As a metaphor for the Enneagram Don Riso and Russ Hudson tell this Sufi Story in their book The Wisdom of the Enneagram. “Once there lived a locksmith who was unjustly accused of crimes and was sentenced to a deep, dark prison. After he had been there awhile, his wife who loved him very much went to the King and beseeched him that she might at least give him a prayer rug so he could observe his five prostrations [Muslim prayers] every day. The King…let the woman bring her husband a prayer rug. The prisoner was thankful to get the rug from his wife, and every day he faithfully did his prostrations on the rug. Much later, the man escaped from prison, and when people asked how he got out, he explained that after years of doing his prostrations and praying for deliverance from the prison, he began to see what was right in front of his nose. One day he suddenly saw that his wife had woven into the prayer rug the pattern of the lock that imprisoned him. Once he realized this and understood that all the information he needed to escape was already in his possession, he began to make friends with his guards. He also persuaded the guards that they all would have a better life if they cooperated and escaped the prison together. They agreed…So the locksmith and his guards decided on the following plan: they would bring him pieces of metal, and he would fashion useful items for them to sell in the marketplace. Together they would amass resources for their escape, and from the strongest piece of metal they could acquire, the locksmith would fashion a key. One night, when everything had been prepared, the locksmith and his guards unlocked the prison and walked out into the cool night…Love and skillfulness prevailed.” Then Riso and Hudson write, “This…story…can symbolize our study of the Enneagram: The lock is our personality, the prayer rug is the Enneagram, and the key is the Work…Each of us is in prison. We have only to awaken to ‘read’ the pattern of the lock that will allow us to escape.”
I am so grateful that the Enneagram sermon series for January and February has started many of you on this kind of liberating work. Many of you have shared with me about the family conversations the Enneagram has helped you have. Some of you have even taken the personality tests, read some books, and listened to podcasts to go deeper. I love how God is using this spiritual tool to transform us and to transform our families and friends. Keep up the good work and let God continue the work of love, transformation, and faith in you!
Pastor Roula Alkhouri
“The Enneagram is a tool on life’s journey that shows us how we can — and how we do — make ourselves the enemy of who we are capable of being. It introduces us to ourselves more and more and aids us in our friendship with and understanding of ourselves. This is the prerequisite for openness and compassion toward others.” Suzanne Zuercher