The Nine Enneagram Points and Types

The Enneagram describes in a surprisingly precise way different aspects of the human experience and nine different personality types, each with specific mental, emotional and motor patterns.

Each of us experiences the qualities of all nine points, yet we are born with a dominant point, which is our type. Type defines the pattern of beliefs, preconceptions, values, reactivity, motivations, habitual behaviors that we define as “myself”. It describes how we manage different intelligences, how we treat our mind, emotions, sensations, drives and how we experience happy and peaceful moments and difficult or tense ones.

The Enneagram states that each human being has a particular sensitivity and receptivity to specific aspects and qualities of essential reality and that the loss of direct inner experience with such qualities, and the illusion of lack that arises, leads to nine different limited, mechanical and unconscious ways to see and interpret existence, events and situations. These are nine incomplete perceptions that become distorted and fixed beliefs about how things are and should be.

The Enneagram personality type is therefore the complex of mental, emotional, sensory and behavioural strategies put in place to manage the illusion of disconnection from the truest, deepest part of ourselves and the resulting sense of lack.

 

Each type is a constellation in continuous dynamics, a whole complex. It is important to remember that we do not change personality type during our life, while we can change the awareness with we live it and express it.
What defines our type is not what we feel, think or do, but how we tend to interpret and manage what we feel and think and the hidden motivation that informs our choices and our actions. Just as to indicate our awareness is not how good or bad we feel, but how broad or narrow is the perspective from which we recognize and live the experiences that arise for better or for worse. Furthermore, not everything in the description of our type fits in every moment. First of all because we constantly oscillate at different levels of presence and secondly because we are able to recognise ourselves as much as we are aware and present in this moment.

 

No personality type is inherently better or worse than another, each one has unique talents and difficulties. For this, numbers are originally used, neutral in terms of qualitative value, considering that the quantity represented by the number is not significant: a larger number is not better than a smaller number. Furthermore, neither type is inherently masculine or feminine, although the descriptions are indicated in masculine, they are universal and have no gender variation.

 

The nine sensitivities and character structures are also archetypes and experiences that we can all identify with. Greek philosophers used the term archetype to refer to universal principles and pre-existing models of reality. In particular Plotinus (III century AD) in his book Enneads – which contains much of the essence of our Enneagram – refers to archetypes as the universal ideas present in the mind of God and from which Creation is derived. One of these Ideas is dominant from birth and is the matrix of our type throughout life. Our type therefore defines both the qualities for which we are particularly receptive and our natural talents, and the ways in which we unwittingly fall into automatic thoughts, emotions and behaviors that we believe provide us with access to the satisfaction of these talents, but which actually prevent us from reaching them.

 

The other eight points that we can recognise in our experience are more or less familiar and present according to the context in which we are born, the environment in which we are educated, the cultural conditioning with which we are inevitably permeated.