The Belly Center — Center for Action and Contemplation

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The Belly Center

Enneagram Part One: Body Center

The Belly Center
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My friend Russ Hudson of the Enneagram Institute has spent his life studying and teaching the Enneagram. I will be sharing many of his insights over the next three weeks, because he has such compassion for each Enneagram type, and he helps us have compassion for both ourselves and others. He has a gift for teaching the Enneagram as a tool to help us live in the Presence of God. Today Russ introduces the Body or Gut Center—what he calls Belly—which is home to types Eight, Nine, and One.

The body plays a crucial role in all forms of genuine spiritual work, because bringing awareness back to the body anchors the quality of Presence. The reason is fairly obvious: while our minds and feelings can wander to the past or the future, our body can only exist here and now, in the present moment. This is one of the fundamental reasons why virtually all meaningful spiritual work leads back to the body and becoming more grounded in it. [1]

Being in the Belly has to do with first of all the direct experience of our existence; in spiritual traditions and philosophical traditions [this] is often called “being.” The ability to be. This being is not dull. It’s the sense of being alive, of being connected, of being at one with things. If you’re actually fully here in your body, the spiritual rumors that we’re all one cease being rumors. It’s a little counter-intuitive. We think that if we get inside our body we’re going to be stuck inside this sack of skin. We’ll be cut off from everything. The opposite is true because your body is already connected with the whole sacred reality that God’s expressing right now. . . .

So this whole [Body or Gut] part is teaching us what it means to actually live in the here and now, to feel our existence, and to operate from that, which gives us a sense of confidence, fullness, aliveness, being. In religious language, it’s like you feel held in the Presence of God. And it’s like feeling the solidity of spirit, the fullness, the gutsy vibrancy of presence, spirit, life, right now. To whatever degree we’re not present, we lose that sense. We lose the confidence, we lose the fullness, we lose the sense of existing. [2]

When we lose contact with our Essence, the personality attempts to “fill in” by providing a false sense of autonomy. [3]

Once we’ve got our egos up and running and we have this sense of intactness . . . , we don’t want anyone messing with it. We call the Eight, Nine, and One the “I-don’t-want-to-be-messed-with” types. Show me an ego, and I’ll show you a structure that does not want to be interfered with. [4]

[1] 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), 51.

[2] Russ Hudson, The Enneagram as a Tool for Your Spiritual Journey, disc 3 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009), CD, DVD, MP3 download.

[3] Riso and Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 52.

[4] Hudson, The Enneagram as a Tool for Your Spiritual Journey.

Image credit: Last Supper Study (detail), Andrea del Sarto, 1520-1525, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Our Intelligence Centers help us hear and invite us to greater discernment. . . . Discernment is our ability to judge what is good, true, and beautiful. Discernment is also the inner knowledge of how to act on that which we perceive. Our use of discernment relies on the clarity of our centered minds, the objectivity of peace-filled hearts, and the unobstructed impulses or instincts of our bodies. —Chris Heuertz
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