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The Centers

 


> The Three Centers

"Life is a symphony conducted by head, heart and body."
The Enneamates Team

One's own self is well hidden from one's own self: of all mines of treasure, one's own is the last to be unearthed."
Friedrich Nietzsche

Looking for your Enneagram Center is a key to finding your type.

Basically, people have three ways of experiencing the world: thinking, feeling and sensing. These are the products of the three centers of human intelligence—the Head Center, the Heart Center and the Body Center. Through these three centers of intelligence we gather, evaluate and act on the information we get from our experiences2. While we all make life decisions from these three centers of intelligence, one center is more pronounced in each of us depending on THE center in which our type is located.


The Enneagram is divided into thirds representing each of these centers—three feeling types, three thinking types and three body-based, instinctive sensing types. The three types in each center primarily use that center in relating to the world, even though we all need and use all three centers. Brain research actually identifies these three centers in the brain. Instincts are governed by the brain stem (Body Center), emotions by the limbic portion of the brain (Heart Center), and the mental functioning by the neo-cortex (Head Center). Each center is driven by an emotion corresponding to that center. Head Center types are driven by fear: Body types are driven by anger, and Heart types are driven by grief, sadness and shame.

Each of the three types in any given center acts out the primary emotion in a different way. In each center, one type externalizes, one type internalizes, and one type has forgotten or completely lost touch with the primary emotion.1

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1 Jerome Wagner, The Enneagram Spectrum Of Personality Styles, Metamorphous Press, 1996

2 Lynette Sheppard, The Everyday Enneagram, Nine Points Press 2000
 

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