This post from The Enneagram Institute provides tools for personal growth that are linked to the various Enneagram types. Enneagram is a nine-sided figure used to represent the spectrum of possible personality types. The Empowering Team likes these spiritual development tools that give you insight into working with your own and others’ Enneagram tendencies toward balance.
To use the Enneagram for personal growth, we need more than interesting information about the nine types. This map of the soul can become useful for us only when we combine it with key personal growth techniques. To this end, we offer seven tools that we have found indispensable for spiritual development.
- Seeking Truth
If we are interested in personal growth, no element is more important than developing a love of truth. Seeking the truth means being curious about what is going on in ourselves and around us, not settling for the automatic answers our personality feeds us. If we observe ourselves, we will see that many of the stock explanations that we give ourselves for our behavior or for the actions of others are a form of resistance. They are a way of avoiding seeing more deeply into our current state. For example, one stock answer might be, “I am really angry at my father,” but a deeper truth might be that I really love him and desperately want his love. Both levels of truth might be difficult for our personality to accept. It could take a long time to admit that we are angry with our father—and even longer to acknowledge the love beneath the anger. As we learn to accept what is real in the present moment, we are more able to accept whatever arises in us, because we know that it is not the whole of us. The truth encompasses both our fearful reactions and the greater resources of our soul. While our automatic reactions can derail our search for the truth, acknowledging their presence brings us closer to the truth. When we are willing to be with the whole truth—whatever it is—we have more inner resources available to deal with whatever we are facing.
- “Not Doing”
The process of spiritual growth sometimes seems paradoxical because we speak of struggle and effort as well as of allowing, accepting, and letting go. The resolution of these apparent opposites lies in the concept of “not doing.” Once we understand “not doing,” we see that the real struggle is to relax into greater awareness so that we can see the manifestations of our personality. By neither acting on our automatic impulses nor by suppressing them, we begin to understand what is causing them to arise. Not acting on our impulses creates openings through which we can catch glimpses of what we are really up to. Those glimpses often become some of our most important personal growth lessons.
- Willing to Be Open
One of the primary functions of the personality is to separate us from various aspects of our own true nature. It causes us to limit our experience of ourselves by blocking from awareness any parts of ourselves that do not fit our self-image. By relaxing our bodies, quieting the chatter in our minds, and allowing our hearts to be more sensitive to our situation, we open up to the very inner qualities and resources, which can help us grow. Every moment has the possibility of delighting us, nurturing us, supporting us—if we are here to see it. Life is a tremendous gift, but most of us are missing it because we are watching a “mental movie” of our lives instead. As we learn to trust in the moment and to value awareness, we learn how to turn off the internal movie projector and start living a much more interesting life—the one we are actually starring in.
- Getting Proper Support
The more support we have for our personal development, the easier our process will be. If we are living or working in dysfunctional environments, personal growth is not impossible, but it is more difficult. Most of us cannot leave our jobs or our families so easily, even if we are having difficulties with them, although we can seek out others who give us encouragement and act as witnesses to our growth. Beyond this, we can find groups, attend workshops, and put ourselves in situations that foster our real development. Getting support also entails structuring our days in ways that leave room for the things that nurture our souls.
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