prosperity.com Enneagram Spirituality

An Excerpt from Enneanalysis® by Patrick J. Aspell, Ph.D. and Dee Dee Aspell, M.A. with permission.

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In a story about Nasruddin, the Mullah is on all fours looking for a key to his house in an alley at the market place. A friend who had been helping Nasruddin for a long while asked him if he was certain he had lost the key in the alley. To which he answered, "No, I'm certain I lost it at home." The friend quickly said, "Then why are you looking for it here?" The Mullah simply said, "There is much more light here!" Perhaps, we are looking for the key to who we are in the wrong place. The Enneagram (pronounced "Any-a-gram") is a key that opens the door to self-discovery.

Enneagram Centers: Head, Heart, and Gut. The gate to understanding Enneagram spirituality is the model of the three Enneagram centers head or cognition, heart or affectivity, and gut or effectivity which integrates the human tripartite model of organism, psyche, and spirit. The effective center reflexively reacts by taking action and moving the organism toward pleasurable things and away from unpleasant phenomena. In human beings, the organism works under the influence of the psyche, the cognitive center which entails imagination, memory, feelings, and resultant patterns of response and behavior.

Spirit is essentially self-awareness which transcends perceptions and imagery to become conscious of self as the subject of organic, psychic, and spiritual activity. As understanding in search of knowledge in its cognitive center, spirit questions and inquires into the meaning of things. We ask, "What is it?" The affective center responds to the information of the cognitive center by wondering, marvelling, and expressing awe. Faced with insights, spirit affectively experiences either caring or unconcern for persons or tasks. Caring gives rise to value and commitment. The effective center takes up where the affective center leaves off. Once we know we are correct, we ask, "What are we going to do about it?" How much are we willing to pay in exchange for what really matters?

Spirituality. From this analysis, it is evident that spirituality has its foundation in human nature as such, specifically in the three centers. At the core of these three centers is a built-in self-transcendence that pushes toward a broader and deeper grasp of life. We already apprehend meaning and purpose that still lie beyond us. On the one hand, we tend toward all that can be known, felt, and done. The scope of our openness is unqualified, boundless, limitless. Of course, we do not achieve all that we are orientated toward. But we would like to. On the other hand, we can short-circuit our own spontaneous functioning by ignorance, unconcern, or inaction. Somehow, we already reach beyond the limits of space and time to what is everywhere and unending. It is not surprising that we wonder about life beyond death and have "out-of-body" experiences.

At the core of spirit is self-transcendence which wondrously opens to the universe of being--to all that can be known, felt, and done. This is the core of all spirituality. As such, the human spirit itself grounds a legitimate spirituality. Here is a solid base for noble, laudatory, virtuous, and ultimately fulfilling living. Wholesome growth, honest personal integration, responsible interpersonal relationships, and ecological attunement to our world all these are steps on the spiritual path.

Our inner being expresses itself in fundamental spiritual principles such as: Be attentively open to what life has to offer; be intelligent in thinking; be reasonable in judgments; be attuned to feelings; be caring toward others; and be responsible in actions. We are called by our inner nature to affirm only what is correct, love only what is right, avoid the dead ends of dishonesty and hatred, and build ourselves and our world on what will last. At stake is the spiritual quest.

©Copyright 1998. Patrick J. Aspell, Ph.D. & Dee Dee Aspell, M.A. Reproduction of this page is a violation of copyright law.

Dee Dee and Patrick Aspell have published numerous works on the professional applications of the Enneagram to education, business, relationships, and spirituality.


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