A Gift that will last a lifetime  Donations Welcome   Search 


The Paths of Transformation

Don't know your Personality Type?
Click here to take our Enneagram Test

The Transformational Process

At the beginning of our transformational work, it is easy to feel frustrated and overwhelmed. It is also easy to begin to see the personality as an enemy that must be defeated since it is, after all, the repository and residue of so much "baggage" from our past, with all of its hurts, damage, and disappointments. When we are tempted to think this way, it is good to realize that the personality is not separate from us—in fact, it is an important and legitimate part of ourselves: the problem is simply that we mistake the part for the whole. Personality depends on our identifying with certain states, feelings, thoughts, and reactions even though whenever we do so, we experience ourselves as less than the totality of who and what we really are.

The spirituality of the Enneagram does not divide us into good (Essence) and bad (personality), but simply recognizes that when we are identified with our personalities, we forget that there is much more to us. The personality has the function of closing us down so that we can feel more defended against a threatening and uncertain world. At one time in our lives, in childhood, this response was adaptive and necessary. We had to identify with whatever qualities we found in ourselves in order to defend ourselves more efficiently and to find our place in the world.

But if we were able to stop identifying with our personality right now, who would we be? What would guide our actions? Who or what would be speaking in us? If, all of a sudden, the "autopilot" that directs many of our actions is no longer in charge, how would we be able to live?

There are no predetermined answers to these questions since we are not talking about finding a better formula or more rules to live by. We are talking about transformation—changing our state of Being—which requires being aware in the present moment. This inevitably leads to learning how to interfere with our habitual patterns, which in turn entails some degree of discomfort. But if we are willing to allow this discomfort, we can suddenly emerge from the tangle of reactions, plans, self-images, and tensions that constitute our regular life and realize that we are here. We exist. We are real. When we experience this recognition, it is like walking out of a fog bank.

Of course, learning to be more present is an art and takes practice—in fact, that's what spiritual practices are about. They help us cultivate awareness so that we can become more present to our lives and the miracles which are unfolding around us at every moment. Because the personality operates "in the dark: and depends on tension and identification, when we become present, it cannot operate in its usual automatic way and the deeper qualities of our heart, mind, and body—our Essential nature—manifest themselves. In this state, we see reality more clearly, and when we are in touch with reality, truth governs. In the land of truth, there are no contradictions, no conflicts, no hindrances, and no fears. But first, we must learn to be present.

The personality is always composed of a small fraction of the total range of our potentials. It contains imitations of the real, more expansive qualities of our Essential nature which include joy, love, peace, compassion, strength, understanding, and many other priceless qualities. Moreover, our Essence awakens us to the beauty all around us—to the gifts of nature and the miracle of other people. In every moment, there are treasures and sources of delight, if we could only open to them. In the world of personality, we are too filled with our own projects and preoccupations, worries and hopes to notice the exquisite pleasure of being alive and the astounding variety of life.

The Paths of Transformation

Type 1 The Reformer

Type 2 The Helper

Type 3 The Achiever

Type 4 The Individualist

Type 5 The Investigator

Type 6 The Loyalist

Type 7 The Enthusiast

Type 8 The Challenger

Type 9 The Peacemaker