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My Best Self: Using the Enneagram to Free the Soul

My Best Self: Using the Enneagram to Free the Soul

by Kathleen V. Hurley, Theodore E. Dobson, Theodore Dobson (With)

The authors of the popular What's My Type? break through to a dramatic new level of Enneagram work by exploring the Original — or Hidden — Wound and outlining the recovery of our Repressed Center — the key to releasing our power to love ourselves, love others, and put our unique talents to work in the world. Reclaiming the Hidden Self or


The authors of the popular What's My Type? break through to a dramatic new level of Enneagram work by exploring the Original — or Hidden — Wound and outlining the recovery of our Repressed Center — the key to releasing our power to love ourselves, love others, and put our unique talents to work in the world. Reclaiming the Hidden Self or Repressed Center completes, heals, and integrates our personality. Through real-life examples and questions for personal or group use, the authors detail this soul-making process by which we become rounded, capable of love, and empowered to create and contribute.

Hurley and Dobson explor the three centers of human intelligence — the Intellectual, the Relational, and the Creative — and how they operate in our lives. Each of the nine personality types prefers one center, relies on another for backup support, and represses one center altogether. The Enneagram challenge is to recover the lost resources of our personality's repressed center. Freed to be fully intellectual, creative, and relational in our living, we become able to achieve harmony, joy, love, and creativity.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The authors, psychologists and Enneagram workshop leaders, present basic Enneagram background quickly and then go on to focus on new material: the idea that each Enneagram type has a ``repressed center'' caused by an ``original wound'' and that types three, six, and nine have two subtypes with different repressed centers. Hurley and Dobson believe that soul-making has been neglected; hence, exercises, for group or individual use, are included to foster the soul-making process and help individuals become loving and creative persons. Recommended for libraries with any Enneagram materials.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Soul Making and the Enneagram

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations-these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit-immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

— C. S. Lewis
"The Weight of Glory"

We are living in exciting and perilous times. In the world today there is a rapidly awakening desire for spiritual understanding. The longing for honesty, sincerity, and truth has been quietly growing in the generative depths of individuals and nations. Now, this previously hidden desire to understand what is valuable and meaningful in life is emerging from the silent womb of society.

Why is this interest growing at such an amazing rate at this point in history? Both religious and secular prophets have put forth a variety of explanations ranging from fear of impending doom and destruction to hope for the birth of a utopian paradise.

All you have to do, however, is look beneath the surface of Western society over the last half century to see that dramatic shifts in attitudes, values, and ideals have been taking place. Commentators in fields as diverse as science and theology, philosophy and pop culture, sociology and ecology, art and psychology have been observing these trends — at an ever-accelerating rate. Now, in this last decade of the century and the millennium, a heightening awareness of our values as a society has exploded in modern consciousness. In afast-changing sociopolitical and economic structure, we are reexamining our values and finding them wanting.

Strangely enough, it is the very lack of values sometimes celebrated by our culture that has regenerated this reassessment. We live in an age of information in which everyone can have, as Andy Warhol phrased it, fifteen minutes of fame; consequently, we have seen hollow heroes, who melt like chocolate bunnies in the heat of truth, capture the headlines one week and sink into obscurity the next. Daily we are privy to every sordid, intimate detail of degrading behavior that, just a decade ago, would have made us grope for a barf bag. We even learned to eat our family dinners while breathlessly riveted to live scenes from the Gulf War.

It appeared that the general public — bombarded by every imaginable public and private scandal — had at last become shock-proof. However, this assumption is proving to be both premature and unfounded. As the external pressure from being force-fed with negativity every waking moment is increasing, people have begun quietly to reflect on the rightness, purpose, and meaning of it all.

Both privately and collectively, people are questioning the present and future implications of this current emphasis on negativity. "What's the purpose of focusing attention on the dark, seamy side of life? Is it adding quality or meaning to the lives of either adults or children? If not, then who is being served?" Slowly, as this questioning process continues to unfold, we are indeed beginning to reexamine ourselves, our values, and our institutions.

As this creative and questioning inward movement into consciousness expands and intensifies, the external forces of negativity also become stronger and more determined to undermine human dignity. As the tension of these two opposing forces increases, cracks and fissures are opening between the visible and invisible worlds of reality. Through these crevices the winds of change are beginning to blow, and a great giant — the soul of humanity — is stirring.

Thus, although the great giant of soul is stirring, there is also a great giant of hatred waiting to destroy this new consciousness and fight to overpower the soul of humanity. This corrupt giant sucks the lifeblood from society as it feeds on the pain caused by injustice, inequality, greed, fear, insecurity, violence, silence, and repression. Though our focus here will be on the developing of the human soul, we cannot lose touch with reality by forgetting these darker forces. We'll need to become soul makers to deal with the opposing forces of brutality.

The Emerging Wisdom of the Enneagram

In this changing atmosphere it is not surprising that the ancient, long-hidden wisdom of the Enneagram is beginning to rise up and permeate human consciousness. That's because the Enneagram communicates truth in a new way — a way that can be heard in the confusion of the modern world. It's an esoteric wisdom (from the Greek eso, "within," and referring to an inner understanding) that doesn't teach new truth but reveals the inner meaning of ageless truth.

The history of this century tells us once again that humanity has become too complacent, too familiar with the common ways of understanding values and morality. These are the foundation upon which cultures can rise above baseness, violence, and self-serving pursuits to become great. Because we have become blind and deaf to the old ways of perceiving truth, the truth of the ages has lost its power to speak to our hearts, to protect new life, or to nurture our souls. Consequently, we are living in exciting and perilous times.

The Enneagram educates us in truth by beginning with our own lives. It pierces illusion and truthfully describes how every person expresses one — and only one — of nine different unconscious motivations that determine what the Enneagram calls the pattern, type, or number of each individual. In this way the Enneagram itself explains the first line of the Enneagram Riddle we referred to in the Introduction, One becomes nine. Each personality type is founded on innate strengths, gifts, and talents, but we distort the beauty of our personalities by compulsively overusing our positive attributes.

The reasons we live in this way are presented throughout the pages of this book, but we could summarize them by saying we live much of our lives unconsciously — on automatic pilot, as it were. It's the human condition that, until we become conscious of what's going on in our lives — all our thoughts, feelings, sensations, intuitions, and motivations and the consequences of our actions — we do what we've always done because we've always done it. Truly, this is living in a mechanical way, living like a machine that is programmed to manufacture one and only one product.

Meet the Author

Kathleen V. Hurley and Theodore E. Dobson, the authors of What's My Type?, are counselors and Enneagram workshop leaders. They live in Lakewood, Colorado.

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