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Within the enneagram world, there are many groupings of numbers. These groupings are often (if not always) in the form of triads which simply means groups of three.

The most common triad is the “Centers of Intelligence”. This triad is the one you will find in pretty much every single enneagram book and for good reason. It is one of the easiest for us to grasp as this triad is based on how we habitually process and respond to life.

The three Enneagram Centers of Intelligence are:
The Gut (or Instinctive) Center, The Heart (or Feeling) Center, and The Head (or Thinking) Center.

We all have one dominant Center of Intelligence. However, this does not mean we do not use the other two at all. We all use our gut, heart, and head in different ways and at different times but we definitely default to a favorite and that is our dominant Enneagram Centers of Intelligence.

Knowing whether you are in the Gut, Heart, or Head center can help you determine your enneagram type if you are still torn between a few types and it can help you understand how you react to life the way you do.

Enneagram Centers of Intelligence

Enneagram Centers of Intelligence

Enneagram Centers of Intelligence - Gut Center

The Gut Center

The Gut Center (or Instinctive Center) is home to enneagram types 8, 9, and 1.
While these numbers all seem rather different, they share them same gut instincts (as opposed to the heart or head centers.)

8’s, 9’s, and 1’s all take in life through their instincts (with their gut) and generally respond based on what their instinct is telling them to do.

8’s, 9’s and 1’s are all:
Concerned with: Justice
Seeking: Autonomy
Underlying Issue: Anger

Each of these enneagram types all deal with anger as their gut center issue. However, each type deals with the anger very differently.

8’s tend to display their anger (in hopes of controlling it)
9’s tend to deny their anger (in hopes of not upsetting anyone)
1’s tend to repress their anger (in hopes of achieving perfection)

Advice for those in the Gut Center

Instead of acting quickly based on your instincts, allow yourself to think first. Think about how your anger (which is likely the deep underlying cause of your instinctual reaction) affects you and those around you.

Enneagram Centers of Intelligence - Heart Center

The Heart Center

The Heart Center (or Feeling Center) is home to enneagram types 2, 3, and 4.
While these numbers all seem rather different, they share them same heart instincts (as opposed to the gut or head centers.)

2’s, 3’s, and 4’s all take in life through their feelings (with their heart) and generally respond based on what their feelings are telling them to do.

2’s, 3’s, and 4’s are all:
Concerned with: Image
Seeking: Attention
Underlying Issue: Shame

Each of these enneagram types all deal with shame as their heart center issue. However, each type deals with the shame very differently.

2’s tend to focus their feelings outward (in hopes of not feeling shame)
3’s tend to deny their feelings (in hopes of resisting shame)
4’s tend to focus their feelings inward ( in hopes of avoiding deeper shame)

Advice for those in the Heart Center

Instead of acting quickly based on your feelings, allow yourself to think first. Think about how your shame (which is likely the deep underlying cause of your feeling reaction) affects you and those around you.

The Head Center

The Head Center

The Head Center (or Thinking Center) is home to enneagram types 5, 6, and 7.
While these numbers all seem rather different, they share them same head instincts (as opposed to the gut or heart centers.)

5’s, 6’s, and 7’s all take in life through their thinking (with their head) and generally respond based on what their minds are telling them to do.

5’s, 6’s, and 7’s are all:
Concerned with: Strategies
Seeking: Security
Underlying Issue: Fear

Each of these enneagram types all deal with anxiety or fear as their head center issue. However, each types deals with the anxiety very differently.

5’s tend to be anxious of the outside world (and thus try to isolate themselves)
6’s tend to be anxious internally (and thus are always playing worse-case-scenarios)
7’s tend to try to deny their anxiousness (and thus are always keeping their minds and bodies busy)

Advice for those in the Head Center

Instead of acting based on your thinking, allow yourself to “be” first. Think about how your fear/anxiety (which is likely the deep underlying cause of your thinking reaction) affects you and those around you. Don’t let that fear stop you from being your actual self with others.

Now that you’ve read about the Enneagram Centers of Intelligence check out these other Enneagram triads!
Other Enneagram Groups:

The Harmonic Group
The Hornevian Group