Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another Montreal Reflection (#6)

I knew that no matter how I approached it, attempting to bring some healthy closure to our time in Montreal would make long-windedness inevitable. I also knew that any attempt I made would fall short of accurately conveying the multitude of emotions, thoughts, and experiences we had out here. So, I've tried to bring some closure by packaging, some of the lessons we've learned into tidy little blog posts. The hope was that these lessons would become more portable and thus applicable in our new lives out here in California.
For this post, I'm continuing in the same vein as the others. All of them have more or less revolved around the idea of self-knowledge and calling. One tool for self-knowledge that I've been fascinated with over the past year has been the Enneagram. Basically the word means a chart (gram) of nine (ennea). The Enneagram maps out nine different personality types by defining them according to their "capital" sin. Richard Rohr, in his book The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective, defines the nine types as follows:
#1: The Need to Be Right
#2: The Need to Be Loved
#3: The Need to Succeed
#4: The Need to Be Special
#5: The Need to Perceive
#6: The Need for Security
#7: The Need to Avoid Pain
#8: The Need to Be Against
#9: The Need to Avoid
The nine types can be defined negatively or positively. The idea with the Enneagram is that although you may feel that several types apply to you, there is one that is underneath all the others. This one type is the root of all the different ways your specific behavior can manifest itself. Needless to say, it isn't always easy figuring out what your type is. Although I've heard stories of people reading a type and being completely convicted and ashamed by how accurately it described them, this was not at all the case for me. Over the past year I've read a number of books on the subject and even taken a standardized test in hopes of further understanding myself. I can say pretty confidently now what my type is now but it's been a year-long journey!
One other detail about the enneagram that I should include before I end this post is the possibility of having a "wing". A wing can be one or both of the two types neighboring whatever type you believe yourself to be. For example, if you're a three, you could have a two-wing, a four-wing, or both (depending on which Enneagram theorist you ask!). Your wing cannot be a five if you think you're a two, or vice versa. Having a wing can help clarify some things if you're having trouble finding your type. It definitely did for me.
So, that's all for now on the Enneagram. I have a few more things to say on that before I start catching up with all the latest current events of our newfound California lives. Hope you're still out there!

1 comment:

jpstreet said...

A very excellent tool, Denny. Thanks for sharing it with us on our visit. I'm fascinated to be finding that this tool is often used for spiritual direction, therapy and counseling.

I appreciate your attentiveness to the inner qualities, which lend weight to the outer ones.