Michael NaylorThe Levels of Development are a map and guide to greater Presence. Let’s take a closer look.

Awake, Present, and Alive

When we are functioning in the Healthy Levels we are flexible, spontaneous, joyful, open-minded, heart-felt, compassionate, understanding of others and self, and more often objective in our interpretation of reality. We are often able to call upon courage, and are balanced, creative, perceptive, and curious. Put simply, we embrace life with heartfelt openness and sensitivity, are in touch with the aliveness, passion and electricity of our body, and are blessed with a quiet and curious mind. Wild open and awake, we are able to endure difficulty with grace, flexibility, spontaneity and intelligence. At home with our self, attuned to what is real and true within us, we are genuine, sincere and unpretentious. Truly humble, yet able to embody our gifts and capacities, we wear our personality (and our preferences) lightly and effectively. Clearly aware of our ‘reactive emotional triggers’ and able to own them often without acting them out, we graciously avoid blaming others for their emotional reactions. We take full responsibility for ourselves and are empowered to make healthy changes when needed. Not tied to our view of reality or our particular opinions, we are open and available to all the possibilities, and more importantly to receiving the input, intelligence and loving support of others. In this manner we are available to be touched by life. Pretty great! Exactly why we got clean and sober!

Similarly, we can compassionately see when others are projecting their suffering onto to us and don’t take it personally, don’t take it into our soul, don’t suffer with the attack, but see it for what it is—an errant projection. Because we are conscious, we are able to listen to our creative impulses and put them into action. We can utilize our intelligence and our emotional nature in the service of our life and those we touch. And because we feel good, we naturally share our well-being with those around us. We give away the best of who they are. Generosity comes naturally.

With a quiet mind and an open heart we see the innate goodness in human beings, and also recognize when that goodness has distorted into its opposite, or is only partially embodied by the individual. In short, we have eyes to see what is real and true about human beings and ourselves. This is what it means to be healthy! We are often delightful to be around because we give others space to be themselves, are not compelled to judge them or try to fix others, and can generously appreciate other’s beauty, value and significance. Trusting other’s innate capacity to find out what is true for them, we listen to them with full attention without feeling we need to advise them or assume we know what is best for them. We are teachable because we are not under the delusion of believing we know everything. We are humble in this regard, which makes us more innately intelligent. (Note: Each Enneagram Type has a particular way they express the healthy aspects of their type, all of which touch upon the above qualities in a type-specific manner.)

Each of has had moments in our lives in which we have lived in the healthy levels of our type. When we are there, it feels great. Our sense of communion with life, our capacity to savor what is great about ourselves, our loved ones, and life on planet earth is enhanced. And truth be known, most of us make visits here and truly wish we could spend more time here. In reality, we live most of our time at the Average Levels of Health.


Michael Naylor, M.Ed, CCPC, LADC, CCS, is a faculty member of the Enneagram Institute, a Certified Professional Coach, an Authorized Riso-Hudson Enneagram Teacher, and IEA accredited teacher, and a Licensed Addictions Therapist. He teaches in the U.S.A and coaches internationally.