• Rev. Ani

The Importance of Introspection

Updated: Sep 19

~a daily examen for each enneagram type

converting vice to virtue on the path of personal transformation


photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash.com


Ignatius of Loyola, Catholic saint and mystic, developed a brilliant psychology of introspection and discernment. He noticed how the moods of people fluctuate on a continuum of what he called consolation to desolation. St. Ignatius observed that consolation is the time when one experiences faith, hope, and love. Whereas, desolation is characterized by emotions such as confusion, apathy, and despair.

This master psychologist advised that consolation is the time to prepare for desolation, a normal part of the human condition, by engaging in practices that bolster our resilience. He also suggested that when in desolation, we don’t make big changes, but stay consistent in the positive habits that we have cultivated.

One of the foundational faith practices advocated by St. Ignatius is the daily exam, a brief time of regular introspection. The format that St. Ignatius recommended is as follows:

1. Become aware of God’s presence. 2. Review the day with gratitude. 3. Pay attention to your emotions. 4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. 5. Look toward tomorrow.

Building upon the wisdom of St. Ignatius, a daily exam may be tailored to the particular passions and mental fixations of each enneagram type. I offer suggestions below on how these may be crafted, invite you to develop your own, and encourage you to commit to this practice for 30 days. The fruit in your life from this introspection will be self-evident. My own experience has yielded an increase in self awareness, self-compassion, self-empowerment, empathy for others, peace, and clarity. I predict that after only a few days you will be hooked and want to utilize this new life skill indefinitely.


Type One:

I begin by coming into contact with my Serene Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and serene and the times when I felt frustrated, agitated, resentful, ashamed, guilty, and/or angry. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, from whom am I desiring acknowledgment? Whom am I judging?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to defend myself and/or to have a sense of control in the situation, to make everything correct or as I think it should be?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently good enough?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent perfection, the understanding that life is unfolding as it should. I rest in integrity and embrace a sense of serenity. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.


Type Two:

I begin by coming into contact with my Unconditionally Loved Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and humble and the times when I felt entitled, prideful, angry, rejected, embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, from whom am I desiring appreciation? To what am I feeling entitled?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to promote myself, to be liked, and/or to receive attention and validation in the situation?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently important or loved enough?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Ideas of inherent will and inherent freedom, the understanding that I am not the Source for others, that every being has a will of its own and the freedom to act on its own behalf. I rest in unconditional love and embrace a sense of humility. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.

Type Three:

I begin by coming into contact with my Authentic Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and authentic and the times when I felt overwhelmed, impatient, driven, rejected, embarrassed, guilty, ashamed, unable to be myself, or afraid to be honest. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, from whom am I desiring approval? In what ways am I feeling discounted or devalued?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to promote myself and/or to receive attention and validation in the situation?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently valuable enough?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent hope, the understanding that there is an objective reality so I do not have to create my own value or identity. I rest in hope and embrace a sense of authenticity. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.


Type Four:

I begin by coming into contact with my Calm, Balanced Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and composed and the times when I felt anxious, fatally flawed, envious, rejected, embarrassed, hyper-vigilantly self-conscious, emotionally unstable, guilty, or ashamed. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, by whom do I feel abandoned? What do I think was missing? For what am I longing?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to promote myself and/or to receive attention and feel special?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently included?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent belonging, the understanding that I have my own place in this magnificent universe. I rest in the personal significance of being and embrace a sense of equanimity. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.


Type Five:

I begin by coming into contact with my Wise, Benevolent Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and sufficient, and the times when I felt anxious, vulnerable, bereft, insufficient, detached, indifferent, guarded, unwelcoming, ashamed, or fearful. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, in what situation did I feel ill-equipped and lacking understanding or sufficient information, or by what person did I feel encroached and/or pressured?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to protect myself and/or to detach and secure resources in the situation?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently sufficient?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent omniscience, the understanding that I have all the wisdom I need within me. I rest in clarity and embrace a sense of benevolence. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.


Type Six:

I begin by coming into contact with my Courageous, Trusting Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and secure and the times when I felt skeptical, suspicious, guarded, untrusting, vulnerable, bereft, insecure, worried, or afraid. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, in what situation did I feel threatened or in danger, without support or guidance? Of whom or what am I skeptical, suspicious, and untrusting?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to protect myself and/or to plan and secure a bright future in this situation?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently strong?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent strength, the understanding that within me is the Source of all strength. I rest in faith and embrace a sense of courage. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.


Type Seven:

I begin by coming into contact with my Joyful, Content Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and mindfully present and the times when I felt distracted, self-absorbed, preoccupied, impatient, agitated, nervous, unempathetic, or driven. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, in what situation do I feel like my options are limited and my freedom is (was) being threatened? By whom do I feel like I am being limited or confined?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to protect myself and/or to chase the next high and distract myself through planning for grand projects or adventures?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently free?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent design, the understanding that the my life is unfolding as it should, that I can join in that work, instead of managing it. I rest in joy and embrace a sense of mindful presence. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.


Type Eight:

I begin by coming into contact with my Innocent, Merciful Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and merciful and the times when I felt frustrated, agitated, nervous, anxious, powerless, weak, and/or angry. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, in what situation or from whom am I desiring justice? Whom am I judging and seeing as the bad guy?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to defend myself or someone else and/or to have a sense of control in the situation by forcing the issue?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently innocent enough?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent truth, the understanding that all is One; there is no duality, therefore no good guys and bad guys. I rest in innocence and embrace a sense of mercy. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.


Type Nine:

I begin by coming into contact with my Proactive, Decisive Self and offer gratitude for the gift of life in this moment, the people and resources. As I review the recent past, I notice the times when I felt grounded, open-hearted, and decisive and the times when I felt resistant, numb, paralyzed, annoyed, irritated, unsettled, unmotivated, stressed, pressured, indecisive, stubborn, and/or angry. I choose the event that seems to have the greatest charge for me and ponder it.

  • What am I feeling?

  • Do I experience a sense of freedom or feel constricted in that circumstance?

  • If I was triggered/activated, in what situation or by whom am I feeling pressured or stressed? What am I trying to avoid?

  • Am I experiencing a craving/desire to defend myself and/or to have a sense of control in the situation by checking out?

  • On a subtler level, in what ways am I not feeling inherently lovable enough?

  • What do I need right now to step out of the confines of my type box (if I am experiencing constriction) and align with Essence (the free flow of life in this moment)?

  • What virtue/s might support me in coming back to or going with the flow of Essence?

  • I imagine what it would be like if I embodied the highest version of myself in this situation or simply in moving forward at this time.

  • I close my examen by affirming the Holy Idea of inherent love, the understanding that I am lovable just because I exist. I rest in peace and embrace a sense of decisive action on my own behalf. I offer gratitude for this time and all of the resources that are abundantly available to me in my life.



79 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All