There have been times in my life, including in the early days of my Enneagram training, that I have experienced myself as a “slow learner.” What I’ve come to see is that this experience comes when I somehow know that there’s something to “understand” that is deeper than my thinking mind can grasp conceptually.
In my learning the Enneagram, the shift for me came with a deeper understanding of “ego agendas.” I took in Don’s and Russ’ teaching of the Types, leading with the qualities of Essence that each Type is most sensitive to having lost contact with during the process ego personality development. As I practiced Presence - experiencing myself in the immediacy of the moment without mental constructs - I let go of trying to remember Enneatype descriptors and tapped into experiencing the various qualities of my essential nature.
We all have access to all of the various Essential qualities. Tapping into the Essential qualities of each Enneatype provides a deeper understanding of what it is that each Type’s ego is attempting to find, imitate, or re-create – the ego agenda for each Enneatype. Understanding ego agendas from that perspective naturally brings with it, not only a deeper understanding of each Type, but also a deeper compassion – a compassion that comes from seeing how hard our egos are trying to accomplish something that can never be accomplished on an egoic level.
While we can use words to describe Essential qualities, they can only be known and understood through direct experience from a place of Presence. To tap into the experience of these Essential qualities is to directly know what is most treasured by each Enneatype and to understand each Enneatype’s ego agenda.
Type *Ego Agenda Experiencing Qualities of Essence
(When in Presence, I experience …”)
1 Trying to be aligned with the innate goodness of my own being and
“the Good,” the Sacred, the innate goodness
to be virtuous, to have integrity in everyone and everything
2 Trying to feel love, to be abiding in unconditional love – love that is
at one with love, to be not transactional, but rather love that
a source of love in the world permeates everyone and everything
3 Trying to feel valuable and the innate value of my own being and the
worthwhile preciousness of everyone and everything
4 Trying to find my true self the depth, richness, and uniqueness of my own
and my personal significance being, my personal identity and significance
5 Trying to understand reality, an innate knowing of truth – “gnosis”
to uncover the essence of things
6 Trying to find real ground and a sense of guidance, an inner knowing of
direction, a trustworthy orientation where I need to go and what I need to do
7 Trying to be happy, free, and pure and causeless joy; a sense of satisfied - to be fulfilled freedom and fulfillment
8 Trying to be / feel strong, a grounded aliveness and realness (life force)
real and alive that brings forth a natural sense of strength and confidence
9 Trying to have wholeness being a full participant in and an integral
and inner stability part of the flow of reality; a harmonious
(“peace of mind”) peaceful interconnectedness with all that is
*Note: The ego agenda’s as stated here are the Basic Desires in the Riso-Hudson Enneagram