Path of Integration

March 10, 2024 | By TNE

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The Narrative Enneagram focuses on three crucial lines of personal development which together form the Path of Integration: psychological, spiritual, and somatic

Psychological Line of Development

From the psychological point of view, the Enneagram clearly names the cognitive and emotional patterns of each of the nine types. As we build awareness of these patterns, we can develop flexibility and choice and they begin to loosen, sometimes even by just naming them. As they loosen, we are more able to relax into what is actually occurring. 


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Spiritual Line of Development

Spirituality is increasing our capacity for being receptive to something greater than ourselves. This “something” could be the awareness of our connectedness to the whole of humanity, or it could be represented by names such as God, the Divine, Buddha, Great Spirit, Essence and Grace, the Ground of Being, Awareness, the Universe, and so on. 

Our type structures require us to keep a tight grip on our one experience of reality, which means that to access a more expansive experience, we must practice loosening that grip. In order to receive something, we have to open our hands. Many methods exist to help us enter this state of receptivity, including breath practices, chanting, meditation, etc. If one’s adaptive pattern is running in this moment, there is no way to receive anything.  


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Somatic Line of Development

Our body is the experiencer of our adaptive patterns. These patterns live in our tissues and neural pathways. Cognitive understanding can take us so far, but lasting change requires the creation of new neural pathways. By building awareness of how our type patterns show up in our bodies (soma), we can interrupt the patterns within our cells, which helps us open, soften, and attune our beings toward greater embodiment. 


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Working in any of these three lines of development requires the capacity to access the Inner Observer–the witnessing consciousness that is aware of all thoughts, emotions, feelings and sensations that arise and fall within our experience.

By developing flexibility and choice with our mental and emotional habits, increasing our capacity to be receptive to something greater, and noticing and meeting body sensations as they arise, we develop the capacity to choose new behaviors, experience greater perspectives and have more freedom, thus seeing reality as it is rather than through the filter of the type.  

We can work on each of these three lines of development separately, and there is much value in doing so. That said, using the Enneagram as a map in all these areas creates a synergy that greatly increases the effectiveness of personal growth work. 


Community is an essential component of the Path of Integration. While we can certainly work on ourselves individually, it is the loving presence and witness of compassionate others that allow for transformation to occur. The Narrative tradition emphasizes this as we share on panels, meet in small groups, and explore with teachers, coaches, and guides.


The following questions can help us reflect on this Path of Integration that leads to transformation:  

  • How do I experience the cognitive-emotional pattern of my type? Why is seeing that pattern important in my life?
  • Why is being receptive important? Why does that help me access a Greater Knowing of reality? 
  • Why is feeling and sensing my body important? How does that help me live with more consciousness?

The Enneagram The Narrative Tradition TNE

community integration path to integration psychology somatics spirituality


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