The Emotional Center in Human Design

Healing & Meditation Human Design

Shantamo explains the significance of the Emotional Center, be it Defined, Undefined or Open. He also talks about decision-making according to Emotional Authority, as an individual as well as in a group.

Human Design is a method that shows – in a visual image called a ‘Chart’ – the way we came into this world. We could also say that it is our ‘genetic blueprint’.

To visualize the energy flow, the system uses nine centers, instead of the seven centers we know from the eastern chakra map. This, because humanity has evolved since the days of the Vedic seers. When we compare these two maps, we can see where the changes are: in the area between the 2nd and the 5th chakra (in the image the names of the ‘new’ centers are colored in purple).

Yoga and Human Design

The Emotional Center is the triangle on the lower right-hand side.

Physically, the Emotional Center is located in the solar plexus area; in Human Design it is the home of our feelings. We can experience feeling sensations in other Centers too, especially in the Spleen, which responds to the input of our senses. However, only the Emotional Center is both a Motor Center – a center with pure energy that provides a drive – and an Awareness Center – a place that has the potential of becoming a seat of awareness. We can make Charts of animals; they have a Spleen Center like we do. The Emotional Center, however, is exclusively human.

When people connect with each other, the Emotional Center is almost always defined, which means that it becomes active even in people whose Chart has an undefined Emotional Center. Considering that statistically about 50% of the population has a defined Emotional Center and the remaining 50% are affected by them, this means that we live in an emotional field that we share, and create together. And as the mechanics of Human Design causes defined Emotions to take precedence over all other centers, this turns humanity into an emotional species.

Let us have a closer look at the different ways the Emotional Center works in an individual Chart.

You can get your free Human Design Chart for instance from my website. All you need is your birth data and your Chart is mailed back to you. Once you have that image before you, you want to look at the lower right-hand corner. The inward pointing triangle is your Emotional Center. It will have one of three possible states: Defined, Undefined or Open.

The Defined Emotional Center

The Emotional Center is the triangle on the right-hand side when you look at your Chart. When it is connected via one or more colored lines – called Channels – with at least one other center, it becomes defined. To show which centers in a Chart are defined they are colored in.

A flow of feelings is part of your life and you broadcast your feelings to everyone around you, even if you think you have everything under control.

Feelings are wild, but we are living in a world that tries to be civilized. This leads to a dilemma: to suppress your feelings goes against your nature, while letting them spill out all over the place creates upsets. The wildness of your feelings is a living connection to what happens in the world around you. Your emotional waves can create tremendous richness when you master the art of riding them.

How to do that?

The answer lies in the awareness quality of the Emotions, which allows you to welcome feelings as they arise in you, without the need to repress or feel compelled to throw them out.

Here are some tips how to increase awareness of your feeling world:

– Take full responsibility. The stimulus may come from the outside, yet every feeling is your own. With this comes a certain consideration for the people around you. It may or may not be a good idea to share your feeling journey with them. Sometimes it is more appropriate to experience the full range of your feelings when alone.

– When emotions overwhelm you, you have some allies. One is art, either active – paint, dance, sculpt, sing – or passive. Listening to music is especially helpful. Remember that when you express your feelings e.g. through painting, you do not need to create a masterpiece; it is more about finding an outlet for something greater than you, and a way to come to a place of stillness. Osho’s active meditations are a great help, too.

If you have a Defined Emotional Center then you will have an Emotional Authority. You can therefore follow the process described below – in the chapter ‘Authority’ – to find out the best way for your decision-making.

The Undefined Emotional Center

If you have an undefined Emotional Center, the triangle on the right-hand side of your Chart is white, with one or more colored numbers (Gates) and short lines attached to them. These Gates are passages where energy can go in and out of the Emotional Center.

Energy between centers flows when there is an uninterrupted connection between two Gates, then we have a Channel that is defined (i.e. colored in) from end to end.

A defined Gate is one half of a Channel; but when the corresponding Gate in someone else’s center is defined (or if that person has already both Gates defined) your half Channel is completed and your Emotional Center becomes defined. You can imagine that your Chart and that of your friend was printed on a transparent foil. When you superimpose the two Charts you might discover that one, or half, of your Channels is completed by a full, or half, Channel of your friend, completing so the Channel and consequently defining that Center in you when you meet this particular person. The energy of this combination will express itself through the qualities of that particular Channel and Gates.

This means that you have two basic emotional modes. Without outer influences, your
Emotions are not defined. Generally, you will not be subject to waves of feelings and you may observe the dramas of others with some wonder. But when you are together with people, your Emotional Center most probably becomes defined, and functions in the way described earlier for the Defined Emotional Center.

Sometimes it may feel as if you were two people, and it can be challenging to remember – when being among others – how you would feel if you were alone. Because you are not naturally emotionally defined, it can be easier to practice the art of awareness while feelings are present. Meditation is helpful too as it nourishes awareness in general, and can help you to remember your inner emotional state also when you are in company.

The Open Emotional Center

When you have an Open Emotional Center, the triangle on the right-hand side of your Chart is white, without any colored Gates or Channels attached to it. You have a rare chart; only a very small percentage of humanity has an Open Emotional Center.

Any open center is like a white board, everyone can – and will – write something on it. It may feel as if people painted their feelings all over you. You are an emotional chameleon; your feeling world changes color according to your environment. While internally you may wonder what the fuss is all about, you still need to position yourself within the communities around you. It is tempting to assume a persona, a role that fits a particular circle you find yourself in.

Various famous actors have an Open Emotional Center. It is easy for them to embody roles the scripts ask for. Just as these actors know that they are not their roles, you can also come to understand that you are not the roles you play. Your flexibility is an asset, as long as you remember that none of the roles you are playing is the real you. When you remember that, you become a mirror to the ones around you. Their paint will no longer stick to you and – miraculously – they will begin to feel seen in a way they do not experience with others. Because of your openness you can sense the emotional field of people, and locations, in a way others cannot.

The emotional intensity of the collective may be overwhelming at times, so take time for yourself, meditate or spend time in nature. People might perceive a certain coolness about you; that is your natural quality – you have the right to enjoy it.


One of the most important principles in Human Design is called Authority. It is the inner faculty which lets us make decisions in accordance to our unique life force. When we decide according to our Authority, the choices we make will work: we will say yes to the people, to career opportunities and living situations that fit our energy.

There are six types of Authority, each residing in a different center. Which Authority we have depends on our Chart, but Emotional Authority is the most common one.

As we discussed in the section for the Undefined Emotional Center, when people meet, everybody’s Emotional Centers most likely become defined. In that case the individual Authority shifts and our collective decisions become emotionally driven. PR-agencies and politicians make use of this, and we can witness it also in our personal lives. To bring clarity to decision-making as a group, i.e. when decisions need to be taken where other people are involved, it is helpful to explore how emotional Authority works.

Emotions come in waves, from deep despair to the heights of ecstasy. Imagine you have a new job proposal or someone has asked you out for a date. One moment you feel great about it – ‘the best thing that has ever happened to me’, while a few hours later you do not even want to think about it – ‘it can only become a disaster’. Of course, these are expectations about the future, but your feelings are real, here and now. Give them time and space, the moment to decide has not arrived yet.

Howsoever these emotional waves are in constant movement, a moment comes when the water is still and your feelings become clear. It is important to wait for these moments of clarity; it is not good to take a quick decision when you are still riding on a wave. If necessary, tell the other party you need time to come to a decision.

These moments of clarity show you which way to go. Clarity is when it feels right, when there is no emotional attachment, when the awareness quality of the center is shining through. This is Emotional Authority in action. Once you get the hang of it, you will see that clarity is always present under the surface. With practice, it is possible to shift your attention from the waves of feeling to the clarity underneath, thereby potentially shortening your decision-making process.

It is important to note that the decision process needs an emotional input to start with: this activates the Motor energy of the Emotional Center. The steps described above also help you to give a voice to the Awareness aspect of the center before taking a decision. In a group (or couple) situation, when each one is capable of honoring both their feeling response and their awareness of it, they can express their emotional response to the matter at hand without overbearing the others. It is a way to tap the communal intelligence of the group (or couple) and bringing it to a decision which is good, or at least acceptable, for all.

ShantamoShantamo grew up in the Netherlands and studied at the Film Academy in Amsterdam. In 1980 he came to Pune where Osho gave him his new name. He became part of the Amsterdam center (on a houseboat, later in a disused prison). In the Pune 2 commune he worked as a cook, and later in the Mystery School and as meditation leader. Since 2005 he lives in Switzerland where he gives sessions as a Certified Human Design Reader. Now he shares his time between Switzerland and Italy, teaching Human Design and giving sessions there and in other places of the world.

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