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Enneagram Part Three: Head Center
Enneagram Part Three: Head Center

Enneagram Part Three: Head Center: Weekly Summary

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Enneagram Part Three: Head Center

Saturday, March 14, 2020
Summary: Sunday, March 8–Friday, March 13, 2020

If taken seriously and used responsibly, the Enneagram is a tool that can help us move from dualistic thinking to nondual consciousness. (Sunday)

[The Enneagram] offers both a portrait of healthy and a portrait of unhealthy for each type, and prompts us to identify honestly where we are functioning on that spectrum. —Christopher Heuertz (Monday)

Just land where you are, open to the stillness [of your mind], and know that what you seek is already here, holding everything you do every step of the way, guiding you, supporting you, in you, around you. You can’t lose it! —Russ Hudson (Tuesday)

The Five’s drive for knowledge and mastery is the personality’s attempt to re-create an Essence quality that we might call clarity or inner knowing. —Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson (Wednesday)

Because of their childhood experience, which was often marked by trauma, Sixes have a deep sense of anxiety. They easily succumb to self-doubt. (Thursday)

[Sevens] are terrified of being stuck with their own pain, so they stay overly active to stave off the inner ache they desperately and frenetically avoid facing. —Christopher Heuertz (Friday)


Practice: Optimize Your Language 

Dr. Jerome Lubbe suggests that the names or labels that have been traditionally applied to each of the Enneagram types are not always helpful. In my many years of teaching the Enneagram, I’ve certainly seen people avoid recognizing their dominant type based simply on their aversion to the name (though their resistance often went much deeper than that). Perhaps encouraging the discovery of a more comfortable “label” could allow a more willing exploration of the shadow side. Lubbe offers a helpful practice to support self-knowledge:  

Language is a powerful tool for understanding and connecting new ideas—it isn’t meant to become a barrier to entry. If any word in this process causes distraction or triggers you negatively, choose a more helpful word. We each have experiences—positive, neutral, negative—that shape our language and trigger associations with the words we use. The goal is to craft a relevant vocabulary that encourages engagement, safety, and understanding as you journey through your personal identification with the Brain-Based Enneagram. Here we offer a process for building custom Enneagram Language for optimal growth.

1. Using an online thesaurus, type the nature-word of each number into the search bar.

Eight – Disrupt
Nine – Peace
One – Reform
Two – Nurture
Three – Achieve
Four – Individuality
Five – Investigate
Six – Loyalty
Seven – Enthusiasm

2. Once you’ve typed the first word, hit search. When the list populates with synonyms, notice how many feel unsafe, and how many feel safe. Click the word that feels safest or most enjoyable to you.

3. When the list populates again, click the word that feels safest or most enjoyable to you.

4. When the list populates again, click the word that feels safest or most enjoyable to you.

5. Review the list. If all or most of the words feel safe and enjoyable to you, you’re done! The word at the top of the page, because it carries positive associations can be integrated or substituted into your personal Enneagram vocabulary instead of (or in addition to) the original “nature” word for this number.

For example, search “Disrupt.”

If the list feels primarily unsafe, select the safest, most enjoyable relevant word. Perhaps “Shake.”

If the list is still largely unsafe, select the safest, most enjoyable relevant word. Perhaps “Move.”

If the list still feels primarily unsafe, select the safest, most enjoyable relevant word. Perhaps “Advance.”

Result “Advance” can stand in place of “Disrupt.” Without changing the nature of the number, you can eliminate trigger words and create language that invites positive engagement.

6. Repeat the Process for each number until you have a lexicon of positive terms. Feel free to use this exercise for any word that stimulates a negative response.

Caveat: Be sure to follow a trail of relevant words. For example, you wouldn’t click “Disrupt>>Shake>>Twitter>>Teehee,” since “Teehee” isn’t likely going to be a helpful substitute for “Disrupt.” Instead, select the safest and most relevant words that are personally relevant to you as well. Identify and select the words that evoke strong positive responses or are connected in a personal way to your lived experience. If necessary, click through the tabs at the top of the list to select the word bank that most closely resembles the nature of the original word.


Jerome D. Lubbe, Whole-Identity: A Brain-Based Enneagram Model for (W)holistic Human Thriving (Thrive Neuro: 2019), 66-68. Artwork by Aimee Strickland; used with permission. Lubbe’s upcoming book, The Brain Based Enneagram: You are not A number, will be released May 26, 2020 and is available for pre-order at

For Further Study:

Christopher L. Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth (Zondervan: 2017)

Christopher L. Heuertz, Enneagram Mapmakers (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2020), podcast—starting March 24, 2020! Now available for subscription on most podcast platforms.

Russ Hudson and Richard Rohr, The Enneagram as a Tool for Your Spiritual Journey (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009) CD, DVD, MP3 download

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types (Bantam Books: 1999)

Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2001, 2013)

Image credit: Female Head (detail), Leonardo da Vinci, second half of 15th century, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: What [Eastern traditions] all agree on is the true nature of Mind is complete stillness, silence, and spaciousness. Boundless stillness, peace, clarity, forever and ever, amen. So I would say that the Head Center gives us the possibility of sensing, recognizing the Eternal Presence that’s right here in the midst of phenomena. —Russ Hudson
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