If you are tired of hearing about the Enneagram, don’t know much bout it, love it, think it’s of the devil, or somewhere in between, I get it. But here’s a couple of pretty obvious things about humans that studying the Enneagram this year helped me articulate”
There’s three ways of “knowing” or of processing knowledge and information: Thinking, Feeling, and Doing. Of those three, we all have one that tends to be at the forefront, one that steps in to help or support that first one, and another that we have a hard time accessing. Growth comes when, through continual reflection and practice, we find ways to develop that third one that is usually hard for us to access.
There are three ways of walking in the world in relation to others: Some of us lean into others, trying to reshape them to fit our purposes. Some of us depend on others as our primary point of reference. And others of us withdraw from others to protect ourselves or to save something we value. Growth comes when, through continual reflection and practice, we recognize which of those we are, lean into the things about that stance that are helpful in the world, and find ways to minimize the things about that stance that are not helpful in the world.
The enneagram is simply taking those two things and noticing that the sets of “3’s” occur in different order in all of us, and the variations come out to 9 basic numbers. You don’t even have to say the word “enneagram” to see how such knowledge could be helpful. In fact, if the word is a problem for you or someone else, just don’t use it.
This year I had the opportunity to learn these things in a cohort of 35-40 other people from around the country (and Canada.) For 4 weekends we listened to Suzanne Stabile teach, had dinner in groups of people both like us and nothing like us, and did what Life in the Trinity’s motto is, “solitary work that cannot be done alone.” I thought that I was long finished with forming bonds and connections with different people in a setting like this, but the cohort shattered that assumption. I’m still doing work with these people– through texts, face time, and zoom calls. I’m thankful for the experience and, most of all, for their place in my life.