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Rumi series | part 1

Rumi is a 13th century Persian poet who has captivated the minds and touched the hearts of the modern-day Enneagram community, among others. In this first of a 10-part series inspired by his poems, one that speaks specifically to each type, I start with the poem above that speaks to all 9 Enneagram types. In future blogs in the series, the focus will be on each Enneagram type, with each blog starting with a Rumi poem specific to type.

As with most Rumi poems, the one above is delightfully ambiguous, useful for self-reflection and lending itself to a variety of interpretations. To offer an Enneagram interpretation, this blog covers what each enneatype is seeking and how this very thing we search for, from perspective of personality, does not seek us at all, but if we move to a higher perspective, what we seek is absolutely seeking us.

Enneagram Ones | When seeking perfection on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Ones find in return is all the mistakes and errors within their internal and exterior purview. But when Ones move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Ones seek what they deeply long for – serenity and true perfection. And when they do, Ones find serenity from the outside and inside, where everything is perfect as it is, including themselves.

Enneagram Twos | When seeking feelings of worthiness (for what they give to others) on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Twos find in return is that they feel great when affirmed and deflated when others do not respond to them or their actions affirmatively. But when Twos move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Twos seek what they deeply long for – true freedom. And when they do, Twos live in humility and gratitude, find their true inner strength and will, and live their lives without being beholden to the reactions of others.

Enneagram Threes | When seeking success on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Threes find in return is often outward success at different levels, but also anxiety about failure, social acceptance, and a reluctance to try things they may not be good at. But when Threes move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Threes seek what they deeply long for – a deep level of honesty and truthfulness about themselves and the ability to value themselves for who they truly are. And when they do, Threes find an uncanny ability to go with the natural order and flow instead of continuously exerting energy and effort to make things happen.

Enneagram Fours | When seeking depth, meaning, connection and uniqueness on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Fours find in return is superficiality, combined with an endless quest for how they’re different, if they’re different, and how they may be inferior or superior to others. But when Fours move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Fours seek what they deeply long for – the deepest connectivity among us and a solid sense of emotional balance. And when they do, they find a delicious sense of peace and self-honoring from the inside out.

Enneagram Fives | When seeking to conserve their inner and outer resources on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Fives find in return is reinforcing (and not in a way that sustains them); they do become extraordinarily depleted unless they guard their boundaries carefully. But when Fives move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Fives seek what they deeply long for – full engagement and embodied wisdom. And when they do, Fives find exactly that, from their abundance of inner and outer resources.

Enneagram Sixes | When seeking meaning, certainty, and support on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Sixes find from all their scanning is uncertainty, contingency, and risk avoidance, risk attraction or both. But when Sixes move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Ones seek what they deeply long for – true trust in themselves and their environment. And when they do, Sixes find they can handle just about anything that comes their way with ease and grace.

Enneagram Sevens | When seeking pleasure, stimulation, and no-restraints allowed on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Sevens find is a hyper-active mind and a sense that they must keep both themselves and everyone else upbeat and happy. But when Sevens move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Sevens seek what they deeply long for – wholeness, fullness, and groundedness. And when they do, Sevens find that their internal world is even more fascinating than the exterior landscape and that real freedom is making thoughtful choices rather than having every choice constantly available.

Enneagram Eights | When seeking big action, justice, and overarching control on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Eights find is that they can’t ever let their guard down or find anyone big and strong enough to support them (as in “have their back”). But when Eights move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Eights seek what they deeply long for – the ability to be themselves, expose their vulnerability and to be supported by others. And when they do, Eights find that true strength comes from being bold and courageous, yet at the same time, receptive and open.

Enneagram Nines | When seeking harmony and no-tension on a day-by-day basis at the level of personality or ego-structure, what Nines find in return is that they facilitate others while simultaneously minimizing themselves. But when Nines move to a higher level, above and beyond personality, Nines seek what they deeply long for – deep respect that comes from finding their own voice inside their bodies and standing tall. And when they do, Nines find the ability to flow into right action on behalf of themselves and those around them.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of five best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: The Enneagram in Business.com. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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