WHAT IS THE ENNEAGRAM?
To give a brief description of the Enneagram is an extraordinarily difficult task. The word, Enneagram, refers to a nine-sided figure, and it is the symbol of ancient wisdom traditions that have profound depth and incredible nuances; it seems most likely that Pythagorus was the originator of the Enneagram.
Fundamentally, the Enneagram of Fixations is a description of who one is not — the ego — and it points to who one truly is — Immortal Being.
I would direct anyone who wants to know the Enneagram in detail to read From Fixation to Freedom: The Enneagram of Liberation by my teacher Eli Jaxon-Bear. Better still, attend an Enneagram retreat with Eli, Lisa Schumacher, Jared Franks (see Spiritual Teachers), or The Leela School.
If I could employ a metaphor to assist me in the task of describing the Enneagram, there are a finite number of brands of cars made in the world today: Toyota, BMW, Rover, Peugeot, Sköda, Kia, etc. (let's say there's nine, just for argument's sake). Every car that has ever been made, however, is unique in some way: different model, different year, different colour, different features, different defects, different quirks.
In a similar way, there are a finite number of flavours, or types, of ego: the nine character fixations described by the Enneagram. The uniqueness of each individual human being is a function of their personality and personal conditioning which has developed over time, and which is layered on top of the underlying character fixation.
A person's Enneagram fixation is inherited through their DNA, and is therefore impersonal. The point and benefit of knowing one's Enneagram fixation is to see how an impersonal, inherited, pattern is playing out unconsciously in one's life, and causing one to suffer unnecessarily. It is then possible to see that in each moment there is a choice to stop following these habits of mind, and to be free; a choice to wake up from the trance of suffering.
When the fixation is fully seen, and the neurotic component of its incessant activity has been given up, one becomes free of the enslavement to the ego and the thinking mind that has run one's life since early childhood. A shift of identity — from ego to Being — can then take place . . . from fixation to Freedom.
HOW DOES THE ENNEAGRAM WORK?
The inner triangle of the Enneagram — points 3, 6, and 9 — shows us that the egoic character fixation crystallizes either in: the physical body, point 9, where the principal emotion involved is anger, and the main issue that needs to be confronted is control; the emotions, point 3, where shame and self-hatred are the emotions most avoided, and image and seeking love outside oneself are the principle concerns; or in the mind, point 6, where fear runs the life, and acknowledging the inevitability of one's own death is what's avoided at all costs.
The three core points each have an exteriorized (8, 2, 7) and an interiorized (1, 4, 5) version, resulting in the nine Enneagram fixations.
How the fixation manifests in an individual's life is influenced by the relative predominance of the three instinctual drives that are inherent in living in a human body: the self-preservation instinct, the sexual drive, and the social drive. Thus each of the nine Enneagram types has three sub-types.
Everyone has aspects of all nine of the Enneagram fixations to some degree, but one is predominant: the core fixation. It is the place where we get tripped up most often, and most easily. It's also the place where the most profound spiritual realisation and transformation is possible if the painful emotions are neither indulged nor repressed, but merely opened to.
In the following pages you'll find a description of the nine Enneagram fixations from the inside, as it were. To assist me, I've asked nine of the players from my musical, Beyond the Mirror, to help me. Each description is accompanied by a selfie of me which, hopefully, transmits the emotional tone of that fixation.
Both the descriptions and the photographs are exaggerated!! I invite you to overlook this, and also to overlook any judgments that may arise in you as you read the words. See if something in you resonates with this exaggerated version of someone else's internal emotional milieu.
Tell the truth. Is it familiar? Does it feel uncomfortable?
This will be followed by a list of well known people who operate with the particular fixation, as well as a brief description of how life might feel when lived free of the fixation. Finally, there's a page that looks at the subtypes.
Wish us luck . . .