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Higher stages of human development.

Abstract: Humanistic and transpersonal psychologies have eclipsed a focus solely on pathology assessment and treatment to a broader focus on the human being's growth toward optimal functioning, often called self-actualization. Paradoxically, Maslow recognized that peak experiences often lead the self-actualizing individual to transcend the personal concerns of the very self that was being actualized. The ego moves away from focusing on its traits and toward a consolidation of identity. Qualities associated with higher stages of ego development are very similar to qualities associated with spiritual transformation: a consistent sense of presence, an authenticity, and a lightness or ease of being. Descriptions of people functioning at an optimal level include increasing flexibility, conceptual complexity, and tolerance for ambiguity; recognition and acceptance of internal contradictions; a broader and more complex understanding of the self, others, and the self in relation to others; internalized self-control and emotional self-regulation; transcendence of ego boundaries; transparency; "postambivalence" i.e., total wholehearted and unconflicted love, acceptance, and self-expression. We examine three realms of development: ego growth, soul embodiment, and spirit realization succinctly stated by Teilhard de Chardin: "First, be. Secondly, love. Finally, worship".

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"Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake" (William James, 1981/1890, p. 237).

The phenomenon of attaining the farther reaches of human nature, or the higher stages of human development, is presented in a counterintuitive story told by Martin Buber: Rabbi Zusya said shortly before his death, "In the world to come I shall not be asked, 'Why were you not Moses?' I shall be asked, 'Why were you not Zusya?'" (Buber, 1970, pp. 16-17). Welwood (2003) explains this riddle.

"What does it mean to be yourself in this sense, to 'be Zusya'? It doesn't mean proudly proclaiming, 'I am me'--the separate personality who has this set of traits, these preferences, this history. To be yourself in Buber's sense means to find the deepest laws of your being, to let your life find and carve out its true path, and to bring forth your innate gifts and qualities in time, through your interchange with life in all its aspects. Being yourself in this sense refers neither to the conditioned ego-self nor to the absolute no-self beyond all characteristics, the timeless Buddha nature that is the same in everyone. It involves appreciating yourself as a being-in-process, continually uncovering your true gifts and embodying them in the flowing current of time, relatedness, and action (pp. 147-148).

Philosophers Friedrich Nietzche and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe referred to humans who excel by achieving the farther reaches of human nature as Ubermensch, translated from the German as Superman, or Overman. This transcendent individual has overcome his animal nature, organized the chaos of his passions, regulated his impulses; his "power comes from self-mastery, not dominance over others. His joy arises from a transcendent dimension of personhood (his true self), not from satisfaction of ordinary appetites" (Murphy, 1992, p. 196). The potential for human adults to develop beyond normal limits to a farther dimension is exciting, enticing, and raises a lot of questions.

What does it mean for human beings to develop beyond the level of "normal", "competent" and "appropriate" functioning? How is such development related to the ego? to various states of consciousness? to mental health or psychopathology? to spirituality? Are there paths available to ordinary people that can assist them in developing extraordinary capacities? If so, what are they? How can such adult development interface with the mental health tasks of healing psychic wounds and resolving traumas?

These are the questions that this article is investigating, and proposing to begin to offer answers to. First we clarify the distinctions between development of personality, identity, and ego. Next we identify the levels of elevation beyond normative stages of development (which we call levels of ego development). And then we distinguish three realms of human existence within which that development occurs: ego growth, soul embodiment, and spirit realization.

We review several existing attempts to conceptualize the process of optimal adult development of the ego, or the self: the process of becoming "fully human", represented in the works of Abraham Maslow (1943, 1979), Mark McCaslin (2008), Bill Plotkin (2003, 2008), Charles Alexander and colleagues (1990), Juan Pascual-Leone (1990, 2000), Jane Loevinger (1976), Jack Bauer (2008), and Susanne Cook-Greuter (2000). We also touch on the works of G. I. Gurdjieff (1963) and Oscar Ichazo (1982).

We seek commonalities between these various conceptualizations of growth to the higher realms of "health beyond health" and transcendence. What general principles can we distill from studying these masterworks of observation and reflection on the possibilities of advanced growth?

Finally, we analyze how these general principles of optimal development can be utilized and incorporated into the trauma resolution, ego repair, emotional healing, and personality integration purposes of our psychotherapy. "Making ourselves whole again is a lot more than mere healing. Healing resolves deficits, while wholing cultivates invaluable psychological resources" (Plotkin, 2008, p. 469).

Concepts of ego growth and development

Theories of personality (ego) development tend to fall into one of two realms: social- cognitive maturity or social-emotional well-being (Bauer & McAdams, 2004). The first, rooted in Piaget's (1970) theory of cognitive development or Vygotsky's (1978) theory of social-cognitive development, deals with how complexly one thinks about and understands the self and others. The second, rooted in the theories of Freud (1953), Erikson (1950/1994), Bowlby (1969), and Maslow (1968), deals with how good one feels about the self in a world of others, with the process of attaining an increasingly more pervasive sense of psychological health and well-being. Social-cognitive maturity is frequently assessed by Loevinger's (1976; Hy & Loevinger, 1996) measure of ego development.

Research has shown that the two facets of personality development seem to operate independently: people who can think complexly about their lives may or may not be happy; people who are happy may or may not be highly self-reflective. Social-cognitive maturity may be related to adaptive qualities of personality but not to global measures of health and well-being. Higher levels of ego development have been related to increasing levels of responsibility, tolerance, and achievement via independence (Helson & Roberts, 1994) as well as to ego resiliency and interpersonal integrity, but not to self-ease (Westenberg & Block, 1993). However separate and unique the two aspects, maturity and happiness, they are both vital aspects of "the good life" (King, 2001).

Bauer & McAdams (2004) summarize their findings: "Participants whose life Span goals emphasized exploring new perspectives in life, helping others develop, or seeking new challenges seemed especially able to think more complexly about the self and others. Participants who organized their life span goals primarily around attaining happiness, meaningful relationships, or contributing to society (rather than attaining money, status, or approval) were especially likely to have higher levels of well-being" (p. 123).

Bauer (2008) discusses the relationship between the two realms of personality (ego) development (social-cognitive maturity or social-emotional well-being) with the analogy of an ego being either "noisy," (egocentric and clamoring for selfish needs in the immediate moment) or "quiet" (transcending self-interest--to think from others' points of view; to relate present actions to future outcomes; and to identify with people and experiences in an increasingly broader, deeper manner). "From the standpoint of psychosocial development, and Loevinger's (1976) model of ego development (ED) in particular, many qualities of the noisy ego are hallmarks of relative immaturity, whereas many qualities of the quieter ego characterize psychosocial maturity.... I propose that a developmentally quieter ego involves a balance of social-cognitive qualities of a quiet ego (which follow developmental stages) and social-emotional qualities (which do not)" (p. 199). He suggests here a concept to describe a balanced advancement of both maturity and happiness: a "quiet ego." We will return to this conception, albeit by other names offered by other theorists, beginning with Abraham Maslow's "self-transcendence."

Maslow (1968) claimed that people are oriented toward either growth or safety in their everyday lives and that a growth orientation more effectively facilitates psychological health and well-being. What is the connection, then, between ego development and Maslow's hierarchy of needs conceptualization of human motivation, where self-actualization "refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially" (Maslow, 1943, p. 382). Maslow specified eight qualities of a self-actualizing moment (1971):

1. "experiencing fully, vividly, selflessly, with full concentration and total absorption" (p. 44);

2. making the progression choice in a given moment rather than the regression choice, the growth choice instead of the fear choice;

3. letting the self emerge by listening to one's inner voice, what Maslow called the "impulse voices," instead of "Mommy's introjected voice or Daddy's voice or to the voice of the Establishment, of the Elders, of authority, or of tradition" (p. 44);

4. being honest rather than not, taking responsibility for one's beliefs and perspectives;

5. being courageous, not afraid, daring to be different, unpopular, nonconformist;

6. using one's intelligence to go through an arduous and demanding period of preparation in order to realize one's possibilities;

7. setting up the conditions so that peak experiences are more likely by, for example, breaking up an illusion, getting rid of a false notion, learning what one is not good at, learning what one's potentialities are not;

8. opening oneself up to one's own psychopathology, identifying defenses and finding the courage to give them up.

Maslow (1971a) goes on to elucidate what happens in moments of peak experience, of here-now immersion and self-forgetfulness, which he also calls "the creative attitude":

1. Total fascination with the matter-in-hand, getting lost in the present, detached from time and place;

2. Giving up the past to the extent that it is "an inert, undigested foreign body" (p. 61) of platitudes, assumptions, mistaken beliefs, or unresolved conflicts. When I have truly digested past experiences, they are now integral to my present experience, and live no longer in the past;

3. Giving up the future to the extent that it devalues the present. This kind of forgetting about the future or giving up being apprehensive about it is a prerequisite to total involvement with the present;

4. Innocence, "being naked in the situation, guileless, without a priori expectations, without 'shoulds' or 'oughts,' without fashions, fads, dogmas, habits, or other pictures-in-the-head of what is proper, normal, 'right,' as being ready to receive whatever happens to be the case without surprise, shock, indignation, or denial" (p. 62);

5. Narrowing of consciousness, less distracted by obligations, duties, fears and hopes in relation to others in our life, which in turn means that we become much more ourselves, our authentic selves;

6. Loss of ego: self-forgetfulness, loss of self-consciousness due to being totally absorbed in non-self rather than observing oneself like a spectator or a critic; "you become less dissociated than usual into a self-observing ego and an experiencing ego; i.e., you come much closer to being all experiencing ego" (p. 63);

7. Inhibiting Force of Consciousness (of Self). Consciousness of self can be a locus of doubts and judgments and can inhibit spontaneity when the self-observing ego eclipses the experiencing ego. Yet a functioning self-observing ego is necessary to accomplish anything real.

8. Fears disappear. "For the time being, we are courageous and confident, unafraid, unanxious, unneurotic, not sick" (p. 64). Our depressions, conflicts, ambivalence, worries, problems, and even our physical pains disappear.

9. Lessening of defenses and inhibitions. Guardedness, Freudian defenses, and controls on impulses tend to disappear.

10. Strength and courage. Such courage can take the form of independence and self-sufficiency, sometimes to the extreme of stubbornness, and strength of character or ego-strength, sometimes to the extreme of arrogance.

11. Acceptance: the positive attitude. We give up being critical, skeptical and judgmental, instead allowing experience to flow in around us.

12. Trust vs. trying, controlling, striving. One rests in a basic trust in the self and in the world, giving up the attempt to control and dominate. Maslow offers some examples of experiences that require a relaxed "letting things happen" approach rather than trying, straining and controlling: giving birth, floating in water, urination, defecation, sleeping, and sexual surrender.

13. Taoistic receptivity. An attitude of receptivity and noninterference is evident, of respectful attention and acceptance of things "as they are". This attitude applies to a problem or obstacle, to available resources, to any situation encountered, or to other people. It amounts to an eagerness for things to unfold as they will, according to their innate nature, without being manipulated or forced.

14. Integration of the B-cognizer (vs. dissociation). In the act of creating, or experiencing peak moments, one tends to be whole, integrated, all of a piece. "Here-now-allness is less dissociated (split) and more one" (p. 66).

15. Permission to dip into primary process. Primary process (poetic, metaphoric, mystic, primitive, archaic, childlike) allows access to recovery of aspects of the unconscious, liberating the person from the limitations of the conscious, analytic, rational intellect.

16. Aesthetic perceiving rather than abstracting. This form of perceiving is an attitude of noninterfering savoring, nonintruding appreciation, which keeps one from confusing the map for the territory. "For many confused scientists and philosophers, the equation, the concept, or the blueprint have become more real than the phenomenological reality itself" (p. 67).

17. Fullest spontaneity. Our capabilities adapt to the changing situation quickly, effortlessly, and flexibly just as fine dancers mutually adapt to each other, or as water flows into cracks and contours.

18. Fullest expressiveness (of uniqueness). Without effortful striving, the only determinant of outcome is the deepest-level intrinsic nature of the person and the interacting environment together, forming a fusion.

19. Fusion of the Person with the World. Maslow quotes Hokusai: "If you want to draw a bird, you must become a bird" (p. 68).

Maslow (1994/1970) eventually began to distinguish transcending self-actualizing individuals, described as exhibiting "unitive perception," or the "fusion of the eternal with the temporal, the sacred with the profane" (p. 79) from what he called nontranscending self-actualizers (1971). He described such people as "more essentially practical, realistic, mundane, capable, and secular people, living more in the here and now world ... 'doers' rather than meditators or contemplators, effective and pragmatic rather than aesthetic, reality-testing and cognitive rather than emotional and experiencing" (p. 281). Due to this observation, in his unpublished critique of self-actualization theory (1996), Maslow thought that "self-actualization is not enough" (p. 31) for a full picture of the optimally functioning human being.

Paradoxically, Maslow began to recognize that peak experiences often led the self-actualizing individual to transcend the personal concerns of the very self that was being actualized. "The goal of identity (self-actualization ...) seems to be simultaneously an end-goal in itself, and also a transitional goal, a rite of passage, a step along the path to the transcendence of identity. This is like saying its function is to erase itself. Put the other way around, if our goal is the Eastern one of ego-transcendence and obliteration, of leaving behind self-consciousness and self-observation, ... then it looks as if the best path to this goal for most people is via achieving identity, a strong real self, and via basic-need-gratification" (Maslow, 1999/1961, p. 125). In an essay titled Theory Z (1971b), Maslow wrote
   I have recently found it more and more useful to differentiate
   between two kinds (or better, degrees) of self-actualizing people,
   those who were clearly healthy, but with little or no experiences
   of transcendence, and those in whom transcendent experiencing was
   important and even central. As examples of the former kind of
   health, I may cite Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, and, probably, Truman
   and Eisenhower. As examples of the latter, I can use Aldous Huxley,
   and probably Sehweitzer, Buber, and Einstein.

   ... I am more likely to find cognizing of transcendence not only in
   self-actualizing but also in highly creative or talented people, in
   highly intelligent people, in very strong characters, in powerful
   and responsible leaders and managers, in exceptionally good
   (virtuous) people and in "heroic" people who have overcome
   adversity and who have been strengthened by it rather than weakened
   (pp. 270-271 ).


Maslow (1971) began referring to optimal psychological health and growth as becoming "fully human," and to neurosis as "human diminution," where "the key concept is the loss or not yet-actualization of human capacities and possibilities" (1971, p. 29). He called the realm of motivation beyond the self-actualizing level, "Being-cognition," or "B-cognition" for short. He recognized the distinction more and more clearly as he aged, and by 1967 he wrote in his personal journal that "people in the B-realm using B-language, the awakened, the illuminated, the 'high-plateau' people who normally B-cognize and who have the B-values very firmly and actively in hand--even tho [sic] not consciously .... There are plenty of "healthy" people & even self-actualizing people.., who are far from B-realm and from unitive perception" (Maslow, 1979, Vol. 2, pp. 794-795). Maslow went on to use the examples of Presidents Eisenhower and Truman as self-actualizing persons but who are not operating in the B-realm. He spoke of "the difference between Eisenhower-Truman SA [self-actualizing] and the health-beyond-health of the B-person. The B-person may be more symptom-loaded and have more value pathology than the symptom-free 'healthies.' Maybe one is symptom-free only by virtue of not knowing or caring about the B-realm, never having experienced the B-realm in the highest peaks (now that must be changed also; must separate Eisenhower-Truman-type peaks from those with full cognition of the B-realm)" (1979, Vol. 2, pp. 798-799). Of the transcending self-actualizers, Maslow said they
   may be said to be much more often aware of the realm of Being
   (B-realm and B-cognition), to be living at the level of Being; that
   is, of ends, of intrinsic values; to be more obviously
   metamotivated; to have unitive consciousness and "plateau
   experience" (Asrani) more or less often; and to have or have had
   peak experiences (mystic, sacral, ecstatic) with illuminations or
   insights or cognitions which changed their view of the world and of
   themselves, perhaps occasionally, perhaps as a usual thing (1971,
   p. 271).


"Here Maslow made an important distinction: one could be self-actualizing and 'healthy,' yet still not experience Being-cognition, which characterizes certain peak/ mystical/ transcendent experiences" (Koltko-Rivera, 2006, p. 305). He made a second observation that is perhaps even more unexpected: the individual who has entered the "health-beyond-health" of the B-realm may, in fact, display more pathological or dysfunctional symptoms than one who is operating at the non-transcending self-actualizing level. Maslow referred to value pathologies, what he also called metapathologies, which are the spiritual-existential ailments of cynicism, apathy, boredom, loss of zest, despair, hopelessness, a sense of powerlessness, and nihilism (Hoffman, 1996, p. 206). Observable mental health may or may not correlate directly with advanced levels of ego development.

As we review the stages of adult ego development, we will take notice of the tendencies toward health-beyond-health, balanced and integrated emotional, cognitive, and behavioral functioning; and the tendencies toward imbalanced, nonintegrated functioning, the metapathologies. Loevinger (1968) certainly recognized the same truth, saying that "... ego development is a dimension conceptually distinct from the health-illness dimension" (p. 170). There is a distinct correlation between the types of psychopathology and level of ego development, and between choice of treatment modality and level of ego development, to be discussed later in this article.

Maslow (1971) spoke about the defenses against growth which keep so many of us from actualizing our full potential despite the impulse in all of us toward self-actualization, or full humanness. One defense Maslow labeled the "fear of one's own greatness" or the "evasion of one's destiny" or the "running away from one's own best talents." He also called this defense the Jonah complex because of the way that Jonah tried, in vain, to run away from his fate. "We fear our highest possibilities (as well as our lowest ones). We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments, under the most perfect conditions" (p. 34). Maslow suggests that the Jonah complex is understandable in light of the justified fear of being torn apart, of losing control, of being shattered and disintegrated, even of being killed by the experience. That is, the peak experience must be climactic and momentary due to its intensity, but it can give way to nonecstatic serenity, to B-cognition. He also suggests that such "voluntary self-crippling" is a defense against grandiosity, arrogance, sinful pride, hubris. To invent or create, to step into one's own greatness, one must have the "arrogance of creativeness." But if one has only the arrogance without an offsetting humility, then one becomes paranoid, bringing down on oneself the evil eye. Maslow uses Aldous Huxley as an example of someone who accepted his talents and used them to the full, while looking out at the world with wide eyes, with unabashed innocence, awe and fascination, "which is a kind of admission of smallness, a form of humility" (p. 38). This sense of humility is another foundational ingredient of higher stages of human development; it activates self-transcendence, or transcending the ego.

Maslow had pioneered humanistic psychology as a distinct approach within the field of psychology, and now during the final three years of his life he recognized a newly defined transpersonal psychology as a separate force, differing from the humanistic approach as self-transcendence differs from self-actualization. He variously conceptualized self-transcendence as seeking a benefit beyond the purely personal; seeking communion with the transcendent, perhaps through mystical or transpersonal experiences; identifying with something greater than the purely individual self, often engaging in service to others. Maslow modified his motivational model, the hierarchy of needs, to reflect this additional level of development. "The earlier model positions the highest form of motivational development at the level of the well-adjusted, differentiated, and fulfilled individual self or ego. The later model places the highest form of human development at a transpersonal level, where the self/ego and its needs are transcended" (Koltko-Rivera, 2006, p. 306).

This progression can be understood through Loevinger's (1976) invocation of the central role freedom has in any process of development: "personality develops by acquiring successive freedoms. There is, first, freedom from impulses through the assimilation of culture, social expectations, and conventions. Later, there starts a continuing struggle to secure some freedom from conventions and social pressures" (p. 46). In Escape from Freedom, Erich Fromm (1941) refers to the same central role of freedom, viewing it as an existential choice, however, more than a developmental sequence. As a child emerges from symbiotic dependence on his mother, he achieves freedom from imposed restraint. He has more choices, and is potentially more adventurous in making them. The choice comes down to either slipping into automatic conformity or becoming a truly autonomous individual. "In the former case he becomes an authoritarian character or a potential one. In the latter case, becoming autonomous, he achieves freedom to choose his style of life" (Loevinger, 1976, p. 91). In time we will suggest that freedom (freedom from as well as freedom to) is one of the foundational ingredients of higher stages of human development.

Self-transcendence, or transcending the ego, needs to be carefully defined in order to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Aspiring to more mature stages of adult development does not require abandoning the ego or "killing" it. And yet, as Maslow observed, "its function is to erase itself." Transformational development may be observed as "operating in different ways on many distinctive facets of the ego, promoting change and development within the ego, rather than beyond it. This view requires that the ego be understood as a complex and sophisticated matrix of structures, functions and representations, rather than as a single entity that could be readily abandoned. It recognizes the indispensability of the ego while at the same time revealing how meditation practice can uniquely modify it, producing an ego no longer obsessed with its own solidity" (Epstein, 1988, p. 62). The self-concept "becomes increasingly differentiated, fragmented, elusive and ultimately transparent" (p. 62). The highly developed ego, through its transparency to itself, is able to achieve a "therapeutic split" (Engler, 1983, p. 48), becoming both subject and object, observer and observed, a witness to the dynamic flow of psychic events. This "witness consciousness" and the self-transcendence upon which it is based are also foundational ingredients of higher stages of human development.

Finally, Maslow (1971b, pp. 273-285) compiled a set of qualities that distinguish transcending self-actualizers from nontranscending self-actualizers. We present here a summary of characteristics of transcending self-actualizers, or transcenders.

1. For the transcenders, peak experiences and plateau experiences become the most important things in their lives, the most precious aspect of life.

2. They speak naturally and unconsciously the language of Being (B-language), the language of poets, of mystics, of seers, of profoundly religious men, of men who live under the aspect of eternity, the language of parable and paradox.

3. They perceive unitively the sacred within the secular, i.e., the sacredness in all things at the same time that they also see them at the practical, everyday level. This ability is in addition to--not mutually exclusive with--good reality testing.

4. They are much more consciously and deliberately metamotivated by the values of perfection, truth, beauty, goodness, unity, dichotomy-transcendence.

5. They seem somehow to recognize each other, and to come to almost instant intimacy and mutual understanding even upon first meeting.

6. They are more responsive to beauty, or rather they tend to beautify all things.

7. They are more holistic about the world than are the "healthy" or practical self-actualizers (who are also holistic in this same sense). Mankind is one, and such limiting concepts as the "national interest" or "the religion of my fathers" or "different grades of people or of IQ" either cease to exist or are easily transcended.

8. Overlapping this statement of holistic perceiving is a strengthening of the self-actualizer's natural tendency to synergy--intrapsychic, interpersonal, intracultural.

9. They transcend the ego (the Self, the identity) more often and more easily.

10. Not only are such people lovable, but they are also more awe-inspiring, more "unearthly, more easily revered." They more often produced in Maslow the thought, "This is a great man."

11. Transcenders are far more apt to be innovators, discovers of the new, of what actually could be, what exists in potential.

12. They can be more ecstatic, more rapturous than the happy and healthy ones, yet maybe more prone to a kind of cosmic-sadness over the stupidity of people, their self-defeat, their blindness, their cruelty to each other, their shortsightedness.

13. Transcenders can more easily live in both the D- and B- realms (Deficit and Being realms) simultaneously than can the merely healthy self-actualizers because they can sacralize everybody so much more easily. The way of phrasing this paradox that Maslow found useful is this: The factually "superior" transcending self-actualizer acts always to the factually "inferior" person as to a brother, a member of the family who must be loved and cared for no matter what he does because he is after all a member of the family.

14. Peak-experiencers and transcenders in particular, as well as self-actualizers in general, find mystery is attractive and challenging rather than frightening. In contrast, most people pursue knowledge to lessen mystery and thereby reduce anxiety. The self-actualizer is apt to be bored by what is well known, however useful this knowledge may be, and encountering new knowledge to be awed before the tremendousness of the universe. At the highest levels of development of humanness, knowledge leads to a sense of mystery, awe, humility, ultimate ignorance, and reverence.

15. Transcenders are less afraid of "nuts" and "kooks" than are other self-actualizers, and are also more able to screen out the apparent nuts and kooks who are not creative contributors.

16. Transcenders tend to be more "reconciled with evil" in the sense of understanding its occasional inevitability and necessity in the larger holistic sense. Since this implies a better understanding of apparent evil, it generates both a greater compassion with it and a less ambivalent and more decisive, more unyielding fight against it.

17. Transcenders are more apt to regard themselves as carriers of talent, instruments of the transpersonal, temporary custodians so to speak of a greater intelligence or skill or leadership or efficiency. This means a certain particular kind of objectivity or detachment toward themselves that to nontranscenders might sound like arrogance, grandiosity, or even paranoia. Transcendence brings with it a "transpersonal" loss of ego.

18. Transcenders are more apt to be profoundly "religious" or "spiritual" in either the theistic or nontheistic sense, excluding their historical, conventional, superstitious, institutional meanings.

19. Transcenders find it easier to transcend the ego, the self, the identity, i.e., to go beyond self-actualization. Nontranscending self-actualizers are primarily strong identities, people who know who they are, where they are going, what they want, what they are good for, using themselves well and authentically and in accordance with their own true nature. Transcenders are certainly this; but they are also more than this.

20. Transcenders, because of their easier perception of the B-realm, have more end experiences than their more practical brothers do, more of the fascinations that we see in children who get hypnotized by the colors in a puddle, or by raindrops dripping down a windowpane, or by the smoothness of skin, or the movements of a caterpillar.

21. Transcenders are somewhat more Taoistic; the merely healthy somewhat more pragmatic. B-cognition makes everything look more miraculous, more perfect, just as it should be. It therefore breeds less impulse to do anything to the object that is fine just as it is, less needing improvement, or intruding upon.

22. "Postambivalence" tends to be more characteristic of all self-actualizers and perhaps a little more so in transcenders. This concept from Freudian theory means total wholehearted and unconflicted love, acceptance, expressiveness, rather than the more usual mixture of love and hate that passes for "love" or friendship or authority.

23. With increasing maturity of character, higher forms of reward and metareward other than money and acknowledgment steadily increase in importance, while money is recognized as a symbol for status, success, and self-esteem with which to win love, admiration, and respect.

Mark McCaslin (2008) proposes that as individuals ascend along Maslow's hierarchy of needs, elevating themselves from the Deficiency domain toward the Being domain, they also grow in their capacity for healthy and fulfilling relationships with others. Refer to Figure 1 below. His first three levels of interaction are the self-actional, intra-actional, and inter-actional levels. These levels of relationships exist primarily within the deficiency needs domain and can be looked at as developmental constructs and as potential barriers to growth and development.

The self-actional person's rationale for existence is survival and personal gain ("Looking out for Number 1"). Personal power is based on intimidation, deception, manipulation, and coercion. Individuals at the intra-actional level of functioning are growing in terms of self-esteem and seeking a greater understanding of their value. They are captivated by new self-awareness, and are open to growing and developing. Inter-actional relationships tend to be polarized ("I'm right, you're wrong" or "I win, you lose").

The fourth level of human interaction is the transactional. It is predominately represented by Maslow's self-actualizing individual ("I can win only if you also can win"). This person seeks truth through understanding and synergy with others, and often cycles between enhanced growth, plateau experiences, and the despair of failure.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The fifth and transformational level of human interaction is largely an expression of Maslow's metamotivational domain, seeking to create constructive change in one's life, community, and environment.

The sixth and final level of relationship is represented by the transpersonal frontiers, ego-transcendence, the full actualization of human potential. This individual cultivates potential selves and potential futures with purposeful action, and focuses on assembling and disseminating a collective wisdom.

We now look briefly at a concept related to ego transcendence, namely openness to experience or openness to change. What is openness to experience? Carl Rogers (1951, 1961) uses the phrase open to experience to indicate one of the chief characteristics of the "fully functioning" person. For Rogers, openness is the ability to symbolize in awareness all aspects of experience, in particular one's own affective reactions to events. He thus characterized the open person by a rich variety of accessible feelings and emotions.

Many of the descriptors of high ego level functioning (Loevinger & Wessler, 1970) resemble attributes of open individuals; namely, self-evaluated standards, toleration, concern for communication, differentiated feelings, psychological causation of behavior, conceptual complexity, broad scope, and toleration for ambiguity. Indeed, ego level, representing successive degrees of complexity and sophistication in the organization of experience, is significantly related to 7 of 10 measures of openness to experience (McCrae & Costa, 1980). These seven measures include aesthetics, actions, ideas, liberal thinking, and values. Of these, the strongest correlation is with values; the conclusion that higher ego level individuals have less dogmatic values is strengthened by the positive correlation with liberal thinking and the negative correlation with traditional family ideology, a measure of authoritarian attitudes in the family. Style of making value judgments is central to the definition of ego levels.

Recent research (Kramer, 2000) documents the correlation between openness and wisdom. Indeed, "openness to experience is the most frequent predictor of wisdom" (p. 83). Openness and ego level are not one in the same, however; openness tends to increase with ego level, but so does cognitive capacity, interpersonal maturity, impulse control, and motivational attributes.

Shalom Schwartz (Smith & Schwartz, 1997) has conducted research involving values with individuals from more than 50 countries. Schwartz has found that 10 motivationally distinct types of values are empirically organized into two bipolar dimensions: Openness to Change versus Conservation, and Self-Enhancement versus Self-Transcendence. In Schwartz's research, the Self-Transcendence pole reflects values promoting (1) universalism, i.e., understanding, tolerance and protection for the welfare of all people and nature (p. 86); and (2) benevolence, i.e., preserving and enhancing the welfare of people to whom one is close (p. 86). We will return to these attributes of developmentally advanced values again in our exploration of commonalities among people who have advanced to the level that Maslow called the Being-realm.

Quantifying ego development

The measure of ego development (Hy & Loevinger, 1996) has been described as "one of the most comprehensive constructs in the field of personality development" (Westenberg & Block, 1993, p. 792). Higher levels of ego development have been related to changes over time in levels of responsibility, tolerance, and achievement via independence (Helson & Roberts, 1994) as well as to ego resiliency and interpersonal integrity, but not to self-ease (Westenberg & Block, 1993).

Jane Loevinger has devoted her career to studying and developing a theory of Ego Development and creating a measurement of it. Loevinger (1969) said, "The striving to master, to integrate, to make sense of experience is not one ego function among many but the essence of the ego" (p. 85). Loevinger's notion of the ego as a self's "guiding fiction" is adapted from Alfred Adler (Loevinger, 1976, p. 9).

There are three central tenets of her theory: the unitary nature of the ego, the ego representing an integration of diverse personality characteristics (cognitive functioning, personal and interpersonal awareness, and character development), and the sequentiality of ego stages (albeit possible to reverse the sequence). According to Manners and Durkin (2001),
      Loevinger (1976, 1997) described four domains as representative
   and inextricably interwoven aspects of the ego: character
   development, cognitive style, interpersonal style, and conscious
   preoccupations. Character development incorporates impulse control
   and moral development in terms of the basis for moral behavior and
   the types of moral concerns. Cognitive style represents level of
   conceptual complexity and cognitive development. Interpersonal
   style represents the attitude toward interpersonal relationships
   and the other person, the understanding of relationships, and the
   preferred type of relationship. Conscious preoccupations refer to
   the predominant foci of the person's conscious thoughts and
   behavior, such as conformity to social rules, responsibility, and
   independence.

      The concept of a 'developing' ego refers to the progressive
   redefinition or reorganization of the self in relation to the
   social and physical environment and is conceptualized in terms of
   developmental change in the four domains described previously
   (Loevinger, 1976, 1997). For example, the character development
   moves from being impulsive and fearful of punishment by others if
   caught doing wrong (lower ego stages) to self-regulation and
   internalized standards (higher ego stages). The cognitive style
   develops from conceptual simplicity at the lower stages to
   conceptual complexity and tolerance for ambiguity at the higher
   stages. The interpersonal style develops from an exploitive
   approach at the lower stages to a respectful interdependent
   approach at the higher stages. The conscious concerns develop from
   bodily feelings and self-protection at the lower stages to
   affective differentiation, individuality, and communication at the
   higher stages." (p. 542)


In general, ego development is characterized by increasing flexibility; recognition and acceptance of internal contradictions; a broader and more complex understanding of the self, others, and the self in relation to others; internalized self-control and emotional self-regulation. However, the nature of the relation between ego development and intelligence remains unclear. Research has not resolved whether the relation between intelligence and ego development remains the same through all the ego stages or whether higher levels of intelligence are necessary for, or facilitate, higher ego stages.

Table 1 below summarizes Loevinger's stages of ego development (adapted from Hy & Loevinger, 1996; Loevinger, 1976; Loevinger & Wessler, 1970; Loevinger et al., 1970), and correlates them with Maslow's (1971) hierarchy of needs.

The first three stages (presocial, impulsive, and self-protective) are considered preconventional developmental stages; the next three (conformist, self-aware, and conscientious) are labeled conventional; those beyond the conscientious stage (individualistic, autonomous, and integrated) are considered postconventional.

At the preconventional and conventional stages (which together include over 90% of people in Western nations) people operate from their social programming, use conventional linear thinking, and create an increasingly solid independent sense of self. One's goal is to learn to operate ever more effectively in the world. Progress is defined as being more in charge of one's life by learning how to predict, measure, and explain the world. These stages are about increased differentiation; in other words, the creation of an increasingly solid and separate sense of self.

When, or if, people enter the postconventional stages, the Individualist and beyond, they begin to move toward greater integration. They more and more recognize their connection with others rather than their individual separateness, gravitating ultimately toward experiencing "oneness with everything." Because everything exists in the context of relationship to everything else, there is a new recognition that nothing is absolute or fixed, which in turn leads to questioning the fundamental assumptions of the previous stages.

It is vital to recognize, however, that human beings are not so simple as to operate uniformly at one stage of development, regardless of external circumstance, level of current life stress, or availability of personal and social support. According to Maureen Metcalf (2008),
   Many people have a center of gravity with about 25% of their scores
   at the level below. This reflects where they are consolidating into
   the center of gravity. Additionally, they generally have about 25%
   of their answers at the level above their center of gravity.
   Answers above their center of gravity reflect their growing
   edge.... Leading edge represents the areas where one is developing
   toward a later developmental level while lagging edge represents
   the areas one is consolidating from earlier developmental levels.


The warrior within--and we all have one--when preoccupied with survival and motivated by fear and greed is probably tyrannical or cowering. At higher stages of development, that same warrior spirit, more mature and motivated by altruism, is probably compassionately competitive and protective. The innocent within--and we all have one of these, too--grows from naive gullibility to mystical "crazy wisdom" or "the fool on the hill." Yet one's lagging edge may act to restrain the natural growth process.

A corollary to this process of evolution of traits is that character traits can be held ransom in arrested development by one's unresolved shadow aspects, in spite of the individual's general accelerated stage of ego development. Due to unconscious self-sabotage, someone assessed to be at a higher developmental stage may actually operate in his/her life at a lower level of success than another person assessed to be at a lower stage.
   For example, we offer a module on personal shadow, and what we
   began to notice is that on a general level some of those who tested
   at the Achiever level had less capacity to really grasp and grapple
   with blind spots or shadow. However, through time we began to see
   that those at the Achiever stage who had engaged in some kind of
   awareness practice through the years tended to have greater
   capacities to face shadow material than those who did not. At the
   Achiever stage looking for one's blind spots is not ordinarily a
   focus; however, with the support of their past awareness practices
   Achievers seemed to be able to grasp their own projections,
   introjections, projective identifications and splitting much easier
   than those who hadn't had an awareness practice" (O'Fallon, 2007).


Thus, stages of ego development usually elevate our personal qualities to higher purposes, yet they can be sabotaged by shadow aspects of self. Awareness practices are the surest method of bringing the lagging parts of self along to allow for optimal functioning.

Loevinger (e.g., 1976; Loevinger & Wessler, 1970; Hy & Loevinger, 1996) described Ego Development as the level of complexity with which the person is able to conceive of and experience himself or herself and the world. The ego is the organizer of experience. Her Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT: Loevinger, 1985) is a widely used measure of developmental differences; it assesses ego development--encompassing impulse control, character development, conscious preoccupations, cognitive complexity, and interpersonal style.

The WUSCT formal evaluation of stages of ego development considers cognitive, affective, and behavioral factors. The behavioral component looks at what adults see as the purpose of life, what needs they act upon, and what ends they are moving towards. The affective component deals with emotions and the experience of being in this world. The cognitive component addresses the question of how a person thinks about himself or herself and the world.

Ego development appears to stop or slow dramatically after adolescence, usually by about 18 years of age (Adams & Fitch, 1982; Kitchener et al., 1984). William James (1981/1890) said, "In most of us, by the age of thirty, the character has set like plaster, and will. never soften again" (p. 126). And based on their research, Costa and McCrae (1994) say that "Somewhere between age 21 and age 30 personality appears to take its final, fully developed form.... Helson and Moane (1987, p. 179) reported that 'age 27 seems to have been at or near a watershed' in personality development. James's observation has considerable empirical support" (p. 34). According to Chandler and associates (2005):
      Investigators do not know why development appears to cease
   relatively early in adult life; nor do they know what experiences
   promote postconventional development among adults (Cohn, 1998).
   Interventions expected to promote maturity (e.g., special academic
   curriculum) have at best resulted in modest developmental gains
   among initially low scoring participants, usually at the Conformist
   level (e.g. Hurt, 1977; Locke & Zimmerman, 1987; Loxley & Whiteley,
   1986). Growth is not usually observed among participants at the
   Conscientious level or above. For instance, nurses at or above the
   Conscientious level either stayed the same or decreased on ego
   development during an advanced two-year training program, whereas
   gains were much more frequent among participants starting at lower
   points (White, 1985) (pp. 95-96).

      Alexander et al. (1990) propose that a systematic practice for
   experiencing transcendence may be fundamental for "unfreezing"
   development so that postconventional levels can be attained (p.
   97).


Following are some general research findings regarding higher stages of ego development. Having an open-minded, unconventional approach to beliefs and values is associated with higher levels of ego development (McCrae & Costa, 1980). Tolerance, defined as being nonjudgmental toward the beliefs and values held by others, is also associated with higher ego development (Helson & Roberts, 1994; White, 1985). Appreciation of artistic and cultural products and activities is associated with higher ego development (Westenberg & Block, 1993).

Individuals at the higher ego levels tend to be open to unfamiliar ways of thinking, have the capacity to process information in new and complex ways, and generate original ideas (Helson & Roberts, 1994).

Westenberg and Block (1993) showed that psychological mindedness (introspectiveness, self-knowledge, and a general awareness and examination of motives in self and others) increased with ego level, as does resiliency (defined broadly as the capacity for flexible and resourceful adaptation to internal and external stressors). Those higher in ego level also tended to have a more internal locus of control (White, 1985). Individuals at higher ego levels have a greater capacity to form and maintain intimate relationships with others (Carlozzi et al., 1983; Westenberg & Block, 1993).

Adults at the higher ego levels, especially women, were shown to behave in ways that do not conform to traditional gender roles (White, 1985; Helson & Roberts, 1994; Helson & Wink, 1987). It seems that a hallmark of high ego development is an integration of both masculine and feminine strengths: "Self-development at higher levels apparently goes hand in hand with an awareness of emotional interdependence and granting of appropriate autonomy to others as well as to self. If this seems a complex blend of caring and autonomy,... it is precisely this complexity that the individual at higher ego levels is successfully mastering" (White, 1985, p. 572). More evidence for this integration of masculine and feminine characteristics comes from McAdams et al. (1986), who showed that ego level was related to having both instrumental and interpersonal goals.

It should be noted that Noam (1988, 1993) and Labouvie-Vief (1993; Labouvie-Vief & Diehl, 1998) have questioned the unitary nature of Loevinger's (1976) conception of the ego, arguing that it attempts to combine into a single construct two independent though interacting dimensions: self-complexity, which is a predominantly cognitive process, and self-integration, which is a predominantly affective and interpersonal process. The current authors suggest a resolution to this question, to be explored further in the next section. We suggest that the separate function of self-integration actually involves two other intrapsychic realms in addition to that of the ego, namely soul embodiment and spirit realization. Thus, we will define more closely the idea underlying self-integration, i.e., ego transcendence: "what" is being transcended, and "where" is transcendence experienced?

The three realms: soul embodiment, ego growth, spirit realization

We have been focused on the realm of ego development; however, that is only one of three primary realms of human development. They are ego growth, soul embodiment, and spirit realization (Plotkin, 2003). These realms are based on the three worlds within which we live: the underworld, the middle world, and the upper world, i.e., Roberto Assagioli's (1971) conception of the Lower Unconscious, Middle Unconscious, and the Higher Unconscious. The underworld and the upper world both represent spiritual dimensions of human life, what Viktor Frankl (1997) called the "spiritual unconscious" (a full discussion of this topic can be found in Hartman & Zimberoff, 2008). Aspects of ourselves develop in each of these worlds, and a discussion of the higher levels of human development must include all three.

The upper world, or higher unconscious, is the realm of spirit. The aspect of a human being that exists and grows here is the transcendent self, the vibrant spring of life energy that embodies us from above. The upper world is the realm of the sun, of Father Sky, who inspires and contains us, to which we feel called to ascend. For models of spiritual development or transformation, we look to:

* The Higher Stages of Human Development by Charles Alexander and colleagues (1990)

* The research summarized by Cassandra Vieten and associates (2005) related to a variety of religious, spiritual, and modern transformative traditions.

The underworld, or lower unconscious, is the realm of soul. The aspect of a human being that exists and grows here is the essential self, the wild and natural self, the unique and yet intimately interconnected self. It is here in the underworld that we tap into the vast collective life experience, merge with ancient ancestors and future descendents, accept our kinship with animals and trees, birds and ocean. Here stand our deepest beliefs, our intrinsic values, and our noetic knowing. The underworld is the realm of the moon, darkness, of fertile Mother Earth who impassions and nurtures us from underneath, to which we feel called to descend. For models of soul embodiment we look to:

* the progression through the chakras suggested by Carl Jung (1996)

* the modern transformational use of the enneagram, especially as it is formulated by Oscar Ichazo (1982) and refined by Don Riso and Russ Hudson (2000), representing indirect descent from G. I. Gurdjieff's mystical Fourth Way.

The underworld and the upper world, nurturing Mother Earth and containing Father Sky, combine to "call into existence" a cohesive selfhood that each of us becomes (Winnicott, 1945, 1965), creating the "indwelling" psychic structure which provides an internalized sense of safety and containment.

This indwelling occurs in the middle world, the middle unconscious, the realm of the ego. The aspect of a human being that exists and grows here is the personality, the intelligences (emotional, cognitive, social, musical, somatic), the persona and shadows identified by Jung. For models of ego development we look to:

* the developmental hierarchy culminating in self-transcendence proposed by Abraham Maslow (1943, 1979), and embellished by Mark McCaslin (2008)

* the collaboration of ultraselves in consciousness and ego development proposed by Juan Pascual-Leone (1990)

* the stages of ego development proposed by Jane Loevinger (1976) and embellished by Susanne Cook-Greuter (2000)

* the work of Jack Bauer (2008) on transcending self-interest and quieting the ego.

While distinct, the three realms of human development (ego growth, soul embodiment, and spirit realization) are intricately intertwined.

In Plotkin's (2003) words,
   The shamanistic traditions of indigenous, oral cultures emphasize
   the discovery and embodiment of our unique soul, as do the
   twentieth-century depth psychologists Carl Jung, Marie-Louise von
   Franz, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, Robert Johnson, James Hollis,
   and others. In contrast, the major world religions of Hinduism,
   Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam focus upon the
   realization of--or union with--spirit, as do the theories of some
   transpersonal psychologists such as Ken Wilber, or the lessons of
   contemporary spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle (p. 31).


The primary focus of this article is on development at the ego level, although certainly soul embodiment and spirit realization contribute to growth of a healthy ego self. A basic principle of our analysis of development to higher stages of optimal functioning is that a well-rounded development in all three realms leads to becoming "fully human." Full presence in the middle realm, in one's here-and-now everyday life, allows for balanced suspension between the world above and the world below. Our truest guidance points us in both directions, with emphasis on the one in which we are weakest or least activated. Jung called this guidance anima in the psyche of males and animus in the psyche of females. Jung compared the anima and animus to the Chinese concepts of po and hun; the anima/po aspect of the male's unconscious is feminine, earthbound, sensuous, emotional; mythically at death it sinks downward to the underworld of soul. The animus/hun principle within the female's unconscious is masculine, logical, drawn to soar; mythically at death it rises upward to join with divine spirit. We are being pulled to accept balance, not just at death although metaphorically that is what it takes for most people to surrender their resistance and ascend or descend to regain balance.

Another statement of this conceptualization is offered by John Welwood (1990, pp. 146-147):
   The ancient Chinese view of yin and yang is particularly useful in
   revealing how these two energies interact in all phenomena. By
   helping us see how there are two sides to everything, it can change
   our view of masculine and feminine from oppositional to
   complementary.

      Yin is the energy of centripetal force, associated with
   inwardness, gathering together, cohesion, and relatedness. It is
   associated with the elements earth--the abundant ground that
   connects and sustains us as human beings--and water--the fluid,
   graceful mother of life. Like the generous, accommodating earth, yin
   nurtures the ripening of individual beings. Whether we are male or
   female, we can find sustenance in this power of connectedness. Its
   mature expression is earth wisdom or "old yin"--a seasoned
   knowledge that comes from working with things from the ground up.
   When we are in touch with this quality, we are not afraid to be
   ourselves. We can take our seat on this earth without apology or
   pretense, drawing on a power that comes to us from the depths. If
   we ignore this deep earthbody-wisdom and live mainly in our busy
   minds, we tend to shrivel up.

      Yang is the principle of centrifugal force, separation, and
   individuation. Like a rocket exerting tremendous force to break
   away from earth's gravity, yang is the power that propels our
   development as individuals. It is associated with the expansive
   elements, air and fire. Yang is the energy of fertilizing,
   initiating, and executing. It is piercing, penetrating, and
   arousing, like thunder and lightning. And its mature expression is
   heaven wisdom: the ability to expand beyond narrow viewpoints and
   to see one's life in larger cosmic perspective. While yin governs
   coming together, yang governs moving apart. These two poles of
   human relationships are the basic principles governing all
   interactions in the universe.


When we are "up to our necks in alligators" in the middle world, the downward-pointing eros descent to the underworld looks to be a detour, indeed an impediment to our desired progress upward closer to spirit, just as the upward-pointing logos ascent to the upper world seems to be a distraction. From an objective point of view, however, the obstacle becomes an opening, the means by which we gain access to our descent and ascent. In Joseph Campbell's words (1991), "everything in your life that seems to be obstructive can be transformed by your recognizing that it is the means for your transition" (p. 155).

It is our growth work that brings to conscious recognition, and thus transforms, the distorted caricatures of denied anima/animus impulses into healthy healing archetypal guides. That hard work can come through psychotherapy, spiritual practices, and/or profoundly challenging hardship. It may be the devastating loss of a loved one, of a home or prominent position or personal health. One way or another, most of us need to be pushed by threat of upheaval as well as pulled by the promise of becoming fully human. Only then are we willing to follow our guidance upward and downward to finally achieve wholeness, acceptance of all the disparate aspects of ourselves. Jung said late in his life that he no longer had conversations with the anima because he had learned to understand and accept the contents of his unconscious (196 l a, p. 188). Freed from distorting emotions, he no longer needed a push to descend and ascend, no longer needed a mediator to help him communicate with the images of his unconscious.

The archaic feminine is Jung's anima, yoga's Shakti Kundalini, Native American's White Buffalo Calf Woman. She is the tantalizing temptress within the male psyche, taunting, cajoling, beckoning him to surrender logos and immerse in ritual, intuition, intimacy, love. She calls to the female psyche, too, providing a blueprint for emulation.

The archaic masculine is Jung's animus, yoga's Shiva with whom Shakti merges, Native American's Father Sky who contains the ceremonies brought by White Buffalo Calf Woman. This all-encompassing masculine, the generative divine surround, is the paramour within the female psyche, propagator, provider, explorer, coaxing her to surrender intimate eros in order to soar in transcendent adventure. And he models mastery for the male psyche, too.

We mortally wound ourselves with unhealthy projections onto our archetypal guides. How many of us have denied and suppressed the feminine within by turning her into nun, whore, bitch or butch, and decried her absence in our life? How many of us have denied and suppressed the masculine within by turning him into beast, boy, geek or goon, and bemoaned his absence in our life?

The same trait or quality in a person's makeup will evolve in its expression over time, from immature to mature and from lopsided to balanced, as the individual grows to higher stages of development. Guidance from the archetypal forces from the under world and the upper world help to refine oneself, building on the "cards one is dealt." In other words, ego development is a process of transforming oneself from victim of fate (unavoidable, fixed, and based on the past) into master of destiny (future oriented, free, and flexible: it is our purpose) (Metzner, 1998).

The three worlds of ego growth, soul embodiment, and spirit realization are succinctly stated by Teilhard de Chardin as: "First, be. Secondly, love. Finally, worship" (1973/1966, p. 42). The Toltec traditional wisdom presented by Don Miguel Ruiz (1999) teaches a series of masteries addressing these same three realms: mastery of awareness of who we truly are; mastery of transformation to awaken from unconsciousness and become a spiritual warrior; and mastery of love to align with the Spirit of Life passing through us.

With the expanded perspective of all three realms, not limited to that of the ego, we must turn to the question of how one's point of view changes as one progresses through stages of ego development.

One's developing point of view

Although Loevinger used the term 'ego' to describe that which is developing in her assessments, she also used the term 'self' at times as a synonym (Loevinger, 1976, 1987). Loevinger derived this notion of ego or self as a frame of reference or map for understanding oneself and the interpersonal world largely from Harry Stack Sullivan's (1953) description of the self-system as "a filtering process people use to maintain some stability to their self-representations and to their moods. This process filters out information that is too threatening or discrepant, and provides an organization to perceptions of the self and others" (Westen, 1998, pp. 64-65). Such a filtering process necessarily operates differently under various external conditions, e.g., filtering out more in response to stress or threat, less in situations of trustful intimacy.

Subsumed under the one concept of ego are both the perceptions and the organization of those perceptions. Yet Loevinger (1976) insisted that "There is just one dimension," which she called ego. We will look more carefully now at the frame of reference, or map, as a relationship between these two subsumed aspects.

We all experience ourselves as both an object and as a subject, as a 'me' and an 'I'. McAdams (1998) explains it well:
   The ego, or I, is the process of "selfing," of apprehending
   subjective experience and making something out of it. The most
   cherished thing selfing makes is the Me, the self-as-object, the
   concept of the self that is recognized and reflected upon by the !.
   Thus, as [William] James suggested, the duplex self is both I
   (process) and Me (product). The ego is the I part. The ego reflects
   upon the Me. The ego knows the Me. The ego synthesizes the Me out
   of experience. The ego makes the Me.... Furthermore, positioning
   the ego in this way sheds considerable light on both the structure
   of personality and its development over time. (pp. 29-30)


The I-self has been called the existential self, experiencing self, or implicit self. The Me-self has been called the categorical self, the empirical self, the object of consciousness, the explicit self, self-perceptions or most commonly the self-concept (Jacobs et al., 2003). Beyond that "split" ordinary adult ego structure lies a potential and optional advanced ego, which we might call the transcendental ego or ultraself (Pascual-Leone, 1990). It is extremely useful to acknowledge that the ego actually makes many Me's (Damon & Hart, 1988; Harter, 1998), contained within what we are calling the "ego realm" or what Jung called the "ego complex." Each Me may fall within the general category of the ego's personas and shadows. James Hillman (2000) describes the process as building the me's out of accumulated spare parts from here and there, with the 'I' determining whether to reject a given constructed me or not just as the body's immune system decides whether to reject an organ transplant or a skin graft. In Everyday Zen (2007), Charlotte Joko Beck relates an old koan about a monk who went to his master and said, "I'm a very angry person, and I want you to help me." The master said, "Show me your anger." The monk said, "Well, right now I'm not angry. I can't show it to you." And the master said, "then obviously it's not you, since sometimes it's not even there." Who we are has many faces, but these faces are not who we are.

I may not know who I am (i.e., the many faces of me), but I always know that I am (i.e., the I, the self-as-subject). The 'me' is built out of parts from here and there; e.g., introjects from parents or early authorities, social and cultural norms. The T is an enduring presence with "subject permanence" (Alexander et al., 1990, p. 314) that ultimately accepts or rejects the imported parts. The 'I' is equivalent to the body's immune system when presented with an organ transplant or a skin graft, it has the capacity to discern what is native essence and what is foreign, to claim the former and to reject the latter. As ego development progresses, defining the object me becomes less important and transcending the object me (immersion in the subject I) becomes the focus. Recall Maslow's (1971a) reference to what he called self-forgetfulness in moments of peak experience, i.e., becoming less dissociated than usual into a self-observing ego and an experiencing ego.

Higher stages of ego development bring a predictable change in the relationship between the subject and object and how their developmental trajectories interrelate. From the Impulsive to the Conscientious stages, ego development focuses on fashioning an intricately traited Me to establish exactly where the Me stands in relation to others and to support the I's striving for personal goals and individual accomplishments. Beginning with the Conscientious stage of ego development, individuals are clearly separating their Me-conceptions from the dictates of social convention. The I-perspective is truly becoming author of the me, based on internalized principles and standards. At the Individualistic level, the ego adopts a thorough "developmental" perspective on life, recognizing the me-construction as a past-present-future developmental sequence. The Autonomous stage brings an increasing tolerance for ambiguity and conflict, and a strong focus on self-fulfillment over personal achievement. The Integrated stage brings what Loevinger (1976) calls "the consolidation of identity" (p. 26); as the ego moves away from traits it moves in the direction of identity. "Thus, the ultimate psychosocial demand becomes the consolidation of identity for the storytelling I" (McAdams, 1998, p. 38).

Consolidation of identity, the current authors suggest, is a unifying of the I-perspective and the Me-conceptions; storytelling and living the story are collapsed into one smooth operation. Bringing the I and Me together is to construct one's life and to live it seamlessly, providing life with unity and purpose amid ambiguity and conflict. MacIntyre (1984) characterized self-fulfillment as living the most enriching or noble or satisfying story one can reasonably construct. This is one way to conceptualize the experience of flow, mindfulness, or the witness perspective. The ego functions to invent, experience, and narrate the story. Now the ego has expanded its perspective to incorporate not only the Middle Realm, kingdom of trait refinement and personal goals and individual accomplishments, but also the Lower Realm of soul embodiment and story creation, as well as the Higher Realm of spirit realization, story narration and enlightening "moral of the story."

Csikszentmihalyi (1993) has compiled a list of eight distinct dimensions of experience common to most people when they are thoroughly enjoying themselves, when they experience the best moments in their lives. Those eight dimensions of experience are:

1. Clear goals--an objective is distinctly defined, and immediate feedback--one knows instantly how well one is doing

2. The opportunities for acting decisively are high, and they are matched by one's perceived ability to act, i.e., personal skills

3. Action and awareness merge: one-pointedness of mind

4. Concentration on the task at hand; irrelevant worries and concerns temporarily disappear from consciousness

5. A sense of potential control

6. Loss of self-consciousness, transcendence of ego boundaries, a sense of growth and of being part of something greater than self

7. Altered sense of time, which usually seems to pass faster

8. Experience is autotelic--worth doing for its own sake.

A central key to achieving the state that Csikszentmihalyi calls flow seems to be transcendence of ego boundaries, an expansion of one's sense of self that is at the same time not self-conscious. It is a merging of the I and the Me, it is both transcendent (incorporating the upper realm) and immanent (incorporated into the lower realm). It is, in a very real sense, not conscious but rather unconscious.

Salman (2000) puts the collaborative subject/object relationship into a Jungian perspective, representing the culmination of the individuation process.
   With a willing participation in the fullness of one's life, several
   factors come to light, viewed through the prism of analytical
   psychology, as contributing to the realization of wisdom: (1) a
   lived experience of both the archaic and the creative wisdom of the
   unconscious psyche, (2) the individuation of a Self-oriented ego,
   unique but in the service of the whole personality, and connected
   to universal aspects of reality, (3) the transformation of fate
   into destiny, and (4) the capacity to marry the primordial images
   of the unconscious psyche to the rational consciousness of ego
   awareness. All of these factors come together to yield an
   experience of meaning which reaches into both subjective and
   objective dimensions of experience and reality (p. 78).


It turns out that all people experience this state everyday: in their dreams. "The secret of dreams is that subject and object are the same" (Campbell, 1991, p. 123). Not by accident did Jung refer to the Self, the unity or totality that provides a blueprint for one's optimal development, as a "dream of totality" (Serrano, 1966, p. 50). Jung (1964) said,
   The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost secret recesses
   of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long
   before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain
   psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness may extend.... All
   consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of
   that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the
   darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the
   whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all
   egohood (pp. 144-145).


Dreams may be considered the vehicle to disseminate information among the dissociated elements of the individual's personality, among the cadre of Me's (Gabel, 1989; Saley, 1988). For a much more detailed examination of the relationship of dreams to the lower, middle, and upper realms, and to the stages of ego development, refer to Hartman and Zimberoff (2008).

The transcendent function "is the psyche's capacity to create symbols that express resolution of seemingly insoluble opposites. When it is exercised this function transcends both ordinary ego awareness and unconscious complexes to arrive at a 'third' position different from the initial polarity" (Salman, 2000, p. 84). That third position is the expanded ego of which we speak, and what in the East is called the Tao, the Way, Wholeness, Primary Essence. Jung maintained, "Tao is the right way.... The middle road between opposites, freed from them and yet uniting them in itself' (1971, p. 120).

The research on spiritual transformation

While we do not consider them identical processes, we do find some confirmation of the conclusions about qualities associated with higher stages of ego development in current research on qualities associated with spiritual transformation.

Miller and C'de Baca (1994, 2001) have identified several commonalities among individuals who have experienced spiritual transformations, including release from chronic negative affect, a change in priorities and values, an increased capacity and desire for intimate relationships, and experiences of interconnection.

Cassandra Vieten and her co-authors (2005) identify predictors, mediators, outcomes, and developmental milestones that appear to be common to the process of spiritual transformation. They define transformation as a "profound shift in our human experience of consciousness that results in long-lasting shifts in worldview or ways of being and changes in the general pattern of the way one experiences and relates to oneself, others, and the world. Spiritual transformation is transformation that occurs through spiritual experience or practice" (pp. 4-5). Spiritual transformation has also been defined as a "radical reorganization of one's identity, meaning, and purpose in life" (Schwartz, 2000).

Vieten et al. speak of transformation as a turning of attention and a redirecting of intention that shifts the entire landscape and one's trajectory through it. Common words used by research subjects to describe this shift in perspective are "opening," "a larger, wider, more inclusive and expanded depth perception," "a shift in worldview, assumptions, values, and beliefs," "a perception of vastness and being in touch with a larger consciousness," and "an expanded awareness."

Vieten's respondents reported an expanded worldview and an alteration of one's sense of self, often described as radical widening and deepening of one's personal identity. Many respondents described spiritual experiences of awakening to a witnessing self fundamentally distinct from particular thoughts, impulses, feelings, or sensations, accompanied by a feeling of being more real, more genuine, more authentically themselves. A part of many spiritual experiences involved less sense of a personal identity and a greater sense of connection to others, leading to less reactivity and judgmentalness, and a greater sense of compassion for one's own and others' failings.

Other words used to describe this shift in sense of self from a self-centered perspective to a more communal sense of self: "a deep connection with all of life," "feeling aligned with a greater force," "a deepening into the self," "less feeling of fragmentation and isolation," "a feeling of not being separate, of being interconnected," "a realization that 'I am part of a consciousness that is so much bigger'."

The most common indicator across traditions of a "transformed" person was a consistent sense of presence, an authenticity, and a lightness or ease of being, across situations. Other words used commonly to describe a transformed person were: childlike, simple, transparent, loving, wise, compassionate, patient, tolerant, forgiving, collaborative, mindful, solid, real, whole and possessing the qualities of equanimity, integrity, peace of mind, generosity and a deep acceptance of self and others as they are. Others characterized this state of being by what was not present - not ego-driven, ostentatious, achievement-oriented, narcissistic, not hiding anything, and not necessarily perfect or having everything worked out, but bearing difficulties and failings with grace and humor.

One enduring outcome commonly reported was the presence of an observing or witnessing self, described as a heightened awareness, detachment, or mindfulness, of one's experience, regardless of the content. Another commonly reported outcome that remained present in times of difficulty was an increased ability to stay open, to allow, to not attempt to avoid, contract, resist or harden in response to painful experience. An increased capacity for acceptance and compassion toward self and others in times of conflict was also a theme. An overarching theme was less reactivity to painful experience and a greater self-efficacy for coping.

Direct subjective experience is an essential element of spiritual transformation. Such noetic understanding often stimulates a shifted worldview, without need for objective confirmation. This certainty without need for confirmation is differentiated from dogmatism or fundamentalism by an accompanying sense of inclusiveness and tolerance for other worldviews - an increased capacity to hold complexities.

One essential milestone commonly described in the transformative process was the movement from "I to We." This was described as a sort of spiritual watershed, prior to which one can remain stuck in what has been termed "pseudo-enlightenment," where spiritual experience and practice is gained in service to one's narcissistic needs.

Peak experiences such as moments of insight or epiphany are often followed by plateaus. Such insights can fade quickly without the presence of a "scaffolding" for the learning process to assist with making meaning of the unfamiliar experience, such as: (1) having a language and cultural context for the experience, bringing it from unconsciousness to conscious awareness; (2) having supportive like-minded community, including contact with more experienced practitioners (also necessary for ego development); (3) encountering or intentionally placing daily reminders of the experience in one's environment, which in NLP terms are called anchors; (4) continuing to access similar teachings; or (5) expressing the insight through art, writing or other action (using the sensual alpha brain wave state as a bridge from deep subliminal theta experience to everyday mind beta experience). The process was inhibited by lack of quiet solitude, not enough time in nature, staying too busy, and too quickly returning to contexts apathetic or inimical to transformation.

We will see a pattern in which qualities associated with spiritual transformation are very similar to qualities associated with higher stages of ego development. We will also see that activities which contribute to developing and maintaining spiritual transformation are very similar to activities which contribute to developing and maintaining higher stages of ego development.

Common ingredients of higher stages of human development

One's point of view, one's frame of reference or map for understanding oneself and the interpersonal world, develops in a predictable trajectory as one progresses through the stages of ego development. We offer here our suggested compilation of qualities of that trajectory as the I and Me move toward merging. These qualities are described in the positive expression; however, as we have already discovered, each can be contaminated by an unhealthy ego, undeserving persona, or activated shadow. Advanced ego development is no guarantee of advanced emotional and spiritual development. Our suggested common qualities of higher stages:

1. Resilience and serenity

2. Increasing transcendence through humility

3. Expanding perspective (visible and invisible worlds)

4. Mindfulness, presence, experiencing reality clearly

5. Witness perspective and self-transcendence

6. High level of purpose or meaning in life

7. Personal freedom

8. "Taoistic receptivity"

9. Increasing integration of brain functioning and nervous system-heart synchrony

1. Resilience and serenity

Michael Murphy (1992, pp. 575-586) suggests that the qualities and traits needed for development to the highest levels of functioning are:

* honesty, cultivated through self-reflection, truth-telling, and small group interactions that promote self-awareness

* creativity, openness to experience, independent judgment, regression in the service of the ego, willingness to take risks, and reliance on intuition

* courage to face one's fears, rebound after setbacks or defeats, and initiative in the face of difficult challenge

* balance, stability and calm in the midst of turbulent or threatening circumstances

* resilience, cultivated through somatic self-regulation, self-reflection, release of negative expectations and beliefs, and experiencing the delight of flow states.

Resilience and serenity consist of appropriate use of both positive assertive and positive yielding control. The Serenity Prayer summarizes this resilience: "God, grant me the courage to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference." Shapiro (1994) identifies four distinct modes or characteristic ways of gaining a sense of control: positive assertive, exercising competent decision-making authority by altering oneself or the environment as needed; positive yielding, letting go of active control efforts and accepting the situation without helplessness; negative assertive, uncontained aggressive self-sufficiency resulting in constriction in relationships and inability to express or let go within oneself; negative yielding, passivity resulting in denial of self and helplessness. Research findings by Astin et al. (1999) suggest that balanced use of active and yielding control efforts may lead to optimal psychosocial adjustment and quality of life even in the face of life-threatening illnesses, including cancer.

2. Increasing transcendence through humility
      Wise individuals are also selfless; that is, they have
   transcended the egotistical self and feel more part of the ocean
   instead of an individual wave. How can we explain the paradox that
   the highest level of self-development requires a quieting of the ego
   and the transcendence of the sell?.... The analyses showed that
   through mindful reflection, self-examination, and a willingness to
   learn from experiences self-development ultimately leads to a
   quieting of the ego and to self-transcendence manifested in a
   concern for the well-being of all and an altruistic,
   all-encompassing love (Ardelt, 2008, p. 221).


Oneness experiences, or unitive non-self-definitional experiences, are an important element in living life optimally. These are experiences of merging identity with an other, be it in sexual union, spiritual ecstasy, or in some other context. They are examples of times in which a person transcends identification with his/her own ego-self. Sharon Chirban (2000) quotes Gerald May, who characterizes unitive experience as a state in which no self-defining activities take place: "[During the unitive experience] all the activities that serve to define oneself are suspended, yet awareness remains open, clear and vibrant. For the duration of such experiences there is no self-consciousness, no self/other distinction, no trying-to-do or not-to-do, no aspiration, labeling, judgement, or differentiation." Chirban (2000) then asserts that oneness experience
   has the capacity to energize and fuel the sells progressive
   development. The process of the experience includes starting in a
   state of 'energetic readiness,' moving to immersion in a oneness
   experience, and re-emerging with broader integration and a greater
   capacity for adaptation....

      In oneness experience, where there is a shift in consciousness and
   an absolute participation in the present moment, time stands still
   and directs the motion of the self into the future. The force
   behind the progressive oneness experience impels the individual to
   look forward rather than to their past. This progress is catalyzed
   by the subject's energetic readiness and not by a search for
   oneness. When oneness experience is unconsciously motivated and
   there is a 'search' for oneness the subject's self is directed to
   the past. In this situation, the individual will be more likely to
   have oneness fantasy, which involves a reawakening of and a desire
   to go back to earlier states and feelings.


The distinction between readiness for the experience and searching for it emphasizes a necessary humility, or what Bauer (2008) calls a "quiet ego." Recall here Maslow's distinction regarding an individual's peak experiences, the creative attitude, between trust vs. trying, controlling, and striving. In peak experiences, one rests in a basic trust in the self and in the world, giving up the attempt to control and dominate.

Another way of describing this distinction is found in the ancient Hebrew Kabbalah. One can approach any challenge, in particular relating to self development, with an attitude of It'kafia (conquest) or It 'hapcha (transformation).

It'kafia, literally "bending back" as one would a small twig, is the approach of forcing oneself to submit to a higher standard of behavior, of subjugating and subordinating one's lower motivations, self-indulgences, and self-limiting tendencies. Higher ends are achieved through force of will, not by actually transforming those tendencies into something more sublime.

It'hapcha, literally "transformation", is the alternative approach of transforming the lower inclinations into those of one's purest essence, lead into gold, darkness into light, bitter into sweet, the profane into the holy.
        Humility contains the power of defenselessness. Only the
   ego-self needs to defend in order to uphold its insane thought
   system. Its total defense emerges when its identity is threatened
   by our possible discovery of the preposterous illusion that it
   is.... The ego-self is like an armed fortress, ready to battle
   against anyone or anything that threatens to de-stabilize its seat
   of power.... If we surrendered wholeheartedly to the recognition
   that our most valuable asset is humility, we would become
   enlightened in this very instant (Sanchez & Veieira, 2007, p. 38).


3. Expanding perspective (visible and invisible worlds)

Progressing through the stages of ego development, one has fewer "blind spots", a greater recognition of what lies "below the ground and beyond the horizon", and acceptance of our radical interdependence.

The rational, cognitive mind is not sufficient to detect, let alone understand, the vast aspects of our universe that remain invisible to human senses. In the words of Frederic Myers, nineteenth century psychical researcher, "Science, while perpetually denying an unseen world, is perpetually revealing it" (1881, p. 103), and "the old-fashioned conception of human personality as a unitary consciousness known with practical completeness to the waking self need[s] complete revision" (1903, Vol. 2, p. 81).

Another obstacle to knowing the fullness of oneself utilizing only the limited conscious mind, the ego, is that much of that self dwells in the realm of the invisible. Some vital parts of the self--the soul, the ancestral heritage, the many possible selves, the unreachable essence--are an absence in the sense that Heidegger described in Time and Being (1972, pp. 13-17, as discussed by Abram, 1996). The past and future are absences which, by their very absence, make themselves felt in the present. These absences actually frame our experience of the present (what is not absent). The beyond-the-horizon is an absence that helps to define the journey, an unseen but vital realm. There are many invisible absences of what is under-the-ground as well: the other side of a tree, or of the moon, or of my body, the inside of the tree or moon or my body.

"For these would seem to be the two primary dimensions from whence things enter the open presence of the landscape, and into which they depart. Sensible phenomena are continually appearing out of, and continually vanishing into, these two very different realms of concealment or invisibility. One trajectory is a passage out toward, or inward from, a vast openness. The other is a descent into, or a sprouting up from, a packed density" (Abram, 1996, p. 213-214). Lao Tzu said,
   ... We fashion clay into a pitcher, but its use comes from the void
   within. The doors and windows we make in a house function because
   of their emptiness. Thus we gain benefit from what is and
   usefulness from what is not.


Not just the Me-selves but the I-self, too, is continually appearing out of and vanishing into concealment, either that of the higher realms and vast openness of the beyond-the-horizon, or the lower realms and packed density of the under-the-ground, i.e., the Upper World or the Lower World. Mathew (2005) suggests that reverie is a vehicle for establishing contact with the invisible worlds, allowing the soul to travel beyond our known selves, to experience the 'what is not'. "Moving between thought and prayer, it is reverie that extends psyche's vision beyond the doors and windows of our minds into the cathedrals of our souls" (p. 391). Beginning as thoughtful concentration, reverie takes one utterly elsewhere, lost in a void of time, entranced, engrossed, and faraway. Jung (1964), discussing the loss of such contact in modern societies and its replacement with the phenomenon of dissociation, observed:
      [Dissociation] was a liberation of consciousness from the
   burden of irrationality and instinctiveness at the expense of the
   totality of the individual. Man became split into a conscious and
   an unconscious personality. The conscious personality could be
   domesticated, because it was separated from the natural and
   primitive man. Thus we became highly disciplined, organized, and
   rational on one side, but the other side remained a suppressed
   primitive, cut off from education and civilization.

      This explains our many relapses into the most appalling
   barbarity, and it also explains the really terrible fact that, the
   higher we climb the mountain of scientific and technical
   achievement, the more dangerous and diabolical becomes the misuse
   of our inventions. Think of the great triumph of the human mind,
   the power to fly: we have accomplished the age-old dream of
   humanity! And think of the bombing raids of modern warfare! Is it
   not a rather convincing demonstration of the fact that, when our
   mind went up to conquer the skies, our other man, that suppressed
   barbarous individual, went down to hell? (paras. 1008-1009).


Healing that split, which divided us into smaller, more constricted, more dissociated fractions of our real totality, is the process of integration, individuation, self-actualization, transformation. One integrates the subpersonalities into a harmonious multiplicity, retrieves and embraces the shadow, becoming more conscious. Disidentification with the limited ego perspective allows us to expand the I-sells perspective into both our lower (shadow) and higher (transpersonal) aspects. Balance is important. Expanding into the lower but not the higher leads one to become psychologically healthy but not spiritually fulfilled (a nontranscending self-actualizer), and expanding into the higher but not the lower leads one to become a psychologically unhealthy spiritual seeker (the spiritual bypass).

To complete the psychical tour, there exists also a Middle Unconscious, consisting of contents that are unconscious but not defensively repressed and therefore accessible in our normal functioning. Expanding this Middle Unconscious is to open ourselves to the conscious experience of who we really are, becoming mindfully aware of our truly expansive range of identities, our real Self.

4. Mindfulness, presence, experiencing reality clearly

Mindfulness is a term that has come into general use, often without precise definition. The concept has historical roots in several related mental processes, as discussed by Martin (1997, 2002): deautomatization and the observing self (Deikman, 1982), decentering (Safran & Segal, 1990), mindfulness as a creative cognitive process (Langer, 1989), detachment (Bohart, 1983), and mental freedom (Krishnamurti, 1964). Each of these interrelated and overlapping concepts contribute to a fuller understanding of mindfulness, which Martin defines as "a state of psychological freedom that occurs when attention remains quiet and limber, without attachment to any particular point of view."

Hick (2008) utilizes the following working definition of mindfulness, collated from definitions by Kabat-Zinn (1990), Shapiro et al. (1998), and Segal et al. (2002): "a nonelaborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is" (p. 5). There are three primary components to mindfulness: paying attention, purposefully or with intention, and with an attitude of openness and nonjudgmentalness. Attention involves observing, noticing, bringing awareness in the present moment, with beginner's mind. Intention involves a personal commitment to participate in one's present-moment experience with the specific purpose of heightened receptivity to the internal and external environment. Openness to experience may be operationalized as nondefensiveness, willingness to share experiences, openness to the unknown and unknowable, to emotions, ideas and spirituality, and to seeming incompatibilities.

Mindfulness is a means to achieving clear and calm experience of reality without attachment or judgment that we might call wisdom, or pure awareness, or witness consciousness. Wisdom emerges as a result of experience, practice, and paying careful attention. Wisdom is a process of transformation that puts the practitioner in a psychological and spiritual position to experience reality clearly and calmly, in contrast to the more narrowly focused, habitual everyday mental processing (Kristeller, 2007). Thynn Thynn (1997) establishes the distinction between mindfulness and clear and calm awareness.
   Awareness cannot be practiced. There has been some confusion
   between awareness and mindfulness. They are related, but distinct.
   Sati, or mindfulness, implies there is action of the mind. We
   purposely set ourselves to pay attention to our minds. We exert
   effort. Awareness is different. Awareness is devoid of any action.
   The mind simply "awares." There is no action here, only a collected
   and spontaneous awareness that just "sees." Here, mindfulness is
   the cause, and awareness is the effect. You cannot practice or
   train the effect. You can only practice something that will cause
   it. We have to start with mindfulness so that awareness may arise
   in us.


5. Witness perspective and self-transcendence

This expanding/dissolving of ego boundaries, the cultivation of a "Transpersonal Witness," has been a consistent focus of many spiritual traditions throughout history (Wilber, 1995).

Hilgard (1986), based on experiences from hypnosis and subliminal perception, suggested that each individual has a "hidden observer" buried within dissociated consciousness. That observer acts as a central stream of consciousness toward which information from many secondary streams or subpersonalities converges. Hilgard's hidden observer is an attempt to explain an individual's apparent awareness and memory recording during states that range from conscious to dissociated to preconscious to unconscious. The hidden observer theory may provide an explanation for the phenomena of near death experience and out of body experience (Bob, 2003).

We will use Cook-Greuter's (2000) languaging for the progression, from 1st person perspective to 5th or higher person perspective. At the lowest levels of development, the ego perspective is limited to that of the first person. There is no recognition of the existence of any other point of view than what I experience in this moment. At the Self-protective and Conformist stages, an awareness grows of the second person perspective, i.e., that you may experience and interpret differently than I do. While this perspective helps to control the impulsiveness and narcissism of the previous stage, it is usually exhibited as motivation to "fit in" and is exemplified by grade school and high school children.

At the Self-conscious and Conscientious stages, and consolidated at the Achiever stage, one is able to take a third person perspective, watching oneself interact with the world. This worldview often begins to emerge in late high school, college, or early adulthood, and serves as the basis for respect and tolerance for people of other faiths, cultures, and walks of life.

Signifying postconventional development, beginning with a pluralistic appreciation that there are multiple ways of seeing reality, the Individualist begins to take a 4th person perspective, one in which he can actually observe himself observing himself interacting with the world in the past and present and even in the future with his possible selves. This is a demonstrable step toward the Witness state of consciousness. Here one is a participating observer, and one's inner process becomes more interesting and important than the behavioral outcome. Where the Achiever was focused on causality (by looking into the past) and goals (by looking into the future), the Individualist is more fascinated with now, the present.

The Strategist, or Autonomous/Integrated stage, takes this perspective even further, to a 5th person perspective, that of the developmental process. Here one acknowledges that each of the previous stages reveals an important truth and has an important role to play in the human experience. Not only does he see his own past, present, and future, he adds an awareness of his own lifespan, the lifetimes of previous and future generations, and fitting this perspective into the context of society, other cultures, and historical civilizations. Autonomous persons are now capable of rediscovering and owning parts of the self which have previously been disowned. The shadow side of the self can be acknowledged to a greater degree and therefore a new integration and wholeness is possible.

Individuals at the Magician, or Construct-aware stage, consciously experience the ego's clever manipulations to preserve its self-appointed status. It is the first time in development that the ego has become transparent to itself, assisting the movement closer to the Ego-transcendent stage. The regular practice of turning inward and observing one's own mental processes can also lead to experiencing the knower and known momentarily merge, and the personal self-sense disappear. Such peak experiences are becoming, for the Construct-aware individual, a plateau experience (Maslow, 1971), making the extraordinary ordinary, making a transitory altered state into an enduring altered trait (Goleman, 1993).

These stages represent an increasing capacity for self-reflection, including reflection on one's possible selves, i.e., personalized representations of goals or consequences of current behavioral choices. Possible selves represent the broad range of imaginable possible futures. One's best possible self is one's most cherished future self, one's best possible outcome. The ego, as the creator of identity, generates one's possible selves, and herein lies the limitation on what one can envision for oneself. The capacity for elaboration of the possible selves, i.e., the detail, vividness, and emotional depth of those imagined selves, is positively related to one's stage of ego development (King & Raspin, 2004, p. 623). Obviously, then, ego development enhances the vision that is involved in envisioning oneself (or others, for that matter) as already existing in a state of health, or prosperity, or fulfillment, affirming a given desirable possible self. Creative visualization and affirmations become more powerful as one ascends through the stages of ego development.

The availability of self-reflection or self-observation, varies for a given individual in response to threat or stress, regardless the stage of ego development. "Under stress a person may either cope through heightened self-monitoring or through heightened deployment of defensive controls to selectively reduce awareness of some topics in order to stifle horror, fright, rage, and despair. A sense of self as really being at the trauma can be blunted, and a sense of the trauma memory as part of a personal story can be lost (Sedman, 1970; Shelony & Grossman, 1993)" (Horowitz, 2002, 116).

6. High level of purpose or meaning in life

In an article titled The Existential Approach in Heart-Centered Therapies (Hartman & Zimberoff, 2003, pp. 4-5), we offered the following five principles to be components of an existential approach to psychotherapy, healing and transformation:

1. Meaning in life is found in the living of each moment.

2. Passionate commitment to a way of life, to one's purpose and one's relationships, is the highest form of expression of one's humanity.

3. All human beings have freedom of choice and responsibility for our choices.

4. Openness to experience allows for the greatest possible expansion of personal expression.

5. In the ever-present face of death itself, we find the deepest commitment to life itself.

As well, these approaches apply to individuals as they grow into higher stages of ego development. One hallmark of such people is their increasing focus on living in the present moment. Another is their clarity about and devotion to their life purpose.

Viktor Frankl (1960) asserted three primary sources or types of pathology--somatogenic, psychogenic, and noogenic. The first two are physical and emotional, but the third is existential. This neurotic pathology arises from a perceived emptiness of purpose in life. According to Frankl, the predominant human motivation is the will to meaning; when profound meaning is not perceived, the individual becomes in Frankl's term 'existentially frustrated' or what Pascual-Leone calls 'existentially hopeless' (1990, p. 277). Frankl (1967, p. 8) used this story to convey the vital importance of purpose, or meaning, in a human being's life:
      Generally, one assumes that a boomerang always returns to the
   hunter; but actually, I have been told in Australia, a boomerang
   only comes back to the hunter when it has missed its target. Well,
   man also only returns to himself, to being concerned with his self,
   after he has missed his mission, has failed to find a meaning in
   his life (p. 9).


Research by Crumbaugh and Maholick (1964) validates the perspective that psychopathology tends to increase with perceived lack of purpose in life. Conversely, when a person experiences meaning in his/her life, mental health tends to follow.

7. Personal freedom

"Any person can undertake the task of warrior. The only requirement is to want to do it with an unshakeable desire; that is to say, one has to be unshakeable in the desire to be free" (Castaneda, 1985).

J. Krishnamurti, an eminent philosopher and spiritual teacher, said that when we understand the deep-rooted conditioning of our minds, we achieve freedom from it, i.e., from its images, fear, sorrow and craving for security (Mohan, 2008). Transcendence of the existential limitations of conditioned mind transforms the person into an unconditioned state of freedom. The maturity with which an individual makes those choices in such an unconditioned state makes all the difference. Prominent Buddhist Jack Kornfield (1997) says:
      In the West, there's a myth that freedom means free
   expression--that to follow all desires wherever they take one is
   true freedom. In fact, as one serves the mind, one sees that
   following desires, attractions, repulsions is not at all freedom,
   but is a kind of bondage. A mind filled with desires and grasping
   inevitably entails great suffering. Freedom is not to be gained
   through the ability to perform certain external actions. True
   freedom is an inward state of being. Once it is attained, no
   situation in the world can bind one or limit one's freedom.


Loevinger (1976), of course, assigned a central role to freedom in any process of development: "personality develops by acquiring successive freedoms" (p. 46). Freedom from conditioning, social expectations, and cultural conventions, as well as from restraints and impulses, brings with it freedom to choose, to either slip into automatic conformity or become a truly autonomous individual.

8. "Taoistic receptivity"

This term from Maslow (1971a) suggests tolerance of ambiguity, acceptance of paradox, and a comfort level with 'not knowing' or what Buddhists call 'beginner's mind'.

"If we can embrace the meanings and experiences in both our internal and external worlds, melding the sacred and profane, we will be rigorously challenged to transform opposition into paradox. The essential task is to allow all sides of an issue, or pairs of opposites, to exist in equal dignity and worth until their hidden unity is revealed. This is our initiation into the embodiment of wisdom, the entry point into authentic spiritual maturation and personal transformation" (Arrien, 2008, p. 31).

9. Increasing integration of brain functioning and nervous system-heart synchrony

As people progress to higher levels of self development, they tend to process their experience more along the following lines: (1) cognitively, the more integrated the brain, the more complexly it is capable of incorporating more diverse sources of input; (2) affectively, one becomes less reactive and less defensive, more open and more spontaneous; and (3) behaviorally, people become more likely to take action based on intentional conscious choice in light of clear life purpose.

Integration includes top-down or high road (cognitive) and bottom-up or low road (affect/body) processing. Safran and Greenberg (1991) have described the difference between these two ways in which we operate. Top-down change usually involves exploring and challenging tacit rules and beliefs that guide the processing of emotional experience, whereas bottom-up processing begins with the experiential and leads eventually to change at the verbal-representational and conceptual level. Individuals at lower levels of ego development seem to operate primarily by means of bottom-up information processing, whereas at higher stages people are more capable of blending bottom-up with top-down processing. Thus, emotion which is usually processed unconsciously in the amygdala to produce a reaction of fight/ flight/ or freeze, can take the high road of deliberation and conscious choice in the frontal cortex. In this way, for example, reactive conditioned anger can be refined into "mindfully-held anger" in which anger is consciously contained and observed instead of being expressed, or into "heart-anger" in which anger is mindfully and compassionately expressed (Masters, 2000). An individual who is sufficiently developed can override the immediate, unconscious response and initiate a more thoughtful and intentional alternative. However, this is a far cry from repression, suppression, denial, or spiritual bypass.
   The amygdala, as well as being activated automatically, receives
   input from the cortex, allowing for conscious processing to affect
   emotionality ... This suggests the operation of a second level of
   emotional processing, involving complex perceptions and concepts
   received from the cortex, but this occurs only after a more
   immediate intuitive appraisal by the emotional brain from the
   initial input. LeDoux (1996) thus has suggested that there are two
   different paths for producing emotion: What he terms the low road,
   when the amygdala senses danger and broadcasts an emergency
   distress signal to brain and body, and the slower high road, in
   which the same information is carried through the thalamus to the
   neocortex. Because the shorter amygdaloid pathway transmits signals
   more than twice as fast as the neocortex route, the thinking brain
   often cannot intervene in time to stop emotional responses
   (Greenberg, 2002, p. 157).


Bill Torbert (2002) makes the same comparison regarding people's attention, namely that it normally runs downstream. Thoughts are stimulated by something in the environment, either intentionally or randomly. As an individual becomes more conscious, more intentional, more highly developed, the processing attends more to self-observation: the upstream flow of attention flows back from questioning what is my experience, what is my impact on the world, what is my overall strategy, and ultimately how am I attending to my experience in the first place.

Clearly, gaining conscious choice over reactivity, by activating the neocortex before the amygdala can generate an unconscious emotional response, requires mindful self-awareness. The mindful option is also promoted through more ordered and coherent heart rhythms, the somatic manifestation of mindfulness (the clear and calm experience of reality without attachment or judgment), stimulated through conscious breathing techniques. Coherent heart rhythms, measured as heart-rate variability (HRV), reduce nervous system chaos, facilitate cortical function, increase access to clear and effective thinking, problem-solving discernment, memory recall, connection with core values, heartbrain synchronization, emotional stability, and spiritual connectedness (Childre & McCraty, 2001; McCraty et al., 1996).

The integration of which we speak occurs on other levels than emotional processing, attentional processing, and heart rhythm coherence. For example, human beings are highly associational, and so a recent experience may trigger something that occurred in the past. Integrating those patterns of habitual response through self-awareness and increasing self-regulation brings more opportunities to make conscious choices about how to react. Human beings are highly interrelated, and self development includes gaining awareness of the amazing system of mirror neurons that allows us to pick up and feel the feelings and intentions of others, intuitively and unconsciously. Accessing deep primary process elements of the right hemisphere and linking them to the verbal meaning-making capacity of the left, creates new neural connections that literally fosters integrative states in the nervous system and the heart (Siegel, 1999, 2003).

Now we review Jung's (1996) map of individuation using Kundalini yoga as an example of a theoretical conceptualization that connects these common elements in a developmental sequence.

Jung's map of individuation using Kundalini yoga

The Kundalini yoga chakra system of energy centers in the human body presents a symbolic theory of the psyche, according to Jung. He presented a detailed interpretation of the system in a series of four lectures in 1932, reflecting on the parallels between the chakra progression and the process of individuation. Each lower chakras is portal to the next upper one. Each door that is opened, opens the door to the next. They don't always open in order; they open according to urgency. We now review Jung's perspective, and compare it to the developmental stages suggested by Jane Loevinger and Susanne Cook-Greuter.

For Jung each chakra is a whole world, and the series of seven major chakras represents a progression of worlds toward individuation. Muladhara, the first or root chakra, characterizes our ordinary world in which "the self is asleep and the ego is awake" (Coward & Borelli, 1985, p. 116), our daily routine conscious world, our earthly personal existence. We are entangled in the roots of our personal lives, of the ever-demanding ego identities. "As long as the ego is identified with consciousness, it is caught up in this world, the world of muladhara chakra. But we see that it is so only when we have an experience and achieve a standpoint that transcends consciousness. Only when we have become acquainted with the wide extent of the psyche, and no longer remain inside the confines of the conscious alone, can we know that our consciousness is entangled in muladhara" (Jung, 1996, pp. 66-67).

In Cook-Greuter's perspective, people reach the conventional "adult" worldview by growing through the preconventional and conventional stages, up to the Conscientious stage, which is the highest of the conventional stages in ego development theory. Because it represents the culturally well-educated norm, it acts as a kind of ceiling barrier. Moving beyond it is difficult because it represents the frame of mind that is most attached to rationality and ordinary reality and most defended against the nonrational. The major limitation of the conventional mind set is its acceptance of appearance as fact and the external world as real, and its blindness to the arbitrary nature of beliefs, especially the grand myth of conventional science as infallible. Cook-Greuter's work documents that at least 80% of our culture's population does not, in fact, move beyond the conventional tier of development.

If awakening is to occur, however, the motivation for it must arise in this routine conscious world. That motivation is the guiding grace or inner spark of Kundalini, and can take many forms such as fear or resentment, obsession or overpowering yearning. The urge of awakening in the root chakra moves us from unaware ego-consciousness to the first glimmerings of the unconscious. The process of individuation, of self-discovery, begins by diving into the unconscious. The way up to greater self-awareness leads first down into the waters of unconsciousness where we face our demons and our collective heritage, and from which rebirth may take place. First descent, then ascent. In Jung's view, however, the majority of modern Westerners have not experienced the awakening of the Kundalini. They are like people who have not yet been born. They go through the motions of life without any awareness of the spark of the inner self. Their development is arrested at the conventional tier.

Once the Kundalini is aroused, Jung says, it provides the urge that will not let one turn back, for it is an overpowering longing, stronger than one's ego-will. And for Jung the Kundalini is none other than the anima (Jung, 1975, 1976).

In our ordinary ego consciousness the anima seems asleep. Yet it is there as potential always waiting to provide the spark that would lead to seeking new growth, initiation and individuation, a new level of consciousness, the svadhisthana, the second or sacral chakra. The essential characteristic of the sacral chakra world is its sense of separation from ordinary ego-consciousness, of eternity. It has about it an impersonal quality which appears to be illusory when viewed from the rational ego-centered perspective of the root chakra world.

Entering the postconventional tier of development at the Individualist stage, one of the primary characteristics is that sense of separation from ordinary ego-consciousness, the realization that the meaning of things depends on one's relative position in regard to them, on one's personal perspective and interpretation of them. The newly developing perspective allows individuals to see the interdependence of seemingly separate yet invisibly related things. Individualists often withdraw to some degree from external affairs or the daily workings of their workplace or household. Instead, they turn inward in pursuit of their own burning questions. Individualists replace the focus on causality (past) and goals (future) of the Conscientious person, becoming now-oriented and more organically embodied in their environment. They have shifted their center of gravity from solid earth to the deep waters of the unconscious, from body to soul.

Having awakened and become aware of the existence of the Kundalini in the second chakra, one progresses to the third, the manipura. Here one begins to realize that it is the fire within that is one's true self, no longer contained in time and space but seemingly immortal. The symbolism of fire represents the experience of divinity as well as our inner passions. "Psychologically, says Jung, after our baptism into the passions hidden in the deep waters of the unconscious, the manipura is the experience of these emotions flaming up--after baptism comes temptation and hell. It is difficult and painful, as in the primitive initiation ceremonies. It is the fire which the Buddha speaks of--ourselves and our world as being on fire with desires which can never be satisfied. Yet only with the facing of one's own flames of desire can one move through them to reach another world" (Coward & Borelli, 1985, pp. 119-120).

In Cook-Greuter's terms, persons emerging into the Autonomous/integrated stage accept the necessity of "owning" and integrating many disparate parts of themselves, including the shadows, inner passions, and other previously disowned parts. The greatest fear of Autonomous persons is to feel that they have not fulfilled their potential, have not found and liberated their highest self, or have failed to observe those universal principles they value deeply (justice, tolerance, the interdependence and dignity of all people). Wanting to help others grow to become all they can be is one of the strongest motivators for Autonomous persons.

The next elevation comes from the passions of the belly and earthly experience to the level of the heart and lungs, portal to transcendence beyond the earthly; from immersion in the whirlpool of one's passions and instincts to the great leap into anahata experience--a leap which most people never make. Psychologically, says Jung, it means that we no longer identify with our desires but reach a plane of impersonal experience.

How is one lifted out of one's worldly passions to this higher level? It begins by discovering and identifying the first glimmerings of the self. In the fourth chakra comes the possibility of withdrawing and distancing oneself from one's emotions, of looking at oneself reflectively, and of discovering the self.
   In anahata individuation begins. But here again you are likely to
   get an inflation. Individuation is not that you become an ego; you
   would then be an individualist. An individualist is a man who did
   not succeed in individuating; he is a philosophically distilled
   egotist. Whilst individuation is becoming that thing which is not
   the ego, and that is very strange. No body understands what the
   Self is, because the Self is just what you are not--it is not the
   ego. The ego discovers itself as a mere appendix of the Self in a
   sort of loose connection. The ego is always far down in the
   muladhara and suddenly becomes aware of something up in the fourth
   story, above, in anahata, and that is the Self.

      For Jung, therefore, anahata is psychologically interpreted
   as the discovery of the self. It is a world characterized by
   impersonality and objectivity in their best sense. Jung exemplifies
   by quoting St. Paul," 'It is not I that liveth, it is Christ that
   liveth in me,' meaning that his life had become an objective life,
   not his own life but the life of a greater one ..." But in anahata
   the withdrawal from the emotions is only begun, thus frequent
   erruptions [sic] of manipura psychology are to be expected (Coward
   & Borelli, 1985, pp. 120-121).


Cook-Greuter's Construct-aware ego stage brings a stark conscious experience of the ego's clever manipulations to preserve its self-appointed status. It is the first time in development that the ego is fully aware of its own defensive maneuvers, that is, the ego has become transparent to itself. Construct-aware persons become concerned with uncovering and facing their own habits of mind and heart--those automatic behaviors that are based on memory and life-long cultural habituation. Realizing the extent to which one has operated on autopilot in their life can be profoundly distressing, but also offer the promise of new access to intuition, bodily states, feelings, dreams, archetypal and imaginal material. As these individuals move closer to the Ego-transcendent stage, they welcome insights from these transpersonal experiences rather than defending against them. Torbert's name for this stage is Magician.

The developing self next reaches the fifth chakra, vissuddha. Jung interprets this world experience as purification of all worldly obstruction, as experience at the level of psychic abstraction or mental concepts. In the fifth chakra the process of distancing ourselves from the physical world, begun in the fourth, is completed. "Visuddha means," says Jung, "a full recognition of the psychical essences or substances as the fundamental essences of the world, and not by virtue of speculation but by virtue of fact, as experience" (1976, p. 7). Here in this world, psychical entities are the reality, and the external world is recognized as a mere reflection of psyche. To experience the self has required that one's identification, indeed one's center of gravity, be shifted from ego and emotions to the more impersonal awareness of the self.

Like Jung's conception of the Visuddha stage, Cook-Greuter's Unitive stage in ego development can be conceptualized as a threshold stage. Like each stage before it, but perhaps to a more stark extent, it is an ending as well as a new beginning. People at the Unitive stage no longer give the impression of trying to escape the inevitable contradictions and limitations of the rational, representational domain. They can embrace polar opposites on an affective level and not just cognitively. Good and evil, joy and regret, closeness and separateness are valued as natural and meaningful aspects in the dance of life, or as part of the eternal cycle of creation, destruction and recreation. Such an openness to ongoing experience combined with empathy for beings at all stages of development distinguishes the Unitive from the previous stage. Moreover, people at this stage are more at ease with a fluid, open-ended self-identity, "not-knowing" who they are, whereas those at all earlier ego stages show stage-specific anxieties when their present self-sense becomes threatened or unclear. Unitive individuals have open boundaries and are attuned to, rather than preoccupied with, whatever enters awareness. The term witnessing can be used to describe the capacity of people at this stage to metabolize experience without conscious preoccupations.

The sixth chakra is ajna. Jung's interpretation of its symbolism is that of a world in which the psychic realities of the visuddha are no longer experienced. The sixth chakra, says Jung, consists of nothing we can experience; it is beyond our normal human understanding. The Kundalini energy, the anima archetype, which was dormant in the root chakra and then felt as an arousing spark, is now fully awake and has become the dominant reality. In the ajna world there is nothing but psychic reality--and that in union with the cosmic, the divine. Identification with the ego disappears as one dissolves completely into the self. "The psychical is no longer a content in us, but we become contents of it" (Jung, 1976, p. 17).

Developing beyond the Unitive stage is to enter an entirely new fourth tier of development: a postpostconventional realm of ego-transcendence. "Whatever wisdom individuals achieve on their own, through ego development and self-actualization in the personal realm, is different from the transformations in consciousness and enlightenment that are possible at the fourth tier of development" (Cook-Greuter, 2000, p. 239). The ego-transcendent stage is characterized by an embracing and unconditional acceptance for life-as-it-is.

The possibility of a chakra that is beyond even the incipient mental duality of the ajna is unimaginable. Whereas the ajna seems to retain at least the mystic sense of a psychic separation between the self and God, in the sahasrara there is no other, no God or self, only a nonduality of union. Jung concludes that the sahasrara is an entirely philosophical concept with no substance, beyond any possible experience, and therefore without any practical value for us.

Ichazo's formulation of these qualities

Another formulation of these qualities, offering a clear parallel, is presented by Oscar Ichazo (1982) in an exquisitely intricate delineation of the arcane wisdom beneath the Enneagram. He combines the work of G. I. Gurdjieff and of Carl Jung in suggesting nine basic virtues that are natural to humans which, nevertheless, become contaminated and fragmented in the process of socialization in childhood. We all inevitably lose contact with the ground of our Being, with our true identity as Spirit or Essence. It is left to the ego-self to cope with the devastating loss by vainly attempting to recreate what has been lost, much as a child who is thrust into an adult's responsibilities is inadequate to live a truly mature life regardless how heroic the attempt. The resulting beliefs and behaviors may be temporarily effective, but are ultimately misguided coping strategies. The ego's desperate emotional response to the loss of contact with our Essential nature, which Ichazo calls passions, are bizarre impersonations of the real thing and as such are burdensome self-mockery and self-sabotage. This loss leads to a particular ego-delusion about the self or reality, called the type's ego-fixation. The transformation of the passions and ego-fixations into restorations of the virtues is the key to the spiritual use of the Enneagram.

Briefly, let's review Ichazo's conception of the ego-self's distortion of our true essence, and the way in which recognizing these distortions can help to restore the original strengths, relying heavily on the explanation and interpretation of Don Richard Riso & Russ Hudson (2000). It is essential to see each of these nine basic virtues and their contamination in each of us, rather than to see any one of them as my Type.

(1) When we are awake and present, it is natural for human beings to accept reality exactly as it is, serenely. This openness allows" us to interact with the world more effectively and more compassionately. We are comfortable with ourselves, with our bodies and with our feelings. We are deeply relaxed and allow the energies of life to flow through us without resisting them or trying to control them. The passion of anger results from the loss of the virtue of serenity. In understanding this passion, it is important to remember that the response of anger itself is not the problem. Anger occurs spontaneously when we feel that someone or something is threatening our integrity. It rises in our presence, lasts for a few moments, then passes. But when we are not present to our anger, we become frustrated and resentful. Over time, this simmering frustration becomes an underlying feeling that is always with us. This resentful attitude toward life is also directly related to the Type One's resistance to reality ("I don't like the way things are. Things should be different.") Ones do not generally see themselves as angry; rather they see themselves as "under control," as always striving to get things right. Resentment and judgment result from the loss of the perfection of serenity. The key to unlocking this dilemma is recognizing how the ego activity of judging divides the self into judging and judged parts, thus destroying the unity of the self.

(2) When we are abiding in our true nature, our identity does not require support from the approval of others or from our own self-regard. Humility is simply being without self-consciousness. Pride is caused by the loss of humility, and is a compulsion to call attention to itself so that the individual will be admired for being selfless, praised for being humble, rewarded for being self-sacrificial, repaid for being generous. When we lose contact with the basis of a humble relationship with our essence, the ego compensates by trying to make good things happen. Type Twos flatter people, serve others' needs, and make others feel good about themselves in order to get their approval and appreciation.

(3) When we are abiding in our true nature, our essential identity, we speak and act with complete truthfulness: we see that any untruthfulness causes us to detach from our true nature. We experience our heart's desire, and realize that the most important thing in life is to be ourselves, deeply and completely. Deceit results from the loss of the virtue of truthfulness and can be seen as the tendency to believe that one is the assumed self of personality and not essence. Deceit entails presenting "images" of ourselves both to ourselves and to others as if they were the real thing, being inauthentic instead of being completely honest and real with ourselves and others. When we are not in contact with a more authentic experience of ourselves, we must invest our energies in cultivating our persona; thus, vanity is the ego-activity of trying to make the personality feel real and valuable, applying all of our efforts to doing whatever we believe will make the personality more valuable, important, attractive, brilliant, and worthwhile.

(4) When we abide in presence, it is natural for us as human beings to feel expansive and open in our hearts---equanimity. We are touched and affected by our experiences, often in profound ways, but we are not lost or swept away by our emotional reactions. We are compassionately connected with truth, and are thus able to embrace life without being "storm-tossed" by every feeling. Envy results from the loss of contact with the virtue of equanimity, and leads to the feeling that something is missing in us. Rather than investigate the source of our unease, in the throes of envy, we focus on comparing ourselves with others, believing that they possess qualities that we do not have, that they are somehow more alive and more whole. However, envy leads us to believe that these things are not possible for us; it reinforces the sense of inner lack and inadequacy. Type Fours identify with their woundedness, with their sense of inner deficiency, and then make a lifestyle out of their suffering. The ego-fixation here is using the imagination to keep intense, envious feelings going, feelings of longing, of bittersweet romance, of loss, and other melancholy feelings.

(5) Non-attachment requires a radical acceptance of reality. It is the quality described by the familiar spiritual injunction to "be in the world but not of it." Avarice causes us to feel as though the universe has rejected us, so we better cling to any resources we have. Avarice is most often expressed as a kind of collector mentality, collecting more and more knowledge and material, continually preparing themselves so that they will be able to go out into the world with confidence. The ego-fixation of stinginess is a tendency to hold onto experiences and information in an effort to build up knowledge and power, to "build ourselves up," as if the mind were stockpiling resources to prepare for some future catastrophe.

(6) The virtue of courage, or fearlessness, arises in the heart when a person is present and deeply grounded in the moment. When we are abiding in our true nature, tremendous support and inner strength naturally arise every time they are needed. Fear is the feeling that arises when we feel unsupported and without guidance, unable to move into the next moment with assurance and confidence. Fear is based on some kind of imagined future, a response to not knowing what is going to happen. The ego-fixation cowardice is a failure of confidence in our ability to know, to receive inner guidance, self-doubt, the loss of faith.

(7) When we are present and abiding in our true nature, we feel awake, sober, and in clear contact with our immediate experience. Sobriety brings with it a sense of gratitude, a deep and abiding joy in the miracle of life. The affect is bracing like a crisp morning, or like a refreshing breeze. We see the real world in exquisite detail, and feel a quiet satisfaction, quite distinct from the giddy, hyped up excitement of gluttony. On a psychological and spiritual level, gluttony is the belief that all good and desirable things exist outside of myself in the world, and that I need to get those things for myself. It arises from a deep feeling of inner emptiness that the ego tries to suppress by creating a false sense of abundance. Having lost faith in the universe, we do not trust that our needs will be provided for, and so the ego takes it upon itself to anticipate the future and plan for it.

(8) Innocence is being fully, deeply human; it is simplicity itself, an open childlike wonder at existence. When we are present and awake, our responses to life and to other people are completely sincere, direct, and heartfelt. We are completely unselfconscious because we experience a profound communion with the natural world. The passion of lust is not necessarily sexual lust, but might better be understood as an addiction to intensity. The more insecure Type Eights are, the greater their need for intensity, excess, struggle, and control. The need to assert themselves can turn into the desire to dominate their environment and the people in it. Vengeance is the ego's response to the feeling that something is missing, something has been lost. Type Eights react by feeling that someone must be responsible for this catastrophe. They feel cut off, hurt, as if they had been rejected by God--thrown out of paradise for a crime they did not know that they committed--and they are angry about it.

(9) The virtue of action refers to an embrace of the dynamism of reality, surrendering our familiar identity to being reshaped and transformed, to living fully in each moment of our lives. The passion of sloth, resulting from the loss of the virtue of action, is a resistance to being deeply affected by or engaged with the world, to putting out the energy to be fully present, fully feeling and responding. While sloth may manifest as laziness and lack of energy, the deeper meaning refers to the Type Nines' habit of giving little attention to their own development. They often feel that many things are "too much trouble," so they procrastinate, wish to "go to sleep" to their life, to not arise as an independent person, taking their rightful place in the scheme of things. The ego-fixation of indolence is a style of attention that causes us to avoid deep contact with our interiority, to cover over the wound of loss of action by withdrawing from it into the "safety" of our imaginations, adopting comforting philosophies, or focusing on and idealizing others. On the surface, Type Nines seem quite easy going, agreeable, and adaptable, but on a deeper level, Nines do not want to be made to change, or to give up who and what they are already comfortable with.

Don Riso and Russ Hudson (2000) added a vertical dimension to this schema of the Enneagram, which they call the levels of development. Assessing the vertical levels within any one of the nine types brings to awareness one's continuum of consciousness in a given moment. Each level can be seen as a measure of the degree of our ego fixation. Further down the levels represents a deeper identification with the ego-self and its defenses, immersed in the ego's attempts to find something real on which to base its own existence in fear, attachment, and illusion.

Going up the levels we see the stages of inner development and maturation of the self. Each level up can be seen as a measure of the degree of our liberation from the web of personality, allowing easier access to the experience of being, truth, and freedom. Riso and Hudson (n.d.)
   began to realize that the means of moving people up the Levels of
   Development was the depth and quality of Presence that could be
   awakened in the person. Concomitantly, the lack of Presence, the
   lack of awareness of what one was doing and feeling in the here and
   now, was the primary way by which one became trapped in increasing
   identification with the images and defenses of the ego structures.
   It also followed that using the Levels to alert people to behavior
   that indicated that they were losing Presence could function as an
   "alarm clock" to call them back to the present moment, and thus,
   move them up the Levels.


By combining the horizontal distinctions of the Enneagram with the vertical distinctions of the levels, we arrive at a system that shows the unique pattern by which each type either develops or falls into deeper identification with the ego.

They schematize the levels of development as follows (the top representing the healthiest, most advanced):
Table 4. Riso and Hudson's Levels of Development

i. Level of Liberation: Ego transcended--balance & freedom

ii. Level of Psychological Capacity: Ego is identified with as the
basis of a particular mode of being

iii. Level of Social Gift: Ego operating in a constructive way,
successfully sublimating

iv. Level of Fixation: Losing contact with presence and awareness,
the beginning of "sleep"--as ego-role is assumed

v. Level of Interpersonal Conflict: Ego controlling environment to
get its needs met--manipulative & defended

vi. Level of Overcompensation: Ego inflation, aggressive defense of
ego-identity, demanding that others/reality support the ego-agenda

vii. Level of Violation: Ego willing to violate itself and others
to maintain itself. Abusive, devaluing, desperate (serious
pathology arises)

viii. Level of Delusion and Compulsion: Ego-self out of control and
out of touch with reality (major personality disorders)

ix. Level of Pathological Destructiveness: Extreme pathology or
death (psychosis)


Riso and Hudson (2000) suggest that the means of moving people up the levels of development is the depth and quality of presence that can be awakened in the person. In other words, as soon as we are becoming more present, more free of the ego-self's trance of distractions, we are moving up the levels. Of course, we fluctuate up and down the levels constantly; yet, at any given period of our life, we usually have a particular level that feels the most familiar, that we tend to return to. They call this familiar level our center of gravity. If we drop below our center of gravity to a lower level, we feel stressed and uncomfortable. We might recall that in the past, this lower level felt normal to us, and at that time it was in fact our center of gravity. So we have a gauge to measure our progress over the lifespan.

Interestingly, an experience at a higher level is also strangely uncomfortable, a phenomenon recognized by Maslow as the Jonah complex. It is felt to be a peak experience that we do not yet know how to hold or to incorporate into ourselves, and so we tend to drop back down to our customary center of gravity. Actually incorporating the experiences of the higher level, turning peak experiences into a new permanent baseline plateau, is to advance our center of gravity up a level. That transformation entails a profound reorganization of our sense of self, and everything that holds it in place. It is an enormous accomplishment and everything in life changes when we do so.

The means of moving up to higher levels, of gradually transcending the ego-self's limited perspective, is found in being present more and more. That presence leads to an increasing awareness of the structures created by ego to placate its desperate need to feel in control. And that awareness allows for freedom of choice as opposed to unconscious autopilot navigation.

With the work by Ichazo, Riso and Hudson, we find two fascinating parallels with the previous work presented by Maslow and Loevinger, Cook-Greuter and Torbert. The first regards the qualities that we might expect in human beings as they grow to higher stages of development. The list of nine qualities we have compiled from studying the diverse sources presented is remarkably similar to the set of nine virtues.

And the second parallel regards the milestones for progression through the stages of ego development delineated by Loevinger, Cook-Greuter, and Torbert with those identified in Riso and Hudson's levels of development. The three tiers of Riso and Hudson's levels (unhealthy, average, and healthy) coincide with the other authors' tiers of preconventional, conventional, postconventional, and postpostconventional.

We shall soon see coming into focus a third parallel regarding the means for accelerating progress to higher stages/levels, namely the central role of awakening a deep Presence in the person through a consistent awareness practice.

Methods of accelerating progress to higher stages

Recent research has begun to address the question of whether it is possible to nurture ego development, and if so how? One of the leading researchers in the field, William R. Torbert, discusses his point of view (2002):
   Do people who are Achievers, for example, become Individualists? Do
   Individualists become Strategists, and so forth? ... In the general
   populations that we've measured the modal stage is the Expert
   stage. This implies that for most people most development stops
   after high school. Most people never do make another developmental
   transformation.... I do think it is tremendously helpful to become
   familiar with this theory, because it does lay out some of the
   markings of a path that seems to be consistent across religious
   traditions and so forth. There is a path and knowing a little bit
   about it helps. But then, you know you can't just read books and
   you can't just go to groups and talk about it. You have to engage
   in first person and second person research. You have to get engaged
   in some kind of personal discipline: meditative, martial arts. You
   have to get engaged in some kind of second person discipline where
   it really counts--some kind of dialogue or team that's really
   trying to do something, where there are real problems and you have
   to try to bring your first person research, your meditation or
   martial art, to the second person setting. You have to be trying to
   do the three types of research, first, second and third person,
   subjective, intersubjective, and objective research. You have to be
   trying to do them. Not everybody does it by being a social
   scientist obviously. Some people do them through the crafts and the
   arts, dancing and theater.


There is a path, or rather many paths, and they seem to be very consistently prescribed by wisdom traditions across cultures and history. The three basic elements needed for transformational work are summarized by Sanchez and Vieira (2007, p. 51):

* presence (awareness, mindfulness)

* the practice of self-observation, gained from self-knowledge

* understanding what one's experiences mean (an accurate interpretation provided by a larger context such as a community, a teacher, or a spiritual system).

We will now turn our attention to those specific activities and practices that may indeed nurture the transformational work of self-realization, or becoming more fully human. We consider one of those to be, not surprisingly, psychotherapy, and we survey some of the ways in which the psychotherapeutic process can be utilized for this purpose. First, however, we survey a sampling of other paths toward ego transcendence that enhance self-observation and presence and insight, activating one's inner visionary by providing an innovative and larger context.

Paths to higher self development

1. Mindful awareness practice is a disciplined process to reach heightened awareness. Based on his work bringing mindfulness techniques into a psychotherapy context, Martin (1997) suggests that there are two attentional forms of mindfulness which he calls open form and focused form. Open-form attention involves hovering over and examining the landscape of alternative psychological schemas by means of psychodynamic work. Focused-form attention provides the capacity to actively install insight by recalling a forgotten schema and engaging it once remembered. These two forms of mindfulness attention parallel the two predominant forms of meditational attention: one is receptive mindfulness, a sustained nonselective alertness, a state of observing everything that enters the mind without reacting to it, like a mirror; the other is a concentrative practice leading to absorption, focusing undivided attention on a selected image or idea, also without reacting to it, like a laser (Washburn, 1995).

The relevance of these two forms for our current purpose is to shed light on the type or style of mindfulness that may be most appropriate for individuals in various stages of ego development. Individuals in lower stages, who exhibit low psychological mindedness, do well with focused-form cognitive and behavioral interventions in which a supportive, structured educational approach may help the client internalize a new perspective. For individuals in higher stages, who exhibit high psychological mindedness, or those whose authority and control issues are pronounced, an open-form insight-oriented, more demanding interpretive approach may be indicated (Martin, 1997).

The mental process of attention is fertile ground for development of the ego beyond itself, to "erase itself' in Maslow's sense. One example is the Gurdjieff Work, the so-called Fourth Way tradition. "This direct spiritual work is a work on attention" (Torbert, 2002). Gurdjieff's Work is to develop our capacity to exercise free will in the way we live life. Ordinarily, we don't really exercise free will because we're moved around unconsciously by interpersonal, psychic, archetypal, and cosmic forces. We're not really paying attention, and thus are in need of deautomatization, detachment and mental freedom through judicious application of attentional mindfulness by our observing self. In other words, most people are "asleep" in ego illusion: "the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there a reference to his waking up" (ACIM, p. 18).

An indirect descendent of Gurdjieff's work is the modern transformational use of the enneagram, especially as it is formulated by Oscar Ichazo (1982), previously discussed.

Another example of using attention to develop the ego beyond itself is the Toltec way described by Carlos Castaneda (1974). The author, who presented Don Juan and the sorcerer's way of knowing in his many books, emphasized the importance of waking up by paying attention. He describes the essential challenges facing anyone setting out on this path, the sorcerer's way. The first challenge is to gain control over one's attention. This builds the ability to maintain intentionality. A second challenge is to learn how to recognize that waking up from the dream is actually waking up in the dream into yet another dream. This task builds the ability to change dreams at will. And the next challenge is to find yourself staring at someone else who is asleep and that someone else turns out to be you. This realization provides a portal into other realms that we are normally oblivious to. In the sorcerer's view, humans can live (and die) in a number of distinct worlds which are arranged, one surrounding another, like the layers of an onion. We can become capable of perceiving these worlds, accessing them, traveling in them, making friends and creating allies in them. Incidentally, dreaming and paying attention to and in our dreams is one of the vehicles utilized by Castaneda for accessing these worlds, for waking up from the limitations imposed by the ego-self.

Torbert (2002) assesses a very similar process regarding how attention and intention and self-observation are intricately related to ego development through single-, double- and triple-loop feedback:
   Our attention normally runs downstream. We're attracted to a topic
   for some reason or other, maybe because of our own intention. It
   passes through our thought, into words and gestures and out to
   another person. That's the way attention normally flows. I call
   that the downstream flow of attention. The upstream flow is back
   from "What am 1 seeing," "What kind of reaction am I getting from
   the outside world." Are my actions in fact appropriate and having
   the influence I intend them to? I first question whether my
   performance at the bodily visible level is adequate. I might change
   that. That would be single loop learning. At the same time the
   response questions my overall structure or strategy, my action
   logic. 1 may need to do some double loop learning and change the
   way I'm going about this whole thing or what I imagine is really
   happening. Then, finally, if I'm open enough to it, there could be
   a question that flows all the way back. This is triple loop
   feedback that goes back to the way I'm attending in the first
   place. That's the upstream direction. A great upstream leader is
   one who re-galvanizes people's vision and questions the way in
   which they have been seeing things.


And here it is important to recognize that attention is receptive, a feminine or yin quality (Torbert, 2002). Attention is first the product of one's intention, which is projective, masculine or yang. Then it must be nurtured, cajoled into persistence. Remember how your attention can wander from the book you are studying, or from the awareness practice of attending to your thoughts as they flow ceaselessly through your mind? And how you bring it back?

Ancient Kabbalistic wisdom presents a profound insight through the relationship between man, woman, and G-d. This teaching (Freeman, n.d.) is attributed to Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (1522?-1570).
   There is another issue about which you must take great care, and
   that is to ensure that the Shechinah be always with you and never
   part from you. Now, before a man is married, obviously the
   Shechinah is not with him at all, since the principal element that
   draws the Shechinah to a person is the feminine element. In fact,
   each man stands between two females: the corporeal woman below to
   whom he must provide food, clothing and affection. And the
   Shechinah which stands over him to bless him with all these things
   so that he may turn around and provide them to the woman of his
   covenant. (Compiler's note: The Shechina is the Divine Presence.
   When we refer to G-d as transcendent, infinite and beyond, we call
   Him, "He "'. When we refer to G-d as immanently here, non', in a
   nurturing, inner way, we say She is the Shechina.)


Interpreting the metaphor, the human intention (to become master of one's destiny, to become fully human, to function optimally) resides between attention to the source, the nurturing immanent, and attention to the world. And that life-giving source is not with us at all until we commit to life, accept our destiny, and begin to pay attention.

Daniel Siegel (2003) gives 'mindfulness' a fresh dimension by grounding it in the realities of neurobiology. His interest is in how mindfulness works in the brain and how it can, literally, change brain function. "Mindfulness promotes the integrative function of the prefrontal cortex," Siegel says. "It allows brain circuits to fire that have perhaps never fired before, giving people a sensation of inner awareness that they may never have had before" (Siegel, 2003). In short, it brings about neural changes that Siegel alternately calls "integration," "coherence," or "self-regulation."

In his research center at UCLA, Siegel and associates are exploring the ways that mindful awareness practices, such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation, may help promote well-being by fostering the growth of integrative regions of the brain, for example, the prefrontal cortex. This inner awareness creates the potential to transcend the limitations of ego-self perspective.

For one, this means not allowing your present to be created by the momentum of your personal past, by shedding your past, erasing your personal history. This is one of the primary principles related by Carlos Castaneda. When we expand our perspective to incorporate the lower realm and the upper realm where unseen aspects of ourselves reside, we can finally resolve the unfinished business of the past. We reconnect with what has been fragmented and lost. We welcome them back to an expanded sense of self, and cherish them. We no longer identify as those aspects, as the abused child or the terrified and vigilant survivor, or as the mindless perpetrator. We, therefore, no longer need to defend ourselves from intimate connection with them. We nurture them and assimilate them. "I am not the story of my history." Neural integration allows one to transcend his past.

2. Rituals and initiation bridge boundaries and transform them into thresholds. The ritual provides sufficient containment to allow breaching the boundary safely. The intent of initiation is to shift the person's perception toward their new role, identity, or perspective.

Joseph Henderson (1975) observes that later in life the dream images of the hero myth, with its drive for power, is replaced by the archetype of initiation. "Symbolically the ego, as hero-figure, dies and is replaced by the adept who becomes the model for the individuating person" (p. 116).

For example, shamanic initiation among American indigenous peoples defines a series of steps described in the medicine wheel as the four steps to power, the four steps to becoming a man or a woman of knowledge. These four steps have to do with facing fear, facing death, facing immortality, and facing the power of vision (Villoldo, 1998). The first step is the work of the south, associated with the spirit of the serpent, in which you learn how to shed your past, to erase your personal history, in the way the serpent sheds its skin. The second step is the work of the west, the work of the jaguar, in which you lose fear through facing death symbolically, experiencing the surrender of the ego's identification as "the totality of me", the separation of your energy essence from your ego-self. Basically, this can only happen when you lose your clinging to the illusion of control, your fear of death. Only then, disengaging the ego from the physical and yet being consciously aware in that state, can you begin to truly receive the lessons of immortality, the work of deepest midnight, in the north. It is through claiming and achieving the exercise of vision that one begins to see into the cracks of time or space, to see above the horizon and below the ground, to creatively visualize or envision what is not currently visible to the ego-self. That vision is the work of the east.

Some of the experiences that flow from ceremonies and rituals would be, in ordinary cases, highly disorienting and anxiety-producing because they may alter our perception of space-time location and boundaries, and may create loss of a sense of differentiation between self and other. However, rituals protect the participant by becoming intensely concerned with marking the boundaries of space and time and surrounding participants with familiar symbols. This provides security for individual participants in ritual: an external boundary to replace, temporarily, their own internal orientations which may have dissolved. Further, encounters with symbolic representations while in altered states of consciousness are shared with the community and become "normalizing" for future participants. We often find, for example, that Native American rituals like a vision quest produce visionary encounters with sacred beings or totem animals; the stories of these encounters contribute to the store of traditional mythic expectations within the community.

There are three markers for gauging the authenticity of any initiation experience: (1) submission, for we cannot be initiated into that which we resist; (2) holding the tension between the collective and the individual, i.e., an initiation must be personally validated to assure it is not a cult or groupthink, yet it must be in integrity with the values of the tradition which spawned it; and (3) numinosity, i.e., the experience must transcend the confines of consentual reality (Winer, 2007).

3. Humor, especially trickster humor, can open people to the vulnerability needed for profound insight. "Trickster continually over-tides the normal logical rule of mutual exclusiveness and forces a culture to recognize the arbitrariness of the cultural map" (Spinks, 1991). Trickster is a character that is larger, more complex and less predictable than any Western notion of good or evil, wise or foolish, and triggers a knowing smile in his observer. Trickster plays with ironies and synchronicities, surreal juxtapositions, and surprise endings. Trickster is the energy that allows us to break out of our stereotypes and rigid assumptions, the energy that opens the unseen world of limitless possibilities. Trickster invites (compels) us to go beneath the surface of our experience.

Buddhist crazy wisdom refers to someone who seems to be intoxicated with an un-bounded, luminous, loving energy. It is only crazy from the viewpoint of ego, custom, or habit. "The sharpness that cuts through neurotic mind seems to be like a two-edged razor that cuts in both directions simultaneously, so the only thing that exists is the sharpness itself. It's not like a needle, not like an axe. It cuts both the projection and the projector at the same time. That is why there is a craziness aspect: the user gets cut by that razor as well as what he is using it on. That makes it humorous, too" (Chogyam Trungpa, 1991, p. 149). "Remember, if a teaching is not threatening to the ego, the armored archetype within us, then it's not doing its job. So if people are fixated on chastity, a display of licentiousness will be useful. If someone thinks licentiousness is the path, then emphasize chastity. Sobriety, drunkenness. Logical thought, crazy thought" (Goodman, 2005).

Native American wisdom is filled with stories about the coyote, an exasperating teacher. In one story he almost drowns trying to eat some berries reflected in a stream. We laugh at his foolishness until the humbling realization dawns of our own tendency to do the same foolish thing. His wiliness sneaks up on us to confront our unexamined assumptions and beliefs. Coyote is a figure who not only tests boundaries, but transcends boundaries (Cooper, 1987).

Here is a Nez Perce tale of Coyote. A long, long time ago, people did not yet inhabit the earth. A monster walked upon the land, eating all the animals--except Coyote. Coyote was angry that his friends were gone. He climbed the tallest mountain and attached himself to the top. Coyote called upon the monster, challenging it to try to eat him. The monster sucked in the air, hoping to pull in Coyote with its powerful breath, but the ropes were too strong. The monster tried many other ways to blow Coyote off the mountain, but it was no use. Realizing that Coyote was sly and clever, the monster thought of a new plan. It would befriend Coyote and invite him to stay in its home. Before the visit began, Coyote said that he wanted to visit his friends and asked if he could enter the monster's stomach to see them. The monster allowed this, and Coyote cut out its heart and set fire to its insides. His friends were freed. Then Coyote decided to make a new animal. He flung pieces of the monster in the four directions; wherever the pieces landed, a new tribe of Indians emerged. He ran out of body parts before he could create a new human animal on the site where the monster had lain. He used the monster's blood, which was still on his hands, to create the Nez Perce, who would be strong and good.

Trickster Coyote usually, in spite of his bumbling ways, is in the end able to create something new and improved out of the old.

Sufi mystics have many teaching stories featuring Mullah Nasrudin, who is a lot like his cousin Coyote. One day the Mullah's wife sent him to buy some bread. When the Mullah arrived at the bread shop he saw a long line waiting to buy bread. He thought he would do something to get in front of the line. He shouted, "People, don't you know the Sultan's daughter is getting married tonight and he is giving away free bread?" The multitude ran toward the palace as the Sultan was generous to a fault and loved his daughter more than anyone. The Mullah was now in front of the line and was about to buy his bread when he thought to himself, "Mullah, you are truly a fool. All the citizen's are getting free bread tonight and I am about to pay for it. So he ran to the palace and when he got there was thoroughly beaten by the disappointed people.

In this story, the good Mullah reminds us of how often we believe our own fabrications, inflations, and fantasies, usually to the detriment of ourselves as well as others.

African traditions relate stories of Eshu and the Signifying Monkey concerning the ambiguity of interpretation. Eshu is the guardian of the crossroads, master of that elusive, mystical barrier that separates the divine world from the profane; he is metaphor and ambiguous oracle (Pelton, 1980). In one myth, "The Two Friends," Eshu appears to two men wearing a cloth cap with one white side and one black side. The two friends fight over the 'correct' color of the cap, since each saw only one side and assumed the hat was one color.

Mana personalities are archetypes that sometimes take the form of the Magician, according to Carl Jung (1953a). He describes the mana personality archetypes as extraordinary and compelling supernatural powers which emanate from certain individuals, objects, actions and events as well as from inhabitants of the spirit world. They represent our highest potentialities. "Whatever else the magician archetype might be, it is clear that it is one instance of a mana-personality" (1953a, para. 388). Jung saw the Trickster as a shadow side of the Magician: "The trickster is a collective shadow figure, a summation of all the inferior traits of character in individuals" (1953b, para. 484).

4. Imponderable riddles, or Zen koans, are stories or questions inaccessible to rational understanding, yet that are accessible to intuition. The intent is to manipulate the categories of the perceiver--perhaps by absurdity, perhaps by outrage, perhaps by dissonance.

A well-known Zen teaching riddle is Seijo's Two Souls. Chokan had a very beautiful daughter named Seijo. He also had a handsome young cousin named Ochu. Joking, he would often comment that they would make a fine married couple. Actually, he planned to give his daughter in marriage to another man. But young Seijo and Ochu took him seriously; they fell in love and thought themselves engaged. One day Chokan announced Seijo's betrothal to the other man. In rage and despair, Ochu left by boat. After several days journey, much to his astonishment and joy he discovered that Seijo was on the boat with him!

They went to a nearby city where they lived for several years and had two children. But Seijo could not forget her father; so Ochu decided to go back with her and ask the father's forgiveness and blessing. When they arrived, he left Seijo on the boat and went to the father's house, he humbly apologized to the father for taking his daughter away and asked forgiveness for them both.

"What is the meaning of all this madness?" the father exclaimed. Then he related that after Ochu had left, many years ago, his daughter Seijo had fallen ill and had lain comatose in bed since. Ochu assured him that he was mistaken, and, in proof, he brought Seijo from the boat. When she entered, the Seijo lying ill in bed rose to meet her, and the two became one.

Zen Master Goso, referrring to the legend, observed, "Seijo had two souls, one always sick at home and the other in the city, a married woman with two children. Which was the true soul?"

Another example is "Returning to the Ordinary World." A monk asked Kegon, "How does an enlightened one return to the ordinary world?" Kegon replied, "A broken mirror never reflects again; fallen flowers never go back to the old branches."

5. Storytelling can provide a path to higher self development when the story requires both right and left brain processing, especially drawing inferences and comprehending complex meaning. The right hemisphere is more sensitive than the left hemisphere to concepts related to predictive inferences (forward, or future-oriented), whereas the left hemisphere is more sensitive than the right to concepts related to bridging inferences (backward, or past-oriented). In listening to a metaphorical story, a fable or a parable, one is called on to integrate the characters' current dilemma with past influences and future potential outcomes, integrating brain processing.

"Hearing and telling stories calls upon the brain to perform multiple simultaneous tasks. Storytelling requires sustained attention; memory for the plot; keeping track of time and sequences; evoking the emotions, facial expressions, postures and movements of the characters; and paying attention to the listeners' reactions. The process of listening to and telling stories brings together behavior, affect, sensation, and conscious awareness in a way that maximizes the integration of a wide variety of neural networks. Through stories we connect with others, share the words, thoughts, and feelings of the characters, and provide the opportunity for moral lessons, catharsis and self-reflection" (Cozolino, 2002, p.35).

6. Nightmindedness "is a psychological state--a practice of accessing and expanding one's sense of night consciousness. In contrast and as a complement to waking consciousness, which is driven largely by intention, night consciousness is informed primarily by a posture of reception. It isn't simply about utilizing sleep-promoting techniques, but about encouraging an integration of consciousness. Being nightminded is about extending awareness into arenas that we believe lie outside of our awareness. It's a way of seeing in the dark--a kind of third-eye vision.

Ultimately, cultivating nightmindedness is less about getting to sleep than letting go of waking intention--learning to untether oneself from one's daytime consciousness" (Naiman, 2008, p. 38).

7. Hyperlucid states of consciousness are experiences of heightened awareness and access to nonordinary consciousness. "Just as it is possible to awaken, to become lucid, in a dream, so it is possible to attain moments or periods of heightened awareness--'wakefulness'--in waking life" (Metzner, 1998, p. 28).

Hyperlucid states result from intense engagement of the sympathetic nervous system ("hyperarousal") or the parasympathetic nervous system ("hyperquiescence") to the point of "spillover." This spillover eruption paradoxically activates the opposite system so that both are activated at the same time (normally when either system is "on" the other is dormant). These unique states can be provoked through 'positive' or 'negative' experiences, through ecstasy or adversity. The breath and heart rate variability are usually the mechanisms that activate and maintain these states.

For example, hyperquiescence may produce a feeling of oceanic tranquility, while hyperarousal creates a sense of "flow" with high alertness. The spillover of hyperquiescence, creating arousal, may produce a sense of absorption into an object or symbol. The spillover of hyperarousal, creating quiescence, may produce an ecstatic or orgasmic rush. The furthest excitation of both systems, hyperquiescence/hyperarousal, creates a mystical experience described by d'Aquili and Newberg (1999) as Absolute Unitary Being. Examples of these five unusual states, created through nervous system activation and spillover, are:

* hyperarousal--a sense of "flow" with high alertness, e.g., the kinesthetic immersion in high-risk challenges like firewalking, bungie-jumping, or parachuting, or in survival of a dangerous or threatening traumatic encounter

* hyperquiescence--a feeling of oceanic tranquility, e.g., inner silence or stillness, allowing the suspension of everyday thought. A state of reverie can sometimes create a magical moment in time, bringing sudden intuitive insight, reversal in perspective, the "eureka" or "aha" experience

* hyperquiescence/arousal--a sense of absorption into an object or symbol, e.g., the awe of beholding breathtaking beauty or experiencing profound lovingkindness

* hyperarousal/quiescence--an ecstatic or orgasmic rush, e.g., the psycho-somatic immersion in rhythmic drumming or kirtan chanting or ecstatic dancing

* hyperquiescence/hyperarousal--a mystical experience of oneness, e.g., a meditative state that ignites soaring ecstatic inspiration such as Kundalini shaktipat.

Traumatic growth, ecstatic growth

The process of development toward the optimal expression of one's humanity is the focus for this article. In addition to the sequential ongoing growth toward higher levels of functioning, there are special windows of accelerated opportunity for growth and development, moments of hyperlucid consciousness within the context of everyday life, within psychotherapy, and within spiritual practices. In the words of Ram Dass (1998), "All throughout our lives, we have windows of opportunity to wake up. These catalysts for growth come in various disguises, as both painful traumatic events and times of bliss and ecstasy. Most of the time, though, we awaken a bit, and then we go back to sleep" (p. 161).

We briefly explore these windows of opportunity in both forms: wounding or ecstatic, crisis or blessing, transcendent or immanent. Some are the "aha experience" of peak experiences or revelation; some are traumas, failures, or disappointments.

We also explore the best known methods for facilitating higher development, for taking optimal advantage of the opportunities presented in life. We have already noted several vitally important elements: (1) presence; (2) the practice of self-observation; and (3) understanding what one's experiences mean (Sanchez and Vieira, 2007). Distilled from wisdom traditions across cultures and history, these are operationalized as engagement in some kind of personal awareness discipline, and in a mutually committed engagement with a like-minded group dedicated to a challenging task (Torbert, 2002). Challenge, or disequilibrium, is necessary for most people to leave the familiarity of the known to adventure into the realm of new possibilities. "Without an adversary we are nothing" (Castaneda, 1985).
      All people have an ordinary adult ego structure, a
   "phenomenological ego," which is the product of interpersonal
   interaction, dates from late adolescence, and remains unchanged.
   Beyond that lies a potential and optional advanced ego, structured
   solely in terms of internal interactions, the "transcendental ego"
   or "ultraself." The ultraself is a conscious control center utterly
   detached from the interpersonal self. This potential will not be
   realized unless the ordinary adult ego is challenged to make
   changes in order to overcome obstacles. Only when required will old
   structures adapt and give rise to new structures (Pascual-Leone,
   1990).


Such challenge can also come through spiritual or transcendent experiences. "Even infrequent transcendental experiences can create a type of disequilibrium which induces construction of a new world view based on adoption of a 'cosmic' rather than an individual perspective" (Kohlberg & Ryncarz, 1990).

One of the known "windows of opportunity" is traumatic experience. Pascual-Leone (2000) discusses this form of the challenge needed by most people to overcome obstacles:
   ... life hardships that are endured with existential awareness lead
   to remarkable growth in the self. But ultimate limit situations
   that cannot be undone and are nonetheless faced with consciousness
   and resolve--situations like death, illness, aging, irremediable
   oppression or loss, extreme poverty, rightful resistance or
   rebellion, guilt, absolute failure, danger, uncontrollable fear,
   etc., lead to the natural emergence of a transcendental self, if
   they do not destroy the person first (p. 247).


When an individual encounters adversity, be it accidental or malicious, sudden or lingering, there are at least four potential consequences (O'Leary & Ickovics, 1995). One possibility is a downward slide in which the initial detrimental effect is compounded and the person eventually succumbs, defeated. A second possibility is that the individual survives but is diminished or impaired permanently. A third potential outcome is that the individual returns to the pre-adversity level of functioning, that is to say he or she recovers. The fourth possibility is that the person may surpass the previous level of functioning, and he or she thrives. The thriving outcome has been studied extensively, and is generally called traumatic growth. The following graphic representation (Figure 2) is taken from Carver (1998), who adapted it in turn from O'Leary & Ickovics (1995).

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

There has been significant research over the past decade into the phenomenon of a growth "benefit" resulting from traumatic experience. After difficult life experiences, some people express ways that they have benefited from their misfortune, finding "a silver lining in the cloud." The most common perceptions of benefit reported by survivors of trauma are strengthened family relationships, positive personality changes, and changes in life priorities (Affleck et al, 1991). Not surprisingly, those who perceive themselves as stronger as a result of surviving abuse have higher self-esteem than those who don't (McMillen et al, 1995). An expanded discussion of this topic was presented in Hartman and Zimberoff (2005).

The developing "transcendental ego" or "ultraself" that follows a coalescing of the 'I' and the 'me' is encouraged in effective psychotherapy and personal growth work.

Psychotherapy as path to higher self development

Effective psychotherapy leads to becoming more transparent, more open, and more present. "We have to be visible before we can be seen. We have to be available before our hearts can be affected. And we have to be present before we can be intimate" (Psaris & Lyons, 2000, p. 12).

Psychotherapy at its best is a path toward individuation. "Effective therapy is transformative on a level beyond talk or interpretation. I have come to see its core process of transformation as an interaction between the patient's (and sometimes the therapist's) projections and the transcendent function" (Young-Eisendrath, 2000, p. 137). Indeed, she continues in "Psychotherapy as Ordinary Transcendence":
   What I regard as the goal of an effective psychotherapy or
   psychoanalysis is to have fairly reliable access to the
   transcendent function, especially in the midst of psychological
   complexes being triggered. This means an openness in one's attitude
   towards oneself and an interest in genuine dialogue between oneself
   and others. Experientially this is a willingness to be accountable
   for both conscious and unconscious intentions, moods, and
   impulses--as they become known to oneself--and to recognize how one
   creates suffering through imposing old emotional habits, and
   wanting or wishing the world and others to conform to one's desires
   and ideals (p. 142).


Psychotherapy at its best is a path toward integration of the realms within, an integration that occurs through transcendence of ego boundaries. The ego grows to recognize itself as part of some greater entity, a self that lives in three realms with expanded awareness, without inflated ownership. The ego, having begun at lower stages of development with the intention of subduing internal non-ego elements, has at higher stages recognized itself to be subsumed instead.
      Our prayer is carried in the attitude of compassionate hospitality
   for the Beast that Beauty fears; it is in the knowledge that only
   when Beauty loves the Beast as a Beast are his princely qualities
   revealed. The Beast does not empirically disappear or mutate. The
   transformation is in the eye of the beholder, and in her
   relationship to him. It is Beauty that is changed, not the princely
   Beast (Brooke, 2000, p. 154).


Level of development, type of pathology, choice of treatment

Recent research has shown that social-cognitive maturity may be related to adaptive qualities of personality but not to global measures of health and well-being. For instance, higher levels of ego development have been related to changes over time in levels of responsibility, tolerance, and achievement via independence (Helson & Roberts, 1994) as well as to ego resiliency and interpersonal integrity, but not to self-ease (Westenberg & Block, 1993).

There is a distinct correlation between the types of psychopathology and level of ego development (Noam, 1998). Use of immature defenses, such as projection, repression, and "acting out" are negatively related to ego level, whereas more mature defense mechanisms, such as rationalization and reversal, are positively related to ego development. Ego-resiliency, that is, the capacity to manage anxiety and to rebound from frustrating experiences, is also positively related to ego development (Westenberg & Block, 1993). Neither extroversion nor playfulness are related to ego development.

There is also a distinct correlation between choice of treatment modality and level of ego development (Young-Eisendrath & Foltz, 1998). Post-Conformist patients prefer psychodynamic therapies, which focus on awareness of inner life and psychological causation (Dill & Noam, 1990).

To explore these two areas, Cramer (1999) divides the stages of ego development into three groups, based on the dimension of impulse control. In the first group, which includes the Impulsive and Self-Protective stages, there is minimal conscious control of impulses; anxiety around the expression of these impulses takes the form of feared consequences. Thinking at this stage is simplistic and is organized around dichotomies: good-bad, yes-no. Troubles are located outside of the self and blame is externalized (Cohn, 1991; Loevinger, 1976). Someone associated with these stages would tend to use low level defense mechanisms, such as denial and projection.

The second group includes the Conformist and Self-Aware levels, in which there is a conscious recognition of the need to control impulses, although the source of this control is seen as external to the self. At the Conformist stage, social norms control behavior, replacing the need for defense mechanisms. The Self-Aware level is a transition period from conscious control based on external rules to conscious control based on internal dictates. Rules are internalized, but not yet fully integrated into the ego.

The third group includes the Conscientious, Individualistic, and Autonomous stages. Beginning with the Conscientious stage, the conscious control of impulses is based on internalized standards of conduct. At the Individualistic level, internal control of impulses continues, but with a conscious awareness of inner conflict regarding mores (Loevinger, 1976). Finally, at the Autonomous stage, there is a capacity to acknowledge and consciously cope with conflict, "rather than ignoring it or projecting it onto the environment" (Loevinger, 1976, p. 23).

Remember that there are two primary motivations for growth: social-cognitive maturity and social-emotional well-being (Bauer & McAdams, 2004). By knowing which type of individual a particular psychotherapy client is, the therapist or facilitator can tailor growth-oriented interventions. Social-cognitive maturity is especially tied to exploratory growth goals, i.e., learning about new perspectives and attaining new understandings (Hy & Loevinger, 1996). People whose life span goals emphasize exploring new perspectives in life, helping others develop, or seeking new challenges seem especially able to think more complexly about the self and others.

Social-emotional well-being (Diener et al., 1985; Ryff & Keyes, 1995) is especially tied to intrinsic growth goals, i.e., to do things that are intrinsically motivating such as to grow personally, to foster meaningful relationships, or to contribute something to society (Sheldon & Kasser, 1995). People who organize their life span goals primarily around attaining happiness, meaningful relationships, or contributing to society (rather than attaining money, status, or approval) are especially likely to have higher levels of well-being.

People who have either form of growth goal are likely to have high levels of both maturity and well-being. Specific kinds of growth goals are especially geared toward specific kinds of personality development. People with growth-goal coherence--those whose long-term growth goals match their shorter term growth goals--are especially likely to have high levels of maturity and well-being.

Working within the worldview of preconventional and conventional individuals, the psychology of splitting the client's subject and object into separable categories is useful and necessary. Here psychotherapy is an interpersonal process in which the client is helped to understand and accept or change her thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The client's individualized personal history is explored to explain and ultimately to resolve dysfunctional life patterns. The client's self-awareness has been conditioned by society's expectations, roles, and demands, and therapeutic interventions for her need to be structured within that realm. Their sense of well-being is attached to specific conditions of living and being. The therapist's psychology views each individual as carrying disorders, carrying strengths, and attempting to solidify an adjusted and efficient self through positive self-esteem.

Within the worldview of postconventional individuals, their concept of themselves is expansive, intricately interrelated With others, with natural forces, with past and future events. The client's personal history has become a complex tapestry of relationships, and must be dealt with in therapy within that context. Their sense of well-being will be determined much more by "being as is, here and now" than by changing any specific conditions of living. Providing effective psychotherapy to the postconventional individual requires a shift in the facilitator's psychology to view the client's problems or dysfunctions, "not as having originated in a past that is being carried into the present, but as a present attempt to exist as a separable entity that is being defined by bringing the past into the present" (Berkow, 2003, p. 188). This individual is struggling to consolidate her identity in her present experience, today, in the context of relinquishing the previously constructed self-image, the illusion of a solid, boundaried self who has continuity with that self who experienced events in the past: "That was then; this is now."

Summary

Genuine postconventional development results in these observable structural changes: greater abstraction of thought, greater inclusiveness and greater self-awareness; integration and incorporation of predecessor levels of development; and broader equilibrium and greater wisdom, i.e., integrating affect with cognition, internal self processes, and self with environment; an ego that interprets the self in more interdependent, long-term, abstract, and internal terms (Bauer, 2008); emotional expressions that are guided more by an internal gyroscope than by fleeting circumstances, a more positive view of self and humanity, better able to integrate dichotomies, awareness more stabilized in the here and now, and more adaptive response to both internal and external challenges (Orme-Johnson, 2000).

Orme-Johnson (2000, p. 210) summarizes:
   experiences of higher stages of consciousness are empirically
   associated with a wide range of changes indicative of greater
   personal fulfillment and increased adaptability and efficiency in
   thought and behavior (Alexander et al., 1987a, 1990, 1994a;
   Dillbeck & Alexander, 1989). For example, studies with Skip's
   States of Consciousness Inventory found that experiences of higher
   states are positively correlated with increased cognitive,
   perceptual, and motor skills, capacity for absorption and episodes
   of total attention, creativity (flexibility, fluency and
   originality), self-concept (self-actualization, internal locus of
   control), neurological efficiency (as indicated by faster spinal
   neuron recovery rates--H-reflex recovery), long range spatial
   ordering of the cerebral cortex (increased alpha and theta EEG
   coherence), and decreased symptoms of stress (lower anxiety,
   aggression, depression, introversion, and neuroticism) (Alexander
   et al., 1989a, 1987a).


Bauer (2008) summarizes ego development using his own terminology of ego volume (loud for lower stages or quiet for higher stages):
   Here, ego volume involves the degrees of breadth and depth by which
   one interprets the self and the psychosocial world. As such, a
   louder ego interprets the self in more individualistic, immediate,
   concrete, and external terms--as with an ego shouting for
   attention to the point that it cannot hear the voices of others or
   of one's own internal dynamics. A quieter ego interprets the self
   in more interdependent, long-term, abstract, and internal terms. In
   this scenario, the ego never loses its self-identity as it becomes
   increasingly quieter; instead, the ego becomes even stronger, more
   resilient, and more assured in its roles (p. 199).


We now summarize the conclusions drawn in this article, presented in the form of the characteristics of the level of self development as they apply to a continuum from healing trauma and reaching resilience from adversity to optimal growth into being "fully human".

healing trauma

* freedom from ...

* "object permanence"

* pushed by threat or fear or obsession to get basic needs met

* perspective from the outside

optimal growth

* freedom to ...

* "subject permanence"

* pulled by the prospect of becoming fully human

* perspective from the inside

Trauma resolution focuses on building freedom from old self-limiting beliefs, areas of arrested development, self-sabotaging behaviors, unconscious dysfunctional motivations, and impulsive or irrational emotional reactivity, what Maslow called the "fear of one's own greatness" or the "evasion of one's destiny" or the "running away from one's own best talents."

Optimal development into being "fully human" stimulates one to claim the personal freedom to express one's deepest essence, to live spontaneously, to dare to step into one's own greatness, to have the "arrogance of creativeness" offset by the great humility that comes with transcending one's ego.

Trauma resolution focuses on object permanence, i.e., time-stamping experiences to a discreet circumstance rather than a globally generalized re-experience of the original trauma. One of the core aspects of treating PTSD is to route the original traumatic memory through the brain's hippocampus region to time-stamp it, which did not occur during the original trauma.

Optimal development into being "fully human" stimulates an individual's sense of subject permanence, or the integration of the self-concept, coalescing the T and the 'me'. An enduring 'I' persists through all of the many permutations of me that come and go in my daily experiences, available in the form of a witness consciousness.

Trauma resolution focuses on the "push" from behind by threats or fears to make the changes in one's life necessary to alleviate them, or the unconscious obsession to meet basic needs, such as safety, approval, or self-esteem.

Optimal development into being "fully human" motivates with the "pull" from ahead by the promise of fulfillment in becoming one's highest possible self, a transcendent self, of stepping into one's own greatness in order to fulfill one's destiny.

As one progresses from trauma resolution toward higher development, one's perspective on himself, his culture, his environment, and on the world gravitates from an outside perspective (the conditioned conventional approach sanctioned by the forces of family, society, culture, science, religion) toward a perspective from the inside (autonoetic knowing, intuition, mystical experience) (Grassie, 2007).

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David Hartman, MSW and Diane Zimberoff, M.A. *

* The Wellness Institute, 3716-274th Ave SE, Issaquah, WA 98029 425-391-9716
Table 1. Loevinger's Stages and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's        Loevinger's stages of ego development
hierarchy

Self-           Integrated        Wise; broadly empathic; full
transcendence   (E9)              sense of identity; able to
                                  reconcile inner conflicts, and
                                  integrate paradoxes. Similar
                                  to Maslow's "sell-actualized"
                                  person, who is growth
                                  motivated, seeking to actualize
                                  potential capacities, to
                                  understand her/ his intrinsic
                                  nature, and to achieve
                                  integration and synergy within
                                  the self (Maslow, 1962).

                Autonomous        Capacity to face and cope
                (E8)              with inner conflicts; high
                                  tolerance for ambiguity: sees
                                  conflict as an expression of
                                  the multifaceted nature of
                                  life; respects autonomy of
                                  self and others; relationships
                                  are interdependent, not
                                  dependent/ independent;
                                  concerned with self-
                                  actualization; recognizes the
                                  systemic nature of
                                  relationships; cherishes
                                  individuality and uniqueness;
                                  vivid expression of feelings.

Self-           Individualistic   Heightened sense of
actualization   (E7)              individuality; concern about
                                  emotional dependence; tolerant
                                  of self and others; awareness
                                  of inner conflicts and
                                  personal paradoxes, without
                                  a sense of integration;
                                  values relationships over
                                  achievement: vivid and unique
                                  way of expressing self.

                Conscientious     Self evaluated standards;
                (E5)              reflective; responsible;
                                  empathic; long term goals and
                                  ideals; true conceptual
                                  complexity displayed and
                                  perceived; can see the broader
                                  perspective and can discern
                                  patterns; principled morality;
                                  rich and differentiated
                                  inner life; mutuality in
                                  relationships; self critical;
                                  values achievement.

Self-esteem     Self=Aware        Increased, yet still limited,
                (E4)              self-awareness and
                                  appreciation of multiple
                                  possibilities in situations;
                                  self-critical; emerging
                                  awareness of inner feelings
                                  of self and others; and
                                  reflections on life issues:
                                  God, death, relationships,
                                  health.

Belongingness   Conformist        Conventional; moralistic;
                (E3)              sentimental; rule-bound;
                                  stereotyped; need to belong;
                                  superficial; behavior of self
                                  and others seen as external;
                                  feelings only understood at
                                  banal level; conceptually
                                  simple, "black and white"
                                  thinking.

Safety          Self-Protective   Wary; complaining; exploitive;
                (E8)              hedonistic; preoccupied
                                  with staying out of trouble,
                                  not getting caught; learning
                                  about rules and self control;
                                  externalizing blame.

                Impulsive (E2)    Demanding; impulsive;
                                  conceptually confused;
                                  concerned with bodily
                                  feelings, especially sexual
                                  and aggressive; no sense of
                                  psychological causation;
                                  dependent; good and bad seen
                                  in terms of how it affects
                                  the self; dichotomous
                                  good/bad, nice/mean.

Physiological   Presocial and     Exclusive focus on
                Symbiotic         gratification of immediate
                (E1)              needs; strong attachment
                                  to mother, and differentiating
                                  her from the rest of the
                                  environment, but not her/
                                  himself froth mother;
                                  preverbal, hence inaccessible
                                  to assessment via the
                                  sentence completion method.

Table 2. Comparison of Jung's Kundalini Yoga system with Cook-
Greuter's Stages of Ego Development

chakra              Jung                          Cook-Greuter
                                                  (Torbert)

1st--Muladhara      "the self is asleep and the   Preconventional
                    ego is awake"                 and conventional

2nd--svadhisthana   separation from ordinary      Individualist
                    ego-consciousness             (Individualist)

3rd--manipura       realization that it is the    Autonomous
                    fire within that is one's     (Strategist)
                    true self

4th--anahata        Identity with impersonal      Construct-aware
                    experience not with our       (Magician)
                    desires

5th--vissuddha      psychic abstraction or        Unitive (Ironist)
                    mental concepts

6th--ajna           ego disappearing as one       Ego-transcendent
                    dissolves completely into
                    the self

7th-sahasrara       Nonduality

Table 3--Oscar Ichazo's Teachings

    Virtue               Passion     Ego-Fixations

1   Serenity             Anger       Resentment (Judging)
2   Humility             Pride       Flattery (ingratiation)
3   Truthfulness         Deceit      Vanity
      (Authenticity)
4   Equanimity           Envy        Melancholy (fantasizing)
5   Detachment           Avarice     Stinginess
      (Non-attachment)
6   Courage              Fear        Cowardice (worrying)
7   Sobriety             Glutton y   Planning (anticipation)
8   Innocence            Lust        Vengeance (objectification)
9   Action               Sloth       Indolence (daydreaming)

Table 5. Common Qualities and Ichazo's Virtues

Our suggested qualities                    Ichazo's Enneagram Virtues

1. Resilience and serenity                  Serenity

2. Increasing transcendence                 Humility
   through humility

3. Expanding perspective                    Truthfulness (Authenticity)
  (visible and invisible worlds)

4. Mindfulness, presence,                   Equanimity
   experiencing reality clearly

5. Witness perspective and                  Detachment (Non-attachment)
   self-transcendence

6. High level of purpose or                 Courage
   meaning in life

7. Personal freedom                         Sobriety

8. "Taoistic receptivity"                   Innocence

9. Increasing integration and synchrony     Action

Table 6. Levels of Development (Loevinger, Cook-Greuter,
Torbert, Riso and Hudson)

4 tiers of         Stages of       Ego-development
development        Development     stages (Loevinger;
(Miller & Cook-    Torbert)        Cook-Greuter)
Greuter; Wilber)

IV. Postpost-                      Ego-Transcendent
conventional

III.               Ironist         Unitive
Postconventional
                   Alchemist       Construct-aware

                   Strategist      Autonomous

                   Individualist   Individualist

II. Conventional   Achiever        Conscientious

                   Technician      Self-conscious

                   Diplomat        Conformist

I.                 Opportunist     Self-protective
Preconventional
                   Impulsive       Impulsive

                                   Presocial

                                   Undifferentiated
                                   self

4 tiers of             Levels of        3 tiers of
development        Development (Riso    development
(Miller & Cook-        & Hudson)        Riso &
Greuter; Wilber)                        Hudson)

IV. Postpost-      Liberation           Healthy
conventional

III.               Psychological
Postconventional   Capacity

                   Social Gift

II. Conventional   Fixation             Average

                   Interpersonal
                   Conflict

                   Overcompensation

I.                 Violation            Unhealthy
Preconventional
                   Delusion and
                   Compulsion

                   Pathological
                   Destructiveness
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