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Introduction to






Serving as primary energizers, centers govern how we experience life, and how our response to experience is expressed.  In the Michael teachings every person has one center that predominates in their life, and this is commonly referred to as the center of gravity, since when we respond to something we are then using this primary centering.  Each center could then be thought of as a window that looks out at the world.  

There are seven centers in all, and four that are used routinely: emotional, intellectual, moving, and physical, as well as two rarely accessed centers: higher emotional, and higher intellectual.  The higher centers are considered transformational states of awareness, and they are not dominant in our experiences, encountered mostly during meditative states, or peak states activated from exposure to music, art, and sex.  Since prolonged exposure to the higher centers eventually burns out the body, no one is ever centered for more than brief periods there.  The instinctive center can also be used as a primary center, but this is extremely rare since it operates in the background of our lives already.  

Centers usually represent the most prominent part of a person, especially how the person is perceived by other people.  They are a vital component in the Michael teachings, but are often misunderstood or overlooked by most students. However, mastering how to react from the center that's most appropriate is an important part of spiritual growth. 

Understanding centers involves learning to understand how people can react so differently to the stimuli around them.  For example, intellectually centered people might view their perceptions of the world as reality itself, and this can make it very difficult for them to comprehend how an emotionally centered person can view the world so differently. Since these psychological investments in reality can be so dominant in life, adopting the different perspectives of other centers can sometimes feel to some like we're attempting to change the established laws of gravity. Not surprisingly, much of the misunderstandings that occur between people are directly related to differences in centering.  

Michael channel, Shepherd Hoodwin, writes the following about centers:  

Every center has seven parts of centers, which is a sort of doorway into the other centers. The parts of centers have the same names as the centers themselves. So there is an intellectual center, and an intellectual part of every center. Also, your part of center is like your secondary centering.

The ordinal action axis center, by whatever name it's called: physical, sexual (from Yarbro), or moving (from the Orinda channels) refers to a small-scale (ordinal) response from the body.

If someone is in the physical part of the intellectual center, he lives life and responds from the intellect; intellectual responses then tend to be embodied by a somatic response (physical symptoms, such as feeling excitement, arousal, hot, cold, frozen, etc.) The last part of self to respond to external stimuli is usually the emotions.

If he is "trapped" in the physical part of the intellectual center, he doesn't get into the emotions at all. Instead, there is unending, ineffective intellectualizing fed by negative bodily responses, a rut that spirals downward.

The moving center can be transparent, and many scholars look intellectual regardless of centering (just as many appear to be in observation regardless of mode--observing is what scholars do). A moving centered scholar will emphasize learning through experience and doing, and less through books, than an intellectually centered scholar (although there's still a lot of book learning, too); they usually love to travel.

Unpublished transcripts of the original Michael group from the mid-1970s are full of discussions about using various centers. My understanding is that there's a permanent home base, and then, if we're flexible, we use all the parts of that center to get to the other centers as the need arises. The same with the other overleaves: I believe that the prenatally chosen overleaf usually remains as a foundation, but that, as needed, the more experienced soul pulls in other energies on top of it.

The primary center is fixed, but the part of center is fluid. You can learn to use the other parts of your emotional center more often, for instance, by guiding your emotional responses into analysis or action. Your essence may like using the emotional part of emotional center in order to experience pure emotion on a regular basis, but if you're stuck there, that's called the trap--we need to have all centers available and use the right part of our center for the right need, like using a hammer when we want to pound a nail, and not trying to use a screwdriver for that. The intellectual part of the emotional center is a gateway into the intellectual center, where one can do good thinking.

Different Perspectives

One way to illustrate how the various centers view the world is to create a real world scenario. Imagine four friends, each with a different center, sitting together at a baseball game. The Physical centered friend watches the game and sits quietly. A rush of excitement churns through his body each time a player gets a hit or scores a run. Later in the game, an attractive woman in a short skirt slowly walks by in the aisle below him, and he suddenly feels sexually aroused. However his thrill is short lived because the persistent roar of the crowd gives him a headache, and strangely he also begins to feel nauseous. 

The Moving centered friend has a different focus. Being spatially oriented, he scans the field and admires the geometric shape of the grassy diamond, noting the distance between the bases and the foul line.  He is aware of the signs the third base coach secretly flashes at the base runners, and will probably have them decoded by the end of the third inning. He can also tell before his friends can that the crack of the bat and a visually identifiable arc of the ball determines if it will clear the outfield  fence for a home run.  

The Emotional centered friend notices the people around him in the stadium, and eavesdrops on their conversations.  He discerns that the elderly couple in front of him seem upset about something, even though he can't quite hear what they're saying.  He also feels sorry for the usher who's being accosted by a couple of drunken teenagers in the aisle behind him.  He does all of this while simultaneously trying to watch the action in the game, which he feels seems slow moving tonight, and really kind of boring. 

The Intellectually centered friend is busy discussing the on-base percentage of the batter coming up to the plate, and is berating the logic of the manager for not using a pinch hitter.  The Moving center friend stomps his foot in disagreement, while the Emotional centered friend makes eye contact and seems to listen attentively, but is still trying to follow the conversation of the elderly couple in front of him.  The Physical centered friend gives a placating nod, but secretly hates that the Intellectual centered friend always criticizes the team. The Physical centered friend suddenly begins to feel nauseous again.

As was demonstrated, the centers present very different windows to the world, but even though we predominantly focus on one, all of the centers are available to us and a chief part of balancing our energy is directly related to how we learn to juggle them collectively and efficiently.  

Parts of Centers

The primary centers can each be broken down into 3 parts: emotional, intellectual, and body (moving/physical).  An essence (soul) will choose a primary center, and one of the 2 other parts in which to slide. In the course of a lifetime, the primary center is used the most, and sliding to the preferred part will become a secondary response, as well as a potential trap. Therefore the third part tends to be the least developed. For example, people in the Moving part of the Intellectual center who have a healthy balance in their centering might think about something, act on the thought, and eventually feel something about it. It's a three-step process. However, a pattern of sliding to the Moving center and staying there can become so entrenched that it's difficult to access the emotional side of the centering. An imbalance is created, and this process of thinking thoughts and taking action without knowing how to feel about them can follow an endless loop.  In other words, the third response goes back to the center rather than on to the least-used area of centering. 

It is also important to note that every response to stimulus does not need to involve all three centers, just the appropriate ones. 

Balancing the Centers

In order to achieve balance and avoid getting stuck in the trap of one particular center, the standard procedure is to distract part of the centering. This quote from Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's book, "More Messages From Michael," gives the following advice:

...a fragment is in the moving part of the intellectual center and wishes to have a better understanding of its emotions.  Taking a long walk--nothing too rigorous or involving--distracts the Moving center so that the intellect can reach the emotional center.  If the fragment is in the emotional part of the intellectual center and is having trouble getting going on a project, then listening to pleasant music might distract the emotional center so that the moving center could get into focus.

It is important to understand that balancing the centers does not mean the primary center is no longer dominant. There is just greater flexibility available, and the ability to choose the most appropriate part of centering for any given situation.  Shepherd Hoodwin offers the following:  

With a balanced, intellectually centered person, responses are still first through the intellectual center, although they may quickly go to another center through its part of the intellectual center. So if action is what is most appropriate, he will get that through a quick analysis and almost instantly go into the moving center through the moving part of the intellectual center. For someone in the emotional part, the emotional center will usually come second, but it can be another part if that's more appropriate. Our primary center is like the "traffic controller" that directs our responses to the appropriate place. An emotionally centered person will feel what is most appropriate. A body-centered person will sense it on a gut level.

To better understand the individual perceptions and attributes of the primary centers and their various parts, a short description is provided for each one.  

The Moving Center

People in this center experience life through physical movement and action. They tend to be human dervishes of activity, preferring the feel of being in motion. They are always on the go, and can be indefatigable workers.  

This center has a high tolerance for repetitive tasks, or routine in general. Occupations such as assembly, data entry, food service, or agriculture, which involves performing the same tasks repeatedly, are rarely a problem and often enjoyed. In fact, this is the one center that can comfortably accommodate the sometimes boring aspects of routine. Though, persons in the intellectual part of this center are a possible exception.  

Because of the natural enthusiasm for physicality, athletes prefer this centering, as well as dancers, inventors, and even surgeons. Any skill that requires hands-on application is usually excelled at.  

People with this centering are also very in touch with their bodies, and kinesthetically can determine if there is something wrong.  

In the positive pole of Enduring, bodily movement has a purpose and a natural conclusion. In the negative of pole of Energetic, there is a restless, fidgety energy that flows with no discernable purpose.  

In the Emotional part: This part is easily observed. There seems to be an interest in moving for the sheer joy of it. Being in motion feels good to these people, and you can see it in how they walk, and in their normally dramatic gestures. Movement is how they express their emotions. It gives them a rush or natural high, and can be accomplished in activities such as dance, skateboarding, white water rafting, sex, and so forth.  

During times of stress, it's not surprising to see people with this part release emotion by doing a domestic chore, such as vacuuming the rug, or washing the dishes. When expressed through the negative pole, people in this center can become obsessive, and waste valuable energy compulsively shopping, gambling, or thrill seeking in the face of obvious dangers.  Nervous twitches also seems to be a negative manifestation of this part. 

In the Intellectual Part: Movement requiring thought is the focus here. Inventors are especially suited for this part, as well as architects, surgeons, engineers, and actors. People in this part tend to be good with mathematical calculations, or anything that requires sustained attention as long as it isn't mindlessly repetitive. These people are project oriented, and gifted in the area of spatial intelligence.  

In the negative pole, people in this part can get trapped in purposeless movement, such as devoting hours to video games.  

The Emotional Center

People in this center experience life through their feelings, and the emotional connections they have with others. It is a favorite center for Mature souls as it allows for greater intensity in relationships.  

Since emotional responses move faster than thought, this center can operate much faster than the other centers. There is a deep sense of knowing with this centering, along with an innate talent for getting to the core of an issue, and accessing a situation rapidly. 

Emotionally centered people are highly sensitive, quick to offer physical affection or sympathy, and prized as friends and confidents due to their warmness. They also tend to attract friends who operate from centers not using emotional centering, such as intellectual/moving, since this seems to fill a void for these people. However, intellectual/moving centered people can be baffled and shocked by the occasional negative outbursts that can manifest from the emotional center. Indeed, this center can be a walking powder keg at times, and it's naive to think that the energy will always be warm and positive.  

Usually boasting cheery dispositions, people with this center have strong likes and dislikes, and this can grate on the nerves of others. There is a tendency to overreact, and blow things out of proportions to extreme levels, and these people will either love you or hate you, with rarely an in between. There also seems to be a low tolerance for boredom here, and it's not unusual for an argument to develop for nothing more than the emotional exchange that might result.  

This is the center most likely to engage in philanthropic endeavors, or to follow charitable impulses when passing beggars on a street corner.  

In the positive pole of Sensibility, perception is keen and rapid.  In the negative pole of Sentimentality, perception is distorted, and subjectivity runs rampant, leaving one at the mercy of excessive feelings that can blur the truth. 

In the Moving Part:  People in this part act on their emotions.  They have a feeling, and then send it into action. Artisans are often fond of this part as it allows their creativity to spring forth directly from their emotions.  

Generally gregarious, people influenced by this part can be warm and caring, and are absolute push-overs for anything cute, such as puppies or children. They are good with social obligations, such as birthday cards, or holiday greetings, and are quick to offer hugs or affection. Sentimental movies, stuffed animals, love songs, and soap operas reflect the sometimes conventional tastes of this part.  

In the negative pole, a fondness for gossip can be cultivated, and people with this part can be petty, jealous, and vindictive.  Compulsive behavior like eating disorders and drug abuse can originate from this part. There also is a tendency for temper tantrums, domestic strife, and in worse case scenarios, irrationally following judgements that can result in crimes similar to those perpetuated by mob mentality.  

In the Intellectual Part:  People in this part intellectualize their perceptions and feelings. They can process perceptions faster than any of the other centers, and possess  the ability to peel away the layers of a problem to reveal penetrating truths. The perceptions can be startlingly accurate, and even transcend the most ardent demands of intellectual analysis. 

Aesthetic discrimination is a hallmark of this centering, and there is an inner knowing of greater creative artistry, no matter how conventional the surrounding environment might be. The artistic mastery of Shakespeare and Van Gogh serves as a fine example of the astonishing heights this centering can reach.  

In the negative pole, people in this centering can become deluded by their emotions and invent reasons why they are having them that rarely reflect reality. Endless rationalization can also manifest, which leads to a non-stop loop of intellectualizing with little reward. Obsessively reviewing old problems can result from this, as well as petty jealousies, prejudices, and grudges.  

This particular flavor of emotional centering is not always the easiest to recognize, as the intellectual part can make it seem cool, and not as effusive as traditional emotional centering. 

The Intellectual Center

People in this center experience life through the power of thought and analysis. This is the type of intelligence normally considered intelligence, and it is the seed of communication as we know it. Commonly referred to as left-brained thinking, this center is primarily linear in function.  

Philosophers, scholars, theorists, and bookworms are likely candidates for this centering, as well as people in professions where a logical and discriminating mind is required to  process ideas, numbers, and abstract concepts.  

Surprisingly, unlike the quick response of the Emotional center, Intellectually centered people actually react very slowly. In fact, you can almost imagine the gears turning as a problem is considered and analyzed. The center insists on seeing all the parts in the whole, and understanding how a given subject relates to everything else. Frustration soon sets in if a series of ideas are not logically connected in one way or another.  

Reading, writing, and good speaking skills are a function of this center, as well a rich vocabulary. Games such as scrabble, chess, backgammon, and text adventure games are favorite ways to pass the time. Essentially people with this center love to use their minds, and will get bored if there isn't some sort of mental activity to keep them stimulated.  

A common downside to this center is a lack of warmness in personal relationships. People with this center can become so cerebral that they find it difficult to make emotional connections with others. Feelings can seem irrational to them, and attempts to communicate with those who possess emotional centering can be a baffling process. 

In the positive pole of Thought, spontaneous thinking, or the "Aha" experience are common.  In the negative pole of Reason, too much time is spent attempting to intellectualize without the use of accurate data.  

In the Moving Part:  People in this part take action on their thoughts. Emotions tend to be set aside, and for this reason many Old souls favor this centering since it allows them to take a break from the drama of the Mature soul level.  

Individuals with this centering can seem like walking fact machines. Information is collected, and subsequently retrieved by association, spurring a data dump of whatever facts, opinions, or moral precepts have been stored there. Scientists naturally tend to love this centering, enjoying the ability to work with complex formulas without the interference of emotion. This is not to imply that people with this centering are without emotion, but there usually is a conscious effort to set emotions aside. 

Action is always directed outward in this centering. A thought is formed, and usually an external action will result. For example, thoughts of anger might result in reactions such as slamming a fist down on a desk, or kicking the waste paper basket. People in this centering can also develop odd physical quirks, such as nervous twitches or a tendency to tap their fingers endlessly. 

In the negative pole, people in this centering might take action without properly assessing the emotional impact. They may blurt out the first thing that pops into their heads, not realizing that their words may carry emotional ramifications. Learning how to appropriately channel energy (anger, depression)  is a frequent lesson for people with this centering. Falling into a futile rut of endless deliberation is also a manifestation of this centering.  

In the Emotional Part:  People in this part think then feel. They get emotional about ideas, theories, events, and so forth. A gamut of emotions can result from a single thought, ranging from sheer joy and exhilaration, to anxiety and embarrassment.  

People with this centering tend to have many friends, as they are good natured and communicate well others. They also make good teachers, winning many students over with an effusive personality that makes new ideas exciting.  

In the negative pole, an endless loop can be created as thoughts and feelings are frenetically deliberated, with no perceived way of taking action.  


Dave Gregg is a longtime Michael student and the webmaster of MichaelTeachings.com.  During the day he works on a gazillion projects online, and at night you'll find him at a local jazz club playing the saxophone.  

Michael Teachings


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