I am officially on board the enneagram train. I’ve been a fan of the enneagram for awhile, slowly researching when it felt more like a stroll in the park. But in the last year or so, the popularity of the enneagram has picked up speed and is rushing through people’s lives, leaving us breathless while also enabling us to find new ways to breathe.
Some call the enneagram a personality test, still others use it to place their friends and acquaintances into unambiguous little boxes. Both are dangerous. Neither is a fair use of this ancient practice rooted in wisdom tradition. This practice is meant to guide us closer to our true selves, to others, and to God.
The enneagram can be traced to tenets found in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam which is likely why I love it so. Anything that stands the test of time through multiple generations and multiple faith practices quietly screams of truth. These are the truths that occur at the root of our very souls. They move beyond culture, time, and upbringing, instead speaking the language of basic humanity.
My heart responds to this language. Bring me right to the core, to the truth, to the soul of the matter and my heart literally leaps for joy. So many people in discovering their enneagram number are upset, even pained, when they recognize their driving force. When I discovered mine, though, all I felt was joy. Finally, something that helped me to see that I was not alone. That the ways I felt and acted, in both the peaks and valleys, made sense. Finally, a dangling rope, ready for grabbing, once I realize I’ve fallen into the deepest of crevices.
Knowledge of what drives your decisions and how you react to life around you is powerful. It brings you back into relationship with God in a moment when you may have believed that the connection was lost. This knowledge has given me hope.
When I read the 9 enneagram types, I immediately knew which one I was, without even taking the test. Each type is driven by a particular force and mine was immediately and abundantly clear. Even so, I find it impossible to assign a number to my dearest friends and family, because the enneagram is much like humanity: inexplicable. As Walt Whitman famously says, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” We may (or may not) know ourselves, but we certainly can’t fully know another. The enneagram is dynamic, as are we. None of us can be defined by a number. Not ever.
But the memes! These memes, the snippets of creativity that box us into our types, are my absolute favorite part of following the enneagram right now. When I see one that feels true, I want to shout with joy. Somebody else understands the ridiculousness that goes on inside my head! I AM KNOWN. Hallelujah!
Below, a few gems that reveal the innermost nonsense in my head, all of which I have texted to my sister the second I saw them. These are type 9 inerrant truths.
If nothing else, take the time to find your number just for the memes!
Once you dig in, let me know what number you are. I promise not to place you in a box, instead we’ll have so much fun talking about how we can help each other out as we grow in relationship with one another and with God.
A few fun places to start:
The Enneagram Institute – very good overview of the types and has a quiz you can take that feels quite accurate. I paid the $ to take the test because I trust the work they’ve done and I reference the website often.
The Center for Action and Contemplation – Fr. Richard Rohr was one of the first to publish on the enneagram in the United States and his focus on contemplation while using the enneagram is, I think, critical to successfully using it in your life.
The Road Back to You by Ian Crohn and Suzanne Stabile – Good high level look at the enneagram in book form.
The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher Heuertz – Perfect introduction to using the enneagram for spiritual growth.
Love you! Holly