The only qualification and reason for taking up Enneagram Studies is to have heard yourself saying more than once, internally or externally,
THERE MUST BE SOMETHING MORE TO LIFE THAN THIS…
Sources of the Enneagram
The Enneagram comes from a long way off. It has accrued to itself a dynamic view of human psychic striving developed out of at least two thousand years of Wisdom. It has the robustness of a very simple model or tool that, used with a high degree of sensitivity, gives a strangely accurate provisional handle on the presumably infinite variables of human typology. Simplistically interpreted, it is supposed to tell you what specific ‘type’ you are and even at this level a reading of the possibilities will have a certain feeling of rightness or fit; we do have set patterns of behaviour which tend to repeat: “’Bin here before…” “Here we go again…”
Fixations rather than Types
The ‘types’ are far more constructively considered to be ‘fixations’; when you find you are currently fixated in a particular way the presupposition carried by the word ‘fixation’ is that you can choose to become ‘unfixed’ in your responses to the world and your inner calling.
Once you’ve started thinking about what the Enneagram has to say about ‘fixations’, you’ll find yourself uncannily there. Then you discover that your basic fixation is related to other fixations in a whole complex of intriguing ways; the Enneagram is a dynamic system for thinking about who & what you are and which direction you need to go in order to make things even better than they are now; you’ll also recognise and begin to come to terms with the darker side of your being.
Maybe you’ve already dialled up the mechanical tick-box approach on other Internet sites and been left thinking, “So what?” My approach to the Enneagram is unique (of course). You are encouraged to use the descriptors for each Fixation as pegs to hang your own story on, discarding and accepting them as you piece it together. In a group, you will identify parts of other people’s patterns in yourself and find yourself in others. You only have to notice your current fixation to enable you to move on.
Having identified your life-patterns, it’s a matter of what you do with them: you can choose to stick within your pattern in which case it continues to be a distractingly comfortable fixation; alternatively you can choose to become aware of the movements between more and less resourceful responses within a specific type and then learn to navigate a practical & productive life-route around all the possibilities described in the Enneagram, piecing things together for yourself and avoiding the life-threatening process of disintegration that one can easily be trapped into. The end of the journey (just before you start off on the next one) is to shed all the personality-fixations that you have acquired through education and up-bringing and arrive back at the place where you started from in Pure Essence with an increased knowledge of what to avoid and what to go for as you continue to recognise the signs of all your previous patterns. Vestiges of the characteristics of your fixations are always with you. But you can choose not to go along with them when you know what else there is.
Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and the Enneagram
The debrief of what you will discover is taken into the ideas relayed by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and is thus given a thoroughly practical basis in the wider philosophical system of the 4th Way. Gurdjieff introduced the Enneagram into the West in the 1920’s; his use of it was in relation to general systemic processes. The best account of the possible outcomes of his approach is contained in a book by one of his main followers, J.G.Bennett, Enneagram Studies. A connection that neither Bennett nor Gurdjieff nor any of his other followers, as far as I am aware, make is to Gurdjieff’s principle that we are not one single undivided ‘I’ but a compound of Multiple-I’s: the Enneagram as I present it is a development of this concept.
What You’ll Get
You will get a thorough introduction to the systemic way the Enneagram can be made to work for you on your journey backward (and forward) to the essential you; it can set a course for you and keep you on track; it will highlight the directions that might not prove quite so fruitful. The strength of the Enneagram as a model is that it encompasses those aspects of ourselves that we’d rather not think about as well as the things which we might aspire to when we know how to get there; it is a more robust model of self-development than those which persistently and rather alarmingly preach an over-the-top gospel of positive (wishful) thinking which only serves to deepen the trough of despond opening up before us. It’s worth noting that this idea would generally be anathema to people with certain current Fixations; a person with a different current Enneagram Fixation would have a different response. What’s yours?
My whole approach to Enneagram Studies may be summed up in J.G.Bennett’s apophthegm:
ANYTHING TOO WELL AND TOO NEATLY ORGANISED
SOWS THE SEEDS OF ITS OWN DESTRUCTION
The basic model is elegantly neat and tidy; its ramifications are likely to involve you in several life-times of continuous self-study and observation of others.
Anybody who is familiar with the eclectic process called NLP will find that the Enneagram is capable of generating thousands of what are known as ‘Metaprograms’; the debrief will be familiar as what’s called ‘Parts Work’. It is a huge development from that basic idea and is applicable to all coaching and self-development engagements.
Happy to discuss all this on-line.