In this thought-provoking episode of the StreetSmart Wisdom Podcast, Steve Stein interviews Susan Piver, author of “The Buddhist Enneagram: 9 Paths to Warriorship”.
Piver shares her unique perspective on the Enneagram, a personality system that describes 9 different ways of being, with each type having a unique arc of attention. Piver explains that understanding someone’s type can help meet them where their attention is and develop compassion by seeing the world through their eyes. She believes that the Enneagram is a powerful means for developing compassion towards oneself and others and is a school of spiritual wisdom that offers a profound and direct way of understanding others.
Piver discusses how she became interested in the Enneagram and how it relates to her study of Buddhism. She explains that her efforts to become a more compassionate person led her to use the Enneagram in real-life situations instead of just relying on belief systems. She has been teaching this approach for about 6-8 years, not since she started studying it 30 years ago. The speaker considers it a skillful means that helps her remain connected to others, even in situations that are challenging. Throughout the episode, Piver emphasizes the importance of compassion and its role in expanding wisdom, kindness, and truth. She uses the example of preventing a child from touching a stove to emphasize that compassion is anything that prevents suffering. The speaker highlights the challenge of understanding what actions may prevent suffering in each situation.
The conversation shifts to focus on the present moment and gaining a new perspective. Piver explains that within each Enneagram type, there are three subtypes that correspond to the three instinctual drives: self-preservation, social, and sexual. The predominant subtype for each individual impacts how they perceive and react to situations. She provides examples of how each subtype would approach a work event and notes how understanding these differences has helped her relationship with her partner. Understanding the subtypes and the various types of the Enneagram as well can be a useful tool in communication.
Piver emphasizes that it is dangerous to typecast someone and that knowing someone’s Enneagram type can be valuable in communication. She uses her knowledge of the Enneagram to feel someone’s energy and adjust her communication accordingly, with the understanding that certain types may prefer direct communication.
The Enneagram is seen as a useful tool for communication, and the speaker encourages listeners to explore it further for their own personal growth and understanding of others.
You can find out more about the great work that Susan Piver is doing here