For those of you familiar with the Enneagram you know there are levels within a type.  That each type is trying their utmost to fill a perceived hole in their makeup.  And that the more stress a person is under the more they try and manipulate their environment and sadly others to hold up their perception of how her or his world is held together.  Oddly but predictably their efforts, especially at lower stress levels, become counterproductive.

I remember two things in this regard from the Enneagram retreats I attended.  The regret, agony and remorse that would be shared when a participant came to see how their type had dictated their life.  Additionally when we in our training would move through the different levels of each type and came to the lower eighth and ninth levels, there would be this cloud of understanding, this heaviness, of how humanity can become despondent when pursuing an ego agenda.  And when it came to studying your own type, some individuals were spared this dark level review of their own life history, because stress wasn’t a big factor in their life experience.  But you would notice others in the room where the despair of that journey down the levels of stress had taken place.  But it was a supportive environment and there was a comradery of understanding no matter one’s type.  There are nine ways of taking that darker journey and it was the similarity of the experience itself that elicited empathy.

For each type there is a “shock point” where they will need to realize, to awaken to, the downward slide their personality has taken.  If they miss this opportunity (and often you do because the stress you are under takes all of your capacity) they will slip into the lower three levels where they will need the support of others and or the intervention of therapy of some sort.  But often the stress they have come under has isolated them, or their manipulations of others has exasperated their friendships, or the numerous unhealthy escapes they have developed are embraced in lieu of getting insight/help.

Unbeknownst to me, my quandary of writing two months back was I coming to the turn in the road where I would realize I had crossed my “shock point” some years ago.  Just a couple of weeks back I reread the “Wisdom of the Enneagram”.  I placed my name in front of the many descriptions of the One including the “shock point”.  “Joel you have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or coping skills, you crossed the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of the type One.  This led you to a fearful recognition that your views, positions, and methods may actually be wrong, or at least limited, flawed, and overrated.”

These musings from that post of 6/19/18 became clear to me.

The catch-22 of becoming free of my ego’s agenda, yet employing the ego to do so.

My type One on the Enneagram can especially get caught in a spiritualized ego trying to become free of their ego.

That this type of spiritual work is so difficult to do when under stress.

My personal stress over the past many years has continued to frustrate my effort to be free from my effort.

How the existential gaze at what our enculturation constructs as real/valid deduces absurdity.  How when our ego identification looks likewise all can become blurry to dark.

My type One’s gaze, which always wants to see the truth of the matter, is bound to see the despair of which humanity, and in turn oneself, is involved.

Fortunately for me the “shock point” realization was an offering to review my whole life of being a type One, even when I wasn’t under stress.  I was taken back by how little choice I had regarding my profession(s), my relationships and how I was in them, and my overall interpretation of what life meant.  And in turn my interpretations had their corollary emotional reactions.  With an ensuing feedback loop. When my emotions and thoughts/activities were going well, it affirmed that I was manipulating my world and others well enough.  (Of course I was not literally seeing myself as manipulating, that is the delusion our ego takes to accomplish its’ agenda.)  When my emotions and thoughts/activities were going bad, I needed to push harder or retreat farther.  This is the ego’s fight or flight pattern.

Most of my life my ego type had a semitransparent cover over what was really taking place, but having crossed my “shock point” my view became opaque to considerably dark.  Blacked out and mostly out of control.  My ego vehicle racing at death reckoning speed through the impending night desert, suddenly skidding sideways, but fortunately not rolling end over end.  When the dust settles, foot on the brake, I look around the barren desert within which I find myself.  The horizon is vast and un-rustled, and if I can still my monkey mind of anxiety, it is a quiet inviting landscape.

With that being said, I realized that even this blog was a result of my type One’s agenda of reforming the world, which was all along a reforming of me.  I have come to see that this, my type One’s way of filling my perceived hole, is not necessary.  I can stop fixing things, stop my self-improvement projects.  Relax.

So how would I approach this blog with that different perspective?  I’m not sure.  So I am taking a hiatus from writing until November.  At which time I may discontinue this blog which has been my anchor of reflection for many years and hopefully, for you, a place worth visiting.  Time will tell.


Time Will Tell by Gregory Alan Isakov


Turnin of the grain again

The bells begin to chime

And time, she says,

“There’s no turning back

Keep your eyes on the tracks.”

And through the fields, somehow there’s blue

Time will tell, she’ll see us through


Howlin out

The windy hills

And all the time we took

And you should know just how it steals

Keep your hand on the wheel

And through it all, somehow we know

Time will tell we always know

Oh fire and flames took all we trust

Kicking up dust

Stations fade, just like they do

Time will tell, we always know


Time will tell, we always know

Welcome to the Liminal Insights


and spiritual resources site!


So you know where I’m coming from:

I find that my spiritual orientation has substantial and substantive evidence/reason, as the more academic articles I’ve written attempt to explain.   This spiritual framework then contributes to a practice which philosophically can be situated within many of the tenets of Neo-Platonism, Taoism, and the psychological/spiritual work of the Ridhwan School.  I hold that honest science and sincere faith inquiries can be co-informing regarding Truth.

In short I think we need to have integrity, humility, reverence for Being in all Its forms, and compassion.

Morally we serve Reality best by considering both the depth and breadth of our actions.

(For a short overview of where I’ve been and where I’m going see these highlighted links.  More specifically see article on non-believers.)