Enneagram Retreat and Epiphany
“The good news is we have a God.. who remembers who we are, the person he knit together in our mother’s womb, and he wants to help restore us to our authentic selves.”
Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, The Road Back to You, p. 23, IVP Books 2016.
This past year our rector at St. Mark’s, Danny Schieffler, invited the staff to the retreat center for our diocese, Camp Mitchell, for a day to study the Enneagram with Presbyterian minister and therapist, Rebecca Spooner. Usually staff retreats are about planning sessions for the year or exercises such as the Myers Briggs personality Inventory study to see how we can relate to each other.
Knowing someone else’s Enneagram number can be helpful but the real heart of the Enneagram is about personal growth, how to learn about the mask you have developed for survival and how can you find your true self, the person that God created you to be. So, our rector was giving us a day away from our usual work during a busy liturgical season for our own personal enrichment. I wish I had done that when I was working in the medical field to let those I worked with know how much I cared about their own personal growth. Let this remain an example for all of us.
This was my third Enneagram study course. The well-known sin of my Enneagram number is pride, and it was front and center when I heard about the retreat. I already knew all this. Today, I am still amazed how things came together at our retreat and how much more I learned. This is my second lesson. Exposure to a spiritual tool such as the Enneagram is more awakening each time we go through this process.
We spent a great deal of time on the Enneagram during my spiritual direction study. More and more I see why. This is a tool to help us know who we really are, the mask we have developed that has become our persona, what the world thinks we are, so that we can make our way in the world. Rebecca reminded us of Richard Rohr’s famous definition of the Enneagram, “the coat and hat we put on to weather the storm.”
This persona has helped us survive, but we are now searching for our true self, the person God created us to be. Learning about our Enneagram number can lead us in the direction of finding our relationship with God that has been blocked by this mask we have developed.
The Enneagram is not for everyone. Rebecca reminded us that it is only one tool in our spiritual tool box. If it is helpful, stick with it. If it is not, there are so many other tools to help us connect to God, but if we do relate to it, there is more gold there than we can ever imagine.
This is an ancient tool that has been proven to be true over many centuries. Epiphany and Lent are great seasons to spend time learning more epiphanies about ourselves through the Enneagram especially if we study it with other spiritual friends.