Archive for personality test

A Mirror of the Soul

 

A Mirror of the Soul 

Enneagram

“As a mirror of the soul the Enneagram remains a tool that can be laid aside at any time.  The Enneagram is not the answer, but one signpost among many.  Signposts show the way, but we have to take the way ourselves.”

Andreas Ebert 

 

    For last couple of months I was fortunate to be part of a small group focused on the Enneagram.  Over a period of ten weeks, we spent two hours a week learning the different aspects of this system that points the way to our true essence. Even after 20 hours of intense learning, we had only begun to scratch the surface of all that can be minded from this typology.

    It is an ancient typology that may have been part of early Greek philosophy and the Christian desert fathers.  It is used in some form in the Jewish and Muslim mystical traditions as well.  The beauty of this system is that it a dynamic typology. It characterizes people by nine different types but also contains an inner dynamic that encourages change through insight of basic fears and desires.  It sheds light on both the psychological and spiritual aspects of our nature. According to Helen Palmer, one of the renown teachers of the Enneagram:

“Sacred psychology sees personality as a false-self system.  The ‘true self’ is spiritual in nature.  It was overshadowed in early life when attention turned to meet the needs of survival.  Over time we identified so strongly with the characteristics of our type, and came to rely so heavily on conditioned perceptions, that we forgot our true nature and ‘became’ our personality, or false self.”

 

     We use the Enneagram not only for insight into our self but also to understand what motivates others.  No one can tell you what your type is.  It is not a system based on behavior but internal motivation.  The Enneagram typologies describe where your habit of attention goes when you are interacting with the exterior or interior world.  The best way to discover your type is to take a simple test that is included in Daniels and Price’s book, The Essential Enneagram.  The nine types have received various labels from different authors. I have found those by Helen Palmer’s program helpful.  Below are their titles and a description of where the attention goes.

  1. The Perfectionist: Correcting Error
  2. The Giver: Others’ Needs
  3. The Performer: Tasks/Goals
  4. The Romantic: What is Missing
  5. The Observer: Intrusion/Detaching
  6. The Loyal Skeptic: Potential Hazards
  7. The Epicure: Multiple Options
  8. The Protector: Power/justice
  9. The Mediator: External Claims/Others’ Positions

   Each type has it pros and cons, its gifts and its downfalls.  There is much more to understand about this system than an introductory article can cover.  If you are interested in learning more, I suggest you read the books listed in the resources below and sign up for a class. Classes on Enneagram  This ancient system is one that is worth understanding both for insight into your own behavior and those with whom you work and play.