The Enneagram

There’s More to the Enneagram Than You Might Think

“As I engage in this work, and in meaningful and impactful programs such as the Deep Living, I have come to realize that the Enneagram is not a self-improvement project as I originally thought, but a practice in self acceptance.  Thank you”

Kathleen C. – Deep Living Retreat participant

The Enneagram as a Symbol

The circle, triangle, and hexad as symbols are foundational to the work of awakening to reality.

The Circle:  The Law of One

Qualities associated with the circle are “unending,”  “unity,” and “wholeness.”  Each of us have all nine Enneagram points along the circle and the associated dynamics within us. We experience a paradox of being individuals, while at the same time being connected to every other type–and to all that is.

The Triangle:  The Law of Three

The triangle represents the triadic nature of reality.  Western culture is steeped in dualism, which shows up in polarities such as  black/white, us/them, you/me, right/wrong, doing/being, and material/spiritual. Opening to the triadic nature of life invites us into presence and allows a new, unexpected way to arise.

The Hexad:  The Law of Seven

We are part of a universe in constant motion. The hexad is an irregular shape, representing the movement of the life force, of consciousness, and of change itself.

The Nine Points

Each point along the outer circle represents a particular personality type (a particular expression of the human condition and of consciousness). Each point has its own internal blueprint (visualized in the Inner Iceberg), inner commentary, and perception of self and of the external world.

Each point also represents a specific connection to that which is still, spacious, and eternal–that which is beyond the limitations of the personality.

The numbers do not represent value (Type Nine is not “better than” Type Three, for example) and, while there is movement and relationship between types, we have one core type our entire life. We may, however, fluctuate between different levels of presence within our type.

The Enneagram Iceberg Model

What distinguishes one personality from another? The answer is the hidden motivations that shape behavior, thinking, and way of being. In Deep Living, we refer to these motivations as “what’s under the water line,” and these are shown on the Iceberg Model below.

The Iceberg Model helps make sense of the different elements forming the architecture of the personality. What lies above is what is visible to others; what lies below is what informs and drives the personality.

We grouped the nine Enneagram types into groups of three Social Style Clusters, as noted in Roxanne Howe-Murphy’s book, Deep Living with the Enneagram: Recovering Your True Nature.

Social styles were developed by psychologist Karen Horney to describe common patterns we fall into when stressed in social situations. Recognizing these patterns can be helpful in understanding Enneagram type.

Click the Iceberg images below to enlarge

Private/Introspective Types (4, 5, 9)

Energetically withdrawing from active social, physical, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual engagement is one strategy that can be used to cope with the stress that accompanies interpersonal relationships.

Type 4 – The Individualist

You love the inherent beauty that exists everywhere. You recognize yourself as an integral expression of the creative force, which reveals itself in unique and deeply layered ways.

Type 5 – The Investigator

You have a place in life.  Your valued contributions include and transcend your mental knowing. You have a tender, loveable heart with the capacity to both be deeply touched and to deeply touch others.

Type 9 – The Peacemaker

While being engaged and present, you experience the interconnectedness of all.  Your presence contributes to the whole and is much-needed in our world.

Assured/Confident Types (3, 7, 8)

Asserting and inserting one’s power and influence into a relationship, conversation, conflict, or decision-making situation is one strategy that can be used to cope with the stress that accompanies interpersonal relationships.

Type 3 – The Achiever

Your heart is magnificent, and it will guide you to your authentic self. You don’t have to perform for others or receive their admiration and approval to be in touch with your delicious being.

Type 7 – The Enthusiast

All this joy and freedom you love is here, in this moment. You do not need to go anywhere or change what you do to experience the astonishment that is available here and now.

Type 8 – The Challenger

Your open-heartedness and willingness to let others in are vital dimensions of your personality. The groundedness and strength you experience in your body provide support for allowing your heart to register your deep caring for others.

Service-Oriented/Responsible Types (1, 2, 6)

Figuring out the rules of engagement and what needs to be done are two strategies that can be used to cope with the stress that accompanies interpersonal relationships.

Type 1 – The Reformer

There is nothing you need to fix or make happen in order to experience the sweet nature of goodness. There is relief in knowing there is a greater intelligence at work and you are an integral part of it.

Type 2 – The Helper

You do not have to work to create love. You are  absolutely loveable and your loving nature is part of your true gift.

Type 6 – The Loyalist

With sustained attention toward the aliveness of your inner body and toward maintaining a soft and open heart, you recognize that support arises from this inner experience and not from mental activity. 

Dig deeper with Deep Living with the Enneagram: Recovering Your True Nature, by Roxanne Howe-Murphy.