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Three steps to support growth for any Enneagram type

Enneagram is one of the few tools for self-knowledge that sees the human holistically, as a whole being. Not only does it take into consideration the mental aspects of our experience, it also places equal value on our other two centers, the body and the heart. As we explore this knowledge we are not given the false hope that our spiritual development will happen quickly or take very little effort, instead we are empowered by an expanded sense of self-awareness and more freedom to act in greater harmony with our authentic self.


As the teachings contained within Enneagram guide us toward self-awareness rather than attempting to modify who we are, one question pervades; "If Enneagram does not suggest us to change, what is the path to becoming more?"


The answer to this question has been explored from many different perspectives but the essence can be condensed into three powerful steps. Before we consider these steps, it is important to remember that you are enough as you are, including not only the traits you appreciate about yourself, but also those that you deem to be negative. Life does not stand still and all of your traits, both positive and negative always have the potential to become more.


Inner change can be difficult or even impossible when we don't sense our experience in the present moment, so while contemplating the following questions it is very important to practice awareness and mindfulness, keeping you connected to the present and your deeply felt responses. Each question relates to one of the three centers, as you read them take time with each one to allow the answer to arise naturally and be completely assimilated by the part of you that it relates to. 


What do I think? (Mind) 

What do I sense?(Body) 

What do I feel? (Heart)


Even taking 5 minutes a day to contemplate each question can provide tremendous insight, especially following situations that stir up our emotions and cause us to feel disconnection from who we know we are. Once we are present and feel we have answered the above questions, we are ready for the next step:


In order to practice self-observation we first need knowledge that can give us separation from our identity. This is where Enneagram serves it‘s purpose. It allows us to know our type, all of the key elements that drive our personality and through self-observation to also see it all in action. 

This step is very important because lasting change does not come about as a result of our mental decision to be different, but rather through our understanding of what is truly happening in a moment. We are able to observe whether we acted in the way we wanted to or if it was a habitual protective response enacted without our conscious choice. The more we practice self-observation the better we become at it, as it allows us to naturally take a step back and ask ourselves; "Is this who I truly am? And is this truly how I really wanted to act?" This experience can bring a lot of new insights about what might have led us to act in one way or another. As this exploration can be quite revealing, remember to be very compassionate toward yourself and to use any support that is needed while doing this inner work.

If we allow ourselves to stay with the practice of self-observation we might begin to notice a new strength arising. As familiar situations occur that previously promoted responses from us that we no longer wish to practice, we feel that strength supporting us, putting us in a new position to practice step number three: 

What this simply means is not taking an action that you normally would. It sounds very simple, however not taking action and responding in the habitual way can sometimes feel like the potentional destruction of your identity. This can manifest as fear of losing something or even feelings arising of not being able to survive. If, for example, you are an Enneagram type two and you recently began to notice that you are giving too much of yourself and regularly find yourself exhausted, you might choose not to give so readily when asked. For some types this change would be simple, but for a type two it is a big undertaking as their whole life is built on being available for others in some form. 

Each type has their own version of the above. Some sensitive areas that, when inaction is applied, can awaken many new and possibly uncomfortable feelings. With this in mind it is important for you to use all of the support that you need, allowing it to help you through this transformation and to assimilate the benefit of your inner work. 


The practice of inaction puts us on a new path, expanding our self-awareness. We begin to see who we really are, and equally importantly, who we are not. We find ourselves setting a new direction, where we can not act in the old, practiced way but at the same time the new way has not yet emerged. This calls for us to be sensitive and supportive toward ourselves as it is just a matter of time before we begin to experience new behaviour arising, replacing our old habitual ways. 

This new way of acting feels connecting and familiar, requiring little or no effort as it occurs naturally. It comes about without being forced and can be a healing experience, allowing the release of ideas of who we think we need to be which only ever served to prevent us from experiencing who we really are.


We do not have to face such big periods of change alone and the help and support available to us can take many forms. We can speak to a professional, seek out support groups or even apply any tools such as books, teachings and methods.



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