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Here are are three good descriptions of the Enneagram:
1. You have a Pre-installed “Operating System”. The Enneagram provides an operating manual for how you and others “work.”
With a good operating manual and the right tools you can optimize your psychological health! Psychological health can be defined as the ability to respond to a given situation in the moment with openness and flexibility. Feeling reactive means feeling like you have no choice in how you respond in a situation. It’s like a knee jerk reaction. The Enneagram provides a map to help you navigate toward greater psychological health by describing the habitual patterns that can keep you inflexible and closed. In its brilliance, it also illuminates the pathway to what a more expanded and evolved YOU may look like.
The first step in changing your reactions is to become AWARE of the dominant pattern of those reactions. Awareness is the primary tool for transforming your life. Your habitual reactions are part of how you’ve learned to survive, to protect yourself and to navigate the world. You found a system that makes sense to you. But it also causes frustration. The Enneagram can help because it gives you the codes to your operating system.
2. The Enneagram Is a Map for Understanding the Self and is a way to look at our Lens, through which we view the world…
The ENNEAGRAM (nine points) is a personality system that presents a useful template or map for understanding ourselves, the important people in our life, and the groups we work with. It describes nine ways of processing and responding to the world– a full spectrum of personality styles. We view the world through lenses which either bring great clarity or various degrees of distortion to our vision. The Enneagram enables us to look at our lenses instead of just looking through them.
3. Our personality Type is our Filter, sometimes obscuring all of reality. Enneagram work explores those filters and how they work for and against us.
While our restless yearnings may be universal, how they are expressed is much more particular and is, in fact, a function of the “filter” with which we approach all of life. The main filter that we use to understand ourselves and the world all around us, to express ourselves, to defend ourselves, to deal with our past and anticipate our future, to learn with, to rejoice with and to fall in love with, is our personality type.
__D Riso and R Hudson
Enneagram Theory and practice is fascinating and there are a variety of ways to describe it and its benefits. For me, I believe it is about awareness and being tuned in to ourselves and others. The benefit of this awareness is manifested in different ways for each of us.