Did you know you have one hundred million neurons (also called nerve cells or brain cells) in your intestines? The gut is now being referred to by many scientists as the gut-brain. Your heart, in addition to its other functions, also acts as a heart-brain. It’s made up of about 40,000 neurons, all of which can sense, feel, learn and remember.
Yep, that’s right. We have three brains communicating together at any one point in time – The more official names are- the cephalic brain (head), the cardiac brain (heart), and the enteric brain (gut). Each organ has complex neuro-networks and is able to store and process information, and each has the capacity for neuroplasticity.
Many ancient wisdom teachings have put great emphasis on checking into one’s own innate intelligence, speaking about following the wisdom of the heart and gut feelings. In recent years technology and neuroscience have finally advanced enough to prove these wisdom teachings to be correct so we now know for sure… our bodies have not one, but three brains. Each of which have different ways of ‘knowing’.
Here is how you can use the intelligence wisdom and intuition of your three brains to make better decisions and stay more in touch with what really matters.
How To Practice The ‘Head-Heart-Gut’ Check In
We make a lot of decisions every day and these decisions are what determine the direction and quality of our lives. Some are little. Some are completely life altering. All of them matter as you steer the course of your life at each little juncture.
Any time you’re at a decision point you can use this mini-meditation to respond (and not react) to what is arising with wisdom and intelligence, making more mindful choices leading to a fuller happier more authentic life.
Step 1: Take three deep slow conscious breaths as a way of gathering your awareness to the present moment.
Step 2: Bring your awareness to your head
With your awareness in the head acknowledge what kind of thoughts are present in relation to the current situation.
Step 3: Drop awareness down to the heart
Place a hand over the heart and take a moment to attend to what values you have in this situation, what you care about and what your deepest intention is.
Step 4: Drop awareness down to the gut
Place a hand over the abdomen. Tune into any hunches, intuitions or emotions that are present in relation to the current situation.
Step 5: Collect all this information
Take one deep slow conscious breath in and out as you have a sense of collecting all this information from the body and mind. Then mentally ask yourself this question “what shall I do now?” Listen for the answer.
The Head-Heart-Gut Check meditation can be done in as little as 30 seconds when you need to make a quick decision or you can do a longer version that takes up to five minutes when you have more time. This simple powerful mini meditation will help you make more mindful decisions and will be an ally in times when you need mindfulness the most. May it serve you well
The ‘Head-Heart-Gut’ Check In Mini-Meditation
You may also listen to the head-heart-gut check in meditation by clicking on the video below:
You can also listen on SoundCloud
Hadzhazy, A. (2010, February 12). Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/
Moore, N. (2016, December 1). You Have 3 Physical Brains! Head, Heart and Gut. Retrieved from http://www.mindsetcomms.co.uk/head-heart-gut-brains-three-physical-brains/
Rajvanshi, A. (2011, May). The Three Minds of the Body Brain, heart and gut. Retrieved from http://www.nariphaltan.org/gut.pdf
Rozman, D. (2013 February 11). Let Your Heart Talk To Your Brain. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heartmath-llc/heart-wisdom_b_2615857.html
Sonnenburg, J. and Sonnenburg, E. (2015, May 1). Hut Feelings – the “Second Brain” In Our Gastrointestinal Systems (Excerpt). Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-feelings-the-second-brain-in-our-gastrointestinal-systems-excerpt/
Soosalu, G. and Oka, M. (2012), Neuroscience and the Three Brains of Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.mbraining.com/mbit-and-leadership