The Enneagram, Part 1, Richard Rohr

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The Importance of the Enneagram via Fr. Richard Rohr, as a profound tool of spiritual transformation and for those interested, relapse prevention. Ever wonder why so many individuals relapse in recovery after years of recovery…self-awareness around one’s Enneagram Type is a powerful door to long term sobriety.

Richard Rohr’s Daily MeditationThe Enneagram (Part 1)The Enneagram as a Tool for Transformation, Sunday, May 25, 2014

Note: The messages during the next two weeks will be longer than usual to allow a thorough (though still brief!) overview of the Enneagram. To explore this theme in more depth, see the resources listed following each meditation. Everything I am writing here, including the description of each Enneagram number, is a broad generalization using different common traits. The important thing is to get to the energy behind the traits. Not every trait will apply to each person, so forgive the generalizations you will read throughout this series.The Enneagram is a very ancient tool (recognized by some members of all three monotheistic religions) whose Christian origins can be traced to the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth century. I first learned it in 1973 when it was taught to me by my spiritual director, Jesuit Fr. Jim O’Brien. The Enneagram is used for the discernment of spirits, to help us recognize our False Self, and to lead us to encounter our True Self in God. The Enneagram was originally intended to help spiritual directors train and refine the gift of reading energies, or “the reading of souls,” and support the transforming of people into who they are in God. By forcing us to face our own darkness, the Enneagram leads us to address that same darkness as it shows itself in culture, oppression, injustice, and human degradation.No one willingly does evil. Each of us has put together a construct by which we explain why what we do is necessary and good. That is why it is so important to “discern the spirits” (1 Corinthians 12:10). We need support in unmasking our False Self and distancing ourselves from our illusions. With the self-knowledge that the Enneagram gives us, we are not dealing only with the acknowledgment of sin. (Note: In the Enneagram tradition, “sin” is simply that which doesn’t work, i.e. self-defeating behavior.) We are also letting go of what only seems good in order to discover what in us is really good: our soul, our True Self. We overcome our evil not by a frontal and heroic attack, but by recognizing it, naming it, and letting it go. The Enneagram works by insight. Once we see our False Self for what it is, we are no longer attached to it, and it no longer blocks us from realizing our inherent union with God. The Enneagram helps us see our own compulsive blindness and how we are acting at cross-purposes with our best interest. Realizing that, we can eventually flow with our gift and integrate our sin, our shadow, our failure, the “stone” which we rejected. We finally see that I am what I am, good and bad put together into one self; and God’s mercy is so great and God’s love is so total that God uses even my sin in my favor! God is using all of me to bring me to God. That is the Good News!

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