An earlier post titled “The Enneagram—A Quick Look” promised more on this topic. So here goes. To keep it short, I’m giving just a few thoughts and steering to thorough material that others have written.
First, let’s remember that publishers and manufacturers capitalize on trends. Whatever sells will sell more. So with the Enneagram, you saw additional books and articles, then the daily devotional, the study guide… Then come the coffee mugs, candles, and T-shirts. And then, of course, the Enneagram for your pets. (Whoa—I thought I was making that last one up, but it’s for real!) We see this sort of marketing all the time. For example, remember when green tea became the rage? Soon there were assorted varieties of green tea and then green tea candles, noodles, shampoo, cookies, lotion, and more. But just because something appears all over the place, it isn’t necessarily the answer to all our problems.
Digging in deeper with the Enneagram:
- The big names writing about the “true self” don’t mean “the best you that you can be.” Rather, it’s recognizing (or becoming) your “true self” in the interspiritual context (based on the mystical worldview). That means realizing that you are god. Please grasp that when you read material of this sort! To back up and get it straight, these might help: “Worldviews 101” and “What Is the True Self?”
- Promoters may lean toward the spirituality of medieval monks and nuns (ex: Teresa of Avila) and interspiritualists (ex: Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr), with their assorted unscriptural practices.
- As I read more about the Enneagram’s inherent purpose, I saw a resemblance to Scientology. That is, you’re really an exalted being; you’ve just forgotten who you are and need to find that again. And then I happened onto this critic’s piece, “Decoding the Origins of the Enneagram,” which also makes that connection. (It’s a really long article; I confess I did not read every word. Search for “Scientology” within the piece.)
- This one from promoters (Enneagram Institute) clearly indicates spiritual connections to world religions. It mentions karma, unity with the entire cosmos, and pushes for a “non-dual perspective of our true nature [to be] restored.” (Non-dual equals “all is one”; that is, God and you are not two separate, distinct beings.) I noticed the claim here that, as with Scientology’s teaching, we start out perfect but “forget our connection to the Divine.” In the diagram of “the Virtues,” #5 is “non-attachment,” a Buddhist concept.
- When an occultist-turned-Christian voices concern, it’s good to at least consider that perspective. See Marcia Montenegro’s “What Is the Enneagram?”
- This Lighthouse Trails critique can be read free, but also can be purchased in booklet form.
- The Gospel Coalition has several helpful articles about the Enneagram. This link should take you to the choices.