Welcome to the Enneagram! Welcome to a cohesive personality typing system that is based on what you experience in early childhood and how it — in concert with your biological and genetic heritage — affects your future development.
No matter how well you're doing in life, the truth is that each and every person began life affected in some way by who or what they experienced. And each one, consciously or unconsciously, covered over or clouded their true self — that fragrant essence that is them devoid of all the clutter they picked up along the way. Lest you protest that you had perfect parents and a perfect childhood, the fact is you might not have been properly mirrored or validated, you might have been punished for being a certain way, you might have received mixed messages, your parents might have suffered a crisis that separated them from you, you might have responded to excessive restrictions, or your parents might have had vastly different sensibilities than you.
Here's the gist: Even with the most healthy, supportive parents on the planet, you veil, suppress, deny, or cloud parts of your true self, or essence, and then spend the rest of your life feeling as if you are missing important pieces of the puzzle you have become. In fact, it becomes your lifelong task, or quest, to unveil your essence and become whom you were meant to be. And the Enneagram is a marvelous road map to the treasures that lie inside you — unexpressed or expressed, conscious or unconscious, underutilized or unclaimed — and deliciously ripe with essence.
The veil becomes your personality and consists of what you think, what you feel, and how you act or react to various life situations. The way you process information, as well as the way you characteristically behave, creates an amalgam of personality traits that define who you are. The Enneagram delineates nine core personality types (enneatypes) and elucidates their primary fixations, motivations, and patterns of behavior. Because everyone is born with certain affinities, and everyone is greatly affected by their formative years, variations within each type can be wide ranging. Alterations in personality are also affected by adult life experiences, accounting for swings in one direction or another. The Enneagram types identify nine core personalities based on the basic or predominant way each type emotionally experiences, looks at, and interacts with the world around them.
The Enneagram is an extremely complicated system, and this book can admittedly only explore the basic concepts as they relate to the formation of personality (called the Enneagram of Personality). This book has been designed to offer enough substantial information to engage you, and to inspire you to study further. If your interest is limited to wanting to know what the Enneagram of Personality is all about and being able to use it to deepen your understanding of yourself and others, this book will definitely fill the bill. If you're a serious student of the Enneagram, or wish to become one, this book is a solid starting ground. You'll find a list of resources in Appendix A that will take you to the next level and beyond.
Meanwhile, this book will get you in the know when it comes to the Enneagram, offer you incredible insights into your own — and others' — personality, and give you a lot of food for thought about ways you can expand your own consciousness and lift the veil that shrouds your true self or essence.