This is a cognitive science tool that reveals the mechanisms of the mind, our personality, and instincts. Find out how it works. Add it to your spiritual toolbox.
The Enneagram Personality Profile is a tool to help us understand the automatic mechanisms of the mind. It is deep enough to meet the demands of clinicians, and uses plain language that is easy to understand. This makes it a practical tool available to everyone.
The Pinnacle Cognitive Science Tool
This system provides accuracy and depth of personal insight by shining a light on the mechanisms of Ego, namely personality and instinct. It helps us understand how the mind works, providing the power to change thought patterns and values.
This system proves our Ego is not our enemy. It’s a necessary tool that connects our consciousness to our bodies. So, we cannot eliminate it. We need to learn how to use it correctly.
This cognitive science tools divides the mind’s components to make them easier to understand.
What is Ego? The Ego is the home of personality and instinct, it’s that sense of I, which is the default settings of awareness. It is a necessary tool that connects consciousness to our bodies. The Ego is the tool hiding the real you. It hides the read Observer until we are present. When we are present, the real shows up, then the Ego becomes a subordinate tool for us to use and that’s where it should be.
What is Personality?
What is instinct?
Our instincts are the three behavioral modes of the primitive mind which operate at the subconscious level. These modes are sexual, social and self-preservation. They control our preferences, what we like and dislike. These instinctual variants are also reflected in our personality.
What is the Observer? The Observer is the real you. The Observer is the person who is listening inside your head when you talk to yourself, it’s the awareness that experiences your dreams when you sleep. Some traditions refer to the concept of the Observer as Soul, or Spirit.
The Enneagram Personality Profile Symbols
The name comes from the Greek word, which means “nine.” The nine of the points on the circle represent a personality type. The Enneagram symbol has three main parts, the outer circle, an inner triangle, and a nine-sided hexagonal periodic figure, the lines between show us how our personalities connect.
The Enneagram Methodology
Questionnaires are the heart of this cognitive science tool. These tools identify the default settings of your personality and instinctual traits, but testing is only the beginning of this rich system. There are many levels of knowledge, and this system can take you as deep as any other system of psychology. Testing is only one facet of this process, but is a very important part of method.
Type misidentification is not uncommon. It can happen for several reasons. When you take the test, answer the questions from a historical perspective. Don’t take the test when you are going through a crisis. Our Ego pushes us to skew our responses to get the answer we want, so we need to watch out for that. Also, if you are treating a mental disorder, work with your caregiver on when and how to complete the questionnaires.
All these affect the accuracy of the profile. So, do not take the test once and assume you have identified yourself accurately, it’s best to test, wait at least two days and take it again. If the profiles show the same top three in the same order, then you have an accurate profile. If they don’t match, wait a few days and take it again. If you have three different stacks, wait a week or two and make sure you are not under any unusual stress. This will give you a way to validate results of your profile. Then, read about the primary personality type to see if it resonates and sounds like you.
History of the Enneagram
Oscar Ichazo (3) is where the modern version emerges. He began using the Enneagram in his Arica Institute in 1956. He claims to have developed his concepts independently. Also, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (4) published Fourth Way Work in 1957.
Gurdjieff is a major part of development of Enneagram, his system mirrors the nine-element structure and many of the same concepts about psychic structures. He alludes to the discovery of the Enneagram symbol at the Sufi Sarmouni monastery in Afghanistan in the 1920s. But he does not elaborate about their knowledge or its use as a psychometric system.
Others may have used Gurdjieff’s writings as further develop the system. Claudio Naranjo (5) and John Lilly studied with Oscar Ichazo in Bolivia in the late 1960s. Most people give Naranjo credit for bringing the system to the West in the 1970s. The system continues to grow. The Tri-type is another evolution in understanding personality.
Enneagram Learning Methods and Sources
The Enneagram is much more than a way to identify your personality type. It opens the door for deeper investigation. This system reveals the mechanisms of the subconscious mind, which enable us to move beyond the boundaries of the Ego. The Enneagram is a doorway to the virtues of the spirit. These are the superior aspects of our hearts. They are the legacy of our ancestors, locked within our DNA.
The system is straightforward and well-structured, so you can learn a lot going at your own pace and taking the time to absorb the data though self-study. Inner work is hard work, and the Enneagram is a powerful tool for the terrain of the mind.
Workshops and Seminars
Workshops are an excellent way to accelerate your understanding, you learn from the speaker and fellow participants. The best teachers use small and large group exercises and with their lectures. These activities increase level of learning and enjoyment.
The exercises you’ll find at these seminar are not unique to the Enneagram, but they fit well and complement it. You will see activities like the repeating question, moving mudras for each personality type, and small group sharing.
Through these kinds of exercises, you learn about yourself. You explore the inner critic and self-talk. So, you’ll also see your bias and prejudices. Similarly, many teachers also use panel-type discussions. Here you divide people into groups by personality or instinctual type where they talk about various experiences based on the filter of these mechanisms.
It doesn’t take long to find some valuable insights, and those just starting with the process will find the following takeaways from this system.
The first big takeaway is learning that we are not our personalities. Our personality is just a tool of the Ego. We are not our Ego. We are the Observer. The real You is who you talk to inside your head. It is the person who experiences your life.
Once we digest we are not our Ego, we can learn to move beyond it. We discover how we can reprogram our inner critic and cultural narrative self-talk scripts, and so change the trajectory of our lives.
Another takeaway is seeing how much our instincts affect personality. It is often easier to see instinct shapes behavior than our personality type.
Last is how presence and mindfulness can pull us out of the control of our Ego. Even a one-minute break can make all the difference. But, it also underscores the importance of meditating. We recommend using Japa, or its more commercially available form known as Transcendental Meditation (TM). They are both the same technique.
Enhancing Critical Thinking
There are other tools for exploring consciousness. The Enneagram helps show us how the Ego works. It’s like looking under the hood of a car. You get to see all the moving parts. Thus, it gives us a new perspective on the mechanisms of the mind.
When you use this process and other core analytical tools, you will raise your ability to think more clearly. Two other tools help enhance critical thinking, logical reasoning, and comparative analysis. Together they ensure you can determine the facts from the fiction.
Seeing The Mechanisms of the Mind
When we reveal our mind’s programming, our thought patterns and values are visible. If we can see them, we can change them. This perspective enhances our critical thinking ability. We use the Enneagram Personality Profile and Instinctual variant tests early in our group meetings.
Identifying the Cultural Narrative
Enhancing our ability to think shines a light on the programming we get from our cultural narrative, which overrides the hard-wiring of our Ego. It’s powerful stuff. The cultural narrative can supersede the programming of personality and instinct. So, it’s powerful; it can make people behave in ways they would not think of doing.
That’s why it’s imperative to question the cultural narrative. We do this by learning to question our own beliefs and values. Here, this process can help us see beyond the barriers that keep this programming hidden. On the positive side, if we can see the programming, we can then change it.
Changing your cultural narrative’s programming isn’t easy, but you can do it. Once you’ve identified the negative values, biases, and prejudices, it becomes a matter of choice. Do you want to get ride of the garbage? Healthy people do.
Exposing the Cultural Narrative
So, as we work with the Enneagram of Personality, we learn how this system exposes programming on two levels. It reveals the programming mechanisms of the Ego. Once we can see the programming, we begin to understand the cultural narrative’s impact. Some people have more negative programming than others.
However, the cultural narrative is a different story. No matter where you live, you must learn to question cultural folklore. Learning to develop a skeptical mindset is healthy. It places you closer to those who are freethinkers and skeptics.
The Cultural Narrative Disguised as Truth
The cultural narrative is just a story. The culture tells us a story they want us to accept. Here’s how it works. If we live in the jungle, we need to know if a harmful predator is near. In a tropical rainforest, other animals become quiet when danger is near. If we didn’t learn this sign, we might get eaten by a leopard.
Many religions use cultural programming to install thoughts and values that are harmful. Our natural inclination as social beings is to look out for others’ welfare. If we spot a tiger hiding in the bushes, we shout, so everyone knows. But, in some cases, religion tells us we can eat outsiders. If you aren’t a part of the tribe, you are an enemy of the tribe. We may intentionally feed outsiders to the tiger because this is what our religion programs us to do. Religion disguises itself as the narrative of truth when it harbors bias and prejudice for the most part.
Exposing Programming for More Clarity
When we see the Ego and the cultural programming, we gain an increase in awareness. Greater awareness gives us more choices to make a positive impact. For instance, what you learn from understanding how your personality works also helps you understand others. Similarly, it shows us the fundamental drivers that influence our culture. When we can see them, then we can avoid them.
When you discern facts from fiction, you are less likely to accept spurious or unfounded propositions. This skill is helpful, especially in the landscape of spirituality. The arena of spirituality is full of people making bogus claims. However, they work because people buy false arguments. And, it’s the use of the Enneagram that exposes these fictions within our programming.
On the other hand, being pro facts doesn’t mean you should be anti-religious. Many ancient researchers of the psyche use religious terms to describe their processes. They passed along their research in stories. In some cases, these stories became myths, and mythology became a religion.
Three religions dominate almost one-half of the population of the world. These are the Abrahamic religions (6), Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These religions aren’t new. They are the rebranding of earlier traditions from the Mediterranean region. Namely, the Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions. These paradigms contain religious, ethnic, racial, and gender bias and prejudice.
Concerns about using the Enneagram
Those who have concerns about using this process tend to distrust all forms of psychology and science. Those who believe it is evil are misinformed and do so from illogical bias and prejudice.
This system has undergone many years of scientific testing. It is as valid a method of the psyche as any form of psychology. Those who have concerns about it do not understand it. Or, perhaps they fear what it can reveal. The Enneagram is a solid cognitive science tool, and many mental health clinicians use it.
Below is a visual graph showing one way to describe the psyche. You will notice the Observer is at the center.
Our instincts are drivers of our fundamental values. These are the gut feelings that tell us what is right and evil. Most people are surprised to learn how much instinct colors their thinking and value judgments.
Personality provides the default settings of our demeanor, which colors, our values, and our emotions. It is a specific set of traits and a framework for thinking.
When our thinking is healthy, we reflect humanity’s positive values in our actions. This outward effect is generally protective, nurturing, and overall non-judgmental. We are social beings, even if we are introverted.
The outer layer contains the programming from the cultural folklore. Here is where we get the propaganda from Eck. This kind of programming overrides our natural tendencies of instinct and personality. All of this stuff contains harmful bias and prejudice. It’s easy to spot because it justifies greed, discrimination, and violence.
One of our favorite resources is Russ Hudson, co-creator of The Enneagram Institute (7) with the late Don Riso. Russ knows this system well. He is a good seminar instructor. Check out their site for workshops near you. We also recommend any of the instructors certified to teach by their Institute.
To summarize, the enneagram personality profile is a systematic cognitive science tool that shows how our mind works. It illuminates the mechanisms of the mind so that we can understand and regain proper control of our personality and instincts. It does this by illuminating thinking processes, symbols, and typologies that influence our thinking and values. It is a powerful tool to learn about the mind: if you are curious about how your mind works, then this is the tool you need.
(1) The Kabbalah: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah
(2) Jungian Psychology: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/jungian-therapy
(3) Oscar Ichazo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93scar_Ichazo
(4) George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Fourth Way Work: https://ggurdjieff.com/fourth-way/
(5) Claudio Naranjo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudio_Naranjo
(5) John Lilly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Lilly
(6) Abrahamic Religions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions
(7) The Enneagram Institute: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/