What is the Enneagram?

We're all just walking each other home.

Ram Dass

The Enneagram is a map of consciousness that helps us orient ourselves and find direction along the spiritual journey—namely, the journey of awakening to our True Nature and to our wholeness and unity with all life. The Enneagram helps us to see why a “one size fits all” approach to spirituality doesn’t make sense. Depending on where we find ourselves on this sacred map, each of us may need very different spiritual principles and spiritual practices to come home to ourselves.

The Enneagram helps us to recognize that, on an everyday basis, most of us are not actually acting out of free will. Rather, we have become over-identified with a particular “personality” type and spend the bulk of our time and energy trying to uphold or defend our sense of self. We actually waste a ton of time reacting to life through the mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns of that limited sense of self.

The wonderful news is that the Enneagram helps us to see the areas where each of us tends to get the most stuck so that we can, while looking at ourselves compassionately, start to become unstuck. As we liberate ourselves from these unskillful patterns that do not serve our highest potential, we experience more peace, love, and joy in our lives. We are less fragmented, distracted, and thrown off by the ups and downs of everyday life. We are more grounded and resilient in the face of adversity. We feel a greater sense of connection and belonging to ourselves, our communities, and the world. These are just some of the profound, life-affirming gifts that the Enneagram (particularly when coupled with spiritual practice) is bringing to people’s lives every day.

The spiritual quest is a journey without distance. You travel from where you are right now to where you have always been. From ignorance to recognition, for all you do is see for the first time what you have always been looking at. . . . Whoever heard of a path that brings you to yourself or a method that makes you what you have always been? Spirituality, after all, is only a matter of becoming what you really are.
— Anthony de Mello, The Heart of the Enlightened

Discerning Your Enneagram Type

a journey of self discovery



The journey often begins with learning your own Enneagram Personality Type. As you do so, it is important to remember that, at Evolving Enneagram, we believe that the Truth and essence of YOU is not your Enneagram Type. At the same time, learning your Type along with the basic drives motivating it is vital to help you to see the limited self that you have come to believe you are. Identifying this limiting self construct (sometimes referred to as the ego or false self) is the beginning of uncovering your True Self and thus living your highest potential. (It’s not about destroying the ego or false self; rather, it’s simply about coming to identify with one’s wholeness, so as to not be confined to the limitations of your Enneagram Personality Type structure—the habits of mind, emotion, and behavior that can keep you from living your greatest potential.

Enneagram personality typing is an art, not a science.

Enneagram personality typing is not like many of the other personality indicators out there. There is no one test (online, in person, or in any book) that is dispositive of your Type.Despite the challenges and pitfalls of discovering your Type, the profound gifts of the discovery journey itself far outweigh the perils.

Some of us discover our Enneagram type immediately. Others take years. Still others, including Enneagram experts and teachers, think they know and then later realize that they had originally mistyped themselves.

  • Often the act of self inquiry inspires us to bring to conscious awareness behaviors that were previously unconscious. As Carl Jung taught, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

  • Often we also start to see how we really come across to other—and, often, it is in ways we truly did not expect! For instance, we might think we’re being quite vulnerable while most everyone else perceives us as defended. Alternatively, we might think we are sounding assertive or even mean when others are perceiving us as timid or meek.

  • Often, we learn about traits common to our Type in a way that helps to normalize our experience. Often, I hear E6s breathe an audible sigh of relief to know that their anxious minds are shared by many others.

These are just a few of the gifts of the self discovery journey aided by the Enneagram!

Rev. Nhien conducts 90-minute Enneagram Typing Interviews. The fee is $150.
If you would like to book a Typing interview (online or in person),
please visit our Contact page.


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