February 23 by The Running Son
(Excerpt From the INTRODUCTION)
The Enneagram recognizes and honors three “centers of intelligence” – which we will refer to as the head center, the heart center, and the body center – each of which consists of triad of three Enneagram types. The Enneagram also recognizes important relationships between these centers and three aversive emotions – fear (head center), distress [or variants including sadness, grief, longing, etc.] (head center), and anger (body center). Much of the Enneagram literature and teachings focus on lost qualities related to these centers, or on reactivity and other problems which arise as a result of our “relationship” with the aversive emotion associated with the triad in which our type resides. For example, types 8, 9, and 1 are all said to have problems related to self – forgetting, and various issues related to processing of anger.
These perspectives are extremely valuable and important and provide a foundation for powerful and transformative Enneagram work. It is also extremely interesting – and we suggest useful – to consider the Enneagram triads and type – related reactivity from contemporary scientific perspectives of evolution, psychology, and neurobiology. Thus, for example, the three centers can be viewed as domains of widely recognized fundamental human needs for:
1) a sense of safety and security, trust, and predictability (head center);
2) bonding and the support and care of important others (heart center); and
3) a sense of self – worth, stability and control, and comfort (body center).
Throughout life humans are highly motivated to seek satisfaction of and avoid pain associated with these needs. Similarly, the three aversive emotions can be viewed as innate value systems which help to drive these motivations.
In this presentation we will explore a developing body of theoretical work on the Enneagram which is grounded in contemporary neurobiology and attachment theory. It provides fresh and powerful insights into the normalcy of the primal undercurrents of protective mammalian emotion which we suggest fuel type – related reactivity. It also illuminates the biological processes that underpin growth and change, and points toward pathways for deep in – the – moment transformational work with the three core aversive emotions of fear, distress , and anger that we humans share with all mammals.