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Enneagram Levels of Integration

Why does one person of a certain Type appear so different to another of the same Type?

The answer can lie in the Enneagram Levels of Integration or Levels of Health (LOH), which is the term given by Don Riso and Russ Hudson, to demonstrate the nine different stages we can move through, from being very disintegrated, to the average level of being and then to the highest, most integrated expression of ourselves.

Don Riso and Russ Hudson did some incredible work in defining these nine levels.We can move up and down the levels depending on our choices and reactions to what occurs in our lives, as well as through becoming conscious of ourselves. For instance, if I know that I can be very reactive, then consciously taking time to smell the roses and becoming less reactive, will serve to integrate me further.

Enneagram levels of integration  illustration

There is a paradox of behavior from the integrated to disintegrated level. A bully when integrating, becomes the redeemer of victims, helping others to be strong. The strongly judgmental person at an average or disintegrated level, when integrated, realizes that they are in no position to judge anyone or anything, and so becomes accepting. The lying inauthentic person becomes highly authentic.

How we lose presence

As we disintegrate, we lose presence. We are focused either in the future or the past. Here, but not here. Unconscious of the moment we are experiencing. We become so identified with our personalities that we are removed from the real nature of our being. Our ego rules supreme at the lower levels of self. Consequently, our sense of freedom becomes constricted and life becomes grueling.

What level does most of the population live in?

Very few people are able to constantly maintain being in the three higher levels. (The world be a very different place if most people were found in the healthy levels.) In the lower three levels, we have become very dysfunctional and we lose touch with true reality. Consequently, the majority of people can be found in the three average levels.

Do our levels alter?

Yes they do, often daily as we experience life’s ups and downs.

Are we conscious of this?

Integration is conscious. Disintegration is unconscious. I’ve observed that often when a person believes themselves to be extremely conscious or integrated, in reality they are the opposite.

What does being at the highest level of ourselves look like?

Remember the man who went to seek gold only to find the real gold was on his doorstep? That’s the journey when we discover that our journey to self is an inner journey. Here we discover all that we already are. From an Enneagram perspective the Basic Desire of each Type becomes realized. For example, the desire of a Type Three to feel valuable is realized.

Further reading: Personality Types by Don Riso with Russ Hudson

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