Living A Rich Life
Cultivating Kindness through the Enneagram

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The Enneagram is a key that unlocks new ways of seeing yourself and others.

With this key, you can learn to be kinder to yourself and to the people in your life.

The Enneagram enhances self-understanding and improves relationships.

Some of the benefits of studying the Enneagram are:

  • understanding how we each perceive the world differently
  • having insight into why you are misperceived in certain situations
  • being more skillful with the people you live with, work with or manage
  • understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a partner, parent or spouse
  • seeing why certain relationships challenge you more than others
  • increasing your ability to be empathic towards others
  • building more intimacy and deeper connection with people that matter to you

Why study the Enneagram?

A friend once told me, “I don’t need therapy. I just need people to act the way I want them to!” If everyone conformed to our way of seeing things, all would be well. It is not that simple. Dealing with people is like playing music. It’s an art. Even if we are naturally gifted in music, it is still helpful to understand some of the theory behind music: how harmony, rhythm, melody and dynamics interact. We interact with people all the time, but not all of us study psychology or the theories that explain the structure of people’s minds, the ebb and flow of their emotions, the patterns we call character and the inconsistencies of behavior.

The Enneagram is, by far, one of the best theories for understanding people AND one of the most useful systems for improving your self-awareness and your interpersonal proficiency. It is immediately practical as well as being elegantly theoretical. You will be playing better music with people after just one class.

The Enneagram is able to distill the diverse human spectrum into nine universal patterns that filter how we see the world. Thus the name Ennea=nine and gram=drawing.  [See the symbol above.] While we share some knowledge of and use characteristics of all nine patterns, we are predisposed to favor one or a few of these to the exclusion of the others. It is like playing music having only one or two notes to use. You can do it. It doesn’t necessarily make great music. The Enneagram opens new harmonic possibilities.

The introduction to the Enneagram opened a door in my mind to a new way of relating, both to my own world and to the lives of others. I have learned much about what makes people tick, about my own reactions and responses, and about how one might deal more elegantly in relating altogether. Our Enneagram group meets regularly now, laughing and crying together as we explore hidden depths of our tender selves. It’s fun, it’s illuminating and it is now an essential part of my psychological and spiritual tool kit.  ~GB

How to learn the Enneagram

The Enneagram is something that is absorbed over time. In teaching it through the years, I have found that this information becomes more vivid as your self-awareness increases. By taking the information and then asking, “How is this true for me? How is this true for the people in my life? What can I learn from this?” makes the Enneagram very practical.

Like most things, learning through personal experience is usually best. There are now hundreds of books on the Enneagram as well as websites, blogs, DVD’s, on-line tests, etc. These can be very useful. However, the best way to implement the Enneagram and make it come alive is still through classroom learning. You need to be around people to understand people.