarified with Russ Hudson. The Levels provide a way of tracking each type’s movement along a continuum toward more freedom, consciousness, expansiveness, and Being in the higher Levels—or toward more reactivity, mechanicality, and self-destructiveness in the lower ones. By introducing this “vertical axis” to the types, the Levels explain some of the most important things that we find in human nature—fluidity and change, resistance and conflict, freedom and compulsion—among many human qualities.
In this Workshop, we explore how people “move” from one Level to another, along with other complex “horizontal” movements predicted by the Enneagram. We also see how the main characteristics of each type are related to the degree of contact with Essence as seen in the Levels. Exercises, music, and meditation are used as a way of grounding the information in our personal experience and to deepen our understanding. This Workshop is particularly valuable for those who wish to have more clarity and insight for using the Enneagram in personal growth.
The Levels of Development innovation is the only Enneagram work to be specifically endorsed by Ken Wilber, who has stated that only with this vertical dimension taken into account, does the Enneagram system move toward being a complete psychology. Don Riso and Russ Hudson are the only Enneagram authors to write and teach about the Levels, thus giving their work an extraordinary explanatory power and making a wide range of practical applications possible.
The Enneagram and Relationships: Intimate and Professional
Relationships are one of the most rewarding - as well as one of the most frustrating -aspects of our existence. Whether in intimate or work settings, the quality of our relationships has an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, on our self-esteem, and on our careers. Yet, we often find the behavior of others baffling—even if we have known them intimately for many years. Often, the very things that we do not understand in others are the greatest sources of problems and conflicts in our relationships. Clearly, the better we know ourselves and the people in our lives, the more harmonious and satisfying our relationships will be.
The Enneagram can help us tremendously in understanding our relationships. It is a remarkable system of nine basic personality types that sheds light on the most important psychological dynamics in our personality, as well as on the deeper spiritual yearnings of our soul. Each type has its own set of strengths, vulnerabilities, and perceptions of the world. The Enneagram can help us to realize who we are and what our greatest potentials might be, as well as to make sense of the sometimes confusing behavior of others.
Participants will be guided to use the Enneagram as a profound and immensely practical way to understand their relationships with others, both intimate and professional. We will cover particular dynamics among the different types, effective methods for communicating with each type, and the ways in which the three Instinctual Variants (Subtypes) affect our main motivations in relationships.
The Insight Approach® will be used, employing interactive exercises, guided meditations, panels of exemplars, music, and other techniques to help participants recognize personal strengths as well as to uncover the blind spots that they bring to their relationships. If you want to improve your relationship with a spouse, child, friend, business associate, or family member, this Workshop will be invaluable.
The Three Instincts (Subtypes): Using the Enneagram to Create Balance in your Life and Harmony in Your Relationship
Our instinctual nature, while extremely powerful in our decision-making processes, lifestyle choices, and orientation to day-to-day reality, is often given little emphasis in many spiritual paths, and the Instincts are often treated as an inherent problem—a distortion to be eliminated. This is understandable since this part of our nature is usually little interested in our spiritual or psychological development. Yet, without a clear and viable relationship with this aspect of our souls, it is extremely difficult to maintain an integrated approach to our path.
The Enneagram deals very directly with this aspect of the Self through teachings about the Three Instincts—Self-Preservation, Sexual (Attraction), and Social (Adaptation). Seminal ideas about the three Instincts go back at least as far as Gurdjieff’s teachings about the Centers and have equivalents in other spiritual traditions. In recent years, many Enneagram students have discovered the explanatory power of seeing how their instinctual bias operates in combination with their dominant Enneagram type. Learning how their type plays itself out through one of these Instincts can be as exciting as when we first learn about the Enneagram.
In this Workshop, we will first clarify and deepen our understanding of the Instincts, seeing them at work in our personal experience. We will also examine how our particular instinctual “stack”—the way we prioritize our basic human needs and values—is the pattern that most keeps us locked in the repetitive habits of our personality. (One of the quickest ways to unlock the Passion and Fixation of our type is to understand and work on the imbalance in our Instincts.) Recognizing the way we give energy to certain needs while neglecting others brings balance and helps us integrate the deeper experiences of Essence and Being that we may have had. Without such Inner Work, even profound experiences of Spirit and Oneness cannot affect our lives the way they could.
The Workshop will employ experiential dyads and triads, meditation, movement work, and music to help participants recognize the ways that these patterns express themselves in their lives. We will also explore concrete ways in which to bring greater balance in our approach to our instinctual life. Our approach is relaxed and conversational, with an emphasis on the development of our capacity to remain in Presence.