The Enneagram is about nine ways of seeing and experiencing the world, and as a Seven, Gideon Yee Shun Tsang sees the world through his own trademark lens. In this small, vibrant book of daily readings, Tsang guides the reader through the good, the bad, and even the ugly parts of his Enneagram number.
As a Seven myself, I dove in excitedly (as Sevens do), not realizing how uncomfortable I would become through these readings, which uncover far more of the dark side of my number than the bright. And Sevens love the bright side! “The capacity of the Seven for new experiences, foods, people, thoughts and so on is part of what makes us sparkle for others,” Tsang writes. “Our challenge is to live deeply into fewer things.”
Tsang, an adventurer and pastor, is brutally honest at times about his wounds and how he has avoided them through travel, biking, making new friends and trying new restaurants. There’s nothing wrong with those diversions, of course, but his frantic pursuit of experiences and new friendships helped him avoid sitting with and dealing with painful experiences. Tsang ultimately crashed before coming to a place of deeper introspection. “How can I live out of love today instead of living to be loved?” he asks. “Often my actions are the same either way, but they come from different places in my soul.” He’s funny, hyper, vulnerable, a little outrageous, and makes for a “good hang.” Readers traverse the 40 days of profound insights and entertaining stories. (Usually I don’t mind swearing in a book, but in this context, of a Christian book of meditations, Tsang’s occasional swear word just felt jarring to me.)
But I’m glad I read it. At the end of the 40 days, I was more comfortable with all my parts, not just the loveable ones. And that is the “beautiful and unexpected gift” of the Enneagram. Those who study it “find they have more compassion for themselves and more grace for others.”
This series of nine books from IVP corresponds to the nine Enneagram numbers. Suzanne Stabile, co-author of the bestseller “The Road Back to You,” serves as general editor for the series. (IVP)