Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Note From Russ Hudson.

Russ Hudson is our Enneagram teacher.  He is the co-author of The Wisdom of the Enneagram, which is the hands-down best book on the subject.  The other day he posted this on Facebook.  It expresses a lot of what I have been feeling lately.  

Back from travels in Italy and Egypt, and pondering freshly why we bother with the Enneagram. Partially, this is a response to reading many posts on various pages here on FB expressing various theories and takes on the types, the overall structure of the Enneagram, and of course, the instincts or subtypes. While many of the theories are interesting, I am sometimes saddened by the tone of some of the discussions. So a few thoughts, based on what has been useful to me: 
1) We will never go too off track if we remember what all these theories are actually for. They are frameworks to help us see WHAT WE GET IDENTIFIED WITH. They do not tell us who or what we are. All of this knowledge was originally offered as a means to see what distracts us from more full on, compassionate, awake, energized and amazed living our lives in the here and now--the only place we actually are! So when I look at any theory I ask myself, does this view of me or my type or my instinct help me notice how I get stuck? Does it open up new horizons for me? Or does it coddle and support my old self concepts? My narcissism? Does it help me avoid what I really need to be noticing? For example. how does telling myself I am more into one-on-one intimacy than others wake me up? Or does it merely prop up ideas of how I like to see myself? Does this observation bring me back to myself or does it keep me comfortably asleep in my assumptions about myself? In my experience, we will keep noticing new layers and more subtle ways of tricking ourselves as we go, but much of the real Enneagram work is seeing all the ingenious ways we trick ourselves. So what is this observation serving?
2) It is good to remember that NO ONE has a total handle on this, and that the more certain we are of our views, the more, in that moment at least, we are likely quite stuck in our fixation. This really is a work in progress, so there is room for new discovery and to let yourself be surprised by the new perspectives real inner work can bring. So as they say in Zen, it is a good idea to cultivate 'beginner's mind."
3) AND at the same time, there really are some deep frameworks and some background understandings of how the Enneagram itself actually works. There is so much more to it than just remembering some type traits (or subtype traits) to agree with or not. This is not merely esoterica but vital for learning how to employ the insights we get from studying this material. At its deepest levels, the Enneagram teaches us how to undo our habitual ways of looking at things. 
4) It is a very good idea to entertain some humility about what we know, and that mastering this material is going to take longer than we think. I have been at this professionally for nearly 30 years, and if you count my early studies with the Gurdjieff Work, more than 40 years--and I am still amazed by new realizations and understandings all the time. This includes seeing that some of my older views were limited or even wrong. I studied directly with people who lived and worked with Gurdjieff for many years, I worked by Don Riso's side for a quarter century, I have had long and profound conversations with Claudio Naranjo, Helen Palmer, David Daniels, Richard Rohr, Tom Condon, and a host of other colleagues and presenters in this field. I do not have this all figured out, and neither does anyone else. We are looking at the enormity of human nature, and of the deepest layers of human experience, and seeking to connect with that which is most beautiful and enduring in our existence. Sometimes the need to impress others with our acumen can stand in the way of the very qualities needed to bring forward the best of what we can find in this work. 
5) Lastly, apply it to yourself first. Teaching about the fixations from our fixation does not necessarily help much. Am I more aware of my manifestations? Is my understanding of my type and my instinctual biases helping me to show up? To be more compassionate? To actually offer others something of my heart and wisdom beyond some theories that I learned somewhere? Am I discovering what I am BEYOND my type structure and am I learning to meet my type structures with mercy and willingness to open to something new?
These are orientations to the work that I do my best to live by, and have found very useful. I hope they are helpful to you, and I wish you a glorious journey into the heart of what this work is really most about. 
Love, Russ

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wild Goose Handout.

Identifying Your Enneagram Type.

There are several tests out there for identifying your Type.  The best one I know is at:

https://tests.enneagraminstitute.com.  It costs $12.  There is a free sample version at: http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php.

A shorter, quicker test may be found in The Wisdom of the Enneagram.  We can administer this for you, but it is not always conclusive.

If you do a search for “enneagram tests” several other free ones will come up, but I can’t vouch for any of them.



The best book on the Enneagram is:

The Wisdom of the Enneagram 
by Don Riso and Russ Hudson

Other recommended books:

Enneagram Transformations by Don Riso

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

Becoming Conscious: The Enneagram’s Forgotten Passageway 
by Joseph Benton Howell

Self to Lose, Self to Find by Marilyn Vancil

The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram by Sandra Maitri

The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues by Sandra Maitri

Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas by A. H. Almaas

The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert

An Overview of the Enneagram Types:

Gut: 8, 9, 1: Anger  “This isn’t what I signed up for!”
Heart: 2, 3, 4: Shame  “I am not enough!”
Head: 5, 6, 7: Fear  “If I mess up I’m dead!”

For the Gut/Instinctive Center, the Types are:

Type 8 (The Challenger) fear harm expresses anger              Lust
They preemptively grab what they want when they want it.
Type 9 (The Peacemaker) fear conflict  denies anger             Sloth
Their attitude of “anger?  What anger?” paralyzes them into inactivity.
Type 1 (The Reformer) fear being bad represses anger   Resentment
The energy required to hold their anger in makes them resentful.

For the Heart/Feeling Center, the Types are:

Type 2 (The Helper) fear inadequacy represses shame             Pride
Hoping to earn love, they stifle their own inadequacies and pretend to be generous.
Type 3 (The Achiever) fear worthlessness    denies shame           Deceit
They convince themselves they have everything they need, and set out to convince others.
Type 4 (The Individualist) fear being nobody   expresses shame                 Envy
Desiring the attention of others, they flaunt their special neediness to attract attention.

For the Head/Thinking Center, the Types are:

Type 5 (The Investigator)  fear incompetence      expresses fear                 Avarice
They collect and hoard to build a protective wall against circumstance.
Type 6 (The Loyalist) fear being unsupported   represses fear         Anxiety
Feeling vulnerable, they attach to something reliable.
Type 7 (The Enthusiast) fear deprivation denies fear       Gluttony
Pretending they have no fear, they consume experience with abandon.

The Holy Ideas.

Type 9 Love The Source
Type 8 Truth truth is goodness
Type 1 Perfection everything is already perfect
Type 3 Hope all will be well
Type 2 Will/Freedom choose life!
Type 4 Origin it is all made very good
Type 6 Faith  it doesn’t depend on you
Type 5 Omniscience everything belongs 

Type 7 Work you participate in goodness

Wild Goose Festival 2017

Enneagram Convergence + Wild Goose Festival 2017


The Enneagram has several levels.  The one most people access is that of a personality typing system useful for self-knowledge and interpersonal relationships.  At this level, knowledge of your Type leads to more compassion for yourself and others.

I am going to address another level in which the Enneagram is a tool for spiritual growth.  It gives us a way to move from the small self of our ego and personality, to the larger Self of our deeper Essence.  I am going to present this from a Christian perspective; but one of the benefits of the Enneagram is that it does give us a way to speak to those who are “spiritual but not religious.”  

No matter what you do with the Enneagram in terms of personal or spiritual development, you have to know your Type.  There are numerous tests out there that can help you identify your Type.  Some people find it harder than others to settle on a Type.  Often you need the help of an experienced counselor.

Handout: Enneagram Tests 

The Enneagram has four elements:

a. a circle indicating the connectedness and wholeness of all the Types.
b. nine points on the circle, each indicating a Type.
c. interior lines.
(1) a triangle connecting the three centers.
(2) a hexad, connecting the other six types, two per center.
d. an open space in the middle

I. Two Selves.

Thomas Merton writes:

“The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our false self.”


“There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God.  If I find Him I will find myself, and if I find my true self I will find Him.”

Richard Rohr elaborates on this:

“The main purpose of religion is to lead you to an experience of your True Self, who you are in God and who God is in you.” 

The basis for the Enneagram as a spiritual path is the premise that everyone has these two different “selves,” a false one and a true one.  

The false self, which is also called the Adapted Self, is the ego-centric, personality-driven identity we develop for ourselves when we are very young, and which we automatically identify with the only self we have.  

But we all have as well, deep within us, a True Self, the Authentic Self, which is our God-given Essence, our true nature, of which we are normally barely conscious.  This is the Image of God in us, our own place of I Am.

The New Testament expresses this by also talking about two different “selves:”

old new
flesh spirit
enslaved to sin alive to God
under the Law under grace
trusting in ourselves trusting in God

The spiritual life is a movement from existing unconsciously under one self, to awakening to and living consciously within our other Self.

This process is called metanoia, a Greek word meaning having a new mind or a different way of thinking, translating the Hebrew word shuv which means turning around or “doing a 180”.  The word for both in English is repentance, and means coming to have a new way of thinking and acting.

II. The Adapted Self.

The Adapted Self is characterized by self-centeredness, self-reliance, self-protection, self-righteousness, self-aggrandizement, self-assurance, and almost any other word beginning with the prefix “self-”.  It is selfishness, based on an assumption of our separation from the world, resulting in a sense of vulnerability, and primal Basic Fear.  The world appears to be hostile or indifferent, and we need to develop stories and strategies to get what we need.  There is a loss of connection which happens at birth. It leads the person to start forming defense mechanisms and modes of approach to the world.  One image for this is the development of a “seed coat” to protect the seed.  We then habitually mistake the seed coat for the seed within.

The Adapted Self is the constructed self we think is our only self, dominated by personality.  The Enneagram helps us to see ourselves from a different perspective, opening us to the possibility that the self we know is really broken and inadequate, and finally false and destructive.  We are not our personality.

It is the Adapted Self that Jesus is talking about in Luke 9:23 and other places, when he says we must disown our “selves,” take up our cross, and follow him.  It is the same when he talks about losing our life in order to save it.  He means we must set aside and release the Adapted Self, and begin to live instead according to the values and practices of the True Self, the Authentic Self, which he embodies. 

The nature of each person’s Adapted Self is revealed in the specific “passion” or “deadly sin” of each of the nine Enneagram Types.  

It’s like each person has these nine facets, but one of them is more troubled than the others.  Dealing with that facet becomes the preoccupation determining how we view the world.  Our passion is the result of blockage and obstruction of one particular facet of ourselves.

In our experience, however, our passion is simply the strategy we develop in order to cope with existence in a world perceived as threatening and dangerous.  The personality based on it is viewed as natural and necessary.  We not even conscious of it.   

The passion of our Type determines our whole personality structure, revealing the nature of our Adapted Self.  The passion is the main coping/defense mechanism around which the Adapted Self is constructed.  Therefore it also gives us the key to unlocking each person’s Authentic Self.  Fixing, cleansing, restoring, or healing this facet, enables the light to flow into all the rest of us.

III. The “Passions.”

The three centers of the human being according to the Enneagram are:

Gut Center - Instinct
Heart Center - Feeling
Head Center - Thinking

There are three Types associated with each center.

Gut: 8, 9, 1.
Heart: 2, 3, 4.
Head: 5, 6, 7.

Each center is dominated by a particular mode of distortion.

Gut: Anger  “This isn’t what I signed up for!”
Heart: Shame  “I am not enough!”
Head: Fear  “If I mess up I’m dead!”

Each Type within each center deals with that distortion in a different way.  It either expresses, denies, or represses it.

Nine ways of missing the mark.  Hamartia.

For the Gut/Instinctive Center, the Types are:

Type 8 (The Challenger) fear harm expresses anger         Lust
They preemptively grab what they want when they want it.
Type 9 (The Peacemaker) fear conflict denies anger Sloth
Their attitude of “anger?  What anger?” paralyzes them into inactivity.
Type 1 (The Reformer) fear being bad represses anger             Resentment
The energy required to hold their anger in makes them resentful.
  • Instinctive Center Exercise: Repeated Question: “What is your relationship with strength?”
  • Chant: “Ram.”

For the Heart/Feeling Center, the Types are:

Type 2 (The Helper) fear inadequacy represses shame Pride
Hoping to earn love, they stifle their own inadequacies into solicitude.
Type 3 (The Achiever) fear worthlessness   denies shame Deceit
They convince themselves they have everything they need, and set out to convince            others.
Type 4 (The Individualist) fear being nobody  expresses shame   Envy
They flaunt their special neediness to attract attention and support.
  • Feeling Center Exercise: Repeated Question: “What do you need to do to be loved?”
  • Chant: “Om.”

For the Head/Thinking Center, the Types are:

Type 5 (The Investigator) fear incompetence     expresses fear Avarice/Greed
They collect and hoard to build a protective wall against circumstance.
Type 6 (The Loyalist) fear being unsupported  represses fear Anxiety
Knowing it’s all coming apart, they attach to something reliable.
Type 7 (The Enthusiast) fear deprivation denies fear Gluttony
Pretending they have no fear, they consume experience with abandon.
  • Thinking Center Exercise:  Repeated Question: “What do you need to know?”
  • Chant: “Hu.”
We are not punished for our sin; 
we are punished by our sin.

IV. The Emerging Authentic Self.

The Enneagram teaches what we need to let go of in order to realize our Authentic Selves.  Our Essence, or Authentic Self, is already inside us; we just have to stop blocking it.  

The key to healing in the Enneagram is turning the passion inside-out so that it emerges in terms of a Holy Idea, which is the blessing of each Type.  This happens by means of spiritual practice:

  1. Becoming present, conscious, awake, and self-aware.  Through meditation and self-reflection, and other spiritual practices and disciplines.
Centering on the body, sensation, breath, heartbeat; grounding.

  1. seeing your own personality in action and differentiating yourself from it; catching yourself in-the-act of reacting according to your passion; observing when you are falling into unhealthy ways of thinking and acting. 

  1. not acting on impulse (the expressing/denying/repressing of fear, shame, or anger), but choosing to act in a way distinct from your passion and in harmony with a larger vision.  

Fruitful spiritual practices:

  • Grounded in the body
  • Opening the heart: conscious of our own and others’ pain; letting go of the past, forgiveness.
  • Quieting the mind: conscious of inner chatter; suspending opinions and judgment.

Choosing a practice:

  • Does it assist us to become more mindful, awake, and open?  Or does it just confirm our illusions?
  • Does it support us in exploring some of the uncomfortable aspects and limitations of our personality?  Or does it tell us what we want to hear?
  • Does the practice encourage us to think for ourselves?  Or give us ready-made answers?

We release our passion by confronting the Basic Fear on which it is based:

3 Release deceit, confront worthlessness, emerge with honesty.
(And commit to others like a healthy 6.)                                           Authentic person!
6 Release anxiety, confront being unsupported, emerge with serenity.
(And the stability of a healthy 9.)                                                          Valiant hero!
9 Release timidity and paralysis, confront conflict, emerge with courage.
(And the sense of personal value of a healthy 3.)                           Self-possessed guide!
5 Release avarice/hoarding, confront incompetence, emerge with generosity.  
(And confidence of a healthy 8.)                                                          Pioneering visionary!
8 Release lust, confront harm, emerge with open-heartedness.  
(And compassion of a healthy 2.)                                                          Magnanimous heart!
2 Release self-centered pride, confront inadequacy, emerge with humility. 
(And self-expressive like a healthy 4.)                                       Disinterested altruist!
4 Release envy, to emerge with contentment.
(And become actively engaged like a healthy 1.)                                  Inspired creator!
1 Release resentment, to emerge with gratitude.  
(And play like a healthy 7.)                                                                                    Wise soul!
7 Release insatiability, to emerge with patience. 
  (And the thoughtfulness of a healthy 5.)                                      Ecstatic appreciator!

  1. learning to see from a higher perspective, identifying with others, realizing a connectedness and integration in and with all things.

What Jesus calls “the Kingdom of Heaven:” inclusive, universal, participatory, connected, integrated life where all is/are valued, cherished, celebrated.  All are one  (John 17; Galatians 3:28).  Thus the root cause of our ego-centric, personality-driven Adapted Self — which is our illusion of being separated/alienated from the world, resulting in our sense of liability to harm and death, leading to a perceived need for protection — is overcome.  To live in and resonate with this larger vision bears fruit because it is ultimately true and real.

We don’t stop being our Type.  But instead of walling us off from others, our Type becomes the way goodness flows/shines through us into the world.

Releasing the ways anger, shame, or fear dominate you, you come to a new place of realization, according to the Holy Idea associated with each Type.

9  Release timidity and paralysis — courage —                                 LOVE — The Source
8  Release dominating lust — chastity/self control —            TRUTH — truth is goodness
1  Release resentment — gratitude —        PERFECTION — everything is already perfect
2  Release pride — humility —                                                 FREEDOM — choose life!
3  Release deceit— honesty —                                                   HOPE — all will be well
4  Release envy — contentment —                             ORIGIN — it is all made very good
5  Release avarice/hoarding — generosity —            OMNISCIENCE — everything belongs 
6  Release anxiety — serenity —                                FAITH — it doesn’t depend on you
7  Release insatiability — satisfaction —                WORK — you participate in goodness