The Enneagram – From Personality To Awakening

Know Your Type Awaken Your Potential

Know Your Type Awaken Your Potential

The Enneagram

The enneagram is a nine pointed diagram introduced in Europe in the 1920’s by George Gurdjieff .

Recently, many teachers have taught the enneagram as a tool to transform personality traits into higher qualities for spiritual development and awakening. They map each point on the diagram at the left into a different personality type and also into the higher ideas and virtues of these types.

My first class on the enneagram was a doozie! I walked into a luxurious living room in North Berkeley, California to a class taught by Dr. Claudio Naranjo.

I had previously met Claudio with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Claudio is a Chilean psychiatrist who has devoted his life to the integration of contemplation and therapy.

When I walked into the room, he took one look at me and said something like, “Here we have a doubter!” (This is the point at the bottom left of the red inner triangle; number 6 on the diagram below.)

Naturally, I doubted it! So let the studies begin.

Claudio had been with Oscar Ichazo and attended the 40 day Arica Training. He transformed Oscar’s teachings into a psychological tool for personal transformation.

In later years, I became a certified teacher of the enneagram through classes and workshops with Helen Palmer. She is one of the major proponents of the enneagram today. Her books are probably the most popular on the subject and her classes are held all over the world.

The Enneagram – From Personality To Awakening

In our final session before certification, we shared our experiences of cultivating our essence, our awakened qualities. This part of the program was designed to explore the transformed aspects of personality. For example, I celebrated the experiences I had in my life in which my fear was transformed into courage.

The story of one friend, Susan Forster, changed my life completely for the better!

When we study the enneagram, we study ourselves. We see all of our habit energies in terms of how they can be transformed from personality to awakening. We look at how we are fixated and what passions drive us to behave as we do. Then we recognized what our higher ideal really is and what virtuous actions will get us there.

We develop conscious conduct and mindfulness practices to achieve our goal of awakening.

Susan Forster spoke about how tennis was conscious conduct for her. She explained that being on the court brought up all of her personality issues so that she could transform them one by one.

Tennis As A Mindfulness Practice

A light went off in my head and I resumed playing tennis the next weekend! I got out my old Jack Kramer wooden racket and headed off to the tennis courts. Things were really difficult at first. Then I found a steady group to play with.

I played tennis when I was a kid. My aunt bought me lessons and I played with her when the weather was nice, which was not so often in St. Louis.

As a graduate student I played quite often, and even took some lessons. When my son was born, I virtually stopped playing for 20 years. His mother did not want to be a tennis widow.

Now I play four or five times a week at Harbor Point, a wonderful club in Mill Valley, California.

I play for exercise. I play to win. I play to observe my thoughts, feelings and emotions on each and every point. I observe when I am in the zone and recognize a certain state of flow. Everything goes in.

I play when I am doing less well. I observe how my fears, anxieties, worries and frustrations affect my play.

It is a total mindfulness practice and conscious conduct for me. And it works!

Every point is played in a new unit of time. Every point is a lesson in impermanence. Every point is an opportunity for me to be aware and awake.

Yesterday, a very unusual thing happened on the tennis court. It occurred shortly after I wrote the above works.

During the warm up period, I did not miss a single ball – hasn’t happened before! In the first set, which Jack and I won 6-2, I hit only two balls out and none, zero into the net! I even served on ace and no double faults. I was amazed and loved it.

Thank you Susan! Thanks to you, I am fulfilling my life-long dream of awakening.

The Enneagram And You

Enneagram of Personality Types

Enneagram of Personality Types

Now that you know my connection with the enneagram, you may be interested to investigate the enneagram yourself.

Can you find yourself on the enneagram of personality types at the left?

Are you a perfectionist (type 1) and can’t stop criticizing yourself?

Are you a giver (type 2) and “just a girl who can’t say no?”

Are you a performer (type 3) and all you care about is getting the job done?

Are you a romantic (type 4) and always trying to be noticed?

Are you an observer (type 5) and watching things from the sidelines?

Are you a trooper (type 6) and always trying to avoid harm and danger?

Are you an epicure (type 7) and always trying to have a good time?

Are you a boss and always trying to have things go your way?

Or are you a mediator and can’t figure out what to do or how to do it?

These traits and many more are described in my book, Know Your Type! Awaken Your Potential!

There are three versions of this book that you can obtain. Each version, comes with the Enneagram Instrument.

The Enneagram Instrument is a set of 108 questions which help you narrow down your personality type. It is not designed to nail your point. It is designed to help you learn about yourself and figure it out on your own.

It is based on Helen Palmer and Marlene Cohen’s test which I have been sharing online since 1994. Over a thousand people have taken it on my website.

The three versions of the book are:

  • The one on the left is the best value. You get it for $4.77 and you take the test right from the download page. It is a recently updated pdf file that you can download and read on your computer, iPhone, iPad or Android.
  • The one in the middle is the Kindle version. It is only $9.97. This does not include the Enneagram Instrument because the test cannot be hosted at Amazon. However, if you send me an email with a copy of your receipt, I will see to it that you are able to take the test!
  • The one on the right is the paperback version which you order directly from Amazon for $18.00. Once again, to take the Enneagram Instrument test, you will have to send me an email with a copy of your receipt. This also happens to be an older version of the book.

Which of these appeals to you the most? Just click on the image.

Know Your Type! Awaken Your Potential

PDF Version – $4.77

Know Your Type! Awaken Your Potential!

Kindle version – $9.97

Know Your Type! Awaken Your Potential!

Amazon version – $18

Note: This article was first published on January 5, 2013. It is reproduced here in memory of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

Connect with Meditation Practices

Connect with

Or enter your name and email address below.