The 3 Centers of Intelligence – Head Center, Heart Center and Body Center – form a basis of the 20th century mystic, philosopher and teacher, G. I. Gurdjieff, brought to the Fourth Way teachings and to the Enneagram. This blog, the 1st of 4 in the series on how to use the Centers of Intelligence for personal growth or professional practice, describes a way that Centers of Intelligence can be useful and practical in your coaching practice.
In my “Coaching with the Enneagram 1.0 program, participants learn daily, very short centering practices that they can do prior to engaging with their coaching clients. The rational is that if the coach is preoccupied, then being “present” to the client becomes extremely difficult. The reason these are short is because coaches may not have sufficient time between clients to engage in more extended centering work.
Each of the following brief centering exercises can be stand-alone practices or they can be done sequentially. In other words, a centering practice aimed at one of the coach’s 3 Centers of Intelligence will more than likely have a centering effect on the other two centers. However, if all 3 Centers get centered, the impact is even stronger.
Still Body Center: Use a centered, still body to not be distracted.
Use your breath to gently inhale into your whole body, starting through your nostrils and moving downward until your entire body is filled with breath. Gently exhale and repeat slowly three more times.
Calm Heart Center: Use breathing to calm and exhale your feelings.
Use your breath to gently inhale into your heart area, starting through your nostrils and expanding and containing your breath as it fills your heart chamber. Think of this area as a larger Heart Center cavity from front to back and side to side. Breathe in to expand the space. Gently exhale your feelings so the Heart Center is not cluttered with feelings, and repeat slowly three more times.
Clear Head Center: Use your windshield wipers to wipe your thoughts.
As you sit for a moment, observe your thoughts without attaching yourself to any of them, just notice them. After a short time, imagine windshield wipers – and let them be of any kind and any rhythm you prefer – simply wipe the thoughts away as you continue to observe your thoughts as they move through your Mental Center. Notice the pattern of your thoughts – that is, the themes of their content as well as the way they both enter and leave your Mental Center.
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. firstname.lastname@example.org