THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND AS YOU DISCERN YOUR CORE DISCIPLESHIP STANCE
The nine discipleship stances of the enneagram are best thought of as "energies" or as I like to say facets of the diamond we call the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8). We have all nine energies within us.
Each of us will identify more with some energies than others due to what was modeled for us in our family of origin. But, the enneagram suggests that one has become our "default position" or go to stance shaping our thoughts, feelings and behaviors more than the others. This core enneagram style / discipleship stance is often (not always) representative of early childhood defense mechanisms as we responded to or reacted to BOTH our environment AND the presence or absence of certain energies in our primary caregivers.
There are two schools of thought as far as helping someone determine their enneagram style / discipleship stance. The first says don't give persons a test. Rather, engage them in conversation as they (emphasis on they) determine their own enneagram style. The second appreciates the first but says tests can save persons a great deal of time. Which is correct? I believe both. There is not a test / assessment or person that gets to tell us who we are and what we are about. No one gets to do that. The enneagram itself does not do that. It does not put us in a box, rather it invites us to discern for ourselves whether we (through our unconscious patterns of thought, feeling and behavior) have placed ourselves in a box. We are the expert in our own lives. At the same time we are unconscious (especially in the beginning of our work) of much of what the enneagram invites us to examine.
In trying to honor both schools of thought, I use a tool called the Wagner Enneagram Personality Styles Scale to begin the conversation. The WEPSS gives an indication of the degree to which a person identifies with all nine energies. Prior to sharing the results of a person's WEPSS report I ask them to spend some time with discernment questions designed to help me help them discern between the "energies" with which they show higher identification.
I would emphasize that discerning one's enneagram / discipleship stance is not a one and done process. Much like the call to discipleship itself it involves daily discernment. For the reason that the enneagram uncovers unconscious patterns of thought, feeling and behavior, guess what...you will not be conscious of what it is suggesting. Therefore a VERY crucial part of Identifying your own discipleship stance involves developing your "inner observer", the part of you that can make observations about any patterns that exist in your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Your work will be to ask yourself: "Why am I thinking this thought? Why am I feeling this feeling? Why do I always have this particular reaction to this particular stimulus / situation?" This will not come "real time" at first as at first we are simply on automatic.
Cultivation of your inner observer will involve your reflection on an event or reaction you have had after the fact. It will involve your asking yourself what thought led to that feeling, what feeling led to that thought? And, what about that thought, feeling or behavior is inline with what the enneagram suggests about your discipleship stance's inner motivations?
If you want to use the enneagram effectively ALWAYS focus on your own style rather than that of others. You can and will get to know the style of others, but speaking from experience, when ever I have read something to figure someone else out I have always gone wrong with confidence. I am at my best in my enneagram work when I am simply observing and working on and developing an awareness of the "triggers & tricks" related to my own enneagram style.
Successful use of the enneagram in relationships professional or other involves persons taking responsibility for their own "stuff". If they can make a commitment to one another to do that and if they can take a risk to come back and share with one another what they are learning then their collective consciousness is raised. They begin to understand one another on a deeper level, take fewer things personal and become more responsive and less reactive as they work together.
Through continued prayer and discernment, as you zero in on your core discipleship stance you will begin to get a sense of when and why you are more open to Christ one moment than another. As enneagram teacher Russ Hudson has said, "Our enneagram style is what shows up when we do not." It is not that our discipleship stance is bad. It's just that we tend to become ridged within and hold onto to it too tightly. So again your work is to become more conscious of the thought, feeling and behaviors patterns that keep you as a disciple from being present to God, others and yourself in the way your Lord would have you be.
Regarding the enneagram symbol itself:
The circle represents wholeness (body, mind and spirit) - God as one - The mind of Christ.
The inner triangle reminds us that there are never just two forces at work, there are always three: affirming, denying and reconciling. This is also known as the "Law of Three". For more on the Law of Three see a devotion by Cynthia Bourgeault at https://cac.org/the-law-of-three-2018-06-05/
The inner lines of the enneagram symbol remind us that discipleship development is a process / a journey we are on which can evolve (symbolized when the arrows flow in this direction 7, 5, 8, 2, 4, 1) or devolve (symbolized when the arrows flow in this direction (1, 4, 2, 8, 5, 7). Note, that as the Holy Spirit intercedes in the space between our evolving (affirming / resourceful energy) and our devolving (denying / non-resourfeful energy or resistance) we are pointed always to Christ who is the reconciling energy (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Therefore, our development comes from God and is not our own doing (Ephesians 2:8). So it is through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-27 & Romans 8:26-27) that we come to know ourselves as we have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).