Accessing the Wisdom of Your Body: Balancing the Three Brains

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Guest Post by Mark Chandee Taylor

Does your mind tend to run in circles, obsessing about the future, reliving past events, and endlessly strategizing how to respond to each new issue? Do you have a feeling of being closed off from others, not relating fully to the world? Do you live with chronic gastric, nervous, and muscular distress? If you answered yes to several of those questions, you may have forgotten how to balance your multiple centers of wisdom, and—like many others in Western culture—you may be attempting to navigate through your precious lifetime solely from the brain in your head. Most of us are not aware that we have other choices, that we possess other centers of wisdom, which, if we listen to them, can radically alter our way of being in the world. Utilizing these multiple centers can decrease stress, relieve chronic anxiety, and enable us to relate more easily and fully with others.

Since the time of the Enlightenment, Western culture has increasingly valued the wisdom of the head-brain—conscious thought and control of thought—over alternative perceptual and integrative systems in the body. The Cartesian formula “I think, therefore I am” is the sort of logical formulation that epitomizes Western thought which gives the head-brain primacy over other neural systems—brains—that exist in our bodies. 

Our educational systems reinforce this prejudice, and our visually-based digital culture further emphasizes the perceptual processes of our head-brain over other ways of knowing. Recent research shows that there are actually three major centers of neural intelligence and integration in the body: the enteric brain in the gut, the cardiac brain, the heart, and the central nervous system housed within the head and spinal cord—which I’ve been calling the “head-brain.” Download the full article here. 

Margery Segal