shown on the Enneagram of Ego-Fixations, below. The
problem with each form of “ego-fixation” is that it focuses
our attention on the outer world, but the main problem lies
in consciousness. Only when we start to turn within and
perceive the specific Holy Idea we originally lost sight of do
we begin to live from a greater realization of truth.
These ego-fixations are resentment (Point 1), flattery
(Point 2), vanity (Point 3), melancholy (Point 4), stinginess
(Point 5), cowardice (Point 6), planning (Point 7),
vengeance (Point 8), and indolence (Point 9).
The Enneagram of
When studied together, rich insights can spark
reflection and transformation. For example, a Type One
studying these diagrams would see that their ego-fixation
(resentment when their need for perfection inevitably
goes unmet) can be healed by learning to perceive holy
perfection (the divine perfection in everything), instead
of focusing on our limited individual ideas about what is
perfect. A Type Three can see that the surface-level vanity
arising from doing whatever it takes to be liked and feel
validated can be healed by developing a greater sense of
holy harmony, realizing that true worth is always intrinsic.
A Type Six can see that their fear of taking action because
things might go wrong can be healed by tapping in to a
holy faith that assures everything works together for good.
While such intellectual understandings of the Enneagram
can foster psychological growth, spiritual practices such
as prayer, mindfulness, and meditation are essential to
helping move from our ego delusions toward reality. Of
the practices taught across the Enneagram community,
centering prayer—the devotional act of surrendering egoic
identity and consenting to the activity and presence of
Spirit through the use of a sacred, grounding word—is
the main practice that has facilitated my own shift toward
greater integration and truth. I also employ prayer denials
(denying that external events and circumstances have any
power over us) and affirmations that speak to the particular
delusion of my Enneagram type, Type One.
The Enneagram can further be divided into three
centers of intelligence: head, body, and heart. Each center
tends to overemphasize one aspect of life: Types Five, Six,
and Seven (head center) tend to overidentify with their
thinking; Types Eight, Nine, and One (body center) tend to
overidentify with doing; and Types Two, Three, and Four
(heart center) tend to overidentify with their relationships.
While the contemplative prayer postures of silence,
stillness, and solitude can all offset our types’ habituated
focus, Enneagram experts have emphasized the need for
head types to cultivate inner silence, body types to foster
inner stillness, and heart types to practice solitude. (For
more on applying contemplative practices to Enneagram
typology, read The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your
Unique Path to Spiritual Growth [HarperCollins, 2017] by
Christopher L. Heuertz.)
For Type Seven (a head type), the ego-fixation of
“planning” (for future fun) often keeps them from ever
experiencing true joy in the present. Resting in interior
silence allows them to pay less heed to future imaginings.
They thereby become increasingly attuned to the
underlying truth of the Holy Ideas of Point Seven—that
reality is ordered and their well-being is an integral part of
that divine unfolding.
Likewise, Type Nine (a body type) generally compensates
for not experiencing holy love by becoming fixated on a
kind of “indolence”—a sleepy style of attention aimed at
avoiding deep contact with their own inner self. When
they are willing to cease mindless action and engage inner
stillness, they begin to feel their own lovability in such a
core way that they can distinguish themselves from others
while still feeling their own worth.
Finally, Type Two (a heart type) tends to fixate on
flattering others as a means of gaining approval and esteem.
This habit is countered by their willingness to consent to
established periods of solitude.
If we continue to follow the map the Enneagram offers,
it can take us all the way back to the remembrance of our
identity not merely as the bodies we inhabit, the emotions
we feel, or the thoughts we have, but more fundamentally as
consciousness itself. When we each finally realize the face of
God, we find that face to be our own.
HOLY ORIGIN HOLY OMNISCIENCE,