I WANT TO IMPROVE MY LEVEL
so I can live better
PREVIOUS: Healthy Levels (Part 2)
SITE: “Identity & Type”
ANALOGY: Psychological layers (like the Ennea-levels) are like layers of apparel – how we ‘clothe’ ourselves, but are not our Essence.
● Outer layer – what we present to the world – is like a man’s jacket. He can easily put it on or take it off, but it’s what he usually wears when he goes out.
● Middle layer – how we are with our family & friends – is like his pants and shirt. He can take them off, but is not likely to do so and then walk down the street in his underwear.
● Inner layer – what we only show to the most intimate, or keep totally private – is like his underwear. He can easily take it off, but like most people, isn’t willing to walk naked through town. At home, he’ll first take off his jacket, later his pants and shirt, & will be naked when taking a shower. His clothes are what he uses, they’re not who he is.
MEANING of the 3 Mental Health GROUPINGS (see Part 2)
Everyone has the opportunity to go for the achievements or tackle the lessons of the various Levels, no matter which Type we are, but how we handle the tasks & demands of any given Level will depend on our Number.
Most often, people live within a certain continuum of consciousness they believe to be their ‘self’, anywhere from the clarity of ‘Presence’ (Level 1) to self-harming behaviors (9). In any given moment, we are more OR less Present, in contact with ‘Being’ (Human Being rather than a Human Do-ing). Presence distinguishes the Essential from the ego-self, the real from the illusory.
Starting in 1973, Don Riso observed that a person might be healthy (high-functioning), average (‘normal’), or unhealthy (destructive to self & others), depending on what was motivating him/her at any given time.
He also observed that while people’s basic Type tends to stay the same throughout life, the level they’re functioning from can fluctuate a great deal day-to-day, as well as over the years.
HEALTHY (1-3) – ALL Types
LEVEL 1 – Liberation
External Behaviors – I’ve become compassionate, energetic, enraptured, knowing, pioneering, profound, revolutionary, visionary
Internal Attitudes – I’m awed, clear-minded, comprehending, immediately discerning, non-attached, participating, trusting
Self-Actualization – I let go of the identification with a particular self-image, & are separate from the environment (an outside observer)
Basic Fear of this LEVEL – Being helpless, incapable, overwhelmed, useless
At our best (no matter which Type) we become extraordinarily wise and discerning. We no longer see ourselves as limited & incomplete, having integrated qualities that were rejected at Level Two, & so truly come into balance with ourselves. When living from Level 1 we realize that we in fact DO possess what we were always looking for. By accepting what is, we become transcendentally realistic, knowing the best action to take in each moment. We are connected to ‘the Truth’ – humane, hopeful & an inspiration to others
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LEVEL 2 – Psychological Capacity
External Behaviors – I’ve become aware, curious, clever, perceptive, playful, unusual
Internal Attitudes – I’m attentive, fascinated, have sensory acuity, objective, observant, unsentimental
Desire is To – be capable & competent (have something to contribute)
Basic Fear of this Level – Of not being smart enough, since our intuition & perceptions aren’t strong enough to give us confidence.
At Level 2 we achieve the full potential that our ‘personality’ allows us, for the most part being very open-minded & tolerant. Although we have preferences at this level, we can act largely without bias. We recognize our gifts, talents & qualities – trusting them: we are conscientious, have strong personal convictions, an intense sense of right and wrong, with personal spiritual & moral values. Our desire is to be mature, moderate in all things rational, reasonable & self-disciplined.
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LEVEL 3 – Social Value
External Behaviors – I’m communicative, creative, innovative, inventive, learning, original, skillful, tinkering
Internal Attitudes – I’m concentrating, exploratory, focused, independent, open-minded, patient, uncompromising, whimsical
Desire is To – master something in order to gain confidence & create a niche for ourselves
Basic Fear of this Level – not having anything of valuable to contribute (unprepared)
At Level 3 we form a stronger identification with our self-image, & want to share our talents & abilities, believing that they will have a positive impact on those around us. Extremely principled, we always want to be fair, objective & ethical: truth and justice are primary values. It’s no longer enough to just hold a certain picture of ourselves in order to stave off underlying anxieties. We also want to show others who we are – with personal integrity & a sense of responsibility – which reinforces our self-image. Having a higher purpose often leads to being teachers & ‘witnesses to the truth’.
NEXT: Levels of Development – “AVERAGE”