Unpacking the Integral Enneagram

Corey deVosCognitive, Integral Life Practice, Intrapersonal, Lifestyle, Perspectives, Practice, Psychology, Self-Identity, The Art of Practice, Video Leave a Comment


hat exactly is the Enneagram, and what makes it such a helpful tool when it comes to our ongoing growth and awakening?

Watch as Lisa and Corey offer a broad introduction to the Integral Enneagram, as well as to the many Enneagram offerings we currently have available on Integral Life, including:

  • A self-assessment test that allows you to better discern your own Enneagram type,
  • A monthly “Harnessing the Power of Your Enneatype” practice session, available to all supporting members of Integral Life,
  • A series of monthly Enneagram sessions that focus on each of the nine types — a monthly session for Type 1, another monthly session for Type 2, another for Type 3, etc.

Ready to begin your journey with the Integral Enneagram? For a complete list of upcoming Enneagram practice sessions, be sure to check out both our Your Enneagram Type: An Introduction page, as well as our daily practice calendar!

Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: Integral Enneagram by Corey deVos [+view gallery]

Transcript Excerpt

Corey: Just to let people know, we’re doing something that I think is really kind of extraordinary here. We have this amazing practice platform with all of these different kinds of practice series and all that — but one of the practice series that we’re doing that is really super robust and that we have created a lot of resources for, is this Integral Enneagram series.

And just to let people know what that involves, every month we do sort of a basic Enneagram orientation session, called “Harnessing the Power of Your Enneatype.” That’s a way to kind of touch all bases, get a sense for what the integral Enneagram is, what kind of wisdoms we can extract from it, et cetera.

But then we actually have a series of monthly groups that focuses on each of the nine Enneagram types. And every month, those Enneagram types are sort of weaving their experience through a particular theme, and that theme is largely being left up to the practice leaders themselves. But this is such a really, really cool way to do this. And we’ve also created resources where, if you don’t know what your Enneagram type is already, you can go do some sort of self-discovery there. We’ve got a really great survey that has been very helpful for a lot of people, and maybe we can talk about that survey a little bit later.

But we have all of these resources that stack up into this ongoing, very robust, in-depth Enneagram practice series that’s really focusing on the qualities and the characteristics and the strengths and the challenges associated with each of these types. And man, has it been awesome. I mean, it’s been absolutely amazing how much depth these groups and these practice leaders have uncovered. It’s been incredible.

Lisa: Yeah. I agree. And I’m really glad that we’re doing it the way that we are.

Corey: I’m kind of thinking maybe we should back up a little bit, because there might be some people watching right now who are like, “Okay, I’ve heard of the Enneagram, [but] I don’t have much familiarity with this. What is this weird numerological sort of system that you guys are using? Why are you using it?” So maybe we actually back up and talk a little bit about what the Enneagram actually is.

I was asked by someone on Facebook, “Why do you use the Enneagram? It seems a little weird to me; isn’t it just a little kind of ‘woo’, a little bit new age, a little magical, et cetera?” And it was interesting because in my response, I was like, “I hear what you’re saying, but my question is, how much utility does it have?” And for me, what makes the Enneagram useful is that it gives sort of an appropriate level of granularity.

And let me just say up front that the Enneagram is primarily a typing system. The idea being that we all have certain types, different typologies, different ways of being — and those ways of being tend to be the same as we grow from one level to the next.

Lisa: Okay, well you were asking about it being “woo”, and let me address that because I think that that’s a good question.

Let’s just talk about personality. There are lots of personality typing structures out there. And some of the origins of the Enneagram may have some esoteric thinking and background — but when you start to get into exactly what you were saying, the granularity of the actual typing system and what it offers, in my mind the Enneagram is actually up to the task of [meeting] the complexity that personalities actually are. And this is one of my biggest beefs when it comes to things like the MBTI or the Big Five personality traits. And part of this is also, when I take those tests, I end up feeling like I am different things depending on the point in time in my life. They’re never granular enough to be able to dial into something that I feel like I can really get into, and use as a tool to progress my own development and evolution.

And the Enneagram, for me, definitely is that. It offers a level of complexity that I think, for those of us who are drawn to complexity, it offers layers of complexity that begin to make sense. It’s almost like a tapestry. So the deeper you go into the Enneagram, the more that you can unpack what it is about in order for us to evolve further on our path.

And there’s also a lot of times this pushback around this idea — you know, “Is type really that important? Because aren’t we just talking about personality, and isn’t the whole idea of ‘waking up’ going beyond personality?”

Yes, it is going beyond personality — but in order for us to be able to do that, we have to understand how our identity is actually structured, and what those little pieces are within our identity that need to move in order for us to become less identified with it. Right? So the Enneagram actually offers this, as I was saying, beautiful tapestry of each of these nine types, that allows us to understand what the leverage points are in our own type structure that we need to use in order to wake up more fully.

Corey: I love that, and I love how you contextualize it in terms of, “Look, the Enneagram is in fact focusing on personality”, and we can say that personality is our frontal self, that’s our most shallow self in a certain kind of sense. However, it’s important to remember — I think you offered us a really nice reminder — that spirituality, particularly integral spirituality, is not hostile to the ego, or to the self, or to the persona.

I’ve got a shorthand for this which seems to work for people, which is:

Growing up is the process of actually making your ego bigger and bigger and bigger. A teal and turquoise ego is bigger than an orange or green ego. Right? So that’s the job of growing up, making your ego bigger.

The job of waking up is to make that ego more transparent to itself, less opaque, so we’re not just trapped in self all the time.

Cleaning up is about getting as much of that ego in front of our face as we possibly can, so we can see it and track it and identify it and not have these sort of hidden subjects lurking in our psychological basement, wreaking havoc on our lives.

And then of course showing up is actually using that big, transparent, fully present ego as an instrument in the world, in order to generate influence, create positive effects, reduce suffering, all of that. That’s where the showing up comes in. So all four of these refine our sense of ego in very important and very different sorts of ways.

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There is no better time than now to recommit to your practice and to your personal transformation.

We are all standing at the cusp of a new “Transformation Age”, which is calling us to find new strategies in order to overcome the challenges and pressures we are facing in just about every dimension of our lives — our political systems, our economic systems, our cultural conflicts, our physical health and behaviors, our mental health and personal sense of meaning, etc.

All of these challenges require exactly the sort of wisdom, mindfulness, and skillful engagement that we are cultivating with the Integral Life community. And we very much want you to be part of this incredible community of practice, so that this evolutionary unfolding can move through you rather than around you.

Be sure to check out our calendar of daily live practice sessions, as well as our collection of self-directed practices.

View the Calendar

The Enneagram Types

Click on each section below for a full description of each type. Visit Your Enneagram Type: An Introduction to learn more, and to figure out what your own type might be!

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is editor and producer of Integral Life. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.

Lisa Frost

About Lisa Frost

Lisa is an Integral Master Coach and facilitator and specializes in helping individuals traverse complex crises, change and major life transitions – both in professional and personal contexts. She helps individuals thrive in the midst of uncertainty and work through the aspects of self that hold us back from realizing the profound sense of fulfillment and joy that is available to all. She has deep personal practices of surrender and shadow work and enjoys hiking with her dogs in her spare time.