A few years back, I found myself rooting through cupboards in a familiar, desperate search for chocolate. Fortunately, we didn’t have any and this threw me back upon the suffering I was experiencing and gave me the opportunity to wonder what was driving this. For the first time in my life, I experienced a terrifyingly bottomless well of yearning without a story attached to it. The absolute rawness of this emotion was so consuming that I dropped right back into unconsciousness only to awaken a moment later as I was about to tear into some unsweetened baking chocolate. I was that desperate to not feel this.
The terms Ego and Essence are a big part of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram and they are integral to understanding the spiritual aspects of the teaching.
Don Riso’s Levels of Development are usually presented in a downward-bound fashion with the implicit message that dropping down the Levels is a mistake brought about by a series of cognitive errors. While it gives us a powerful and insightful birds-eye view of exactly how each type makes its characteristic logical but misguided conclusions that lead them to bring about their own Basic Fear, perhaps dropping down the Levels is something we’re supposed to do.
Many spiritual teachers say there are two paths to awakening: the spontaneous awakening and the awakening that happens as a result of intense suffering. They also say that while the path of suffering isn’t necessary, that’s the one most people end up taking.