Commonly Asked Questions
Why should I learn about my Enneagram point? How can it help me?
we learn about our habitual way of being in the world, we can transform
our habit from a stumbling block (albeit one that has aided us as
children) to our greatest gift. In other words, we move from unconscious
behavior to conscious behavior. We run our habit, rather than it
running us. The most compelling reason is to become our best self,
to live and love to the fullest of our abilities.
How does it help me to learn about the other points on the
we begin to learn the very different ways of perceiving the world,
without judgement; we learn to listen carefully to others point
of view. We gain tremendous compassion for all the ways of perceiving,
including our own. We begin to experience others "as they are
to themselves" and to see the tremendous beauty of each way
of being. It's almost like being in someone else's skin for a short
time. Our relationships improve by leaps and bounds when we begin
to listen carefully for a tune other than our own. Whether we "nail
the point"or figure out someone's Enneagram type is completely
unimportant. We simply begin to truly hear other viewpoints and
value them as we do our own. We all want to be heard and valued
for who we are. The Enneagram gives us a framework for doing just
that. We find a way to honor and love the diversity of ourselves
Aren't people likely to start putting people in boxes, pigeonholing
them, or sticking them in categories with the Enneagram?
system, even a good one, can be misused. However, we all categorize
every day. Man/woman; black/asian; small/large; quick/slow; athletic/sedentary.
Of course, we try to look beyond our simple categorizations to the
human being beyond them. Categories are our way of making sense
and order out of our world. But we need to hold them loosely, seeing
them for the very incomplete picture that they are. So it is with
the Enneagram. No 2 snowflakes are alike, though they have much
in common. No 2 people are alike in all ways, ever. At first, your
enthusiasm for the Enneagram may cause you to "run rampant"
typing people. Relax. Hold it lightly. It's just a phase that will
pass when you begin to learn more about the complexities of the
Enneagram or look past the point to the individual. One word of
caution: this phase of typing people or "speaking in numbers"
can be extremely annoying to friends and family who may not share
How do I change my behavior to become my best self?
there are exercises that are helpful for each point, change happens
gradually as a result of activating and strengthening our inner
observer. We become aware of our patterns and that very awareness
changes them to their best expression. There is no effort involved.
In fact, psychological and spiritual growth cannot be forced or
rushed. It's similar to Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty (
I know you all have this on the tip of your tongues!) "The
mere act of watching [subatomic particles] changes behavior. The
observer changes the observed." So it is with the Enneagram.
By watching ourselves, our thoughts, deeds, feelings; we begin to
unravel the mystery of why we do and see as we do. We open ourselves
to a greater vision and a larger self. We move toward wholeness
Which Enneagram Point or type is the best to be?
point is better or worse than any other. Like us, they are just
different. And as you continue to explore, you find that there are
many flavors of each point, and subtypes, and on and on. Soon, we
can see beyond the Enneagram to the snowflake experience.
Where did the Enneagram originate?
scholars have traced it back as far as 10,000 years. This oral tradition
has been thought to be intricately woven into the Kabbalah, and
most recently believed used by Sufi mystics.. This sacred information
was given to the West only recently and refined by psychologists
(1960's and 70's), who synthesized it into its present form. Although
many books have been written about the Enneagram, most teachers
believe it can still only be learned through the oral tradition.
However, books can give helpful background information to augment
What is a Wing?
point also accesses the energy of one of the two points next to
it on the diagram. For example, a Seven may have a Six Wing or an
Eight Wing. While they will still have primarily Seven views and
behaviors, their personality will be flavored by Six or Eight and
they will look quite different. Most people have one Wing point
that is dominant, although at some time in their life, they access
the energy from the other wing point.
Explain the movement to Stress Point and Heart Point?
habitual behavior is not effective in relieving stress or anxiety,
we move to our stress point (the arrows on most Enneagram diagrams).
This allows us to take action to alleviate the stress. Stress points
are not bad per se, they help us by giving us other resources to
deal with life's issues. However, accessing the less desirable traits
of our stress point can lead to unwanted consequences when we are
totally unconscious of them. As we become more conscious, we may
find ourselves utilizing more of the gifts of our stress point without
being run by it.
we are secure, we move to our heart point (the opposite direction
on the diagram). Often we take on the more positive, beneficial
traits of our heart point as we grow and evolve. It is possible
to experience the "low side" of your heart point. Again,
all we need do is notice. The inner observer makes it possible for
us to live consciously and joyfully, with full access to our gifts
What if I can't figure out what point I am?
people can narrow it down to one or two, even three points they
feel describe them. Take your time. Most of us have little experience
with the inner observer in our culture (unless we are long time
meditators). As you observe more, you'll be able to identify patterns
and come closer to your point. It's less important that you know
your point right away than that you observe your feelings, thoughts,
and habitual ways of acting and perceiving. You can also have a
trained Enneagram teacher/counselor help by conducting a typing
interview to help illuminate your point with you. See resources
section for listing of teachers.