Adapted from the chapter “Welcome to Enneagram Daily Reflections” by Suzanne Stabile.
I’ve committed to teaching the Enneagram, in part, because I believe every person wants at least these two things: to belong, and to live a life that has meaning. And I’m sure that learning and working with the Enneagram has the potential to help all of us with both.
Belonging is complicated. We all want it, but few of us really understand it. The Enneagram identifies—with more accuracy than any other wisdom tool I know—why we can achieve belonging more easily with some people than with others. And it teaches us to find our place in situations and groups without having to displace someone else. (I’m actually convinced that it’s the answer to world peace, but some have suggested that I could be exaggerating just a bit.)
If our lives are to have meaning beyond ourselves, we will have to develop the capacity to understand, value, and respect people who see the world differently than we do. We will have to learn to name our own gifts and identify our weaknesses, and the Enneagram reveals both at the same time.
The idea that we are all pretty much alike is shattered by the end of an introductory Enneagram workshop or after reading the last page of a good primer. But for those who are teachable and open to receiving Enneagram wisdom about each of the nine personality types, the shock is accompanied by a beautiful and unexpected gift: they find that they have more compassion for themselves and more grace for others and it’s a guarantee.
Reflect on your own life—where you’ve been and where you’re going. And I hope you will consider the difference between change and transformation. Change is when we take on something new. Transformation occurs when something old falls away, usually beyond our control. When we see a movie, read a book, or perhaps hear a sermon that we believe “changed our lives,” it will seldom, if ever, become transformative. It’s a good thing and we may have learned a valuable life lesson, but that’s not transformation. Transformation occurs when you have an experience that changes the way you understand life and its mysteries.
When my dad died, I immediately looked for the leather journal I had given to him years before with the request that he fill it with stories and things he wanted me to know. He had only written on one page:
Anything I have achieved or accomplished in my life is because of the gift of your mother as my wife. You should get to know her.
I thought I knew her, but I followed his advice, and it was one of the most transformative experiences of my life.
You can never change how you see, but you can change what you do with how you see.
Adapted from Forty Days on Being a Four by Christine Yi Suh with Suzanne Stabile, Series Editor. Copyright (c) 2021 by Christine Yi Suh. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com