Tuesday, 10 June 2014
The Enneagram Part 3
I am continuing to explore the Enneagram Typology this week. I am drawing on the perspective of Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert in their book The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective. As I noted previously, I am finding the Enneagram system to be particularly interesting and helpful as it goes beyond a being simply a system of personality types. Typology can be very helpful in understand yourself and the world. It can also be very helpful, in my experience for those who do not fit the norms of society I being comfortable with themselves e.g. introverts in an extroverted culture. The Enneagram typology goes beyond that and help us understand how we can move beyond our ego- based position in the world into a mature and integrated position in the world.
In exploring the approach taken by Rohr and Ebert today I want to look at the concept of sin. In their understanding, the Enneagram system relates a sin to each of the nine Enneagram types. First it is important to examine how Rohr& Ebert understand ‘sin’. In their theology sin means ‘missing the mark’ which is the root meaning of the Greek word for sin – hamartia. Sinning in this sense means falling short of the target or in other words not following the path that God intends for you. When this happens – which it inevitably does - we separate ourselves to a lesser or greater extent from God. As Rohr/Ebert note “Sins are attempts to cope with or enhance life with unsuitable means.” We chose – consciously or unconsciously – this way of responding to a situation because we need to maintain our present position in life. As noted elsewhere the ego is determined to maintain the status quo even if it is not beneficial to us in the long run.
In the enneagram typology there are nine traps or sins we fall into – one for each type. These are the seven traditional deadly sins of Catholic Christianity; pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, unchastely, plus fear and deceit. The root sin of each type is:
2 pride (presumptuousness)
3 deceit (untruth)
7 gluttony (intemperance)
8 lust (shamelessness)
9 sloth (laziness)
For the individual to mature and in my understanding to become the person God intends them to be, these sins must be redeemed and transformed into a positive approach to God’s world. I will explore more of this journey next time.