As many of you know, I am a big fan of the Enneagram as a tool for self-discovery. One of my favorite parts has become an increased awareness of how I respond to stress. Before the enneagram I had a sense about how stress affected me without much vocabulary, context or understanding.
With greater insights comes the capacity, at times, to actually interrupt my stress reaction and choose to respond by using my tools for recovery. This is a deeply spiritual journey for me and others who are traveling this same path.
Initially I was attracted to, and mesmerized by, all the descriptions of personality. I enjoyed taking a profile and matching it to someone I knew. It could have easily become a party game for me without the mentorship of a good Enneagram master teacher.
Today I am less enamored with the personality profile particulars and more invested in how much compassion I feel for all of us. Whether or not we share the same vulnerabilities, I am coming to understand that we are all vulnerable to the waywardness of our personality and its tendency to steal our capacity for presence.
Decades ago I was focused on my religious education and was more interested in what I needed to learn and know. Education is a great, even vital, component of spirituality. I am often saddened to see the ways we have been so easily dissuaded from valuing seminary training.
But the training is the start of the journey not the destination. It is as we grow in our understanding of God that we develop a greater compassion for his people. The Enneagram helps me do that. Whether or not this is a tool you value, I would dare to suggest that if we are not growing in our capacity to hold compassion then we probably need to take a look at our program.