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The Head Center

Enneagram Part Three: Head Center

The Head Center
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

My friend and Enneagram teacher Russ Hudson describes the Head Center, the final Intelligence Center of the Enneagram, in his own unique and “heady” way:

Some of the Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism, did a very thorough investigation of the nature of the Head Center. That’s one of the reasons I think Thomas Merton was drawn to studying certain things about Buddhist practice. 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. . . .

There is this process of opening to this stillness, the vast freedom, peace, clarity of the soul, of spirit. . . . You could see your thoughts are happening. [But] what surrounds them and is inside them is this tremendous peace and stillness. And . . . this stillness is not inactive. . . . The stillness . . . brings the sense of knowing, of recognition, of clarity and wisdom. Don [Riso] and I have called it the sense of guidance, where you’re kind of clear it’s not you thinking exactly. It’s like a spontaneous recognition of truth/reality that just comes. You don’t have to plan it. It’s like you just relax and suddenly. . . . Pow. There it is. It’s right in your mind. [1]

Fives, Sixes, and Sevens cannot get their minds to simmer down. This is a problem because the quiet mind allows us to feel profoundly supported: inner knowing and guidance arise from the quiet mind and give us confidence to act in the world. [2]

When you know this Presence directly, you experience it as the ground of everything and especially the ground of you. And when you know that, you know that what you are is just an expression of that, and the core of what you are cannot be harmed or taken away. . . . That presence is the Divine Presence. And it’s not a rumor! It’s not something you have to believe in. . . .

Just land where you are, open to the stillness, 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! And it is never failing you.

[The Five, Six, and Seven] in essence are trying to get back to or find this sense of ground, direction, and guidance. That’s what we’re looking for in this triad.

[The Body types] were the “I don’t want to be messed with” types. [The] Heart types were the “See me the way I want to be seen types.” [The Head types] are the “What can I trust?” types. In other words, I’m looking for something to be that orientation, ground, and guidance, which is utterly trustworthy. [3] None of us are the whole Body of Christ, but we each offer part of the Great Gift of God.

References:
[1] Russ Hudson, The Enneagram as a Tool for Your Spiritual Journey, disc 5 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009) CD, DVD, MP3 download.

[2] 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), 58.

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

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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