I am a big a big fan of the Enneagram and have been using it more and more lately in my work for my own personal growth and self-awareness, as with my work with students, and staff. As I was taking some time for reflection at the end of the semester I took some notes on exercises and practices from David Daniels’ great introduction called “The Essential Enneagram.” I highly recommend the book and I wanted to share the 5 principles he writes about in terms of working at personal growth within the context of the Enneagram. This summary is completely lifted from his book (73-82).
Principle 1: Three Laws of Universal Behavior
• Wherever your pattern of attention and energy go, your behavior follows. To change your behavior requires self-observation of your pattern and energy. Self observation is an ongoing practice.
- How did I do today at staying aware of my pattern of attention and energy?
- When I reacted automatically to someone or something, was I able to bring back my awareness and redirect my attention and energy?
- How can I better manage my pattern of attention and energy tomorrow?
Principle 2: Three Centers of Intelligence
• Body, Heart, and Head
- Given my lead center of intelligence, how did I cultivate all three centers of intelligence today?
- In what ways did I manifest the higher qualities of each center of intelligence?
- Based on my reflection, what higher qualities do I need to cultivate tomorrow?
Principle 3: Three Life Forces
• We operate from three life forces all the time: active force, receptive force, and reconciling force.
• The serenity prayer shows how these three work together:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (receptive force), the courage to change the things I can (active force), and the wisdom to know the difference (reconciling force).-Serenity Prayer
Say one of these two statements in the morning:
Today I will practice being receptive to the communications of others and aware of my own inner experience as a guide to my actions.
Today I will practice being aware of my active force and my reception force and work at balancing them.
Principle 4: Three Survival Behaviors – The Instinctual Sub-Types
• Self-preservation, social, and one-to-one or intimate subtypes
• All are present in our lives but through environment and personality we usually exhibit one of these.
• Do what you can to balance all three and value others who have a different instinctual focus than you.
- How do the self-preservation, social, and one-to-one institute subtypes manifest themselves in my life, and which one tends to predominate?
- How does my more prominent institute sub-type preoccupation cause difficulty in my relationships, and how does it benefit them?
- What do I need to do, or stop doing, to bring balance into my life with respect to institute subtypes?
Principle 5: Three Levels of Knowing and Learning
• This is a universal law that impacts all of us in how we learn and what we know
- Knowing based on your habit of mind: incremental learning. This is based on your personality type and core beliefs. It is more or less what you do automatically.
- Knowing based on conscious awareness: reconstructive learning. This requires questioning your usual biases and assumptions and being more awake to your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Direct knowing: transformational learning. “Direct knowing…requires that you be willing to experience your life from a perspective that is not based on a fixed position or identity. It requires that you take an openly receptive stance from which you personality biases can drop away.”
Four Elements of Growth Process:
• Awareness (
• Acceptance (notice without judgement)
• Action –> Pause –> Inquiry –> Conscious Conduct
• Adherence (continue the practice)
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