People often ask me, "How in the world can the Enneagram be combined with social justice work?" I have heard that question asked in many different ways, but the answer is quite simple. The Enneagram and the inner work involved in exploring the 9 personality structures perfectly align with becoming a strong and authentic Advocate & Ally in the inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism realm. So I am answering the most frequently asked questions about the work I do with the Enneagram and IDEA work.
As human beings, we are all connected… where do you think we are disconnected right now?
People occupy more space on this planet, however, we are moving away from one another even as we experience this expansion and find ourselves in closer proximity to one another. Our society contains silos of similarities, our families are increasingly divided by politics and beliefs, our communities struggle with the acceptance of our ever-expanding diversity which culminates in our own lives becoming compartmentalized into acceptable paradigms. We are faced with so many divides because we have forgotten the connection to our hearts. As we learn to restore and strengthen our heart connection we will acknowledge our similarities as well as our differences as the beautiful complexities that add to the rich tapestry of humanity.
How does healing in that space relate to the Enneagram approach?
The inner work aligned with the exploration of the Enneagram can be a transformative and healing experience. When the work is honored and continued beyond self-reflection, its wisdom extends into our spiritual growth and touches the world. The Enneagram teaches us how to heal our own wounds by illuminating our blind spots and showing us what we are really up to when we show up in the world. We become more open and accepting that we all see the world through 9 different lenses as we begin to heal by doing our inner work. As we heal our own wounds we are able to move beyond seeing people as objects and the shift toward regaining our own humanity allows us to begin to honor the humanity of every individual.
To understand Enneagram work - what are the essentials?
For people beginning their journey, I have compiled a basic Enneagram overview which can be found on my website DeborahEgerton.com/enneagram. I have also found that many people who have very little experience with the Enneagram or are just beginning their exploration find what they are searching for in The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types a book written by Don Richard Riso and my dear friend Russ Hudson. For a deeper look into how this work is connected to the Enneagram, I encourage everyone to read my new book Know Justice Know Peace: A Transformative Journey of Social Justice, Anti-Racism, and Healing through the Power of the Enneagram available now for pre-order.
Your concept of IDEA - inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism - how does it intersect with Enneagram work?
A fundamental flaw in our foundation and ability for human connection is the failure to pick up the mirror and do the work of coming to fully understand ourselves as individuals who ultimately become part of a collective community in a societal structure. If we truly intend to repair the divides our world currently faces, we must start with ourselves. The Enneagram provides a detailed guide for inner work and allows us to move out of a “me and mine” mentality and into an “us and ours” way of being—this is the framework for accelerating a cognitive shift into mindfulness at an individual level which can help us to become more present to how we show up in the world in relation to “other” human beings.
Who are the “types” to guide healing across our differences?
Every “type” or Point within the Enneagram has the capacity to actively engage in healing across differences and ultimately contribute to a unified reconnection across our divides. There are inherent gifts found within each of the nine Enneagram personality “types”—remember we have all nine types within us and we lead with our dominant Enneagram energy—and we can harness the gifts from every Point as we become engaged Advocates and Allies in healing and reconnecting our fractured society.
Much of this work includes work around “othering” - can you describe the potential healing impact of Enneagram work?
“Othering” is the process of assigning meaning and perceived value to a group of people based on some dimension of their diversity—assumed race and ethnicity, gender and sexual diversity, socioeconomic status, religion, age, geographical location, physical and mental ability, skin tone, culture—compounded with the stereotypes, biases, and unconscious patterns ingrained into the societal perception of the value assigned to each category of “other.” When viewed through the lens of the Enneagram, race as a social construct, the effects of systemic discrimination based on all dimensions of diversity, and subsequently how we have all been gaslighted into accepting this as our reality becomes painfully clear. IDEA work is not sustainable without having an ongoing relationship with and dedicated practice for “doing the work.” You need to surface your inherent biases, internal wounds, and trauma to build the capacity to go through the fire without being consumed. Through the inner work experienced within the Enneagram, you begin to uncover the path to self-healing, an integral step toward collectively healing all of humanity.