Confrontational Terrain: Accessing latent human potential through the intersection between the Enneagram, Integral Theory and Integral Shadow Work in every day life

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Over the past two weeks I have experienced a radically confronting set of circumstances that have tested my capacity to be present to my direct experience without shutting down and running away in reaction.  Through facing some of the deepest fears and insecurities I could have imagined and staying present to my experience I have opened to a refreshing new depth within my own being and have set a new tone for how I intend to show up in the world.

This process and journey is one in which many understandings have contributed to what I would consider a tremendous leap in my interior developmental process, and within that, the process of accessing the latent capacities of my soul.

That said, I am in deep curiosity about how the myriad of philosophical perspectives I intend to utilize to frame my experiences and situate myself within a sense of understanding have seem to have come together in a field of mutual influence to give form to my present-moment perspectival stance.  In honor of the value of inter-disciplinary inquiry, I will dedicate this short writing to illustrating the inter-relationship between the fields of understanding currently informing my worldview.  My hope is that these words can demonstrate intersections between highly praised ways of understanding human nature and provide novelty and nuance to a reader not familiar with these approaches and vantage points.  To begin, I will illustrate a couple of key concepts and then share my story with you while interweaving these vantage points to show how they appear to intersect.

Foundational Concepts:

The Four Quadrants

What if the lived experience was comprised of four irreducible perspectives, each arising together in an act of mutual influence?  Considering the intersection between inner and outer perspectives (eg. feelings vs circumstances) and the intersection between individual and plural phenomena (eg.  a belief system vs a cultural meme) we gain access to four distinct, and according to Ken Wilber, irreducible perspectives. (Wilber, 2000)

Enneagramatic Personality Styles

Taking a birds eye view of our own behavior illuminates the patterns we exhibit.  The Enneagram holds that these patterns are expressions of our disconnection from essence, and that recognizing them can then, in turn, illuminate a world of understanding. (Riso and Hudson, 1999), (Maitri, 2001)

Terrains of Therapeutic Inquiry

Wilber, in the book “No Boundary” (Wilber, 2001) illustrates the difference between therapies aimed at integrating the illusory boundaries between aspects of the psyche (eg. psychotherapy, shadow work), between the psyche and the body (eg. embodiment practices), and between the finite self and the infinite expression of self (eg. most influential esoteric spiritual traditions).

Integral Shadow Work

How can we integrate the insights of the West with the ancient teachings of the East in our personal process work?  Integrally informed Shadow Work is the best shot at that I have found.  See Integral Spirituality for reference. (Wilber, 2007)

The Evolution of Consciousness

Originally outlined to me by Wilber (Wilber, 2003) inspired by developmental psychology (Wilber, 2007), and made tangible and relevant to my life by David Deida (Deida, 2004), research indicates that consciousness evolves over time in a single direction (forwards, not reverse) towards greater degrees of complexity, (Teilhard, 2008) and that this can be reasonably measured through shifts in behavioral tendencies.


My intent is to outline a basic storyline that will serve as context for our discussion.  Then I will take the frameworks and perspectives I use to understand what unfolded as lenses for the storyline.  This will help me situate myself within these perspectives and frames of reference, and will hopefully disclose nuanced and novel ways of seeing for you, the reader.

The storyline

I met Karen about 3 years ago and we started dating just 6 weeks ago.  I found myself living with her prior to dating and we spent almost every night wrapped in each other’s arms.  This was a time of deep fulfillment and relaxation, and when she prepared to travel to an event called Burning Man, I grew anxious.  Compelled to have a lover-companion at the event she was clear that our connection was non-exclusive, and shared that she deeply wanted me to attend, saying that it would likely be romantic to share.  I was in the midst of finals and barely passing my classes, but after assessing my work I promised to attend 3 days into the festival, arriving on Wednesday night.  Unable to finish my schoolwork in time and unable to reach her by phone, I reluctantly stayed home an extra day, did my work, and jumped into the car.  During the drive up I listened to Pema Chodron illustrate the Tibetan Buddist notion of “Shenpa” (Chodron, 2004), the process of coming out of alignment with boundless, ever-present awareness.  She illustrated the 3 most common forms of Shenpa, (1) Numbing out, (2) Fleeing, and (3) Raging outwardly or inwardly.  I felt a strange resonance with her words, as I have been able to identify examples of all of these elements of “Shenpa” playing out in my life. 7 stops later and over $1,000 later I walked into the Burningman Camp, excited to see her.

I remember the look on our camp-mates eyes when I asked… “do you know where Karen is?”… There was a deep look of sorrow reflected back at me.

In the middle of the Nevada Desert, fully invested emotionally and financially, I learned that the woman I held as my beloved had found another man and was committed to continuing the deepening her relationship with him at expense of our connection.

Hearing, trying to understand, feeling and witnessing the unfoldment of their connection absolutely shattered my heart and left me feeling as though a large sword was slowly being pressed through my chest.  I was faced with a prime fork in the road, a choice between allowing myself to move in an act of cowardice and defensiveness; to shut down, to flee, to lash out in resentment towards her, to beat up on myself… or to face my fears, practice presence with my experience, practice loving kindness towards her, and practice loving kindness towards myself.  Again and again I would glance over at her, surrendered into his arms, laughing with him in gentle connection… deep pain would arise.  I would recognize the drive towards some aspect of “Shenpa” and I would commit to the latter of my choices, commit to being present to my experience, commit to facing my pain, commit to working through what was arising.

Through that next two days, I was radically supported by what I now consider to be my extended community, which was a group of people I was invited to camp with by virtue of an invitation that originated with Karen.  There were many moments when I was fully embracing and opening to my pain while loving, supportive hands were held over my heart, and while gentle utterances of validation were whispered into my ears.  Coming home I held space for my beloved as she cried in both regret and shame… and within that held space for her recognition that there was nothing to feel shame around, as she had communicated through every step of our journey with absolute integrity, keeping to her agreements, and had even warned me that this was a possibility prior to my choice to come.

How can we use the foundational concepts I illustrated above to situate this experience, transformative process and the latent opportunities for transformation within it?  My intent is to demonstrate that.

The first thing I will cover is a basic outline of how I practiced, using the frameworks we outlined, Then I will outline some additional perspectives based on what we have talked about already which helped me frame the experience.  Finally, I will attempt to illustrate how I might take these practices and approaches further by drawing from the interdisciplinary studies and perspectives afforded by a basic understanding of how incredibly valuable it is to hold multiple perspectives and to note the mutual influence each vantage point and approach has upon the others.

Why I used the process I used

Remember my primary type is a 3.  Within the three influence (fear of worthlessness, need to achieve, “strivedrive” approach to life), (p151, Riso & Hudson, 1999) I aspire to be the absolute best I can be and to discover ways to be ever more efficient in my life, including my spiritual path (funny, I am sure, to some) and my path of personal development.  Within this aspiration I have a deep longing for full immersion spiritual, personal and interpersonal development training opportunities.   That said, what I got showing up on “The playa” (the campground where Burning Man happens) was an opportunity for exactly that.  Full immersion, full intensity, fully confrontational opportunity to face my demons.  How I managed it is what I intend to share, and then we can go from there.

What process I used

Borrowing from Pema Chodron’s outline of “Shenpa’s” (1) fleeing, (2) numbing, (3) raging out (at self or other), I took the approach of (1) facing my fears, (2) being present to my experience, and (3) practicing loving kindness (towards self and other).  Within that, when pain would get triggered, I would (1) tune in with my body, (2) take a stance of curiosity and wonder… wondering deeply what the origin of the pain was (beyond the circumstances… and this is not to say that the circumstances were not an element or influence of each occasion, simply that they were partial and that there was an interior element, or influence, or component also, which would tend to be overlooked) and (3) breath into my body and experience… perhaps occasionally choosing to intentionally allow the experience to be what it was. When the desire to flee would arise, I would ask myself  “what am I wanting to flee from?  What am I afraid of?  When judgments of Karen would arise, I would ask myself “what is underneath this?”  When aggression and “beating up on myself” would arise I would ask “what’s real right now”?.  Notice how these inquiries are correlated with the same inquiries I would ask myself to come out of delusions that are fostered by each Enneagramatic influence.    Either way, stopping everything to come into full receptivity of the pain that was arising and being with it, letting it wash through me until some degree of “stuck-ness” felt like it was self-liberated. I took each moment as opportunity to resolve interior stagnancy and then moved forth from there.  At one point additional coaching from a new friend helped me see that I could leave the playa without shutting down, numbing out, fleeing, or raging out… that there was an authentic middle path.  It was not until I was able to see this and verify that I was being authentic with myself that I let leaving be an option.  To verify my degree of authenticity with myself (remember that I am primarily identified with Type Three; authenticity is very, very challenging for me) I looked the woman who was playing the space-holder (aka facilitator, coach, healer) role in the eyes and made the open statements “what is real right now is…” and filled in the blanks.  If it did not feel true (keeping a straight face, inner felt sense of resonance vs. dissonance) I realized I was lying to myself, and I used this homemade lie detector test to discern whether leaving was fleeing until I found an authentic path towards leaving which was not an act of fleeing, numbing or raging out.  That’s when I allowed myself to complete the adventure (and tragedy) and come back to my studies.

Now lets look at the frameworks I used to understand my experience, and then lets look to tools I might use in the future, including a deeper integration of Enneagramatic perspectives with shadow work, and then we can close.

Enneagramatic Personality Style Influences

The shadow within my Enneagramatic personality style seems to have radically influenced how things played out at the Burn.  Here is an outline and expansion of what I see.


The Achiever (3)

Within the (3) influence in my Enneagram Chart, I hold a deep fear of valueless-ness, of worthless-ness, apart from my exterior achievements.  This lends to a tendency towards several unconscious behaviors.

  1. It fosters the unconscious objectification of women, wherein by hiding my actual motives and drives from myself and others, I feel a pull to represent false levels of attraction and passion, which come across as inauthentic and interrupt the possibility of mutual resonance.
  2. It lends to the pushing of my self-image (my façade) onto others as truth, which comes across as shallow and intense and results in others feeling a need to distance themselves from me.
  3. It fosters deep insecurity and a “need to be seen” which goes unfulfilled (as others have a limited opportunity to see or experience my genuine self), and which seems to come across as needy.

In the community I walked into at The Burn, I was walking into a group of people who had been practicing and training in authenticity for years and who had been exploring alternative states of consciousness together, as a group, for 3 days prior to my arrival. Each influence of my Type 3 personality named above seemed to have been interruptive and severing of my ability to be in mutual resonance with the group because, in part, of the field of mutual resonance they were holding.  It would appear that the dissonance, or discordance between my own Type 3 characteristics and the degree of authenticity and lightheartedness that they were holding contributed to that dissonance.  This is validated by feedback that I received that “showing up late, it felt like you were not part of the group.”

When I was told that the relationship dynamic was changing, it was unclear whether the update was a 10 second update or a time for dropping in and getting clear, and Karen seemed to have had an urgency to clarify our agreement and leave as soon as possible so that she could act upon it.  Partly because I was not afforded much time in that moment and given my Type Three tendency to feel ungrounded when something threatens the circumstances which foster my sense of self-worth (in this situation, my relationship), my mind went to strategy rather then support, and my opportunity for deep mutual connection was severed in a moment which appeared to be of critical relevance.

The developmental stages of a Type 3 Man

As I hold the notion of stages of development and the notion of this personality type in my awareness simultaneously, there are certain patterns that I see as predictable.  I’ll say men and women to be concise, while what I actually mean is masculine and feminine partners, who can be either male or female.  The stages I refer to are very similar to the stages of development outlined in David Deida’s writings in “The Way of the Superior Man” (Deida, 2004). In the first stage, masculine 3’s will completely objectify their women for their own goals.  In the second they will shift to over-emphasizing the importance of everyone’s needs being met as a means for efficiency and mutual gain, but simply within their selective inner circle.  In the third stage, Threes “Become actualized and remain healthy by learning to commit to others and to goals that transcend their personal interest… [Accessing a different kind of self esteem]” (p161, Riso and Hudson, 1999).  I would add also that they connect deeply to the terrain of awareness disclosed through recognition of the unity within apparent opposites.  They become aware of the validity of both a world of bounded constrain and a world of boundless freedom.  Within that, they begin to move from the awareness of the absolute and the relative, the infinite and the finite, and their actions come from the depth of their authentic connection to the infinite.  They become aligned, aware, authentic agents of wholehearted, self-transcendent change.  While their affect in the world may seem to be fully transcendent (meaning above and beyond the self) in a traditional sense, they are not disassociated from their physical self and psyche, rather they are holding these as authentic, valid, and included elements in the depth and breadth of their being-ness; their present moment comprehensive awareness.

One intention I would like to bring into actualization in these writing is to distinguish between how I see these stages showing up in areas that appear to be of critical relevance for the sake of discernment.  This is intended to be an opening of a conversation, not a final word.  To that end, I will include questions, or prompts in this writing which are designed to illuminate how I would bring forth awareness of or access to vantage points on reality available within later stages of  development. In this particular example, questions that are intended to evoke awareness from this vantage point include (1) Who am I?  (2) What am I?  (3) What wants to happen through me on behalf of the infinite, the boundless?  (4) What wants to be expressed to the whole of the world from the divine emptiness that I am, through this vessel I call me?  This final prompt illustrates the distinction between the inhabitation of awareness that is transcendent vs. the inhabitation of awareness that transcends and includes the self.

The Tragic Romantic (4)

The Type 4 tends to hold the Imaginal perspective and what is called the “grounded, realistic” perspective in an out of balance way.  There is an accentuation of that which is disclosed via ones Imaginal intelligence; including ones visions, sense of possibility, sense of potential and what one imagines to be true.  Over-valuing and raising a lover onto a perspectival pedestal is a typical distortion that exemplifies a 4-personality type.  This results in poor decisions and being (to whatever degree the 4 tendency is present) prone to delusion and distorted perceptions about ones partner.  With me, I was holding Karen as the woman I would have children with and partner up with far before she was feeling the same, and I was unaware of where she was at with me because rather then asking, I simply imagined she was on the same page.  The result was that she felt smothered, and that interrupted our chemistry and left us with a break in our sexual “charge”.

A first stage man will lean heavily on the Imaginal perspectives while ignoring the “grounded, realistic” perspectives to foster the possibility of a woman falling in love with him and becoming emotionally dependent upon the sense of security his false expressions of love promise.  This results in a felt-sense within his woman that he cannot be trusted, and that his love is shallow and illusory.  In the second stage a Type-4 man will over-emphasize the Imaginal for the benefit of raising a family, for the benefit of his partner, and for the benefit of a selective inner circle he considers his community.  This means that he will rely upon his sense of possibility and vision with a blind eye to the evidence of a poor match between him and his partner.  This comes across as generous and yet, still is felt as fake, hollow, and illusory.  A third stage man will hold the Imaginal perspectives (his sense of possibility, of potential, of vision) in balance with what is commonly called the “grounded, realistic perspective” and will choose a woman wherein both perspectives illuminate a mutually beneficial, mutually uplifting, and mutually aligning relationship.  A 3rd stage man will come from his deep sense of a divine purpose in assessing these possibilities.  Rather then assessing for what is best for his inner circle, his community, and his family, he will feel into his relationship with the boundless, the infinite, the unmanifest, and from that space of awareness he will bring into view each of these perspectives simultaneously.  That awareness is his compass, and he will shift from coming across as steeped in fantasy to grounded in the depth of the unmanifest.  He will come across as a living expression of the grounded nature of existence.

Questions that are intended to evoke awareness from this vantage point include:  (1) What is possible?  (2) What is realistic?  (3) Where do the potential of this moment and the grounded, realistic vantage point of this moment meet?  (4) Is that where I am coming from in my choices?  (5) Am I preferencing one of the two?  (6) How does that affect me? (7) What is my relationship with the boundless?  (8) How may I serve the depth of the universe with my life?  (9) What is my unique gift for the world in this particular moment?  (10) What is that gift from the vantage point of the infinite generosity of spirit?  (11) How might I serve as an agent of enaction, through this body, in the sharing of that gift with the world?  (12) From this vantage point, what form of partnership would best serve the sharing of my unique, divine gift with the world?  (13) The sharing of my deepest calling and my most profoundly aligned self?  (14) What form of relationship would best serve as context for the expression of my deepest, most aligned self?

The Peacemaker (9)


The Type 9 tendency is to shut down, as illustrated by Riso and Hudson:


“In highly dysfunctional families, the young nine may have been traumatized… nines learn to protect themselves from intolerable feelings by dissociating or shutting down…” (P319, Riso & Hudson)

Shutting down, then, costs us our ability to allow reality to touch us, creating what the Enneagram would hold as a disconnection from our essential nature, (P319, Riso & Hudson) and what Tibetan Buddhism would consider a fundamental means through which we come out of integrity with ourselves… an aspect of Shenpa. (Chodron, 2004)

A first stage Type-9 Man will shut down and numb out to his pain with complete ignorance of the impact that such shutting down has on others.  The influences of each particular way of being that we inhabit on others is held in Integral Theory as real, valid, and in fact, equally relevant to other influences which might be noticed in ones life experience.  This showed up as a reflection as I walked out of the local farmers market in preparation for Burning Man, and as a homeless man turned to me, out of nowhere, and yelled “I just don’t give a damn!!” into my face. In that moment this brother was clearly feeling an incredible amount of pain, and repressing it only to have it clearly visible to others, playing out a façade which probably seemed to be authentic to him.   My desire and tendency to shut down and numb out comes up as I take assessment of my life and notice phenomena that lend towards self-critique.  It showed up on the Playa time after time as I sat and played witness to the connection between the woman I held as my beloved and her new partner.  There was a small voice within me which was fearful that the depth of connection we shared was something I would never find in another woman, and it screamed out from within me… an absolutely piercing, scary, surreal and haunting scream of resistance, pain and fear. That brought up a radically potent drive, like a rocket ship already launching, to shut down… and in those moments I had no care in the world for how that would affect others, nor any awareness that it might.  As Riso and Hudson illuminate, to shut down in those moments would have profoundly disconnected me from contact with reality.

“[The 9 tendency to shut down results in] a widespread deadening of [ones] ability to allow reality to touch them with any depth or vividness” (p319, Riso & Hudson)

A second stage Type-9 man recognizes the impact that shutting down and numbing out has on other people.  He grows compassionate for those influenced by his process of numbing out, and he realizes that when he is disconnected from a space wherein reality has the ability to make contact with him he is less emotionally, cognitively, and instinctually available for those who he cares about.  He becomes aware of how shutting down affects his behavior in his community and he works to bring himself back into contact with his actual, subjective, lived experience for the sake of his relationships, his family, and the community he is identified with.

A third stage Type-9 man recognizes that the act of shutting down eliminates contact with the essential nature of existence, and in shifting to the third stage, that realization is intolerable because of the mutually empowering, mutually enlivening, mutually rejuvenating nature of his relationship with existence.  In relationship, a third stage man shows up as aware of the depth of his connection to the essential fabric of existence and aware of how contact with such is the most accurate compass he has for navigating the full range of his life experience.  Rather then committing to radical receptivity, presence and openness for the sake of his family or community, a Third stage Type-9 man commits for the sake of the totality of existence.  Holding awareness of the relative and the absolute in each hand, a Third Stage Type 9 man chooses to be radically open to existence through his direct experience, realizing that his access to the realm of the absolute lies within the doorway that he holds open through his presence to his own inner experience.

Questions meant to evoke presence to that which is most authentic and real in the subjective experience include:  (1) what is real for me in this particular moment?  (2) What am I hiding from?  (3) What am I experiencing right now?  (4) What am I subject to in this particular moment?  (5) How am I numbing out right now?  (6) What is underneath that?  (7) What am I choosing not to feel?  (8) what instincts, impulses and drives am I suppressing?  (9) what am I not making space for?  (10) what am I resisting?  (11) what lies underneath these stories?  (12) from the vantage point of the infinite, what am I yearning to feel right now?  (13) from the vantage point of the boundless, where am I bound in this particular moment?  (14) what would it feel like to inhabit the depth of my actual experience in this particular moment?  (15) what would that liberate? 


Lets sum up where we have gone together so far in this writing.   We started with some foundational concepts and references for contextualizing this experience so that we can launch into new understandings upon the shoulders of my mentors, teachers, and the frameworks I have learned from them.  Then I shared a story which illustrated a foundational turning point that I had between fleeing from what is vs. showing up fully to what life presented to me.  From there we applied several perspectives, including the Enneagram (at length) to contextualize and frame the experience that I had.  My illustration and inclusion of personal experience, the outward expression (behaviorally, etc) of those interior elements, and the impacts that those experiences had on community is one example of how we used the quadrants from Integral Theory.  The overlaying of the Enneagram as a map is an example of using a systems theory lens, (the lower right quadrant in IT’s 4 quadrants).

Within all of that we looked at the evolution of consciousness, borrowing from the foundation that David Deida began for us in his book “The Way of the Superior Man” (Deida, 2004) and I began opening the conversation about the evolution of consciousness and how it would show up with specific reference to the origin-point of this writing, my actual lived-experience over the past week.  We have a clear sense about how I choose to show up for my work in the world, a clear overlaying of the Enneagram framework (primarily the elements and influences that seemed most relevant) and an outline of questions that I would use to illicit awareness of the vantage points I am alluding to in the 3rd stage man writings.  Again, to be clear, this is meant to be the beginning of a conversation, not the end. I want and expect feedback which can help this work move forward in its capacity to affect positive change in the world today.  I clearly see that this writing would be balanced out with inclusion of the feminine, which I have not clearly felt prepared to offer.

Next, I would like to tie in Integral Spirituality a bit to show how I believe this work can be taken to the next level, which will be followed, naturally, by my actually applying this to my life and deepening the learning process.  I will also hold the intent to invite my community into an experiential learning context within which we can explore these concepts, frameworks and methodologies together.

Given that this writing originated within a scale wherein I was asked that it be no more then 15 pages, I will be unable to include an in depth look at how what I have started to hash out can be integrated with Integrally Informed Shadow Work.  I will, however, offer what I can in a couple of paragraphs.   In the introduction I mentioned Wilber’s distinctions in “No Boundary,” (p12, Wilber, 2001) between 3 illusory boundaries that the world’s therapeutic and spiritual methodologies have aimed at addressing.  Integral Theory would hold these as points of confluence and mutual influence rather then lines of separation.  I also referenced Integral Shadow Work and its integration of the unification of the finite and the infinite, the bounded and the boundless, with traditional Western Shadow Work.  If we take that one step further, bringing in the integration of the psyche and the body, and apply that to the processes I have already used, expanded and described, then what we have could be called Enneagramatically Informed Integral Shadow Work.  While we will need a shorter name, we can use EIISW to reference this methodology.

With the intent to expand on this in future writings, I will offer a basic outline of what EIISW might look like here, as an expression of how we can take all that I have shared and bring it forward into a new and comprehensive methodology for our interior developmental process work. Here is the rough outline, as a starting point to future conversations:

Enneagramatically Informed Integral Shadow Work

(1) We become aware of our Shadow using the Enneagram

This is the process of becoming aware of our shadow (meaning in this context the aspects of our interiority which we are not aware of) by mining for insights that arise within our behavior.  In addition, this can include an assessment situating ourselves within the range of human consciousness development, which Deida teaches (Deida, 2004) and which I have begun to illustrate here.


(2) We come into relationship with those aspects of ourselves

Whether it’s the part of us that fears being worthless (personified it would be the “worthless self”) or whether it is the part of us that is arrogant and hiding (personified this would be the “hiding, arrogant self;”) this is where we come into relationship with disassociated aspects of our psyche one at a time.  We do this by personifying it (as I demonstrated… we make it “into” a person-like subject in our Imaginal field (our imagination, our visualization, etc)… and we relate to it (like asking questions such as (1) what do you want?  (2) what do you need? (3) How would it feel to get that? Etc).  These particular questions come from Allione in her book and lectures titled “Feeding your Demons,” which would be a great reference for understanding what I am speaking about here in more detail. (Allione, 2008)


(3) We own those parts of ourselves

This is simply using any method to come into a place where we are fully taking ownership of those disowned aspects of ourselves.  This is not, however, subscribing to the reductionistic and yet popular belief that we are 100% the source of our reality. Like all forms of reductionism, taking any perspective as a given will illuminate a reality which seems to validate the original assumption, and that is likely how, in part, this partial belief self-propagated into a place of being so popular.  If the 4 quadrants are irreducible to each other, and if reducing one or all of them to just one of them is what we mean by reductionism, and if reductionism is inhibiting of comprehensive awareness, then this false belief actually slows down the development of the human capacity for awareness.  I am not speaking of ownership in that fashion, rather I am referring to taking that which has been disassociated with and reassociating with it.  Taking those aspects of self that have been hidden and showing them.  Taking those aspects of self that have been rejected and accepting them.  This is the process that Western Psychology aims to do through Shadow Work.


(4) Witness that transformation

Expanding upon Western Psychology, this is where we bring in the boundless nature of existence as a vantage point on our own transformative process.  Simply taking the ever-present-witness-perspective on the ownership/integration process does this.

That’s the basic outline of the EIISW.  Lets notice that it takes into account two of the three foundational “terrains of therapeutic inquiry” that Wilber outlines in his earlier writing titled “No Boundary”.  To bring in the final Terrain of Therapeutic Inquiry, we would, within the process, call forth the full inhabitation (in the body) of each aspect of self.  Another way to say “aspects of self” in this example is “states of consciousness,” or “vantage points on reality”.  Questions and prompts designed to evoke this sort of experience would include examples like (1) please feel into, in your body, your ownership of that part of you as an integral aspect of your being.  (2) Feel into the integration of that into the totality of that which we call you.  (3) Notice the sensations in your body as you bring yourself into and through the integrative process.  (4) Feel into, fully, your being in the body as it undergoes this process.

Additionally, we might take it further still by bringing in multiperspectivalism.  That means that we include the fullness of our capacity to hold multiple perspectives in simultaneity.  Questions and prompts designed to elicit that sort of experience include (1) Feel into the finite and the infinite aspects of yourself as you bear witness to the transformative (or integrative) process.  (2) Become aware of your breath (gross body awareness), breath cycles of life energy up and down your body in a cyclical fashion (subtle body awareness)…  as you witness (causal body awareness) the self (transcending and including) undergoing this process and so on.

That concludes what I consider to be the opening of a conversation that will (remember my drive to achievement and please notice how that would influence this desire) hopefully bring this process and methodology into new terrain.  I thank you for your willingness to dive into these concepts and perspectives together.  May they contribute to a radical shift in the way that we relate to each other, to ourselves, to the world, and to the infinite.  May this be in service to our complete internal and external developmental unfoldment, and may we all access the latent capacities of our soul through this shared experience of life.


Allione, T. (2008). Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict (1 ed.). London: Little, Brown and Company.

Chardin, P. T. (2008). The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

Chodron, P. (2004). Getting Unstuck: Breaking Your Habitual Patterns & Encountering Naked Reality. Louisville: Sounds True.

Deida, D. (2004). The Way Of The Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Woman, Work, and Sexual Desire. Louisville: Sounds True.

Hudson, R., & Riso, D. R. (1999). The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine  Personality Types. United States and Canada: Bantam.

Maitri, S. (2001). The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul. New York: Tarcher.

Wilber, K. (2001). No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth. Boston & London: Shambhala.

Wilber, K. (2003). Kosmic Consciousness. Louisville: Sounds True.

Wilber, K. (2007). Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. Boston & London: Shambhala.


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