Leslie Hershberger (Part 2) – The Enneagram as Spiritual Tool: A Map for Deeper Self-Understanding & More Effective Contemplative Practice

Leslie Hershberger Enneagram Spiritual Tool

Enneagram expert, teacher, master facilitator, and transformational coach Leslie Hershberger leads us into the world of the Enneagram, not typology point by point—here Leslie paints a broader, deeper picture of the Enneagram and its uses as a psycho-spiritual tool than is commonly understood. Leslie explains how the Enneagram provides the psychological foundation for each individual to navigate their inner world more skillfully. A wealth of knowledge comes with recognizing the center you orient from—head, heart, or body—and your type’s tendencies, freeing up energy within us to move out of negative patterns into virtuous ones. With the insights the Enneagram provides, we can develop practices tailored to our specific personality structure that help with everyday challenges and vicissitudes, with being more present in our relationships, and with opening to spiritual presence.

Listening to Leslie, one feels the energy of rising awareness as her anecdotes about various different Enneagram types’ ways of relating to themselves, others, and the world ring decisively true, matching our own experience. Leslie’s passion for guiding people who are ready to make “the inward turn” in using the Enneagram as a map is clearly palpable. And though she is a longtime contemplative, Leslie is all about boots-on-the-ground action: meeting people where they are at, providing support and guidance, and reflecting back to all whom she encounters a truly awe-inspiring, Enneagram-informed, and integral understanding. Recorded January 9, 2023.

Please enjoy a 20-minute guided meditation, led by Leslie, at the end of part 2 of this podcast. Leslie originally led this meditation for Roger, John, and the Deep Transformation team right before the podcast was recorded, so they could experience her Enneagram-informed techniques that help us ground, center, and connect with our inner being, somatically and emotionally.

“The Enneagram is a vehicle for spiritual presence—for spiritual experience.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2

  • Truth decay: when insights decay into dogma, practices devolve into ritual (01:34)
  • Leslie’s disappointment with the dilution of the value of the Enneagram in popular culture and the common tendency to over identify with one’s type (05:39)
  • Building in practices for making the inward turn when our type gets triggered  (07:34)
  • How everyone interprets the Enneagram according to their stage of development: language matters (09:58)
  • How knowledge of the 3 centers (head, heart, body) enables us to understand different perspectives and be more present with others (13:23)
  • Recommended books for people new to the Enneagram: The Complete Enneagram by Dr. Beatrice Chestnut, The Essential Enneagram by Dr. David Daniels, and more (see resources below) (16:39)
  • Is there any research on the Enneagram? (18:06)
  • Looking at the Enneagram from the centers perspective is a good portal of entry, and the differences between heart, head, and body types (19:23)
  • Back to research: more research could refine the value of the Enneagram (25:00)
  • Working with your core vice within a contemplative practice is when things really start to cook (33:48)
  • How does your type change over time with an ongoing contemplative practice? The challenge of embodying a healthy type structure 24/7 (36:02)
  • The reality is we all have limits (38:27)
  • The importance of understanding the centers approach to the Enneagram and understanding that our psychological structure is housed in the body (47:12)
  • What do women want from men? A heart connection and kindness (49:21)
  • 20-minute guided meditation led by Leslie to help us ground, center, and connect with our inner being, somatically and emotionally (55:56)

Resources & References – Part 2

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Leslie Hershberger Enneagram Spiritual Tool

Teacher, theologian, spiritual guide, and master facilitator, Leslie Hershberger is the founder of The Three-Centered Enneagram, and offers both corporate and contemplative workshops, retreats, and keynotes throughout the U.S. and in Europe. She designed the online course The Foundations of the Enneagram: The Centers Approach, which is both a deep and a practical way of developing embodied emotional and social intelligence. Leslie integrates the Enneagram, three-centered contemplative practice, and Integral Theory in her work.

Leslie’s core mission is facilitating practice based in all 3 centers: head, heart, and body. She supports others in integrating psychological awareness and opening to wise, embodied spiritual Presence, especially during times of significant transition: social change, religious transition, second half of life, changing bodies, illness, grief, loss and the inevitable relationship challenges with those we care about most. She also supports many “post-church” pastors and people who have experienced a religious deconstruction and are looking for a way forward. Leslie was recently honored by Xavier University with the William and Anna Madges award for distinguished contribution to society.


Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell


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