General Discussion: Enneagram & Spiritual Discernment

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34 Comments on “General Discussion: Enneagram & Spiritual Discernment

    • Gwen and Richard – just listening to the recorded session now. Thank you for this offering. I have been exploring the enneagram for about a year now; not by taking a test, until today, but just “feeling my way”. Had finally landed on 2 with a possible 1 wing – and no real consistent leaning about subtype yet. I am still finding the “27 subtypes” to be rather overwhelming – and the various models for discernment still murky, although I am familiar with them all. So far, nothing REALLY resonates with me. No lightbulbs going off to light my way when looking at my “tragic gap.” – Hoping for further insights as we go deeper. Richard, your stories about yourself and others did help clarify some things for me. Thanks for this series! – Jenny

      • Hello again. I just realized I didn’t actually ask my question! I’m wondering if you have any suggestion/guidance for how I can focus my attention so as not to be overwhelmed by all the information – how to glean the gifts for use in my own discernment process and others’. ??

        • Hi Jenny,
          I would recommend that you see this as a year-long study (since the materials are available to you for a full year) and just pick one idea to sit with. Which of these concepts have the most impact at the moment? Focus on that and let the other ideas come in as a reference to focus on later. Give yourself one or two weeks to just work with that one core concept. The next area to study will build from that. I hope that helps.

  1. I just took the eclectic energies tests and, like another participant, also did not get the answers I expected. As much as I would LOVE to be a 2, regretfully have to still own being an 8. Also expected to be a 1:1, but said I was social. Will follow Richard’s advice about repeating at another time.

    • Hi Sharry,
      It also mistyped me. I am certainly a seven, but my social subtype is a countertype, so I almost always show up as a two. I know that shame isn’t a motivator for me (but fear certainly is) so two is off the table.

  2. Also, thank you Richard…..your classes (Enneagram, Spiritual Direction and Death&Dying) have come along at important times in my life over the past 25 years. They NEVER disappoint! Namaste’

  3. My eclectic energies Enneagram test was spot on!
    I was surprised it was right and happy it was !

    It is what I have been working with since the Enneagram retreat in
    Oregon years ago . It was life changing . Realized I was not a 1 but a 6 !
    Looking forward to growing even more as a 6 /5w
    Namaste ?

  4. Thanks Gwen for your ever reassuring presence at the webinar. I took both tests, the first confirmed my 4ness! The second test suggested I was a 1 but did agree with my own guess about my subtype being SX. I have a question for Richard regarding my comment about “wet abandonment” and “dry abandonment” at the webinar. He used the word “untended” and I have been curious about it since. Could he throw a little more light on it please?

  5. Thank you Gwen. I have taken both Eclectic Energies Enneagram tests and they confirm that I am a 1w 2 which I have believed myself to be for a number of years.
    I came out as a SO variant, when I read the information about the variants I felt more drawn to the SP so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the next few weeks.

    Thank you I am delighted to be part of this group.

  6. The eclectic energies exams are repeatedly identifying me as a 2 which is puzzling. I have identified as a 6 and more recently 6w5 and I still think I am a six. I usually test high for 2 but and have tried it on from time to time but I don’t think I have the instincts of a 2. However, I will sit with it for awhile and see and go back to the Enneagram Transformations.

    • Hi John, This test also mistypes me as a two. I am sure I am a seven, but with a social subtype it almost always types as a two on tests (quite an alliteration). Do you have an idea about your subtype?

      • I wrote too fast and said I was a six! I’ve corrected that, but it’s so interesting because I’ve been exploring my wings and really trying to determine if I lean towards six or eight. I think my subconscious just gave me an answer!

      • Reading the descriptions I feel like I am a social subtype though some things about the self preservation subtype caught my attention. When I am in a new job or situation I put a lot into figuring out the unwritten rules of the group. I recognized that before I did enneagram work. The other thing I do is to try to figure out where I fit in. I tend to look for something that needs to be done that no one else is doing so I can be useful. On the other hand I really don’t care to stand out in the group, just to be an involved part of the group. I have taken on leadership roles before but in every case I was asked to do it. I never actively sought it. Also, I often accepted it because I didn’t thing anyone else would do it. I also have taken the job because I didn’t want someone else to take it and mess things up. I like to be left alone to do my job but to be part of a greater whole. I have also made a lot of decisions based upon not wanting to disappoint others. It feels to me like different Enneastyles of people will make the same decision or choice but the question is, how did they get there? For me, the decision seems to come from not wanting to separate myself from the group. To me being cast out of the group feels like a kind of death. Taking everything right now I believe I wear a 6w5 with a Social subtype.

        • Yes, that sounds so much like a social subtype! In my experience, it isn’t about wanting to be the leader in the group but the importance of connection in the “tribe” of choice.

  7. Session One did not disappoint! Thank you Richard! And thank you to the team that make all of this work so smoothly.
    I’d like to make a request. I loved the information on the powerpoint slides for the wings of the Heart Types. Richard said he would be using the Head Types and Gut Types in the next two sessions but I suspect those topics will not be related to the Wings. Is it possible to get the Wing information about those other six types? The descriptions provided on the handouts doesn’t seem as helpful. Thank you!

  8. Coincidentally, this week I was also introduced to the topic of “Triangles” as presented by Ginger Lapid-Bogda. The triangles of the Enneagram are the same as the Harmony Triad Model that Richard is teaching so beautifully. Ginger talks about the two invisible lines (connecting 4&7 and 2&5). When those lines are drawn, we have the three triangles with one Type in each of the three Centers of Intelligence (gut, heart and head). Ginger describes each Triad as a “movement toward Being” as one journeys around their Triad. 3,6,9 is Being Awake (or the movement to awakening). 1,4,7 is Being Whole (or the journey to wholeness). 2,5,8 is Being Alive (or the journey to aliveness). All of this is so profound I couldn’t resist sharing!

  9. What intrigues me is the frame one “uses” to view/be in the world based on what one believes is their Enneatype. (Let’s say you thought you were a Specific type for years…But then!!!) Upon taking these tests several times, new information energies to suggest a different type that Actually “may” feel more spot-on! So then the frame or mirror of Self/self understanding shifts. ….I’d love to explore what we experience energetically when we leave an old type (mismatched) behind as we identify with a new or more accurate type. My sense is this shift uncovers more of our unconscious material/shadow—and maybe that’s a sign we’ve discovered a more accurate reflection of our whole self.

    • Hi Maura – Your comments describe just what I would have said about going from what you were told you might be to landing in the muck of what I then felt was a dreaded ownership of what had been repressed! Adding the layers of not just wings but the disintegration and integration paths with sub-types and the harmony inclusion of living with input of body-heart-mind feels so very hopeful and inviting, and possible to bring conscious choices to play.

  10. I’m curious about the difference between the two enneagram tests. The first one consistently types me as 4 and the second one consistently types me as 2. Quite sure I’m a 4, but what do I do with the other result?

  11. After listening to Richard’s lecture again yesterday I got a ha ha moment when Gwen explained about how she recognised she was Social subtype. When Gwen used the word tribe I instantly recognised what was important to me in my life and how one incident in particular has distressed me for years. I am very grateful as it explains so much to me.
    Thank you Richard and Gwen

    • You are welcome, Marie! Yes, the idea of “tribe” is a huge priority to me. It eclipses my more hedonistic impulses and drives my decision making.

  12. Thank you Kathleen Paterno for sharing the information about the Triangles/Triads it is profound and very helpful. I am a 1w2SO and knew I was connected to 4 but this throws more light on the matter for me. Triad 1,4,7 for me is very exciting as one of my daughters is a 4 (I feel) and the other is a 7, again (I feel). For the last few years I feel they both have lots to teach me towards becoming more whole. It was easy for me to see how the 7 type could help me but not the 4 type so I am grateful for this new information. Thank you again.

    • I also find the 1,4,7 triad very enlightening. As a seven I always felt very connected to four but couldn’t understand it until I found this concept.

  13. When diving into the enneagram several years ago, the first test results were evenly split between 1,3,6 and 8. It took a long time to figure out I was a 6. Taking your suggestion, I have retested several times since we met. The main Enneagram test consistently shows me as a 6w7, with 1 as a close second. I understand that. The subtype test, however, consistently shows me as a 3w2sx. The possibility of me being a 6 on this subtype test was well down the line in 7th place, in other words not very likely.. How is that possible? I definitely live in my head and have difficulty accessing my heart. My partner also took the tests with me in mind and came up with the same results. And the journey continues…

    • Hi Elayne,
      I answered on the six page, but I wanted to share my response on this page as well:
      My primary advice is not to take the tests very seriously. They are a hint, an indication of where to start looking. They are wrong more often than they are right. The real work is looking at the discussions, questions, descriptions around each Enneatype, wing, and subtype. No test will give you a completely accurate picture. I suggest you start with the centers of Intelligence. In times of stress and conflict, do you respond with anger, shame, or fear? For some it will be obvious, for some it will be more difficult to parse that out. For me it was obvious. I don’t respond with shame, despite growing up in a shame-based religion. I have always prided myself on not responding with anger, even if someone is yelling insults at me (which I’ve now realized is wrong – I should be angry in that situation!) I definitely respond with fear. When someone can pin down their Center of Intelligence, it is down to three Enneastyles. With a close look, one of those three usually becomes clear. That same kind of exploration helps with wings and subtypes. What description makes you feel seen and known? What description makes you think “oh boy, that’s me”? That’s how you find the fit. Take the tests as a place to start and then let it go.

  14. When diving into the enneagram several years ago, the first test results were evenly split between 1,3,6 and 8. It took a long time to figure out I was a 6. Taking your suggestion, I have retested several times since we met. The main Enneagram test consistently shows me as a 6w7, with 1 as a close second. I understand that. The subtype test, however, consistently shows me as a 3w2sx. The possibility of me being a 6 on this subtype test was well down the line in 7th place, in other words not very likely.. How is that possible? I definitely live in my head and have difficulty accessing my heart. My partner also took the tests with me in mind and came up with the exact same results. And the journey continues…

  15. The video this week from Dr. Tom LaHue on subtypes offers some good insight on why we struggle with our enneatypes. I am a six but always score high on “two” characteristics. Looking at the subtypes helps explain some of that. You might want to look at more than one of the videos. It takes a lot of time but I am finding it helpful.

  16. Richard & Gwen,
    Is there another free enneagram test you would recommend? In all my 27 years of periodically taking enneagram tests – this has the most inconsistency for me?

    • Hi Sharry,
      I’m not a fan of any online test. There may be some paid tests that are helpful, but I haven’t invested any money searching one out. There are several books that have paper tests I like better. I think the best way is to determine type is to read the descriptions and ask questions. I like to look at the core motivation of fear, anger, and shame to discover your Center of intelligence and narrow the enneastyle down to those three possibilities and go from there. Wisdom of the Enneagram has some terrific questions to ask yourself. I think the descriptions in Helen Palmer’s The Enneagram in Love and Work are excellent. There are some terrific websites, such as Integrated9 that have lots of resources. I’ll ask around and see if there are any tests, free or for a cost, that are recommended.

  17. Today’s presentation material was such a gift – having aha’s happening! I appreciated the personal sharing with your brother and how you brought yourself in close to YOUR question, your path of remedy and I see that for myself too, The sub-type secondary and repressed material being a wake up for tools that help us move toward balance internally is really useful for me. I can see more clearly what my intense feeling reaction was about in an explosive interaction and find it easier to forgive me for it…

    I also am feeling curious and drawn to taking a deep dive into the inclusiveness of living from all three centers – gut, heart and head as “goal” and recognize how limited my past view of my twoness has been – that cultural tendency to divide and conquer, to separate instead of integrate and experience whole self-ness.

    Glad to have another chance to hear THomas Keating’s message from this very different perspective of who I know myself to be/becoming. I hadn’t realized that many of the presenters have died since we had the blessing of their presence and message – feeling grateful to have had those experiences, and looking forward to zooming with Richard Rohr to touch in with him again too! THanks for so much meaningful connection, something I’m hungry for just now.