Why are we here?
Yes it's a big question, but for us the answer is quite simple. We are souls in evolution, here to evolve our consciousness through a complex process of initiation and alchemy. For us, every experience, in every moment is an opportunity to wake up from our conditioned and limited perspectives. We see the unavoidable trials and pain we encounter in life as offered generously by a Divine/Cosmic conspiracy, intelligently designed to awaken and elevate us into freedom. We believe the most important question to ask ourselves in this lifetime, as many enlightened masters would agree, is 'who am I'? This endless inquiry into the mystery of our nature is foundational to our therapeutic work with others as well as our own personal journeys. Return to previous page
what informs our work
the enneagram model
The image of the enneagram (ennea-nine, gram-image) dates back at least 3500 years and represents within it an entire universe of dynamic rhythms, patterns and laws that can be applied to virtually any aspect of reality. The Enneagram of Personality is a complex psychological map that points to nine distinct personality types often called “fixations” which, when properly understood, can illuminate a myriad of unconscious behaviours and motivations operating within us that are keeping us stuck in repeating patterns and habits. When we can see these fixations for what they are, we can begin to de-identify from these predictable, unhealthy patterns of personality and ultimately connect with something far more real, essential and expansive within us. Return to previous page
On some level, we are all longing to come home to our true selves, and we believe that we are missing something essential to feel safe, loved, seen, capable and relaxed. Our ego or personality structure is programed to continuously seek resolution to these deficits outside of ourselves, keeping us in a never-ending cycle of frustration and suffering.
discovering our enneagram type
We do have all nine energies within us and are ideally working toward cultivating and expressing the virtues of each of these types harmoniously. However, one type is typically dominant, meaning we are very much locked inside a prison cell of predictable beliefs, motivations and behaviours. As enneagram authors Riso and Hudson have explained, “the Enneagram does not put you in a box, it helps you get out of the box you are already in”.
Identifying our dominant type can be challenging as we have to be radically honest with ourselves and bring light to the very the things we have been trying to hide from others. It can also be incredibly liberating as we begin to have more permission for and understanding of these tendencies and patterns of behaviour that we never actually had a choice about. As long as these mechanisms of personality are operating unconsciously we are reacting, not making choices. Once they are brought to the surface of consciousness we can begin to respond to the present moment (rather than the past) and courageously choose how we want to express ourselves in the world.
There are numerous sources of excellent information on the enneagram online. We are including links to a few of our favourite sites as well as links to online tests so you can begin the journey of discovering your dominant type.
the hero's journey
Joseph Campbell's lifetime study of the world's mythologies brought us the distilled essence of the movement of all our lives through what he called The Hero's Journey; the monomyth. This is the same story that we all know intuitively and love to watch again and again in our favourite Hollywood movies or read in our favourite books. We recognize it because we are all doing it. Our soul is on a journey and there are stages that we must go through for our growth and evolution. These stages are predictable and unavoidable. 'Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path'. Our journey requires us to engage on a quest to meet and integrate the shadow side of ourselves and then return, transformed to our relationships and community with the ‘elixir of enlightenment’.
If we 'answer the call to adventure' and step out of the known (conscious) world into the unknown (unconscious), the territory of initiation, we will be met with both guidance and trials that we must face if we are to realize freedom within. But 'crossing the threshold of adventure' into the unknown may seem like too big a risk in this moment or in the whole of this life. We may 'refuse the call'.
Fortunately life is generous, giving us numerous opportunities to say yes to the call. The cancer diagnosis in your eighties could be what your call looks like, especially if you have refused the previous calls. It is never too late to say 'yes', to open to the guidance that will lead you through your trials to fully flowering as a mature human being and radiating the essence of your own perfume.
How the hero's journey and the enneagram fit together
Recently we have been studying and observing the developmental stages around the outer circle of the enneagram in relation to the Hero’s Journey or Mono-myth. Each enneagram energy is not only a personality type, but also a developmental phase that correlates to specific stages along the path of transformation. We have also observed that each enneagram type must go through their own hero's journey in order to move along their path from their dominant type to the next evolutionary stage within the model of the enneagram. Nines must find their way to point three, ones to point seven, twos to point four, threes to point six, fours to point one, fives to point eight, sixes to point nine, sevens to point five and eights to point two. Each of these individual journeys are extremely difficult, requiring immense courage and support in order to face what the psyche has resisted in order to survive. Return to previous page
Where evolution meets limited perspectives
Spiritual Emergence & Emergency:
Edward is a therapist member of the Spiritual Emergence Service Canada, supporting individuals whose experiences transcend societal and personal norms. Both Edward and Kira have personally experienced numerous spiritual emergence and emergency states.
Spiritual Emergence has been defined as: "the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature, and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things." (Grof & Grof, 1990)
When Spiritual Emergence is very rapid and dramatic this natural process can become a crisis, and Spiritual Emergence becomes Spiritual Emergency. This has also been called transpersonal crisis, acute psychosis with a positive outcome, positive disintegration and extreme states. There is no sharp division between Emergence and Emergency, however distinguishing criteria include:-
a) an 'Emergency' generally has more depth and intensity
b) an 'Emergence' is more fluid and less overwhelming/traumatic
c) during an 'Emergency' it is very difficult to function in everyday life
Spiritual Emergencies could also be defined as critical and experientially difficult stages of a profound psychological transformation that involves one's entire being. These are crisis points within the transformational process of Emergence. They take the form of non-ordinary states of consciousness and involve intense emotions, visions and other sensory changes, Kundalini/energy rushes in the body, and unusual thoughts, as well as various physical manifestations. These episodes will often revolve around spiritual themes. Return to previous page