An increasing number of people are responding to the spiritual awakening call. A process that begins when people wake up to the realization that they have a dual nature- meaning they have a personality also known as their ego and their higher self or soul.
For many awakening souls, this realization is often accompanied by a period of time that is unsettling. I hear from people around the world who are spinning their wheels trying to answer questions that leave folks feeling lost, confused, and empty – Who am I? How can I feel more peaceful? What’s missing in my life? How can I live with deeper meaning and purpose?
These powerful spiritual questions arise when our souls are saturated with the material aspects of life and we’re ready to awaken to our deeper more authentic selves.
It was asking these questions and feeling at a loss that triggered my search for deeper meaning, purpose and connection a number of years ago.
After many years of soul-searching and navigating the awakening journey, I’ve learned that meditation and the Enneagram of personality are the dream team if you feel called to shed your limiting and conditioned beliefs so that you are free to grow into your future best self.
Meditation includes powerful practices that will shift things inside of you physically, emotionally and spiritually. The Enneagram of personality provides a map for understanding yourself and learning about your motivations and habitual ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. When you combine the two you have a streamlined and intentional way to navigate your awakening and transformational journey.
Understanding meditation in the context of awakening.
Like many folks drawn to meditation, I was stressed, suffering and looking for some relief so I could feel happier and more content.
I wanted to feel more peaceful, resilient, and like I was fully thriving in my life and not merely just getting by.
After practicing meditation daily for a period of time, I began to notice that I was plateauing in terms of my growth. My body, mind, and heart seemed to be more peaceful, but I still wasn’t able to answer, Who am I? What’s missing when I have so much to feel grateful for? What does my future best self look like?
I wondered whether I just needed to get deeper into my meditation practice and considered attending a multi-day meditation retreat. I had already committed to a sitting practice of 20 minutes twice a day.
There was something inside of me, however, that didn’t want to do that. It’s like my inner knowing had a sense that spending longer sitting in silence wasn’t going to give me the answers.
My gut wisdom was validated when I was listening to a webinar with Ken Wilbur, an American philosopher, and writer on transpersonal psychology and integral theory. Wilbur was talking about the science of self-actualization and explained that human beings are evolving and that meditation and mindfulness didn’t account for this.
Meditation and mindfulness will help you with many things but it doesn’t enable you to look inside and see your level of development or personality type that results in your habitual thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
Meditation will help you work with your body, emotions, and mind but doesn’t get to the root of why you have a habitual pattern that ultimately causes stress and suffering to arise in the first place.
We can meditate for hours or sit in a silent retreat for a month and we won’t be able to look inside ourselves and see our evolutionary path. Who am I meant to become? What is holding me back from becoming it? What does my future best self look like?
All this is to say that meditation and mindfulness are powerful and useful practices that aren’t meant to stand alone. They’ll only take us so far on our awakening journey.
On the spiritual path, we need to learn how to discern the difference between our small self or personality and our soul which is connected to spirit.
How do we learn to discern the difference between our personality and our soul?
The answer to this question came when I learned about the Enneagram personality map.
What is the Enneagram of personality?
The Enneagram is an ancient symbol that has evolved into a psychospiritual soul map that an increasing number of spiritual teachers, psychologists, coaches, and counselors use for their own personal growth and in their work with clients.
According to the Enneagram, there are 9 different personality types, that are motivated by different things. The path to self-actualization is different for each type. For example, we have 3 sources of intelligence – the head, the heart, and the body. Depending on which type you are you’ll have different things to work on. It’s why a one size fits all approach to meditation doesn’t work.
Based on knowledge gained from understanding our personality, we can structure our practices accordingly. For example, a head type needs silence, a heart-type needs solitude, and a body type needs stillness. This helps to explain why a client who is a heart-type needs solitude to connect with their deeper needs. The focus of their attention is always outward toward other people and so they lose touch with themselves.
When we’re aware of our Enneagram personality type we can structure our meditation, mindfulness, and inner growth practices to meet our unique needs.
Understanding our personality type and who we are not, in turn, helps us clearly see the prison of our soul and provides the key to getting out. Each type has its own unique gifts AND its own flavour of suffering that trips them up from fully thriving and fulfilling their potential.
The Enneagram is all about self-awareness. Without awareness and the ability to witness our personalities, they are like a straitjacket, causing inner turmoil, relationship troubles, and limiting fears that prevent us from living a more authentic and fulfilling life.
If you’re curious you can take the free Riso & Hudson Enneagram Personality (RHETI) sampler test. Please note that it is only a sampler and is meant to spark your curiosity. Understanding ourselves and using the Enneagram as a tool for growth is a life-long journey.
How the Enneagram can guide us in becoming our future selves.
Understanding our personality is vitally important because our personality is actually not who we are. We have a personality but we are not our personality.
Our personality that at one time in our lives helped us survive, over time becomes our prison – causing all sorts of symptoms that result in health, relationship, and vocational problems.
When we are called to awaken spiritually we are essentially beginning to wake up to our dual nature. We bring awareness to who we are not (our personality) in order to connect more deeply with who we actually are (a soul aligned with spirit).
For this reason, the first step in awakening is as Plato said,
Do thine own work, and know thyself.
From a spiritual perspective, this means we need to know both our small self or personality and our soul which represents our higher self and who we’re meant to become.
When used together meditation and the Enneagram are a dream team for providing both the way forward and the necessary tools to grow into our future best selves.
As we enter into the right relationship with our personalities and our souls we are free to flourish fully in our lives. We begin to thrive on the inside and create lives on the outside that are deeply vital, connected and meaningful.
If you feel called, please leave a comment below. Our community would love to hear from you!