What is the Enneagram?
The origins of the Enneagram are shrouded in mystery. The Enneagram symbol emerged, as far as we know, through the Wisdom Traditions of the Middle and Far East. Passed down from generation to generation in oral tradition and documented - to our certain knowledge - only in the past 65 years.
The philosopher G.I. Gurdjieff introduced The Enneagram to the West in the early twentieth century, revealing a symbol that could be used to help us understand the true nature of reality, how things function and how change occurs. Gurdjieff suggested its application in many fields: music, theology, cosmology, architecture, law, science and self-knowledge.
In recent decades The Enneagram has come to global attention primarily and almost exclusively as a system for understanding personality: behaviour, belief-systems, motivation and relationships. It is in this context that Enneagram Alive South West operates. Like many others, we use ‘The Enneagram’ as short hand for ‘The Enneagram of Personality’ and typically explain it along these lines:
The Enneagram is a powerful and dynamic personality system that describes nine distinct and fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. The word “ennea” is Greek for nine and “gram” means model or figure. Hence, the Enneagram is a diagram or star with nine points representing the nine personality patterns. Each of these nine patterns is based on an explicit set of perceptual filters that determine our worldview. Underneath each of the nine patterns is a basic proposition or belief about what you need in life for survival and satisfaction.
The Enneagram shows nine different ways we all lose presence and move away from what’s most important in our lives. One of the nine is dominant in each of us, a set of unconscious and self-defeating patterns hard-wired into our personality structure. This structure - our Type - also reveals great strengths and a very individual route-map to becoming more of who we truly are. In this way the Enneagram helps bring increased presence, mindfulness, flexibility, freedom and creativity. It's been described as 'a road map to being the best we can be'.
Enneagram work is tangible and practical. It’s a powerful process for increased self-awareness and change capability. It enables us to improve our relationship with ourselves, with others and the world about us, for personal, professional and community benefit. And the Enneagram integrates the psychological, spiritual and somatic as no other system does, to bring profound learning and transformation.
The Enneagram is taught and practised in ways that transcend nationality, gender, race, religion or culture, in spiritual and secular settings, for personal, relational and professional use in many different fields.
The Enneagram is studied by academics and practising professionals in a growing number of sectors and disciplines including; Neurology, Psychology, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Counselling, Coaching, Organisational Transformation, Facilitation, Leadership, Team development, Systemic Consulting, Business, and Healthcare.