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 describes one way among many ways that Centers of Intelligence can be useful and practical in developing relationships.
In our program “Relationships Reimagined,” Peter O’Hanrahan and I do a compelling exercise in which people from each Center of Intelligence discuss the importance of each of the areas shown above that come from their specific Center. These are the areas about which the types from each Center are the most sensitive. Of course, all three areas matter in all great relationships. It’s just that the Center-based area is most crucial to people from that Center.
Body Center Types: Truthfulness
Body Types 8, 9, and 1 have a built-in truth-detector that they experience, at first, somatically and then their minds and hearts fill in the missing pieces of data. In addition, this happens very quickly for these three types and once their detector goes off, it becomes difficult for them to experience the other person in a more open way. Truthfulness, for these three types, makes or breaks a real relationship.
Why being truthful matters in relationships for all Enneagram types | Being truthful in relationships allows us to honor our own voice and that of the other person as building blocks to intimacy; dishonest relationships generate distance and separation.
Heart Center Types: Respect
The three Heart Center Types, 2, 3 and 4, are all keenly sensitive to being treated with respect. Respect isn’t only the words used, although words do matter. Respect is about nonverbal behavior, timing, voice tone, and more. When Heart Center types do not feel respected, they shut down from engagement with the other person. When this happens, repairing the relationship can be challenging unless an honest dialogue occurs and the issue gets resolved.
Why respect matters in relationships for all Enneagram types | Respecting yourself and feeling respected by the other person allows each of you to be yourself and to interact as equals; without respect, defenses rise, tension abounds, and anger emerges.
Head Center Types: Trust
With the emotion of fear as a cornerstone to 5s, 6s and 7s, and trust is a close cousin of fear. If we do not fear someone, we are more likely to trust them. The more we trust someone, the less likely we are to fear that person. Although different fear factors may set off the “I don’t trust you” mechanism in the three different Head Center types at another level, fear is fear and trust is trust. And without trust, there cannot be a meaningful relationship.
Why trust matters in relationships for all Enneagram types | Without trust, there is limited depth and an abundance of wariness; with trust, relationships deepen and thrive
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