Transformation and Presence by Dr. Deborah Ooten and Beth O’Hara Deb Ooten 2014

In Enneagram work, we often refer to the words Presence and Essence, discuss our spirituality as consciousness, and talk about “being awake”. However, we have found that people define and describe Presence, Essence, Consciousness and Being Awake very differently, depending on cultural factors, Enneagram Type and Levels of Consciousness (from the research of Dr. Clare Graves and as explored in Spiral Dynamics®).

What do we actually mean when we talk about Presence and Essence? What are the many ways we can define this? What does it mean to be Conscious? Awake? Does this look differently depending on Enneagram type? How do these definitions change across our lives and across our spiritual evolution? Does culture impact Presence? How do times, places, problems and circumstances influence our understanding of Presence?

In our studies, it is invaluable to take into account the context in which teachers and authors are describing Presence, Essence and Consciousness. In teaching the Enneagram, it is vital to take into account the conceptual space and meanings as the students understand them to be able to connect with students fully and teach to where they are.

Once we begin the deepening of a Presence practice, a large amount of internal and external turmoil can be created. Or these transformations can be managed smoothly, depending on whether one’s external life conditions support the internal changes. The Enneagram paired with Levels of Consciousness are foundational tools for navigating these upheavals with clarity and support, both for ourselves and in guiding others.

We invite you to take time to explore your definitions of Presence, Essence, Consciousness, and Being Awake. Then, explore those definitions with others by engaging in deep listening and releasing any need to be “correct” or “right.” Listen with compassion, curiosity and simply to understand one another. Ask yourself whether your social circles and environment support the changes you are experiencing, and be aware of this for others.

If you are able to attend the 2015 IEA Global Conference in San Francisco this summer, we welcome you to explore with us in person how these concepts are defined by the nine Enneagram types across the different Levels of Consciousness through presentation and interaction.

We will look at how each Enneagram type transforms from each Level of Consciousness. Participants will examine their own relationship with transformation, change, order and chaos, as well as their readiness for change and the states involved in any type of change. We will also discuss the differences between horizontal and vertical change in the evolution of Presence.

Whether you join us in person or online, we invite you into this ongoing conversation and inner study. You can engage with us further online here:
Dr. Deborah Ooten and here: Beth O’Hara. We’d love to hear about your discoveries! Our website is