Whenever I come across a resource that will help people better understand the Enneagram, I can’t wait to share it. So you can imagine my excitement when Brene Brown interviewed an Enneagram teacher on her podcast Unlocking Us. I’ve learned so much from Brene, that to listen in on their conversation was a treat. And, as I anticipated, they did not disappoint.
However, after this conversation, some allegations came to light about the teacher that are deeply troubling. Brene deleted the episode and issued this statement about it. I'm not using his books in my work. But I thought I would share my takeaways from that podcast since you won't be able to listen to it anymore.
One of the things I appreciated about this conversation is that it starts to clear up some misperceptions about what the Enneagram is and how to use it. Some people are uncomfortable with its messy past, how evangelicals have "rubbed some bible on it and made it street legal," or how it is being used in pop culture to reduce everyone to a number. When in reality, it is an evolving body of vulnerability work that can be devastating to look at and painful to do.
I like how they talked about the Enneagram as an invitation into an honest relationship with yourself. That you have a type, but you are not your type. You aren’t trapped in a type - you haven’t incarcerated your essence in a prison. Rather, the Enneagram is the starting point toward your freedom. Think of it like a map; it is a compassionate sketch of possibilities of who we can become if we can remember who we are.
So why do it? You might be wondering, “Why would I put myself through this?”
Because the Enneagram offers one of the only paths to unearthing your true Essence and experiencing acceptance. It is an incredible tool when you are ready to say yes to yourself.
“This is an invitation to journey into the deepest parts of your identity, make peace with your inner dragons, and discover lasting peace and freedom. And when you have excavated the hidden truths and gifts within, you’ll experience - perhaps for the first time - what it means to truly belong. As this new and compassionate journey of living unfolds within you, it will open a way to receiving your inherent belovedness and radiating radical compassion to a wounded world.”
- The Enneagram of Belonging
In the podcast episode, they talked about the history of the Enneagram wisdom tradition and the nine ways we go about getting the love we're afraid we won't receive. Seeing the misguided ways that we try to get love and be seen can be a shortcut to developing compassion for ourselves and others.
My hope is that this work opens you up to compassion and self-acceptance. That you are learning from lots of Enneagram teachers. And that this experience serves as a reminder to question the people you learn from. Working with someone who is actively doing this work is really important.
Note: Given the recent information that has come to light against Chris Heuertz, I'd recommend buying different books to explore Enneagram teachings, including: