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Enneagram Basics: Spiritual Dimensions 

Now that we have encountered the main components of the Enneagram system and have looked at some of the dynamics contained within the symbol, we’re ready to briefly look at our last topics under Enneagram Basics - the Passions and Virtues (qualities of the heart), and the Fixations and Holy Ideas (qualities of the mind).  Here we encounter our inherent gifts and challenges, our highest ideals, and our connection to Essence. (We'll be looking more deeply into these concepts in the next two sections of this site.) 


Let’s take a peek at the spiritual dimensions of the Enneagram…

The Passions and Virtues

The Passions are qualities of the heart.  They are our habitual emotional responses to our loss of contact with Essence (as a natural part of our childhood development). Also called our "emotional filter", "driving emotion", or "vice", these are emotional states around which our personalities tend to take form.  They are temporarily effective, but ultimately non-serving, coping strategies that are the unique ways our hearts suffer the loss of our inherent Virtue (that you will see below).  Here are the Passions for each Enneatype:






















The Passions
Sloth (Inertia)
Avarice (Greed)


The Virtues, on the other hand, are the highest essential qualities of the heart when we are abiding in Essence, our true nature.  They are expressions of an awakened heart, unobscured by our personalities, and naturally manifest as we are able to relax and become more present and awake.  These expansive, non-dual qualities are the antidote to our type-related "Passion" or driving emotion.  It is through working with, and ultimately transforming, our Passion that we are able to come back into contact with our Virtue and Essential Selves.

Action (Engagement)
The Virtues
Truthfulness (Authenticity)
Sobriety (Constancy)


The Transformation of the "Passions" into "Virtues":

Point One - Anger to Serenity

Point Two - Pride to Humility

Point Three - Deceit to Truthfulness

Point Four - Envy to Equanimity

Point Five - Avarice to Non-Attachment

Point Six - Fear to Courage

Point Seven - Gluttony to Sobriety

Point Eight - Lust to Innocence

Point Nine - Sloth to Action


The Fixations and Holy Ideas

Fixations: As a natural part of human development, through our early childhood holding environment and conditioning, we begin to lose contact with our Holy Idea.  This loss helps form the basis of our personality, one of nine ways of self-forgetting.  Our Fixation, also called our mental filter or habit of mind, is the type-related distorted way in which we attempt to restore connection with our Holy Idea. 

The Fixations
The Fixations





The Holy Ideas are the highest essential qualities of the human mind.  They are nine enlightened perspectives on reality when unfiltered and undistorted by our personalities.  They are unobscured and direct views of reality, freed from personality.  They are non-dual and arise out of a deep and clear mind when we are truly present and awake.  Understanding the spiritual dimension of our Enneatype provides us with a sacred map of our path home to Essence, from which we come to realize we have never been separated.

Holy Love
The Holy Ideas
Holy Perfection
Holy Will
Holy Law
Holy Faith
Holy Plan
Holy Truth
Holy Origin
Holy Omniscience




The Holy Ideas:

Point One - Holy Perfection: Our remembrance that the fundamental nature of everything, including ourselves, is inherently perfect and good.

Point Two - Holy Will: Our remembrance that the unfoldment of the universe has its own direction and momentum, and that what occurs within each of us and within each of our lives is part of that divine will.

Point Three - Holy Law: Our remembrance that everything that happens is part of the changing pattern of the universe, and that nothing and no one functions separately from the movement of the whole.

Point Four - Holy Origin: Our remembrance that True Nature is the source of all manifestation, including ourselves, and that everything is inseparable from us.

Point Five - Holy Omniscience: Our remembrance that each of us is an inseparable part of the whole fabric of reality, and that the boundaries that distinguish us are not ultimate.

Point Six - Holy Faith: Our remembrance with absolute certainty that our inner nature is Essence, and this supports and guides us, and gives us confidence and trust in ourselves and in reality as a whole.

Point Seven - Holy Plan: Our remembrance that there is an inherent logic and progression to the unfoldment of the human soul, including our own, whose natural movement is toward self-fulfillment, just as a caterpillar naturally develops into a butterfly.

Point Eight - Holy Truth: Our remembrance that Being is the ultimate nature of all that exists, so all dualities of God and the world, Spirit and matter, and even ego and Essence are fundamentally illusory.

Point Nine - Holy Love: Our remembrance that the ultimate nature of all that exists is beneficent and loving, and that we are each made out of and are an expression of that love.

** Descriptions of the Holy Ideas based on material from The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul, by Sandra Maitri (2000).  Please see Resources page.

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One matter, one energy, one Light,
one Light-mind,
Endlessly emanating all things.
One turning and burning diamond,
One, one, one.
                                            - Rumi
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Next Steps on Your Journey:
1. Thinking first about your type's Passion...what is it, and how does it play out in your life?  Can you give some specific examples?  How has it played out in the past?  Some examples?  
2. What triggers your Passion?  Can you give some real life examples?  
3. What is the effect of your Passion taking over - on yourself, on your relationships, at work?
4. What are some signs that your Passion is being triggered?  How might you interrupt the triggered pattern of your Passion?       
5. Thinking about your type's Virtue...what is it, and how do you see it playing out in your life?  What examples can you give? 
6. What challenges do you see in living your Virtue?  How might you lean a little more into it?
7. What sense do you have of how your Passion relates to your Virtue?
8. What are some small but concrete steps you might take on the journey of transforming your type's Passion to your Virtue?
9. Thinking now about your type's does it show up in your life?  Can you find some examples?
10.  How does your Fixation get in the way of your well-being? Of your relationships? Of your work?  Can you give some specific examples?
11. How do you know when your Fixation has taken over?  
12. Understanding a bit more about your Fixation, how might you want to respond differently when you find yourself falling back into your habitual patterns of thinking (as we all do!)?
13.  Understanding a bit more about your Passion and Fixation, how might you offer yourself more compassion and acceptance around them?
14. Finally, thinking about your type's Holy Idea...what is it, and do you have a sense of how it shows up in your life?  In what ways do you feel connected to it?
15. How might your Fixation be contributing to feeling disconnected from your Holy Idea?
16. What might it look like to allow more space for your Holy Idea on a regular basis?  What specific practices might you use?
17. In cultivating more of your Holy might your life shift?  Your relationships?  Your work?  What might you need to change in your life in order to make room for this shift?
18. How might knowledge of your type's Passion and Virtue, and Fixation and Holy Idea, provide signposts for your journey home to Essence?
19. Your journey with the Enneagram Basics section of the site has come to an end.  What are you taking away with you?  What have you learned?
20. Based on what you've learned, what are your next steps?  What steps might you want to take on the path toward growth?  What challenges might you expect, and how will you cope with them?

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