Item description for Merton: An Enneagram Profile by Suzanne Zuercher...
Zuercher outlines and describes the themes and dynamics of the "4" space in the enneagram scheme. She then demonstrates how they are consistent not only with Thomas Merton's actions but also his articulation of his spritual journey.
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An Epiphany for 4s Aug 22, 2000
Recently, I became interested in enneagram theory. Briefly, it is a sophisticated ancient system for identifying the nine basic life scripts - your practical/psychological/spiritual stance in life - how you cope - your perceptions - what you tell yourself about reality. There are nine of them (like the nine muses) - nine kinds of human energy (a 9 isn't better or higher than a 1. The numbers form triads of interrelationship). So after investigating the system, I had decided I must be a 4, but pretty much lost interest in the whole thing. It can nail down your personality type all right, but for the most part, what I had read didn't tell me what to do about it, i.e. how to grow and improve.
Since Thomas Merton is one of my all-time favorite authors, I was surprised and pleased to discover this book that claims that Merton was also a 4, especially since, as the author claims, "Spiritual mentors come, of course, from all nine of these gestures in life. This being so, it can prove helpful along the way of conversion and more contemplative living for us to find guides who emphasize what is relevant for our own worldview or life stance. In some ways we all do just that through trial and error. What enneagram study can facilitate is a more informed search. If it accomplishes this, then people who want to live their life more fully...will avoid the cul-de-sacs that contradict their personalities and slow down spiritual transformation."
Zuercher points out that Merton's theme of human journey was moving from a false to a true self. "We need to get off our personal stage and stay out of our personal audience. This is a theme 2/3/4s can readily identify with. That being so, they are probably the ones who most find Merton a helpful mentor." Exactly so.
If you are a Thomas Merton fan, you'll enjoy this book whether or not you've ever heard of enneagrams. If you're interested in an in-depth study of enneagrams but have never heard of Merton, you'll be edified by this investigation. If you're a 4 and also a Merton fan, you'll love it. If you couldn't care less about any of this, you're probably not reading this review anyway.