I keep coming back to the centres. The importance of allowing them all their space to be, to fulfil the functions they were designed to fulfil. We all have one “home base” centre — the one whose triad we’re in. But we possess all three centres. We are WHOLE individuals, not thirds.
But even as we are whole, we tend to gravitate to certain aspects and away from others. The ego quickly realises that some areas pay better to focus on — as dictated by our environment or by inner preferences, tendencies and neurology — and others are best left alone.
When it comes to the one centre that is our home-base on the Enneagram circle, we tend to have a slightly mixed-up relationship to it. We’re probably (over)identified with it, and we are likely to have recurring problems or issues with aspects related to it — as well as to both be in touch with and strongly appreciate other (or, indeed, the same!) aspects of it. So, usually this centre features strongly in our experience, in both constructive and not-altogether-balanced ways 😉
Sometimes it’s hard to “see the trees for the forest”; after all, we live our lives from this position, so it happens that it’s hard to spot. But take a look now. Assuming you overidentify with your home base centre, can you find examples of that? Can you find talents, preferences and/or qualities that are clearly related to this centre? Are there aspects that you immensely enjoy about it? Get curious.
The rest of the whole
But that’s just “our third”. We also have two more centres that feature in our lives (yes — even if we might not immediately see them, or even strive to keep one of them from entering into our experience too much). As everything else, our relationship to them is, of course, individual. But there are also some type-related aspects that hint about (or often, show clearly) how we relate to them. This can look a bit different depending on whether we’re on the hexad of the Enneagram or on the triangle.
Secondary types: The ego on a recruiting mission
The secondary types (on the hexad) readily mix aspects of their home base with that of their neighbouring centre. Let’s look at two examples. As a Seven, I tend to “do my thoughts” (sometimes leading to impulsive behaviour). As a Four, I tend to “think my feelings” (which can keep me upholding feeling states by fantasising). And so on.
This means that for secondary types, there’s one centre that we don’t generally devote a lot of air time to. (This is the one “furthest away” from us geographically on the circle) For an Eight, that would be the heart centre. That makes sense; as an Eight, there’s a sense that too much heart and feelings might make me vulnerable. For a Five, it would be the instinctual centre — again, painting a familiar picture of the Five as a thinker, happier to process thoughts and feelings than getting physical and claiming my space on earth.
Primary types: In no mood to recruit? Well, isolation works, too
If I’m on the triangle, and thus in the middle of my triad, the situation is a little different. As my ego tightens its grip, it doesn’t enlist a neighbouring centre to do its bidding. Instead, it erects walls between my home base centre and the other two, making it harder for me to integrate them into wholeness and use them simultaneously.
When this happens, it’s like I get two “modes” of operating. I engage in either activities relevant to my home centre or I activities relevant to the other two. If I’m a Nine, this means I’m either in “doing mode” or in a kind of “daydream mode”. In the former mode, I’m working away under the influence of my instinctual home base; in the latter, I lose touch with my action-based gut and the head and the heart get to roam free. Here, it’s harder for me to put those thoughts and feelings into action. If I’m a Three, the centre that’s difficult to integrate is the heart; if I feel, it’s not easy for me to be productive or reasoning. Et cetera.
Centre imbalance: The basis of most personality hick-ups, issues and patterns
Do you recognise any of this in yourself? In friends, family members or significant others? The teaching of “scrambled” or isolated centres comes from the Riso-Hudson school. However, other teachers have expressed similar thoughts, too. As usual, these tendencies and schematics primarily advertise the make-up of types. They do not necessarily match every individual within those types, as multiple parameters affect our preferences, choices and behaviour). Still, in myself and in most people I know, it’s pretty easy to see these patterns playing out.
So look at what this means for you. Do you recognise yourself in the scrambling and/or isolating? If not, how is it for you? Is there a centre that you tend to suppress, or deny? Are there centres that you tend to mix up? Is there even one centre that you habitually consult and interpret signals as coming from? And if so, might you be mistaken?
Maybe it’s you can easily see how any imbalances mess with your functioning, in subtle or not so subtle ways. This is no biggie (even if the imbalances occasionally leave us in big trouble); we all do this, and have this. It seems to be how personalities work. They are about splitting wholeness into pieces and biases, after all; to ”specialise” for efficiency (or so the ego believes) at the cost of balance and integration. So be kind to ourself — and curious ❤️️
Whichever tilts and imbalances we find, there usually are some. Opening the channels of communication with each centre is a worthwhile mission for most everyone. In the book Aspects of you, we look at this, theoretically and, more importantly, experientially. Also, you might start by just reflecting on these matters, and/or do the short, guided visits to each centre that you can find on the Youtube-channel.