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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Letter from Publisher: The Enneagram: A Tool for Growth

Jun 01, 2020 09:00AM ● By Paul Chen
“It was through the lens of the Enneagram that I first observed my personality/ego in action, and, in so doing, began to wake from the trance to realize that I have a choice in how I engage with/respond to life.”

So began the inscription in my copy of Riso and Hudson’s The Wisdom of the Enneagram, given to me for Christmas 2014 by my dear friend Ramona.

While I am not a devoted student of the Enneagram like many people I’ve encountered, I immediately recognized it as a priceless tool for self-development. As the subtitle of Riso and Hudson’s book says: “The complete guide to psychological and spiritual growth for the nine personality types.” 

Ramona had already pronounced me an Enneagram #9, the type labelled as Peacemaker. I did the questionnaires confirming my type and dove into reading all about 9s. And what I found was compelling.

Each of us is aware of most aspects of our personalities. I certainly was aware of A, B and C and X, Y and Z. But until reading about the Enneagram, it hadn’t occurred to me how characteristic X might make sense in the same person as characteristic C. That’s the first “ah-ha” I received. I knew this and that, and this and that, and this and that about myself, but I hadn’t perceived these attributes within the context of a personality type in which these various traits and tendencies make perfect sense.

What astounds me about the Enneagram is its breadth and depth. There seems to be no end to the layers upon layers of concepts, analysis and exploration one can engage in to gain an ever-deeper understanding of one’s personality. Moreover, new perspectives and models have been added over time, including one by Dr. Jerome Lubbe, author of our three-part series on the Enneagram that commences in this issue.

Lubbe is a chiropractor and functional neurologist who’s book on the topic is in its fourth printing. While his perspective on the Enneagram is overlaid with his perspective on neurology, his goal sounds like it could be the goal for many other Enneagram professionals: “To foster physical, mental, emotional, and relational health for the purpose of spiritual well-being.”

If you’ve been following our magazine for the last few years, you’ll know that we are committed to personal evolution content. Most of what we’ve published in that regard has come from the world of yoga; our yoga department is more about The Yoga Sutras than yoga’s asanas. Now we’re thrilled to present this three-part series on the Enneagram, a most excellent vehicle for emotional and spiritual development that we heartily endorse.

And the metro Atlanta area is fortunate to have a strong Enneagram community from which one can take workshops and classes and dive deep. There are a handful of Enneagram-trained therapists and business consultants who can work with individuals and organizations to enhance daily living, whether that living takes place in one’s own mind or in collaboration with colleagues.

Atlanta’s anchor for the Enneagram is the International Enneagram Association (IEA), Georgia Chapter. The chapter hosts monthly educational sessions that always enjoyed a strong turnout when they were held in Decatur, but attendance has doubled to tripled during this time of virtual meetings. While that increase certainly reflects not having to drive long distances during the remains of rush hour traffic, I’d like to believe that it also indicates that some of us are more inclined to go inward while we’re sheltering in place.

If you’re new to the Enneagram, I hope you find our series intriguing and that it prompts you to explore. If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I hope Dr. Lubbe’s presentation extends your curiosity and draws you in deeper. However you proceed, know that this model of personality types can help you grow in the most meaningful way; it can build your compassion. For as you come to understand yourself more completely, so too, in learning about the other eight types, you will learn about the inherent strengths and weaknesses of others. And when one of the more irritating weaknesses becomes manifest in others, instead of reflexively reacting, you may reflectively recall—oh yeah, #4s are like that!—and give them a pass.

We all would appreciate being let off the hook more often.

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