I sat with my Dad this week while he took an online enneagram test. I have been studying the enneagram for some time now, trying to learn about the 9 personality types and how they are useful for spiritual and psychological growth. What started out for me as an endeavor in self-discovery has ended up in a surprising discovery about empathy.
Huddled together over a computer, my Dad and I scrolled through the cards. One by one, he was confirming what I had already known about him, but there was something magical in sitting with him while he discovered it too. Calm. Peaceful. Complimentary. Yes, I already knew this about my Dad, so it was no surprise, but watching him discover some new understanding of his personality made me teary-eyed.
To see someone, really see someone for who they are--all the good with all the bad--is, well, holy seeing. This type of looking/seeing begins the process of empathy and that's why I teared up.
Human connection and heart connection is the path and practice of empathy.
How often do we really get a chance to see another? How often are we really seen for who we really are? This enneagram test is just a test, merely a tool to fascilitate a discussion with my Dad about aspects of his personality. It didn't really tell me anything new, but it generated a pool of words to name traits or habits that ultimately lead him to a better understanding of himself and a better, more solid link with humanity.
But the real magic for me in self-discovery--and in other-discovery--is how it leads to a deep well of empathy. Oh, I would so like to drink from that well as much as I can.
If you would like to take a simple (and free) enneagram test, go to www.enneagram.net/tests/index.html. Scroll down to find the free test.