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Reconciling Personality with Process

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Linking Two Different Views of the Enneagram
copyright by Susan Rhodes, rev. Dec. 2005, srhodesinseattle@hotmail.com

There are two influential models of the ennea- Personality vs. Process
gram, the “process” enneagram of George Gurd-
If we look at the personality enneagram, we see a
jieff and the enneagram of individual differences
system that describes nine points on a circle as
by Oscar Ichazo. The latter is more commonly
nine point of view, each one looking at life in a
called the enneagram of personality or personality
different way. We can describe this view in terms
fixations. For our purposes here, I’ll speak of the
of a personality type. And we can look at how
personality enneagram, although my own view is
this type is motivated and how it relates to other
that individuality is not exactly equivalent to per-
types on the circle in predictable ways, given its
sonality. 1
placement on the circle and how the inner lines
Most Gurdjieff (Fourth Way) schools regard
connect with other points. We can study the na-
the personality enneagram as a somewhat de-
ture of each point from many different angles,
graded usage of the “true” (process) enneagram;
looking at such things as its fixations, passions,
most users of the personality enneagram know
virtues, gifts, Holy Ideas, symbolic animals, etc.
relatively little about the process enneagram,
We can also subsume each point into a broader
unless they happen to participate in a Fourth Way
category (such as a center, triad, or hexad) or di-
Group. However, many people who discover the
vide it into a narrower category (subtypes or wing
personality enneagram regard as a wonderful tool
types or a combination of both).
for understanding the themselves and their rela-
This whole approach rests on a spatial meta-
tionships with other people.
phor—the idea of having a point of view that dif-
I always wanted to better understand the rela-
fers from other points of view. It offers us a tool
tionship between these two views of the ennea-
to look at ourselves, and especially at the motiva-
gram, but have no background in Fourth Way
tions that underlie our actions. But what it seems
philosophy. The books I initially read on the
to lack is a mechanism for explaining the reason
process enneagram 2 were very interesting, but left
why each type is motivated in a certain way—for
me wondering how it related to the enneagram of
example, why Ones seek perfection, Twos seek to
personality. There are brief comments about this
give, and Threes seek success. What is it about
in Blake’s book (on p. 281 and p. 287), but these
the actual position of each of these points on the
were not sufficient to serve as the Rosetta Stone
circle that gives rise to perfectionism, helping,
for which I was looking.
and achievement? Why isn’t position 1 associ-
When I read Nathan Bernier’s recently pub-
ated with success-seeking or position 3 associated
lished book, The Enneagram: Symbol of All and
with perfectionism?
Everything, I found the connection I was looking
What I’m getting at is the notion that these
for. The relationship between the two approaches
personality types are not just arbitrary mental
began to make sense for the first time. It’s not
categories, but are points on a circle. To really
that Bernier was particularly interested in con-
understand the nature of the point, it’s necessary
necting the two, but that the language he uses may
to understand the nature of the circle. If we want
enable someone familiar with the personality en-
to understand the nature of an organ, we have to
neagram to see parallels between the two ap-
look at the larger body of which it is a part.
proaches.
When we do this, we automatically shift our
attention from the personal world and all that it
entails—personal problems, personal develop-
1 ment, and personal enlightenment—to the trans-
It’s my view that it’s a mistake to focus most of our
attention on individual differences at the level of the per-
personal world, where we are looking at broader
sonality, because this limits us too much. Individuality purposes, processes, and creative activity. We
exists on many levels of the psyche, not just the per- look beyond the personality itself to examine the
sonality level. context within which personality exists.
2
Mainly Enneagram Studies by J.G. Bennett and The To do this, we have to be willing to examine
Intelligent Enneagram, by A.G.E. Blake. our ideas about personality. Personality is a lim-
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I’m able for the first process. but simply an inherent feature errors of judgment. it’s completion. In the personality ennea- Bernier discusses the practical applications of gram. From this perspective. then what appears to be inade. the process good at everything? Maybe that’s not its job. But if we look beyond to the gram. Learning not to identify with it is is the place where this changes—where half- about as good as it gets. At the start of a avoid certain problems and compensate for others. to focus not just on its limitations where attention is directed less to creative expres- but its possibilities. For me. what we can’t do is to be rid of the chaotic—not very focused or organized. If this shift does not occur. the circle represents the sum total of all the the process enneagram on pages 325-333 of his possible attributes that a human being can ex- book.ited vehicle or function (just as each point is a phor to describe attributes while the second uses a limited view). As a the nine points representing a stage within that result of his explanation. Whatever way we look at the ennea- cal point of view). points around a circle. originally taught. Each point matters. with each of in time correspond with the points in space. limitation is which give us blind spots and a tendency to make not bad or wrong. new cycle of any kind. same. the elemental nature of each point is the point. then the be looking at the glass as half-full instead of half- process does not continue. empty. In the process enneagram. The enneagram of personality of this kind of activity. For one thing. The process enneagram Of particular interest to me was exploring not just looks at the world (the circle) as a place for crea- the motivation of personality. ter inform my understanding of the personality The process enneagram does just that—it di. But if we suppose that subsequent point represents a further refinement personality has an actual purpose to serve—that in the creative process. identical. Only the application is different. not the individual. to the circle. Each whatever its limitations. because on this plane of formed ideas and vague imaginings are trans- existence. We don’t gram is regarded as the primary or source ennea- expect the liver to think or the brain to digest gram and the personality enneagram as a subset of food—why do we expect the personality to be the process enneagram. we see only limitation and what it gives rise to— What is fascinating is that. this is easier if I see how my role So both approaches to the enneagram—the fits into a larger plan.or process metaphor to describe an event. time. The first approach uses a spatial meta- time to understand not only the motivation that 2 . formed into clear and focused intentions. enneagram. I can see why the process ennea- simply a kind of specialized function. And this is precisely what personality and the process approach—posit nine the process enneagram is helping me to see. rects our attention again and again to the circle itself. I think that’s why I thought that it would bet- whole. it can be used to describe tion to certain things in life for reasons that can a wide variety of events. Then we can ess and Point 9. If we look only at the point itself. but only as part of A Purpose for Personality some larger process. not just human personal- only be understood when we look at the larger ity. but the purpose of tive activity and at each point as a function or re- personality. It’s easy to think of personality in sponsibility that arises at a given time in the crea- wholly negative terms because of its limitations. Point 1 personality. What would it be like if we were to shift our Each of the nine points on the circle repre- focus from reforming or transcending the person- sents a point in time (not space) when a change of ality to see the role that personality plays in ful- direction or emphasis is necessary for the process filling our life’s purpose or dharma? We would to continue. quate when looked at in isolation may be seen as However. Also. with the emphasis gradu- each personality is like a piece of colored glass in ally shifting from planning (at Points 1-4) to exe- a larger kaleidoscope of light—then it might be cution (at Points 5-6) to appreciation (at Points 7- possible to learn to relate to personality in a more 8). Point 9 is the place between creative cycles. productive way. enneagram came first and was the one Gurdjieff Maybe it’s designed to make us pay special atten. a personality is necessary and useful. for both ap- behavior that tends toward sin (from an ethical proaches. and it was by reading this section that I was press. is useful for telling us what sorts of errors to ex- Point 1 represents the beginning of the proc- pect based on our point of view. the energy of each of the nine points is point of view) or dysfunction (from a psychologi. things usually seem pretty However. the circle repre- able to clearly see for the first time how the points sents a completed cycle of creation. tive process. sion and more to cultivating a state of receptivity.

there’s another shock. packaged—Point 7) in order to ensure a product that is completely satisfactory at Point 8. This is consistent with Bernier’s 3 .drives my personality type. I speak in terms of nurturing and encouraging Point 9. in which the rough or unpackaged product will I hope to build a conceptual bridge between the need to be refined (cleaned-up. because it because the information in the left column eluci- represents a barrier that separates work from the dates the deeper purpose behind personality moti- personality point of view from work from a trans. we have to anticipate not only the and even in the natural world. aligned or point in time. It hints at the idea personal point of view. At Point 1. But this only Below I describe how this seems to work for works if we can begin to envision the end result of each point of view by taking what Bernier’s says our plans (Point 8). vation at each of the points. Using Process to Understand Personality What I’ve just described is a way of using the enneagram to understand how things happen over To understand where Bernier is coming from. so at Point 7. community. For care of a number of details in order to create a example. When neces- operating. I summarize is a big one. In the process en- interacts with activity in “real time.” If we do this. and this doesn’t easily hap. plays in creative processes. As the details begin to spond to any situation. This gives me both general nature of what we want to do. but the context for The inner lines between the points describe that motivation—where it comes from and what the path of mental intention that precedes the ac- purpose it serves. neagram point do not originate on this level. comments on how Bernier’s notes can be used to production happens. the piece de resistance. It is a somewhat mysterious The following paragraphs are my interpreta- process. we cross into another way of about the personality enneagram. If someone moves pre. pletion at Point 9. if we are describing a purposeful activ- But using Bernier’s book. we may (mistakenly) feel sary. In the right column are my quences to deal with for the first time. and ways showing how it relates to personality. I can begin to see the role it tual activity as it proceeds around the outer circle. but sonal point of view. It’s like seeing the role I become clear. and this is Seeing both descriptions side by side is useful much more impactful than the first one. sake of clarity). which in. describe not just the process occurring at each tory or unsatisfactory in nature (that is. At Point 6. but it can either be satisfac. in social situations. but the personality attributes of each misaligned with a Higher Purpose). At it. pen for most people. In this way. The idea of nurturance at Point 2 is fa- volves the letting go of our previous project so we miliar to people in the personality enneagram can be free to take on another. Point 3 is the first shock point—the place where our idea and How Points in Time = Points in Space imaginings transition into actually preparatory work at Point 4. I was able to piece ity. there are real conse. we time—what happens at which point and how an- have to first understand a little more about how ticipatory mental activity (moving along the lines) the process enneagram works. Point 1 is where something because it involves mapping points in space to starts to happen. marketed. specifications (Point 4). where we imagine or plan for it. see how our production proc- about each point in the process enneagram and ess will lead to that end result (Point 5). It’s these around the enneagram to the place of com- a strange and paradoxical experience. or two approaches. we start at Point 1 and move clockwise from together how the two perspectives converge. Point 2 is points in time. I translate Bernier’s terms into language that we are home-free. because this is where the actual “pro. we have to be willing to let go of the per. The transition from Point 4 to 5 In the table at the end of this article. when we actually have to take makes more sense from the personality side. an idea starts to form. point of view. we are able to better plan and imag- play in life and knowing better how to play it. we have another shock point. At Point 5. and involves grace or help coming from tion of Bernier’s ideas in light of what I know beyond. At Point 6. left column (sometimes annotating them for the maturely from Point 4 to 5. an idea. Bernier’s notes on each point in a process in the duction process” begins. we planning and imagining an idea in order to expand proceed to Point 8. cise nature of what needs to be done—the detailed textual understanding I need to see how to re. but the pre- greater compassion for myself and also the con. Bernier speaks of Point 2 in terms of product that is truly “finished.” neagram. In order to continue past that core motivations we associate with each en- Point 5. ine what comes next (Point 2). reflect a deeper sense of purpose. though.

but the preoccupation with nurturance my objective is to elucidate Bernier’s basic ideas can make every situation seem like one that re- in a way that suggests possible ways to use this quires one’s personal attention or intervention. if the personality is not ready for a ality enneagram is useful for seeing how the proc. the idea becomes a con- crete plan about which questions may be asked. expanded. At Point 2. So this is an (b) by moving backwards to the previous point. Bernier talks about only three possible developed. the challenge is to choose just one. much on others. which is why Ones have “trapdoor” ten- and/or collapse due to exhaustion (Point 9). At this point. 4 . and disciplined. (Point 8). So the personality (Point 7) or imagining the kernel idea is ready for tends to be alert. velop. patience. where the (c) jumping forwards on the inner lines (moving idea is played with. the plan has been subjected to Point 2 can be considered a continuation and sufficient development and testing to become a expansion of Point 1. The next section shows how an idea Point 3. there is the possibility of falling encounter in order to see how well things really into daydreaming (Point 9). the tendency is to endlessly scribe any sort of developmental process. The process enneagram can be used to de. But at this point. and nurtured in with the arrows on the inner lines to the “stress various ways. This The Point 3 personality’s competitive spirit requires discipline.”) couraged (Point 1) or overly-valued—either For the sake of completeness. If the personality gets inclines the personality to perfectionism or com- too caught up in its task of testing (“all work. so that very little is allowed to develop spontane- sonality. There are many The Point 2 personality is naturally nurturing and more things that could be said. the personality cipline. At Point 3. like brainstorming. trying to be nurturing before it’s fully formed. there are endless possibili- isfactory. becoming what. ess enneagram can inform the study of the per. except that now the empha- “work in progress. which there is a natural barrier that necessitates a ciated with each point of view. Point 3 is considered the first shock in evolves over time. But there is a point plied to the human psyche. or prematurely intensified (Point 4). But it also prove its objective value. focus. But if groom. and imagination. it’s necessary to water ways to ducking the work we need to do at each the seed so it can begin to grow. But if it balks at this point. If arises out of the mandate to test everything they he loses focus. the ideas need nurturing in order to develop properly. either abandoning the idea for another need for objective standards. If he gets too idealis- work. At Point 2. then the process de. There is a special sensitivity to the practi- tically carried away. the plan can still be reworked (at Point ties and imaginable ideas he can decide to de- 2) or even scrapped (at Point 1). The infant idea will not be properly point”). refusing to take responsibility and depending too sonality enneagram. 1 is to choose one idea and stick with it. So the mandate at Point but without much real conviction. He does not talk about moving against developed if it is not valued and therefore not en- the arrows on the inner lines (to the “heart point. Also. he may try to develop the idea (Point 2) may hang back at Point 2. because it is the point at lution affects the kind of personality profile asso. but emphasizes the fact that nascent sis has shifted mainly to growth.concepts. Point by Point Comparison Is it practical? Is it efficient? Is there a better way? If the answers to such questions aren’t sat- At Point 1 in time. My comments are brief. so we’re going to talk about the enneagram as ap. and how the nature of this evo. information can be used to better understand per. it can become overly childlike. no pulsion. work-oriented. the focus required here is such that play”). By Point 4. and protect fledgling ideas. parenting role. Some prior familiarity with the person.” It is still a mental construct. Alternatively. This makes the Point 1 personality one- prematurely committed to a plan that has yet to pointed. the process enneagram. and unsentimen- advanced development (Point 4). no matter it may try to move forward to Point 4. develop. If he lacks dis- tal. shift of focus. wildly expanded possibilities. Also. he may indulge in flights of cal side of things and an understanding of the fancy. it may either become agitated and impul- the personality may not be able to sustain it at all sively try to rush the work to completion (Point 6) times. and groundedness. where the ideas have matured enough to be sub- scribed has involve the growth of some aspect of jected to “reality testing. or expansive phase. tolerance. persevering. they can grow properly.” This is what happens at the psyche. dencies. seed idea is fully-formed (perfected) but not yet Also. expansive. I talk about all four pushed to “perform” (Point 3). This requires point: (a) by moving backwards to the next point. ously.

at this point is high. not to gram. has shifted from the willingness to allow 4. the more like the real thing. becomes extremely sensitive to consequences.” The personality can try tive to incursions from the outside. responds by thoroughly investigating any situa- sponsibility she feels is beyond her. it is still vulnerable. transformation is irreversible. and a doting mother (Point 2). an adolescent. the main danger at 4 and an inward focus. pressured that is reaches a point where the desire rate entities. what- occur: the creator must care so much about the ever the consequences. Point 5 represents a con- irrevocably changes the giver. this process of manifestation must its own disappearance. a blueprint becomes a nizes as self. action will be behaving alternately like a critical father (Point 1) taken. where it tends to “blow up” in in the adolescent stage of development and. in that it is also concerned time forth be seen not for herself. it has an inde- transformative process begins to look like a per. it must be informed. This requires an in focus. but it can also feel so now. it’s pos. from preparation to action. which is why it is so sensi- is the “wish to appear. As Bernier observes. the less its author appears. So as understanding grows. as Bernier observes. who will from this tinuation of Point 4. It must be total and which this happens. The sonal judgment—an indictment of the personality creator no longer has the power to undo it as he as inherently defective and thus unfit to live. Points 5-8 describe the process by So a sacrifice is in order. really understand what action entails. the personality at this point alone is being singled out for affliction. Manifestation is an irrevocable act. the level of commitment must be when the sacrifice must come. This act of commitment At the same time. This did in the preparation stages. Point 5 is the intense commitment on her part. create envy. very understanding we need to act properly cre- right refusal.” The personality at Point 4 is This endowment must come at Point 4. and abandonment. It is to the next stage. The per. manifestation. That’s why “Ignorance is bliss”—the The last strategy to avoid commitment is an out. which postpones the moment However. a transformation must to be free of pressure becomes paramount. Crossing from Point 4 to 5 means a big shift coming the work in the process. “the better the work at however. The focus of the commitment. as the personality wonders why it With this in mind. 5 . its begin. tion before taking action. space. It’s also possible to use the imagination action to be appropriate. when the investigation is completed and sible to get extremely picky about various details. and then pretend that intensive one understands the consequences of wrong ac- commitment is going on. actually be. and not yet animated—not yet endowed with the life the price to be paid for [premature] precipitation force it needs to be a fully independent entity. a drama created to avoid real sacrifice. it is this passage. an idea is made public.but is beginning to take on actual substance. It can also time. time accepting the fact that what is needed most is At Point 5. So. or a child has been born.” the self to be subsumed by the idea to the willing- The personality at Point 4 usually has a hard ness to accept the responsibility for taking action. not child’s play. when this is actually an tion. pendent existence apart from its creator. And what is more. One way is and it requires a degree of concentration that is to keep bringing in new material to “improve” the not unlike the focus required at Point 1. that it be released in the right way at the right shame. work (Point 1). work that she imbues it with her self. work. apart from its parent. This takes time. it is beginning to take on a life of As Bernier notes. In cent. But (Point 2) to create a fantasy work that looks a lot the more one understands the situation. “the inopportune passage its own. (Or more accurately. though. everything is properly prepared. so that the work is There is a Catch-22 here. all of which tory process is a serious business. and it is here that work actually comes into what it represents to the personality. What is more. So it’s important can evoke strong reactions—feelings of fear. Similarly. For the impeded. But like an adoles. usually with a plausible-sounding ates the fear that can inhibit action. At this point.” envying senses the potential for untoward outcomes and others who don’t seem to be saddled with a re. betrayal. the creator and her idea have been two sepa.) An impersonal requirement in a house. from 4 to 5 is harmful to the whole process. first point on the right-hand side of the ennea- the commitment must be to the work itself. but through her with commitment. it must be voluntary. of acting. It son may long to be “let off the hook. such that. The investiga- various strategies to retain visibility. we hesitate. so does the fear illusion. are gained at the expense of the work. half-baked. Until aware of this on some level. like some way when it is actually put into practice. Once we justification. once transformation into a form that it no longer recog. The work is passed on.

” At Point 7. because the personality has lost the forget the work itself.” tion. meanwhile ignoring what is hap. The personality remains. as that we see whether the image we have of our. the work is revealed to be more only after action has already been taken—which important than the one who creates it. That is the nature of the ror. the whole. but in a com- selves is who we really are. diffuse. when they through to the end with one small task. If the work is self-transformation. It can avoid ac. we have crossed over the Great It was this looming Threshold that produced Barrier. and we have a responsibility to complete pening right now. It is Bernier who speaks of the tendency to crystallize at Point 6. So with Point 3-type concerns (minor tasks and the sacrifice at this point is the giving up of an tests). so that it can benefit others—it tom without searching out its cause): putting a must be made ready to be “seen. and false happy face on it (Point 7) or assuring itself used. This is why it is reversal is still a shock. the work must be imbued with fear of acting by engaging in a fantasy of omnipo. it is here the true nature of the work and our own nature. it must be cou- tence (Point 8). so each of means focusing breath at the expense of depth these stages demands a sacrifice of the personal (Point 7). This can universe without an “I.” so it’s hard to get any be done by cultivating care and patience (recall sort of stable perspective on things. and have a feeling of unaccustomed free- the “wait and see” tendency at Point 5. but what it protects is an illusion. the first sense of “I-ness” but is not yet used to living in a order of business is to master the fear. It can also keep very busy time when it is particularly hard to come by. with grace and courage. Or can deal with the fear in a what we started. It can temporarily dispense with the self. how can any one of them fears. but in a world If the personality is unwilling to face what it full of interesting things. convincing itself into believing that these infinite sea of possibilities in order to follow lesser challenges are the main concern. The rated out from the person that experiences it. Point 6 is the point at which we either leap for- justifying the delay by reason of the need to col. place where any identification with the personal- cause of what Point 6 represents. It can delay action. but one that can be faced called the second Shock in the process ennea. and full of curiosity. the fear is so great that it can easily make us ungrounding. finished. refine the work. lect the kind of information that is most useful At points 4-6. it this reversal is properly prepared represents the opportunity to find out whether the for at Points 4 and 5. The crystal is the unresolved fear. then it is the wisdom of the work done truly stands on its own or whether it heart that informs what happens at Point 6. then Point 6 represents counter-phobically) ahead to Point 6). gram—what Bernier calls the “Threshold. So Point 6 is a mir. What remains to be done is to purely symptomatic way (trying to treat the symp. according to Bernier. It reveals to us whether the transformation second shock. we 3 open ourselves to working in an entirely new way.” in Bernier’s words. be. He notes that some people at this point “crystal- where we see things from the perspective of the lize a positive or negative self-image and spend the rest of Self or the Whole. So at this point. undergone at Points 4 and 5 is real or imagined. The will crumble in the light of truth. It’s not are not. If at Point 4. Thinking Point 2) so that the fear can gradually be sepa. really matter very much? ing about the past (Point 5) or planning for the But the work does matter—the task is not yet future (Point 7). personal life force and at Point 5. If we manage to get beyond that fear. we will find ourselves trapped into an in- 6 . fro- informed action in several ways. This last the final step in this process of self-sacrifice—the course of action is rare. ity as “I” must be irrevocably surrendered. At Point dom and lightness. zen into form. 3 So of the situation ( Point 4). it can escape this responsibility by reminisc. If we do not make this transi. well. It However. pletely different role. Or it can push boldly (and rageously put into action. their lives trying to confirm it. ward or fall back—we can’t stay the same. It forms a barrier that seems like tion entirely by engaging in an endless pondering protection. instead of the parts—where we realize cess. shared. The It is at Point 6 that we see whether the work result will be a sudden transformational “reversal” we’ve produced can pass muster under real-world where we see everything from the perspective of conditions—to what extent it is a failure or a suc. This work of refine- that there is really nothing to fear and trying to ment requires focus and attention to detail at a relax instead (Point 9). But this lightness of being is 6.unable to commit. new perspective is so interesting. creasingly crystallized (and uninspired) way of The personality can try to escape the need for working. becomes quick.

but as a steward. it’s possible to use the con. because the “whole” to be set aside. because if this receptive But the very expansiveness of this position consciousness is not cultivated. If there is nothing to do. jumping off point to build a bridge between two sition where it is most difficult to appreciate any. the the time comes to initiate a new cycle. or cultivating an attitude that is domineering instead of protective (Point 2). At all the points. It can make a person feel made at Points 1-8 will not be informed by the too strong relative to other people.” off” process. provide insight into the “product” (personality) of the ability to introspect at Point 5. failing to act when action is called for (Point 5). he may find and future. It is the return to collection of information (Point 5). It’s the kind of fear we feel that comes fest and the unmanifest. is the counter- for detail work can create a resentful attitude to. then the decisions can pose a problem. get away from it (shrinking back to Point 6— If Point 7 is the awareness of Connectedness. Point 9 is to make it smaller by converting it into a giant the awareness of Nothingness. So there is a lot to balance at Fear of the vastness can make someone try to Point 9. The worth of this step our blessings with others. And in the world of the from awe—the feeling we get when we realize we manifest. c’est moi!” We have remain alert. The person at Point 8 can of describing a process and the other as a way of benefit by drawing on the strengths of the wings describing a personality type. to move mechanistically into project Point 8 is a position of responsibility and creation at Point 1 (before it’s the right time). because Point 8 is the po. 7 . to not intervene in the “sloughing seems to matter so much more than the “parts. Integration of Personality and Process nections with other points for positive uses. allows a free flow of information between the where we are obliged to pay our debts and share inner and outer selves. but that the widened perception at this point cle and the coming cycle. and yet at the same time to retain This sense of the vastness of life is not only self-awareness (not to identify the self with the distracting. So the work at Point 9 is “non- literally embodied the Work in every sense and work”—cultivating the kind of inner alertness that are now in the position of “noblesse oblige”. self’s accomplishments) so as to be ready when Unlike the fear of impending doom at Point 6. rather My purpose in this article has been to use Nathan than simply as escapes. past and the future. Here it’s necessary to makes it difficult to focus on anything in particu. lazy (Point 9). So the fear at Point 7 is more diffuse and harder to pin person stands with a foot in two worlds. ways of looking at the enneagram—one as a way thing outside itself. retreat into familiar routines as a way of defining ing one’s role not as a king. one’s role and lessening anxiety (Point 6). I’ve tried here to give a brief and personal vulnerability at Point 2. (Point 8). and nowhere is this more Bernier’s work on the process enneagram as a evident than at Point 8. We don’t so much marvel at the vastness than done. but also potentially overwhelming. there is also a pull in two directions: the are a very small fish In a very big pond. Instead of voice of inner wisdom. The dislike Source for renewal. a willingness to be open at Point 9. or to This responsibility can be avoided by refusing to get involved in lots of irrelevant activity at Point 3 grow up (Point 7). and this is easier said work. There’s a tendency to it hard to allow himself to be vulnerable or accept substitute mulish stubbornness for inner stillness vulnerability in others. Point 9 is the place between the previous cy- ing. becoming self-indulgent and (substituting doing for being). the Point Escapes at this point are designed to lessen 8 person may be tempted to take advantage of the the tension of maintaining balance between past weakness of others. and humility each point of view. cannot be overestimated. balance to the other eight points on the process ward restriction (Point 1) or the attempt to move enneagram. identification with the personality self) or trying and Point is the awareness of Oneness. helping others to develop their strengths. I’m finding that and connecting points—seeking an enthusiasm for exploring the process at each point in time can life at Point 7. work necessary for completion.that the task is “small” in the sense of not matter. the mani- down. we see our final result of the a state of active receptivity. it’s hard to as identify with it: “L’etat. There is no task to do here other than to completion (Point 8) without having done the being receptive so that renewal may take place. and as such. renewal requires the maintaining of At Point 8. However. Taking this responsibility means see. inner and outer. At the very least. allow the accomplishments of the previous cycle lar for any length of time. to leadership.

You want to fly.” In other words. to give credit overconfidence. This one thing is easily idealized as the best thing to imposed by having to chose just one idea to execute. introduction that shows the basic relationship be. It can be hard to remember that cent. 4 The idea is intensively reworked and made ready for launch.” which is somewhat broader in scope.” but this seems to me to connote physical danger.” Afterwards. and beautiful. (especially as compared to others). The fear of disappearing can make you fail to commit. then you have the motivation to do what is necessary to care for it properly. attend to. right focus. So there’s only one right idea. including the self. and powerful the right attitude in the doer—humble. The idea starts to move out of the The sensitivity to time and the need for materialization makes you mental realm and into the material realm. Everything appears irreversible changes to take place. work. you prefer incompetency to ano- ready without a deep commitment (detailed work) on the part nymity. This is refusing to face the limitation of alternatives.” still matters. 5 The work moves into “production”—something begins to be The sensitivity to automatism makes you want to make everything irreversibly transformed. but is perfected only by Now that the work is complete. The process of transformation At this point. back seat to testing at this point. The process can easily become auto. what you who no longer has anything to do. you feel big. The fear you feel is whatever way align the self & the work. You have a hard time knowing who you are. tween the two. not walk—to do ing and presentation. it’s possible for the developer to get lost avoiding mental play and seeking emotional investment in a single in imagining so many ways of doing the project that she plan. It’s hard to see the importance of follow- Hazard = ISOLATION. the less the author being willing to totally invest yourself in it. You try to get “more attention through absence than Hazard = DETAIL & ANONYMITY. the power you feel is not really yours.” When you care about some- never commits to one particular approach. and ingratitude. one must not hang back in nurtur.” The author’s fear of disappearing can derail the for it to move ahead. doing whatever is needed appears. COMPARISION OF PROCESS & PERSONALITY ENNEAGRAMS POINT CREATIVE PROCESS & HAZARD 4 PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTIC 1 New ideas come into the mind. You are between cycles. The ascent towards clarity is terrifying. want. 8 . many things. tends place your attention on only one thing at a time to the exclusion Hazard = INDECISION. The antidote is making a deep commitment to the work and of its author. of working. ing activities but move forward into testing. so life seems to lack a 4 Bernier uses the work “danger.” but will perspective makes you eager to experience your newly-found free- not fulfill its purpose without disciplined attention to packag. The work that is “ready. inclined to act. Grace to descend and provide the impetus for a complete shift of per- Hazard = FEAR. You see the need to test ideas in the real Hazard = PROCRASTINATION. It will be like a “pole shift. so that the transformation happens too inaction to unconscious action. not wait. The challenge is to become conscious fast for assimilation. creates isolation from the larger community. why you act. All the work of the previous cycle is Now is the time for inner renewal. the consequences of unconscious creation. 3 This is the first shock. But the work finishing touches so that is can be “seen. 6 This is the second shock. You feel receptive without know- assimilated and then left behind. and to willingly harness your talents in the service of others. shared. right way. in anticipation of this shift. strong. Completing the work means adding the through and it feels like a sacrifice to continue working. 2 The selected idea is expanded & developed. But” the better the work. and benefi. you’ve invested yourself in the work and have allowed results in a profound shift in perspective. so you prefer conscious mated (unconscious). not just one. You’ve created the potential for as it actually is. to those who helped you get where you are. clean. thing. The idea cannot be made through presence. not be tethered to your work. to see whether they can succeed there. One must be selected for The innate sensitivity to the possible danger of not facing limitation development. dom. 9 This is the third shock. You want to avoid Hazard = ACTIVISM. but comes to you from a higher Hazard = INGRATITUDE. 7 The shock at Point 6 transforms one’s perspective on the The relief in getting past the second shock and sudden opening of work. conscious so you can monitor what’s happening. It can also be hard to admit your vulnerabilities. Successful completion can bring source. and to act (even in the face of your fears). All that remains in the doer ing quite why. And your expanded perspective puts you in a unique The work still has a purpose. arrogance. so that it becomes “your baby. The understanding that it’s possible to scatter one’s energies in what Hazard = IMAGINATION. Because there is more than one way Bernier calls “playful planning activity” creates an impetus for both to develop the idea. Lack of interest at this point position to transform a work into a work of art. so I substituted the word “hazard. 8 The work is essentially complete. Nurturing must take a process of materialization. and used. you will experi- Grace provides a descending shock (a “wake up call”) in ence yourself and the work in a whole new way. spective. to relax instead ing. grateful. When it’s time to begin the world.

sires as come are transient and hard to sustain. not accumu. Anticipation builds. Nine moves to One. Eventually.Hazard = STATUS-QUO. to form. themes begin to emerge into consciousness. 9 . unifying theme upon which you could base your actions. Satisfaction with previous achieve. Such de- ments can become a barrier unless one realizes that experi. An idea gradually starts lated like trophies. some ences are to be assimilated as food for thought. and the cycle be- gins again.