The Centers

Posted by on July 5, 2013 | Comments Off on The Centers


The three Centers of the Enneagram of Personality

centers outlined

Types 2, 3, and 4 belong to the Heart Center
Types 5, 6, and 7 belong to the Head Center
Types 8, 9, and 1 belong to the Gut Center

The Enneagram can be divided into multiple sets of triads, each set according to a different conceptual angle of viewing the types in the abstract. Of these various groupings, perhaps the most preeminent, necessarily, is the Centers.

As the names allude to — Head, Heart, and Gut — the Centers relate to styles and issues around feeling, thinking and visceral responses to the World. Since we all have a heart, head and gut, it follows that, ideally, we’d all have a coordinated and balanced connection to each Center, functioning as a dynamic continually-creative interplay with the circumstances of our lives — and, even more ideally, access to all three modes/styles within each Center. Instead, we ‘choose’ one program (from one Center) and overemphasize its ‘argument’, mainly leaving the other strategies (types) behind.

Each Center has a particular role to play. But because we long ago fell into picking only one of nine good options, we’ve isolated our perspective into one Center, and thereby significantly distorted and lessened ourselves.  The nine type-fixations represent characteristic ways in which our essential self was minimized as our personality hardened and contorted itself around one particular psychic worldview, huddling for security around the pole of a single perspective.

The Primary types (3, 6, and 9) have the potential for the greatest gift from within each Center — a potentiality that, by nature, generates some degree of polarity switching between ideal/connected and disconnected from the Center’s core gift.

Sixes, for example, can be highly intuitive (a higher ‘central’ vibration of the Head Center), but they generally don’t trust their intuition, so they become disconnected from the optimal function of the Head Center… but when connected, have a unique gift there.


2 – over-expresses positive aspects of the Heart Center at the expense of being real (false contact)
3 – most disconnected from their own heart, difficulty knowing directly what they want that is theirs alone
4 – Emotion-based loops primarily internalized (in a feel-think-feel ping pong)… under-expresses positive contactful Heart



5 – introverted thinking, tending toward comparatively minimal doing; withholding the active self, stockpiling the theoretical self
6 – too much or too little certainty about concepts/schools-of-thought/principles as well as one’s own daily machinations, ping-ponging between extremes, most out of touch with the integrated center where direct knowing sits
7 – incomplete (or non-saturated) thinking, doesn’t stay long in the internal experience of their conceptualizations; optimal function of the Head Center — to completely understand — is aborted early



8 – discharges instinctual energy in a self-expansive way; compelled to bring big energy and forcefulness into their actions
9 – loses contact with the Gut Center, acts (or doesn’t act) from a dissociated inner reality
1 – suppresses/represses instinctual energy with superego strictures, attempts to sublimate the animal self into the disciplined self

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

John Keats~   “…it is a system of Spirit-creation. This is effected by three grand materials acting thus one upon the other for a series of years. These three materials are the Intelligence, the Human Heart (as distinguished from intelligence or mind) and the World or elemental space suited for the proper action of Mind and Heart on each other for the purpose of forming the Soul or Intelligence destined to possess the sense of Identity. I can scarcely express what I but dimly perceive – and yet I think I perceive it.”


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