Everyone’s heard of the brain. But did you know that there are other ‘brains’ in the body? Scientists have been excited about the discovery of a high amount of neurons located in the heart in some research and the digestive system in other research.
3 Body Brains
The Heart Math Institute is dedicated to research on heart intelligence and stress management. They have found that the ‘heart brain’, a separate neural system from the brain, has the ability to learn, remember and make decisions independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex. Their research has concluded that the electrical field produced by the heart is 60 times greater than the brain’s field and the magnetic field is approximately 500 times stronger than the brain’s. The heart’s nervous system contains around 40,000 neurons, called sensory neuritis, and is known to also release a number of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, and a number of hormones, including oxytocin, separately to the brain. The heart’s own elaborate, self-contained neural system explains why some heart transplant patients adopt the behaviours and attitudes from their donors. See this article for more details about the ‘heart brain’.
Your digestive system contains more than 30 neurotransmitters, including producing 95% of the body’s serotonin, with sheaths of approximately 100 million neurons embedded in the walls from your oesophagus down to the anus. This is also named the ‘enteric nervous system’ or the gut brain by scientists. The system has more neurons than in the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system (nerves connecting from your spine to your fingers, toes, legs, arms and rest of the body). In addition to this, your gut contains a microcosm of billions and billions of bacteria, working to support its host. There are 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells in your body. See this article in Scientific American for more details about the ‘gut brain’.
These other body “brains” are still considered emerging research. The only place that I have found all three brains discussed together in a biological sense is through kinesiology teacher, Hugo Tobar’s course Brain Formatting.
3 body energy centres
The lower dan-tien at the navel is the most well-known due to the focused concentration to build the energy of your lower dan-tien in oriental martial arts, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. It is known as the Hara (“belly”) in Japanese martial arts and practices. Martial artists and tai chi practitioners use this dan-tien as the centre as a powerful base where all movement occurs. It is considered the Power centre – where life essence is transformed into energy. Life-long practice is dedicated to cultivating chi (energy) here.
In the dan tiens, transformation of the 3 Treasures occurs: Jing, Chi & Shen. Jing is life essence, Chi is energy (also breath) and Shen is spirit. The goal of oriental healing is to cultivate, balance and expand these Treasures.
Several years ago, the only place I found information about these centres was Barbara Ann Brennan’s book “Light Emerging” and my kinesiology teacher, Guy Bennett’s course Cranial Kinesiology 2 due to his influence from Qi Gong & Tai Chi. These have been referred to as the centres of intention and centres of harmonic reference to the soul. There is also a reference to the 3 pillars on the spine in Charles Kreb’s famous kinesiology course LEAP2 on brain integration. More information is emerging on the internet in the more traditional sense.
To summarise the energy of the dan-tiens:
- The lower dan-tien: where life essence is transformed into energy. Considered the centre of power and centredness
- The middle dan-tien: where energy is transformed into spirit. Considered the centre of unconditional love and true compassion. Sometimes referred to as the emotional mind.
- The upper dan-tien: where spirit is transformed into limitlessness and the infinite (Wuji). Considered the centre of truth and wisdom. Sometimes referred to as the higher spirit mind.
I'm not surprised that there are 3 energy centres located in very similar locations as areas of high neurological activity in the body (i.e. ‘body brains’). The lower dan-tien is located at the gut, the middle dan-tien at the heart and the upper dan-tien at the brain. But the connections continue...
3 intelligences (intuition)
In one sense, you may think that there is a coincidence that some forms of intuition are described in relation to parts of the body, for example: “gut wisdom/instinct” and “a knowing in your heart”. Even more coincidental (or not) are that the key types of intuition are located in the same location as the 3 body brains and the 3 dan-tiens.
The nervous system is a physical manifestation of the electrical activity and energy coursing through our bodies. It also acts as the channel in which spirit and collective wisdom comes through. No doubt then, that these areas of high neurological activity could potentially be gateways for intuition.
The 3 types of intuition (intelligences) I am discussing here are:
-- Gut instinct
-- Heart-guided intuition
-- Conscious self-directed intuition (via the brain's capacity to contextualise and imagine)
Gut instinct is a common phrase, usually relating to a sense of surviving or taking risks. This type of intuition occurs via physical sensations and instinct – it rarely provides additional information apart from what you need to know in the moment: yes or no, dangerous, do not proceed further or go ahead. Business men are well-known to use it. This is my least favourite type of intuition, because I have had a low accuracy in using it. However, when I’m talking with someone and get sensations such as a beautiful shimmer of energy pass through me, I know I’ve said something on the right track. Or if I feel a tight fear deep in my gut, then I know a situation could be potentially dangerous. It doesn’t happen often. My gut instinct has been improving this year as I have acted on becoming more connected to my body needs and maintain awareness with my body, rather than numbing out.
Heart-guided intuition comes in the form of empathy or just a knowing in your heart. Using empathic connections, you can tap in and feel intense emotions of others – and in a more useful sense, when they are unaware of their suppressed emotions. You can also just connect into your heart space and listen, the answer is usually revealed as a quiet whisper but this normally comes with a corresponding emotion that relates, like joy or disappointment, for example. I have developed this type of intuition over the years. As I came to terms with cultivating acceptance and expression of my own emotions, the clearer my empathic abilities have become.
Conscious, self-directed intuition is used via your brain's ability to derive context and insight out of signs and symbols. It gives the greatest amount of information because it is processed via the mental body. People with great imagination and creativity can use this intuition best to provide brilliant information and wisdom. It can, however, be sabotaged by your mind’s ideas of right and wrong, belief systems and other forms of delusion. Gurdjieff says about the head brain:
“It doesn't do any real thinking; it's just a processor, incapable of any real function without a higher algorithm to direct it. Left to its own devices — which is the condition it is almost always in — it just produces an endless stream of nonsense, mixing up everything it encounters and mashing it into a confused pulp which we mistake for real food, and digest.”
There have been many times when I was young where I’d go for a reading or healing sessions to receive channelled intuitive wisdom and I'd find that the true, ringing information is muddled up with all sorts of guff. A little bit of guff is natural while people are getting in the flow, but it can be frustrating when there is a lot of it. When I was trained in intuition, using conscious self-directed intuition, I was lucky enough to also be trained in identifying belief systems that I am playing out and to slowly start dropping ideas about how things have to be. This is where intuitive information can start coming through in a more pure sense.
Some tips to improve your 3 intelligences/intuitions
Some forms of intuition will suit you naturally better than others. But cultivation of all 3 is possible. Here are some tips:
For enhancing gut instinct:
- start becoming aware of sensations in your body.
- It’s important to listen to your body, when it’s tired, hungry or stressed – rather than overrunning it with moral obligations and mental needs. I became more aware of how stressed my body was when I got regular massages. And how tired it was, when I actually slept instead of filling up my schedule irresponsibly.
- Listen to what foods your body wants, rather than what your tongue desires or mind thinks it needs.
- Suppressing your emotions usually means some form of numbing to the physical, so allow and accept emotional expression when needed. If suppressed, it has to go somewhere!
- Taking physical action is a great way to connect in with your body.
- Your body is constantly talking to you – when you start listening, all sorts of information starts opening up.
For enhancing heart-guided intuition (particularly empathetic abilities):
- start becoming aware of your emotions.
- The key is to know what emotions are yours – therefore you need to stop lying to yourself about how you feel. People do this all too often – they are angry when they are sad, they think positive when they feel fearful, they react when deep down they feel ashamed. And many variations of this.
- The more you allow/accept different forms of emotions to exist in you without rejecting it, and for them to be expressed when it is time for them to be expressed – the more you will recognise the energy when other people are playing emotional games with themselves.
- This is what I consider the true meaning of Emotional Intelligence
- start becoming aware where you are self-critical and fearful of being wrong. This will block information that is naturally coming through ready to be received.
- Allow your mind to flow, even give yourself permission to just make it up!
- Let go of any preconceived ideas about reality, others or life. Let go of what you think is right and what you think is wrong.
- Often emotional charge can disrupt and distort what comes through, so it’s important allow and accept emotional expression when needed.
- For more about tips about enhancing this form of intuition, go sign up for free for my “5 Secret Tips For Receiving Clear, Intuitive Guidance” here.
There will be one area in the head, heart or body that you will feel most comfortable in and operate out of habitually. That will usually be the best starting point to reference the other two. Intuition is a skill and like any skill, practice and using it will enhance it. Give it a real chance and it will serve and complement your life beautifully.