The Enneagram Levels of Development. Enquiry Idea

The Riso-Hudson Insight Approachsm  provides  a vertical dimension revealing the degree to which we are identified with our compulsive desires.  The Levels of Development helps us to understand how we can be more open, balanced and stable.

There are nine Levels of Development; a vertical dynamic that indicates a pathway for greater openness and “presence”. They are grouped into three blocks (see figure below) that relate to Healthy, Average and Unhealthy attitudes and behaviours associated with each of the nine Enneagram types.

There is a Sufi tradition for such a journey, that refers to “The Journey of Healing (Unhealthy) or “Stabilising the ego structure. Followed by “The Journey to Presence (Average Levels), then “The Journey with Presence” at levels 2 and 3, until we are able to Be, “The Journey with Presence” at Level 1.

levels diag copyIt should be noted, that this is not the end of our journey, as an Essence Self…..

Enquiry Idea: Levels Shifts

The Two Word Description for each of the Nine Enneagram types, followed by key words for each type, are key words that relate to the shift from Levels 2/3 down through 4/5 to level 6/7

Type 1 The Reformer
The Rational, Idealistic type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-controlled and Perfectionist.

Type 2 The Helper
The Caring, Interpersonal type: Generous, Demonstrative, People Pleasing and Possessive.

Type 3 The Achiever
The Success-Orientated, Efficient type: Adaptable, Excelling, Driven and Image-Conscious

Type 4 The Individualist
The Sensitive, Introspective type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed and Temperamental

Type 5 The Investigator
The Intense, Cerebral type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive and Isolated.

Type 6 The Loyalist
The Committed, Security-Orientated type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious and Suspicious.

Type 7 The Enthusiast
The Excitable, Variety-Seeking Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive and Scattered.

Type 8 The Challenger
The Powerful Dominating type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Wilful and Confrontational

Type 9 The Peacemaker
The Pleasant, Self-Effacing type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent


The shift down the levels starts with a quality we admire and identify with.

This identification leads to seeking validation, both internally and externally
So for the Nine, being the “Peacemaker” becomes someone pleasant and self effacing.

When others fail to support this identity, we may feel a hole that needs filling, and try to convince others we possess this quality by acting-out in what is often a poor version- leading to the less healthy aspects of our personality type. In the case of the Nine, what starts out as being “Peaceful” becomes someone who is  “Agreeable and Complacent”

Look at the short descriptions above for each type.
Which one resonates most with your sense of self?
How do try to make people see this quality in you?
Can you see some of the ways you shift from and “idealised quality” to something less desirable and less “Present”? 

(see Enquiry Instructions and Deepening your Enquiry)
Remember to bring a non judgmental compassion to your observations.

The Journey of Growth Workshop shows the path to becoming higher functioning human beings, less defined by human doing. (further reading Wisdom of The Enneagram by Riso-Hudson pg.75) Relevant Workshop: The Journey of Growth Workshop. An Enneagram Institute Authorised Workshop where we explore what it means to move between the Levels of Development of each type.

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