"Last Night I Googled Longing"

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Dance is something I need, but what I long for is: blossoming. Waking up every part of me. Growing toward the sun. Living an adventure. That is my deepest longing.

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Please don't miss the point of this article,(forget about the theistic language,the concrete spiritual path, etc. It's the quality of sharing that I feel is the important thing here)





The Redemption of Point Eight

Footsteps on the Path to the Pearl Beyond Price



I have lived most of my life under the delusion of point eight.


I would like to share some of my experience and journey toward becoming a human being. I want to

talk about the enneagram – how it’s been useful and how I see it being used to perpetuate the

incarceration of the soul. I want to address compassion, humanness & vulnerability, integrity, and

the Pearl Beyond Price (personal essence).


I was raised in a military family, the son of an officer. What comes to mind in this moment is not

the discipline, which was firm, but the chain-of-command. Dad was in charge and mom second in

command. We four kids, as is usual, developed our own pecking order.


My life, up until the last ten years, seems to have been a rebellion against the chain-of-command.

Although my prior adult existence was also one of “might makes right”, I could not stand running

up against this elsewhere in the world. Earn my trust; respect and cooperation don’t – demand it!


It would take volumes to articulate all that I know (or don’t know) about me: the issues, the history,

and the dynamics of living in this trap; this fixation; this survival strategy of point eight. Let me

offer you one image that came to me years ago and speaks to something central in this defensive


The world is an anvil and life is a hammer

Between them I exist

And I will survive


I knew little to nothing about what it meant to be a real human being. How could I? My defensive

structures were formidable. One of them was an absolute assertion into the world of: “I know

what’s right for me.” In retrospect, it’s obvious the truth was more of: “I know what I need to do to

stay imprisoned within all my pain and suffering.” In short, how to continue being “me”.


Life is quite wonderful, isn’t it? A mystery of grace and beauty and quite often confused



My introduction to the enneagram did not come from a background, or even an interest, in

psychology. I arrived via a crack in the cosmic egg called mysticism. One of the lessons that is

blatantly clear in my life is that the ego can co-opt spiritual experiences using them for its means

and incorporating them into its defensive strategies. The enneagram revealed this to me, as I will

explain later, but first some more history.


At nineteen, I had my first spiritual experience: A thick substance descends into my body. As it

enters the top of my head, my whole body starts to tingle and the hairs go up on the back of my

neck. It reaches my neck and shoulders. It is warm and a sense of “welcome home” suffuses me. It

enters my chest and I experience a single point of exquisite pain, like a needle being stuck into the

heart. Something awakens in me and begins a search for itself.


My whole world turned upside down. I joined a spiritual path and spent the next fifteen years, or so,

traveling to other dimensions and realities – mind blowing, earth shattering, light and sound of God.


At thirty-six, my life was a mess. I was having spiritual experiences others would die for, but my

marriage was a wreck; my relationships with my children were really sad affairs; and me – well, I

think the ten thousandth person had just informed me that I was an asshole.


I was cutting a rose when I realized that I was the greatest problem in my life. The “me” in my life

was not changing in spite of all the experience it was having. That day, in that moment, something

cracked in me. I realized that I wanted to be a real human being. I left the path to God Realization

and went looking for a path to humanness.




before you is a madman

listen, not to his words

they are lies

and he, a greater lie


how arrogant his quest

these many many years

thinking to find himself

and something greater

far beyond

thoughts and wild imaginings

he thought it brave and bold

to laugh at death

and pain and sorrow

the human condition

while chasing elusiveness

he strayed

to far beyond


listen, not to his words

they are lies

and he, a greater lie

before you

is a madman



it was he who demanded

and gave permission

to be fooled

he thought to find himself

and something greater

he said “anything - anything

take me beyond

all beyond”

it was he who hung himself

his madness his creation

how was he to know

that beyond light’s blush

and the moaning wind

lay the slayer of all sanity

while chasing elusiveness

he strayed

too far beyond

where stillness and silence

steal you from yourself

and being no where

and no thing

that Presence

soft as finest down

faint as a still breeze

touches one

so very very gently

in a place

so very very hidden

all hope of sanity dies

this touch remembers


awakens to itself

listen, not to his words

they are lies

and he, a greater lie

before you

is a madman



returning to this world

of idiots and imbeciles

they say, “relax, you’re too intense

surrender, God’s will be done”

is insanity

how, can one surrender

when one is not

who, can scratch an itch

that is not

where can one prepare for

what is not

can any formula mandate grace



I am a madman

living in insanity

where the only road back

is to expose all the lies

and I

is the greatest lie of all

listen, not to these words


are all





What good is spiritual experience if it does not transform us? Transformation is a caterpillar

becoming a butterfly not a leopard changing its spots. Much of the “spiritual work” out there wants

to help you acquire a more spiritual look while “you” remain “you”. Much of the enneagram work

is oriented similarly. And, why not? It lends itself to the ego working on itself – trying to become

better, more evolved, more appealing spots.


Ah Life!


My wife divorces me, takes the kids and moves out of state, and some local authorities think that a

spiritual guy like me should be locked up. Three intrapsychic nuclear explosions bring my defenses

down and I get reconnected to my feelings. I go on a roller-coaster ride I could never imagine –

highs and lows of pain and anguish. It’s unimaginable to me that people live lives in touch with this.

No wonder, I don’t understand people. It amazes me that I live through it. I pray that life will keep

those walls down.


One night, shortly thereafter, I am on the floor living my worst nightmare. I’m a fetal, blubbering

ball of protoplasm. My personal anguish is so great I can’t even attack myself for being in this state

of total weakness.


An “inner guide” I had been working with for years appears. In his hand, a gray lifeless terracotta

object. “Such is the human heart,” he says. More bad news, I recognize it as mine. His hand crushes

it. The walls are old and brittle. They crumble to pieces revealing ashes within. “These are the

experiences you have consumed in the service of your needs, fears and deficiencies,” he says. The

news just keeps getting better. He blows the ashes away and a single spark is revealed. It’s like a

piece of glitter. Hope springs forth in me. “Careful,” my mind cries out. He puts it in my right palm.

It tingles – a delicate aliveness. His parting words, “Your job is to allow this to consume you.”


For two months, I try every meditation and spiritual technique I can think of to turn this spark into a

flame. I’m powerless – helpless – the situation is hopeless. I pray to life for assistance. (Do you

notice, that I don’t pray to God? Too much of an authority figure for me.) The nightmares come –

lucid awareness – they last for weeks.


I’m in a room that shrinks or bound in chains that confine and smother me. All my frantic efforts

increase the gravity of the situation. I finally realize that my efforts are tied to my sense of identity;

to a position I am taking as part of myself. I relax and give up my position – I shrink in size. The

room gets larger, the chains slip away, and the spark grows larger. I conclude that when I disappear,

delicate aliveness will have consumed me.


Now I have to discover how to disappear.


The enneagram (I was not aware of it yet) can help us to disappear. It can help us to discover and

articulate some of our positions, parts of our identity – the walls that confine, the chains that bind.


Most of the energy we expend in our great efforts to get ahead, deal with problems, and get through

the day – is nothing – compared to the energy the ego is using to maintain its defenses and identity.

What’s amazing is that this huge drain of energy is happening all the time at an unconscious level

because it’s part of who we think we are.


Several years have now passed. I have reacquainted myself with Sufism because of the emphasis on

the heart and their knowledge of “spiritual psychology”. I am reading Rumi to support the

transformation of my heart. “Through strange coincidence”, I have come across the works of A.H.

Almaas and am working with the Diamond Approach – learning how to disappear.


Two significant allies enter my life: compassion and the enneagram.




Compassion has been the greatest agent of change in my life. The Diamond Approach’s

understanding of compassion as an essential quality of the soul and the psychodynamic issues

associated with the “loss” of it allows me to work my way into a state of “radical allowing”. In this

place, I am open to forces outside of myself (meaning outside of the ego’s defenses and outside of

my identity) working upon me; challenging my sense of identity.


The ego’s understanding of compassion is used to maintain the false. Like everything else it co-

opts, it uses it to cover up the holes of deficiency inherent in itself or it moves away from them and

walls them off. I should probably point out that the ego’s relationship to the soul is that the soul is

constricted within the form created by ego defenses. This is considered a negative situation when

viewed from the perspective of the essence of the soul, as it inhibits the dynamism of the soul. The

soul becomes stuck in habituated, conditioned patterns. It is these patterns that the enneagram helps

us to see.


From another perspective, that of physical development and survival, these patterns can be seen as

mostly positive adaptive survival patterns used by an organism whose mental, emotional, physical,

and neurological capacities require years to reach a state of optimal functioning. In other words, we

do the best we can with what we have and this creates conditions that need to be readdressed after

we reach maturation, i.e., if we desire to know what it is we truly are and function from that place.


Thus, the ego and its identity are actually created out of the soul substance by a reactive conditioned

structure of tension and images within the mind, body and soul. Again, the enneagram helps to

reveal some of these structures and the survival strategies underlying them.


The ego’s take on compassion is that the best way to handle emotional/mental pain and suffering is

to be rid of it – move on to other things, forget about what is going on, find something better,

suppress it, repress it, forget it, have a beer! One way it accomplishes this is by contracting around

the distress and walling it off from consciousness. The ego is always trying to come up with a better

strategy. Notice the mind’s obsession with refining your experience in life.


Real compassion, the essential quality of the soul, is a capacity that allows us to tolerate, to hold the

pain and suffering so that other resources of our True Nature can arise and engage the situation with

what is really needed for us to grow (human) or unfold (soul).


One of the effects of compassion in the life of an eight is the movement of eight toward point two.

While this sounds like a good thing, it is initially a journey into a morass of unconscious material

that the eight has been avoiding for a lifetime. Issues of neediness, dependence, vulnerability,

weakness, confusion and fear, among others start to arise.


The capacity to look deep into one’s life and structure requires other resources of the soul: clarity,

will, strength, and a love for the truth. It’s not a pretty sight for anyone including point eight whose

blunt ways have left many bruised and battered including himself.





My heart was sad, it cried and cried

an ocean of tears that never dried

They never dried


Everyone said,

“Look inside, the healing lies deep inside”

So I looked and looked, and I pried and pried

and when the answers came, I couldn’t hide

Nowhere to run, I couldn’t hide

The truth and the pain lay side by side

and lit up the places I used to hide

Nowhere to run, I couldn’t hide

And those I had tried and all that I tried

exposed the cancer we call pride

It seduces the soul and wounds the heart

and in all of our anguish plays a part


And my heart was sad, it cried and cried

an ocean of tears that never dried

They never dried


The root of life seemed to be pain

that sent me rocking again and again

And the sum of my life wasn’t fit for the drain

In seeing it all the tears fell like rain

Yes tears thick as rain

When the wail of my soul, I could not restrain

it tore from my throat in a hellish refrain

that left behind all I knew to be sane

My inner being, a wounded child

was constantly flayed and driven wild

As an adult, I was always beguiled

and never admitted this hidden child

Innocent child, always reviled


And my heart was sad, it cried and cried

an ocean of tears that never dried

They never dried


Into the heart of this rabid place

moved the beauty of exquisite grace

In compassionate green she was lovingly styled

and when she looked at me, mercy smiled

And the hand of God, the mother’s arm

gathered me in from further harm

To sacred ground, removed from harm

as the mystery worked its wondrous charm

and quieted down my demented alarm

Until all I beheld was bathed in green

and I found myself amazingly clean


And my heart was glad, it cried and cried

an ocean of tears that never dried

They’ve never dried



How I discovered my type


Friends in my Diamond Approach group introduced me to the enneagram. A couple of them were

teaching local classes on it. Helen Palmer’s book was recommended as a good place to start. (Did I

mention that at this time in my life I was married to an eight police officer? What can I say? I love



In reading Helen’s book and then Don Riso’s, I quickly narrowed my possible type down to one,

three, five, seven, or eight. I went round and round for weeks trying to figure it out. Remember, I

was already aware that “I” was the biggest problem in my life, so I was not expecting any good

news. Each fixation is a trap and perpetuates the separation of the soul from True Nature – this is

the fundamental wound to the soul.


I gave up trying to figure out my type by looking at aspects or qualities of the characters and started

paying more attention to the dynamic movements each type manifests under stress. AND there it

was as clear as day – 80% of my life seemed to be staring me in the face. Eight goes to five under

stress. If I had a nickel for every time I withdrew deep into my mind, cutting off all affect, and

trying to figure things out – well, I could drink Starbucks forever.


This secondary line of defense for point eight manifests as a schizoid withdrawal to point five. In

this revelation it soon became very clear to me that my previous spiritual path was operating as a

schizoid defense and that my spiritual experience had been subsumed into the ego for its continued



What better way to avoid the mess of being human and being inept at human interaction than to

make one’s home in the cosmos or universal dimensions. No sticky or messy emotions here. Having

spiritual experiences is a great support for grandiosity, arrogance and narcissism. A steady supply

can keep the ego satisfied for a very long time. In my case for about fifteen years.


Thank God for the gift of the human heart and the deep longing of the soul for True Nature.




I have been fascinated with this word for years.


in·te·ger: Etymology: Latin, adjective, whole, entire

1 : any of the natural numbers, the negatives of these numbers, or zero

2 : a complete entity



1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY

2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS

3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS


in·te·grate: 1 : to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole : Unite



Most of the books on the enneagram at some point address the fact that “everyone has all nine

points within them” and we’re just stuck or predisposed, through habit, to one in particular. The

soul freed from the constraints and influence of ego and grounded in True Nature, does not operate

within the dynamics of the enneagram of personality types.


What I have noticed in my own experience is that I have more freedom and less reactivity in my

dominant tripoint dynamic (2 – 8 – 5). My movement is much less defensive now. Not that I am

completely free of reactivity and issues, but my capacity to stay “present” and conscious in the

reactivity and to investigate it and the underlying issues and their dynamics has increased.


One of the downsides of the enneagram is that people do get “typed” and this becomes yet another

constraint upon the soul. The reality is that you and I are part of a Mystery that the mind cannot

grok. Most of our great beliefs, intellectual understanding and “knowing” are ego defenses against

the unknown and disappearing.


The import of integrity for me is the increasing capacity to know myself beyond classifications and

defining traits. More meaningful is the freedom integrity affords me in resisting the temptation to

“type” others.


Contrary to much of the enneagram rhetoric, the greatest trap is using it to understand others. What

you see is a lie, a bunch of reactivity, not the person. I am not saying the enneagram of personality

types is not useful, that it does not have its place in personal exploration, but if what you learn does

not break your heart, scare you, or lead you toward helplessness and hopelessness then, it’s not

helping the soul – it’s being co-opted into the service of maintaining the status quo.



There are times

When my mind

Would like to conveniently

Avoid the knowing

In my heart

These are the moments

That determine

The fate of the soul

And the world’s future

These points of choice

Often seem insignificant

But the reality

Is always life or death

The depth

Of your integrity

Is the key

To freedom



Humanness & Vulnerability


One of the great conundrums that needs resolving is the conflict created between our longing to be

truly human and the deep belief that being human around other humans is the most dangerous

situation on earth. And who can really disagree with this wisdom? People mostly come in nine types

and one condition – unconscious.


Take this point eight. My life is a history of unconscious aggression run amok in the service of

higher ideals and aspirations. The sad fact is: ego by definition resists consciousness. Being stuck in

a personality type or enneagram fixation means you are constantly hurting yourself and others.


The depth of this truth needs to remain unconscious in the mind because when it surfaces into

consciousness, the wounding and remorse within the soul undermine ego integrity and

cohesiveness. Like many others, I feel a debt of gratitude to Claudio Naranjo for conveying the

truth of the situation.



Opens the soul

In a particular way

The soul weeps

As His Mercy showers

And cleanses her

Separation from God

Is the soul’s

Deepest grief

God knows

And walks beside you

At every step

One moment of separation

Creates an ocean of tears

In the soul

God knows

And is already

Blessing those tears

With His Mercy

Before the soul

Discovers them

God knows

The sorrow of separation

All his children will weep



There is a great confusion around the soul, a widespread misunderstanding that the soul has a “real

identity” that will feel familiar to me like the “me” I have always known. The soul is a medium of

consciousness, a medium of experience, a substance of extreme sensitivity and resiliency. It can

form or unform itself into becoming anything and everything, the particular and the universal.

There is a real self, a true self, and when the soul is married with it, who we have been and our

familiar known world disappear as everything and everywhere and everywhen arise as a majestic

beguiling unfathomable Mystery.


Any and all fascination with defining things within closed systems (like the enneagram) and making

them known in a static way will give way to a knowing that ever continues to reveal Mystery as the

depth and ground of Being.


And yes, the enneagram can help us along the way. Instead of using it to define things and make

them known, use it to reveal the unknown. Every revelation will expand the unknown. Let this

engage the entirety of us in every moment. Allowing our self to be completely open, totally

vulnerable to the moment, experiencing the exquisite sensitivity of what we really are. This is the

door to and the ground of being truly human. Here we are the circle of the enneagram, but a circle

which is not bounded, circumscribed, or delineated.


A thousand times over

My heart gives thanks

To my friends

For this wonder of wonders

The gift of humanness

At times, I ask myself

Where are thanks due?

Is it not Compassion

That opened the Heart’s window?

It is so, but my friends

Are the agents of Her grace

Is it not, the Beloved’s kisses

That keep the Heart wide open?

It is so, but my friends

Are Her soft and supple lips

Is it not the Absolute’s great story

That is the telling of the Heart

It is so, but my friends

Are the pages in His book

A thousand times over

He has turned a phrase of thanks

In this heart

And with each turning

More and more disappears

Except these Friends




The Pearl Beyond Price



Yesterday at dawn, my Friend said,

How long will this unconsciousness go on?

You fill yourself with the sharp pain of Love,

rather than its fulfillment.


I said, “But I can’t get to You!

You are the whole dark night,

and I am a single candle.

My life is upsidedown

because of You!”


The Friend replied, I am your deepest being.

Quit talking about wanting Me!


I said, “Then what is this restlessness?”


The Friend, Does a drop

stay still in the Ocean?

Move with the Entirety, and

with the tiniest particular.

Be the moisture in an oyster

that helps to form one pearl.


Like This – versions by Coleman Barks



Oyster = ego shell, personality

Moisture = human vulnerability

Pearl = real human being


John Harper


Edited by Ulises
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Ulises, that was beautiful and insightful beyond words.


I like to think that good character and integrity are what we do when no one is watching.

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To become meditation is the goal of every genuine spiritual path. Neither mere faith nor belief can deliver an individual into the state of liberation or Self Awakening. After this cosmic awakening, there is no longer a journey of the individual soul. That means that one has retired permanently into one's inner dwelling place, and there is no longer desire to search and seek for more spiritual experiences.


But, as it turns out, this apparent finality, too, is just a phase, and detachment opens the door of longing, which is the painful urge to love and be loved. One door closes and another door opens. The mind has reached its fullness on the path of meditation and subsequently the dormant heart begins to awaken. The process of desire then begins to take on cosmic proportions! Just as the mind went from being limited and finite to being unlimited and infinite, so too the heart travels a burning path within its own boundless hunger. In the togetherness that is generated during our meditation, one can feel the fire of awakening, this phenomenon of the mind having introverted into its source forever and the heart having extroverted its longing back toward matter. You can feel both of these movements. One can be defined as an ascending movement and the other a descending one.


The completion and perfection of meditation are only half the fullness of Awakening. The depths of feeling must ultimately be stimulated, activated, in this most discomforting and aggravated condition of wanting without limit. The relative wants to have its grip on the Absolute. The heart desires irrationally and absolutely. Where are "you" left in all this? Was there ever a "you?" It is very difficult to answer these questions.


Having passed into the ascending and descending forms of spiritual activation, one is mysteriously led back into some kind of seemingly ordinary existence. To the undiscerning eye, it appears to be a very normal kind of existence. To the awakened and discerning eye it is miraculous. It is an ecstatic movement of the infinite that has not and cannot be described adequately in any religious or spiritual text.


Such an Awakened Being offers himself as a divine offering to those who wish to feed on bliss food, a living food to be digested by the wise. Truly, there is no other, no sense of otherness, in this finally felt and understood condition of limitless Consciousness and Feeling. It is more than merely being That or mere Consciousness. One has actually become the fullness of Total Reality, Bliss Consciousness Itself, immortal and shining, desiring and devastated. Don't get caught in the gilded trap of being That. That is also This. This is also That. You are everything. You are suffering, too. Come into the Divine now and feel the living fire of Pure Reality.


David Spero

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