The Heart Reoriented: The Enneagram of Virtues

By Ron Esposito - December 2015 

The Virtues are essential qualities of the opened heart and as we allow them to arise in us they are a channel for self-transformation.  The Virtues are the antidote to the Passions, root causes of suffering.

The Virtues and the Passions are:

Type One: Serenity/Anger

Type Two: Humility/Pride

Type Three: Veracity/Vanity

Type Four: Equanimity/Envy

Type Five: Non-attachment/Withdrawal

Type Six: Courage/Anxiety

Type Seven: Constancy/Gluttony

Type Eight: Innocence/Lust

Type Nine: Right Action/Self-forgetting

Serenity is a by-product of accepting things that I cannot change.  It is surrender to what I cannot control, ultimately letting go.  The Serenity Prayer counsels us to “accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference”.  Knowing the “difference” means that I “let go and let God”.  The real things that I can change are my thinking, feeling and behaving, then our experience of the world changes.

Humility enables a balance between giving and receiving, helping to engender the experience of being in proper perspective to the Universe.  We are not above or below but in the mix.  By lessening willfulness and the bondage of self we surrender to a higher will, experiencing inner freedom.

By practicing Veracity we are able to see through our  idealized self, having the willingness to drop the image and be authentic.  This requires us to ask the perennial question of who am I?  This deep dive into exploring our thinking, feeling and behaving as well as the underlying motivation yields true self-knowledge. 

Equanimity aids in the realization that all things come and go, rise and fall.  This is the way that it is.  Equanimity helps in welcoming all feelings and the acceptance of ordinary life.  This is where the rubber meets the road.

Non-attachment helps us to be engaged in the world and hold it loosely.  We are able to give and receive, sharing ourselves without fear of depletion.  We have the experience of expanded inner space.

Courage is part of the willingness to feel afraid and act with heart although fear may be present.  We have the courage to “change the things we can” according to the Serenity Prayer.  What we can change is ourselves.

Constancy is the ability to stay with and be present in the moment, feeling one’s feelings.  Nothing in our consciousness is rejected.  The need for everything to be pleasurable is lessened as everyday reality is taken as it is.  In every moment the soul is having the optimum experience for its evolution.

The experience of Innocence is akin to seeing through new eyes.  The heart is open and unguarded without cynicism or blame.  Our strength is in being truly vulnerable.  This is the paradox of Truth.

Right Action is the willingness to do what needs to be done for the self, facing priorities and valuing oneself.  Ultimately, this leads to self-love and a sense of worthiness.

Ron Esposito is a certified Life Coach, Enneagram Teacher and Spiritual Mentor at the Conscious Living Center. 

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