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The Three Intelligence Centers

Enneagram Part One: Body Center

The Three Intelligence Centers
Monday, February 24, 2020

My dear friend Chris Heuertz has written two books on the Enneagram full of compassionate wisdom and insight. Next month he is also launching a podcast called Enneagram Mapmakers, interviewing esteemed teachers of the Enneagram tradition. [1] It’s fascinating to me how teaching “technologies” have changed since I first learned the Enneagram decades ago. Today so many people can access information through a wide range of media, not just one-on-one guidance.

Today I’m sharing Chris’ Enneagram-based explanation of the three Intelligence Centers, which Cynthia Bourgeault described so well in last week’s meditations on Mind, Body, and Heart. [2] This week we are focusing on the Body’s Intelligence Center, sometimes referred to as the Gut or Instinctual Center.

Many of us don’t know how to hear from God in the present [moment]. . . . But God is here now, closer than our very breath, and can be found in our Intelligence Centers—the Enneagram’s way of helping us recognize our primary mode of perceiving this world through either our head, heart, or body. Each of these Intelligence Centers offers us a different way of experiencing the loving presence and voice of God. . . .

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. . . .

Can we learn to listen to God in our minds, trusting the silence underneath the clutter of noise? Can we learn to trust the voice of God that speaks in our hearts, through feelings of pain and peace? Can we learn to sense God at work in our bodies, speaking to us through our resistances and our openness? . . .

The Intelligence Centers are one of the many triads found within the Enneagram. They include the Body (instinctive or gut) Center, the Heart (feeling or emotion) Center, and the Head (mind, thinking, or rational) Center. People dominant in type Eight, Nine, or One are located in the Body Center; those dominant in type Two, Three, or Four are clustered in the Heart Center; and those dominant in type Five, Six, or Seven are in the Head Center. . . .

Though we all have one dominant Intelligence Center, if we become stuck there without integrating the whole of who we are (including all three Intelligence Centers), then we miss the wholeness that is available to us—the wholeness for which we were originally created. . . . When you are centered in your dominant Intelligence Center, the other two Centers support the dominant one. . . .

Bringing our centers together through the inner work of integration helps us wake up and come home to our True Self. It’s a challenging journey but a worthy one.

References:

[1] Christopher L. Heuertz, Enneagram Mapmakers: Exploring the Interior Landscapes of the Ego (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2020), podcast. Watch for this new podcast featuring Chris in conversation with other Enneagram teachers starting March 24, 2020!

[2] See the summary of last week’s Daily Meditations on Mind, Body, Heart.

Christopher L. Heuertz, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth (Zondervan: 2017), 87-88, 89, 90, 91, 101, 103.

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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