Have you heard about this, about how we all have not one, but three brains?
Of course we know about the brain inside our skull, the one that has so much power in our world today. The reign of logic holds strongly over us. Even though that brain also holds the ability to feel, to connect, to learn, to detect danger and act upon it, logic is by far the most revered aspect in our Western society.
Scientists have discovered in the last few decades, that we have two more brains(!) This means they have actually found neural cells, in great numbers, performing the similar functions of information gathering, sense-making and adapting to our environment.
‘Brain 2’ is in our gut. The intestinal track holds more neural cells than the entire spinal column. This hands us a physical explanation of the ‘gut feeling’, scientifically validating the gut as a centre of intelligence.
‘Brain 3’ then, is located in our heart. Again, not an energetic chakra type heart, but our actual blood-pumping heart. ‘Comprised of over 40.000 nerve cells, along with a complex network of neuro-transmitters, proteins and support cells, this heart brain is as large as many key areas of the brain in your head’ (From Robert K. Cooper).
How amazing is that?
This is science, our reductionist, taking things apart in order to attempt to understand the whole, actually ‘proving’ what spiritual teachings have been telling us for thousands of years!
Learning to listen to the ‘other brains’ is not the easiest thing to do I find.
We are so used to living up high in our heads, compartmentalising our experience, trying to understand it and then control it. As if we can freeze frame our experience and play it the way we want exactly when we like it. Moving into our gut brain or our heart brain requires courage. Courage to let ourselves go into the unknown, into the intelligence that flows with experience.
It also asks for time. It helps me to relax and give myself permission to gently lower my attention into my body. To not expect of myself that it should happen right away. Our body/mind structures are creatures of habit, our awareness travels our neural pathways easiest in the ways we have created them. This literally is about creating new neural pathways. The more attention we spend here, the easier they become accessible to us.
To me, this is a big part of meditating. Learning to access all our brains. And then even more dimensions can show themselves.
One of the practices I use, is by Chamelie Ardagh. It offers a beautiful way to practice being with the heart brain. You can try it here, it’s called Feel – Kiss – Flow.
And I’d love to hear if for you there is a relationship between your spiritual practice and these brains.