This post will be simple and to the point. We talk a lot around here of the Enneagram. Often when someone is introducing you to the Enneagram, they have you take a test or something to discover your type. The next step they take you on is dissecting your type. While it’s important to know and understand your True Self, perhaps a better method is to begin with how your “Type” views the world. All of us view the world through a certain point of view. Each type on the Enneagram falls into one of three of what are known as the “triads.” These are also known as “The Intelligence Centers.” This is where we find our natural discernment. Let’s dive in a little further.
The Whole Self, made up of THREE Centers
Within the teachings of Plato you will discover that he also realized there were THREE distinct “centers” in which human beings view the world and gather discernment. Discernment is: this inner knowledge we all possess of how to react to that which we perceive. It’s the ability to judge what is good, true, and appealing. Our friend, Plato is quoted in his teachings in which he identifies the THREE centers:
“Human behavior flows from three sources: desire (body), emotion (heart), and knowledge (head).”
If you follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, He also recognized THREE ways in which we love God. His teaching is echoed from God’s command to Ancient Israel from Deuteronomy 6:5. Check it out:
“Love the Most High God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind.”
Jesus in Matthew 22:37
There is no doubt we must understand that there are THREE centers that make up the WHOLE SELF. One of the major gifts of the Enneagram is that it will show you which of these THREE Centers you discern the world through. Each of us will gravitate towards one of the THREE Centers which is revealed to us through discovering our “Type” on the Enneagram. It’s an incredible realization that helps us understand so much of life.
Center #1: Instinctive, Gut, Anger
This Center is where our 8’s (Challengers), 9’s (Peacemakers), and 1’s (Perfectionists) reside. These Types experience life through their instincts. They engage the world through activity and attempt to maintain control through what they can “do.” These people are instinctive and more impassioned than those in the other 2 triads. A great word for these types can be intensity. Eights want to dominate, Nines want to negotiate, Ones want to correct. Gut people want to harness energy and enact it through action to build a better world. A pitfall is they can also seem like they are annoyed or angry at everything when they are stressed and not very self-aware.
Center #2: Feelings, Heart, Shame
This Center is where our 2’s (Helpers), 3’s (Performers), and 4’s (Individualists) reside. These types experience life through their Emotional Intelligence, more so than the other 2 triads. They desire connection with others and suffer from comparison of themselves to others. It’s a constant teeter-totter. These people are way more in touch with emotions than most. Twos want to be loved for who they are, Threes want to be admired, Fours want to be set apart and loved as special. These Types become a great source of love for the world and do good things that bring great balance. A pitfall with these Types is they can lose themselves in comparison and thus never feel “good enough.”
Center #3: Thinking, Head, Fear
This Center is where our 5’s (Investigators), 6’s (Loyalists), and 7’s (Enthusiasts) reside. These types experience life through intellect and possess highly developed mental faculties. They can assess and address everything, especially the things in life perceived as a threat. They think if they can master their environment, they can secure their own self-preservation. Fives analyze everything, Sixes constantly plan, and Sevens crave experience. The fear of these Types is mainly their own pain and they will seek to avoid it at all costs. They must work to quiet their inner distress to achieve peace. They provide the world with a great source of wisdom and courage when they master their fears! A pitfall with these Types is they can seem disconnected and unemotional.
3 Centers make up ONE beautiful picture
You know what I love about the Enneagram? It shows how we all need one another. All of us working together makes up the THREE Centers of the Whole Self! Unity can paint a beautiful picture of this thing called life. Wherever you reside on the Enneagram, know that you are absolutely essential to making a difference in this world.
Another gift of the Enneagram triads is that you gain a much better understanding of how you view the world. Your motives for why you do what you do become clearer and you can gain a great emotional awareness (an essential of raising your Emotional Intelligence) of yourself and can move through life with much more clarity.
Once you discover your “Type” on the Enneagram, your first step should be to understand the triad you are a part of. Is your main point of view of the world accessed from the Head, Heart, or Gut? This is an important and enlightening step you must take in your Ennea-Journey!