The Enneagram and Spiritual Practice: Part 3 of a 3-part SeriesAug 01, 2020 09:00AM ● By Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe
Many behavioral systems and personality typing models dive deep into the what and the how of what people do. In contrast, one of the most useful things about the Enneagram is its ability to succinctly and accurately describe what motivates us and why we each engage the world in our unique ways.
Part 3 offers ways to explore one’s “efficiency” within each type of the Enneagram; that is, how easily and naturally one can express each type. It also provides some practical and valuable methods to help one continue to discover more about their unique way of engaging in the world.
For example, if someone tested as a 1, instead of thinking of themselves as a 1, they might think they have a high efficiency in 1, plus a strong 7 nature as well. Then, they can further inquire into their relationship to the rest of the numbers/natures in the Enneagram. All around the circle can explore the efficiency or inefficiency with which they utilize each number and paint a more holistic picture of their personal neuropsychology.
The Enneagram is most commonly known as a system of personality types as it draws from ancient wisdom and insights from modern psychology to assist personal and collective transformation. Read More »
Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of the Enneagram is its set of nine numbers that offers a language and a system for understanding and discussing ourselves as human beings. Read More »
If someone is inefficient in a number, on the other hand, they will require a significant amount of energy to express that nature. For example, someone who is efficient in 8 but struggles to see the value of serenity will likely be inefficient in 6 and 9. Instead of turning 6 and 9 away as irrelevant, they can instead expand their capacity for greater efficiency.
From that, I couldn’t help but conclude that if I wanted to be a “host” who “helped” folks, I should probably work at a chain restaurant. But I didn’t want to be described in that way at all. Of course, that was my ego talking; but, I also understood that I was being triggered by language in a way that felt patronizing. It did not feel life-giving. So, I started searching for words that felt more relevant, connected, inspiring and true to me personally.
That’s how I came up with the Thesaurus Exercise, a process that can eliminate trigger words and create a language that invites positive engagement and support optimal growth. Whether you are brand new to the Enneagram system or an experienced expert, the exercise is both practical and effective. I encourage people to come up with their own set of Enneagram-related words, words that feel more inviting and empowering to them and are more effective at supporting them on their journey of self-discovery.
1. Using an online thesaurus, type a word expressing the nature of each number.
8 -- Disrupt
9 -- Peace
1 -- Reform
2 -- Nurture
3 -- Achieve
4 -- Individuality
5 -- Investigate
6 -- Loyalty
7 -- Enthusiasm
As you do this exercise, be sure to only select relevant words that are helpful substitutes for the original nature word. For best results, select words that evoke strong positive responses or that feel personally connected to your lived experience. If necessary, click through the tabs at the top of the lists to select the term that most closely resembles the nature of the original word.