Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Enneagram: Part 5

“Get thee behind me Satan!”  This is Jesus cry when tempted by the disciple Peter — his rock but also his impetuous one who always acted before he thought — or perhaps he just didn’t think at this point in his life in any case.   Peter wanted Jesus to deny what he must do — go to Jerusalem and all that that entailed; ending with his crucifixion, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’

The temptation to avoid change — to want things to stay the same even if we know in our hearts that they need to change — is one of the challenges we face.  The Ego is all about not changing.  The Ego wants to maintain the status quo above all else and will do all it can to put up barriers to doing things differently even if we know that we need to change if we are to do God’s will or even do what is obviously good for us.  As Rohr and Ebert note, “all of us create in the course of our development certain ideals, whose realization we pursue.  Our self-image is determined largely by these ideals.”

It not surprizing that each of the nine Enneagram types has its own temptation just as it has its own root sin as I discussed last time.  The temptation is categorized by Richard Rohr and Andreas along with two other ways of avoiding change — avoidance and resistance.  These three mechanisms works in different ways but with the same goal — to avoid change.      

The Temptation which is identified for each type is:

Type 1   Perfection
  Type 6   Security
Type 2   Helping others
  Type 7   Idealism
Type 3   Efficiency
  Type 8   Justice
Type 4   Authenticity
  Type 9   Self-deprecation 
Type 5   Knowledge


The Resistance (Defense) Mechanism which is identified with each type is:

Type 1   Vexation
  Type 6   Inappropriate behaviour
Type 2   Supressed neediness
  Type 7   Pain
Type 3   Failure
  Type 8   Weakness
Type 4   Ordinariness
  Type 9   Conflict 
Type 5   Emptiness

                         The Avoidance Mechanism which is identified with each type is:

Type 1   Control of reactions
  Type 6   Projection  
Type 2   Repression
  Type 7   Rationalization
Type 3   Identification  
  Type 8   Denial
Type 4   Artistic sublimation
  Type 9   Numbing
Type 5   Withdrawal (segmentation)

 It is perhaps not surprizing that there are so many ways humankind has come up with to avoid change.  We seem to be exceedingly creative in finding ways to maintain the position which we have. 

In closing I would like to pose the question for all of us to consider, “what is one of the ways in which you hold on to you self-image — Richard Rohr names this your ‘False Self’ — which you would need to change to come closer to the image of you that God intends you to have?”  This is, in the words of Richard Rohr, is your ‘True Self’

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