Life Crises Interrupt our Auto-Pilot Mode
Our conditioned “way of life” is like auto-pilot mode which works well until the time that one receives a wake up call and may ask oneself questions like: Been there, done that, now what? I am stuck, confused, who am I really? Where is my place in the world? Who would love me for myself? What’s the meaning of life anyway? Why me? Why this keeps happening to me? How do I carry on, I can’t live with myself anymore, I don’t trust myself anymore. … Life crises come in various degrees and intensity and may occur due to a major life event or just happen at any time for no good reason. Some examples of major life events include falling in love, marriage, birth of children, kids leaving home, divorce, separation, contracting a severe illness, becoming disabled, falling victim to a natural disaster or a crime, loosing a loved one, migration, major promotions or loosing one’s job, retirement; and obviously midlife crisis.
Our restlessness now starts to feel like emptiness. One may react to this feeling of emptiness either by distracting oneself and gradually restoring the auto-pilot mode, or by crashing down and feeling emptier and depressed. Self-distractions can take different shapes such as changing jobs, breaking relationships and starting new ones, further education and training, traveling and moving away, extreme sports, gambling, alcohol, drugs, and so on. However; as most of us know well; these self-distractions are only temporary band-aid solutions that lose their effectiveness sooner or later as new crises confront us. So what is the real solution then? Is there a better way, a way to take charge of our flight and soar to our highest potentials? Yes, there is a way. It is to see the crises as an opportunity to know yourself and to grow up to your next level of maturity. This is one of the significant meanings of the old maxim “Know Thyself”.
Know your Personality: Take Charge of your Flight and Soar
The key to taking charge of our own flight and developing the capacity to soar to our highest potentials is to get to know ourselves intimately. For more insight on the significance of knowing oneself see Dear Rumi…Why am I here? Tell me about work and life purpose, and Two Aspect of our Nature.
We all have unique personalities but we can be broadly classified into certain personality types. Many old and modern systems of personality typing have been developed over the course of centuries. For example astrology, numerology, Hippocrates four classic temperaments, Carl Jung’s system of psychological types and MBTI, Karen Horney’s tri-type of moving-towards, moving-against, and moving-away; the DISC, the 16 Personality Factors, and many others.
The Enneagram is one of the most effective and comprehensive systems available. It is unique in the sense that not only it reveals one’s personality or auto-pilot mode (like a Mirror), but it also bears the wisdom to guide us out of our personality box. It can act like a beacon, a light house or one’s North Star to guide one towards one’s highest potentials (the Guiding Light).
The Enneagram of Personality: Ancients Roots, Modern Insights
The history of the Enneagram symbol dates back to over 2500 years ago, and later revived during late 19th century by the enigmatic wisdom teacher G. I. Gurdjieff. The history of the nine personality types can be traced back to the fourth century. However, the mapping of these two sources of insight as one system and its scientific validations have developed over the past seven decades–beginning in the 1950s by the Bolivian wisdom teacher Oscar Ichazo, followed by the Chilean psychiatrist, Claudio Naranjo in the 1970s in the U.S. and then many others including psychologists and wisdom teachers who have contributed to its development to date.
The Enneagram System
At the simplest level, the Enneagram system divides personalities into nine basic types. Then the influence of the wings (the two neighbouring points) comes in, as well as the inner flow of each point when we are knocked out of our comfort zone: The flow of point 9 going to 6 to 3 and back to 9; and the flow of point 1 going to 4 to 2 to 8 to 5 to 7 and back to 1. There are still more enriching depths and dimensions to the Enneagram such as the subtypes or instinct variations, the centres or corners, the levels of development; and in fact different Enneagrams such as the Enneagram of Passion and Virtues and the Enneagram of higher consciousness or Holy Ideas which we will not cover here.
I do not advocate labelling personality types because it runs the risk of being misunderstood and help boxing oneself or others deeper into personality types. Hence I invite you to learn more about the Enneagram either through books and the Internet or contact us to learn more about your type and its intricacies through taking a full test and follow up consultation. As a starter you can take the free short Enneagram test on our site to obtain an initial idea of your personality type (the short test is not as accurate as the full version).
Therefore; very cautiously; here is the list of the nine types as labelled by various pioneers and practitioners of the Enneagram.
It is important to note that we all have all of these nine aspects in our personality, with one aspect usually being dominant along with one or two others appearing strongly. And that none of the types are better or worse than any of the other ones.
- Type 1 The Reformer, Perfectionist, Judge, Crusader, Critic
- Type 2 The Helper, Giver, Nurturer, Caretaker, Manipulator
- Type 3 The Achiever, Performer, Motivator , Chameleon
- Type 4 The Individualist, Romantic, Artist, Mystic, Melancholic
- Type 5 The Investigator, Thinker, Observer, Sage, Reductionist
- Type 6 The Loyalist/Devil’s Advocate, Sceptic /Guardian, Pessimist
- Type 7 The Enthusiast, Planner, Epicure, Optimist, Escapist
- Type 8 The Boss, Leader, Challenger, Protector, Intimidator
- Type 9 The Peacemaker, Mediator, Accommodator, Resistor.