Rev. Nhien’s Bookshelf

Here are some of Nhien’s favorite resources for transformation & the Enneagram


Books are organized into the following categories. (Click to jump to a section.)

For Beginning Enneagram Students

The process of transforming the heart can be difficult because as we open it, we inevitably encounter our own pain and become more aware of the pain of others. In fact, much of our personality is designed to keep us from experiencing this suffering. We close down the sensitivity of our hearts so that we can block our pain and get on with things, but we are never entirely successful in avoiding it. Often, we are aware of our suffering just enough to make ourselves and everyone around us miserable. Carl Jung’s famous dictum that “neurosis is a substitute for legitimate suffering” points to this truth. But if we are not willing to experience our own hurt and grief, it can never be healed. Shutting out our real pain also renders us unable to feel joy, compassion, love, or any of the other capacities of the heart.
— Don Richard Riso, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types
Deep psychological and spiritual development is directly connected to type.
Wrong type means the wrong development path.
— Ginger Lapid-Bogda, Ph.D, The Art of Typing: Powerful Tools for Enneagram Typing

For Intermediate / Advanced Enneagram Students

In order to change behavior to achieve personal growth, we must develop one capacity: We must develop the ability to create the mental and emotional space inside ourselves to observe and understand what we are doing and think about why we do it. From this starting point of being able to see our thoughts and feelings in action instead of just being absorbed by them, we can begin to see more clearly where and how we are stuck in a habit and how we can make the conscious choice to do something different. If we have the mental room to reflect on the nuts and bolts of our habitual functioning, we open the door to greater self-understanding.
— Beatrice Chestnut, The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge

For Enneagram-Based Spiritual Transformation

When we give ourselves to the hard work of integrating what we have come to learn about ourselves, the Enneagram becomes a sacred map of our soul, one that shows us the places where we have vulnerabilities or tendencies to get stuck as well as the possibilities of where we can go for deeper freedom and inner peace. This sacred map isn’t fatalistic; it’s not deterministic; it’s not a horoscope or a predetermined course that doesn’t allow for personalized twists— it’s a compassionate sketch of possibilities and opportunities, pointing us back to our True Self and to the anchoring God whose name is Love.
— Christopher L. Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth
In the course of working on ourselves, we learn in time that when we stay on the surface of ourselves, which is to say when we are identified with and operating from our outer shell—our personality—we suffer. The more asleep we are to the reality beneath our shells, the less we feel that life is fulfilling, meaningful, and pleasurable. Or, in the language of the enneagram, the more fixated we are, the less we partake of the loving nature of reality, for we have lost our connection with Holy Love. Our suffering is not the result of being alone or of being in the wrong relationship, is not because we don’t have enough money or because we have too much of it, or because of anything of the sort.

Nor is it because our outer surface doesn’t look as pretty as we think it should or because our personality isn’t as pleasant as we think it might be. We suffer because we are living at a distance from our depths—it’s as simple as that. The more our souls are infused with Being, the better we feel and the better life seems to us, no matter what our outer circumstances happen to be.
— Sandra Maitri, The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul
In the last analysis, the Enneagram is about self transformation through self transcendence. . . . When the shadows in ourselves are touched by the light of awareness, they become doors through which grace transforms our lives.
— Don Richard Riso, Enneagram Transformations: Releases and Affirmations for Healing Your Personality Type
The moral of the story is that seeking truth, rather than fear of pain or the desire for happiness, is the correct orientation toward inner work, since seeking happiness makes you its prisoner just as surely as does pain.
— Sandra Maitri, The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues: Finding the Way Home
When you have this mystical experience of seeing the loving nature of the universe, you see that what will bring about peace on earth is not politics. You see that there is no way to bring true harmony to the world except through seeing the harmony that is already there. You see that external harmony has to be an expression of inner harmony; otherwise, it will never manifest because one’s view of the world would remain a projection of the inner delusion of separateness and conflict.
— A.H. Almaas

Contemplative Spirituality

In solitude, we learn to be present.
In silence, we learn to listen.
And in stillness we develop restraint.
— Phileena Heuertz, Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation

by Cynthia Bourgeault

Centering Prayer is aimed at healing the violence in ourselves and purifying the unconscious of its hidden and flawed motivation that reduces and can even cancel out the effectiveness of the external works of mercy, justice, and peace.
— Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
The purpose of Centering Prayer is to deepen your relationship with God (and at the same time your own deepest self) in that bandwidth of formless, objectless awareness that is the foundation of nondual consciousness. There you discover that you, God, and the world “out there” are not separate entities, but flow together seamlessly in an unbreakable dynamism of self-giving love, which is the true nature of reality and the ground of everything. In that space you discover the meaning of Keating’s famous statement “The notion that God is absent is the fundamental illusion of the human condition.” And it is this track—Centering Prayer as both a foundation and an access route to the stabilization of nondual consciousness . . . .
— Cynthia Bourgeault, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice
When you are trained, like a great athlete, to immediately relax through your edges when they get hit, then it’s all over. You realize that you will always be fine. Nothing can ever bother you except your edges, and now you know what to do with them. You end up loving your edges because they point your way to freedom. All you have to do is constantly relax and lean into them. Then one day, when you least expect it, you fall through into the infinite. That is what it means to go beyond.
— Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Conscious Evolution

Lost in the dream of separation, we begin to awaken and to enter the kingdom as we see there is no reality in our sense of separation. What appears as opposites is an illusion; in reality there are no boundaries. To awaken is to see the underlying unity of all apparent opposites. The kingdom of heaven is a united kingdom, wherein only unity exists.

Yet we have been dispatched into this dream world of opposites: of separate objects, of clashing desires, of disparate world views. Our work is to bring the kingdom of heaven into the busy city, into the marketplace of human desires, and to live in the serenity of oneness amidst the warring factions of the human mind and heart. In this way, we give birth to a greater reality—a reality based on love and unity, rather than on fear and separation.
— Robert Brumet, Birthing A Greater Reality: A Guide for Conscious Evolution