What is your purpose here? To finally reach some media driven unattainable state of perfection and armor yourself, unmoving, obstructed breathing, unchanging – stuck? Life is about amplifying our experience, expanding the scope of our self-awareness. We experiment, we make mistakes, we go overboard, we lose our balance, and we leave home and lose our way for a while. We return. We return again and again, to our center. Through Gut Wisdom Coaching I partner with my client to make changes that enhance, nourish, amplify, magnify, illuminate, validate and celebrate who they already are first and foremost.
In addition we will utilize strength finders testing to reveal ones natural talents to build on, life wheel as needed to reflect on levels of satisfaction with the various aspects in ones life. A plan of action will be co-created and developed to support the client in their quest to reach their goals and effect transformation.
History Of Gut Wisdom Around The World
From the beginning of time many cultures have embraced a gut wisdom based understanding of the body as an art to healing mind, body and spirit.
The Japanese use a single word, hara, to name the belly as a physical region and a connection to Source Energy. Your hara extends from the base of your ribs to the upper margin of your pubic bone, deepening inward to your spine. A few inches below your navel, is your belly center – tanden in Japanese. Envision your hara as the furnace (heat source) in the basement of a house. It is the source of energy that activates the meridians/chakras.
Hara is the Japanese word for both the belly and its soul power.
Examples of this are:
- HARA NO OKII HITO translated to English is the one who has finished his belly meaning the fully mature person.
- HARATSUZUMI WO UTSU translated to English is to beat the belly drum meaning to lead a contented life.
- HARAGEI translated to English is belly art meaning any activity accomplished perfectly yet without effort.
- HARA DE KANGAENASAI translated to English is please think with your belly meaning tap into your essential wisdom.
- HARA-GOE translated to English is belly voice, which means a voice that expresses integrity and presence.
- HARA NO NAKA WO WATTE MISEMASU translated to English is a person who shows what is inside his belly meaning one who speaks with genuine sincerity.
- HARA GA OKI translated in English is a grand belly meaning a person who is understanding, compassionate, generous.
- HARA GA KIREI translated to English is a clean belly meaning an honest person, one who has a clear conscience.
The Asian healing traditions consider the hara to be the center of a network of energy pathways called meridians, which include 10 pathways, each named for and represented within the system.
In the Chinese tradition the belly center is known as dantian. Dantian suggests that the belly is a field to be cultivated to produce nourishment and vitality to life. It is believed that the life force you are born with is stored in the belly. It also receives and stores additional life force you take in through the breath. Your belly contains this life force and distributes it throughout your body. When you energize your belly with breath and awareness, you recharge the central power source that gives your life vitality. The Asian practice of Acupuncture maps the flow of the life force through the body. It is considered a power grid with a network connecting electrical currents into every part of the body. Your belly is the powerhouse that hosts the generator at the networks center.
In the East Indian and Tibetan traditions of yoga, the serpentine life called kundalini lies coiled in the belly. The counterpart to the hara is known as the kanda. As you breathe, the life force, prana, flows into your body and charges your kanda. Fourteen major energy channels called nadis arrives from your kanda and branch into smaller pathways, distributing prana from your kanda through your entire body. There are four significant nadis for gut wisdom understanding.
The Saraswati nadi rises through the core of your body from your kanda to your tongue. It links your belly with your capacity for speech, your ability to speak your gut feelings.
The Sushumna nadi rises from your kanda straight up through the core of your body to the crown of your head.
The Ida and Pingala nadis rise from your kanda on either side of the Sushumna nadi, spiraling around the Sushumna nadi in a double helix. The Ida and Pingala nadis conduct prana from the breath into the kanda.
The Ida and Pingala nadis cross over the Sushumna nadi-giving rise to the spinning wheels of energy to the chakras. Three out of seven major chakras are located in the belly region. The first chakra, Muladhara chakra, at the base of your spine, the second chakra, Swadhisthana chakra, at the level of your sex organs, and the third chakra, Manipura chakra, at the center of your solar plexus.
Among the !Kung Tribe in Africa, the belly is known to contain the n/um or (healing medicine), the vital life force that shamans stir and heat up with vigorous, ecstatic dancing. The life force boils up from the belly and the base of the spine, moving throughout the dancers body. The energy is then used for healing others in the community.
The Sudanese understand the life force, semangat, to be focused within the navel – from that point it permeates the entire body.
Aboriginal Australians, have cultivated the serpent power dwelling with the body’s center as well. The Aboriginal tradition probably predated those of India and Tibet by 50,000 or 60,000 years. Long before such ideas existed in India. The Aboriginal men of high degree consciously focused on the same body center (four fingers below the navel), where they said the cord of the great Rainbow Serpent (kundalini) lay coiled. The Aborigines spoke of projecting psychic powers from these centers that were unhindered by time or space – powers that could bring healing life, death and knowledge or transfer thoughts.
In the Native American tradition the body center is revered. In the Book of the Hopi, Frank Waters notes that the Hopi call it the (throne of the creator). Marilyn Youngbird, a tribal member of the Arikara and Hidatsa nations who lectures internationally on the Native Way, speaks of the importance of maintaining a spiritual, (umbilical) connection with the earth. Brooke Medicine Eagle says that (an umbilical cord connects you from your center to Mother Earth. She relates the importance of the belly to Native American teachings. Especially the teaching of Buffalo Woman-
The message that Buffalo Woman gives us is that we need to understand and teach the experience of oneness. The belly is literally the place where you can put into practice Buffalo Woman’s law of oneness and good relationship with all things. If you do it from that center, its not something you have to think about – its something that’s just there, its something that connects you in a feeling way with all things around you. That center of gut wisdom in us is the place where the Great Mystery lives within us as two-leggeds. That’s where creation literally takes place.
And its not just children we can create out of that center of ourselves. When we receive vision, when we fill ourselves with vision, we give birth to those visions and make them real in the world out of that place. All of our creation and our aliveness can come of that.
In the Sufi tradition, the mystical expression of Islam, kath refers to the belly’s role in spiritual practice. The whirling and spinning of Sufi dances concentrates awareness with the body’s center, opening the way to union with the divine.
In Arabic, Rahim, and in Hebrew, the same word in its plural form rahamim, each name the supreme Power of Being and its quality of compassion. The root of Rahim is the Semitic rhm, meaning “womb”, “loving kindness”, “mercy”, and “nourishing tenderness”.
Your belly is a wealth of emotional intelligence, the key for naming your core issues and reclaiming your power. Your belly is a cauldron of life energy, storing prana and sending it through the entire body. THE BREATH is the thread running through these three dimensions. When you breathe, you supply your body and brain with oxygen that in turn allows you to feel. Through the breath you can recharge your gut wisdom with vital energy.
Developing and directing your gut wisdom power is a continuing process of discovery. Like the undulating depths of the ocean, as deep as you go, you can always go deeper. It is indeed exhilarating to see the connection through time and cultures that validate the empowering voice of our gut wisdom as our true nature. (Lisa Sarasohn 2006, pg114-117)
The Neuroscience Of Gut Wisdom
According to neurobiologist Michael D. Gershon, MD who published (The Second Brain) it has been scientifically proven we have two brains. The second brain being in the belly, a web of 500 million neurons lining the gastrointestinal tract and viscera and functioning as an independent brain.
The (second brain) or belly brain is much different from the brain in our heads. While our cranial brain performs complex cognitive functions, allowing us to process information, apply knowledge, and change preferences, our belly brain is intuitive and receives signals and messages regarding our bodies and environment that it sends back to our cranial brain and visa versa.
Understanding the belly brain and its function is often the answer to helping clients who are plagued with many problems that are often dismissed by western medical practioners. Your belly brain, known to scientists as the enteric nervous system, is connected to your cranial brain by the vagus nerve. The same brain-regulating chemicals found in your cranial brain have also been found in your belly brain – including hormones and neurotransmitters.
The belly brain also produces dopamine and 95% of the chemical serotonin in our bodies. Without adequate levels of these two (feel good) chemicals, we may experience depression, insomnia and other emotional distress. Be grateful for these symptoms as they are warning signs – red flags that tell you clearly to (LISTEN TO ME) pay attention to your gut wisdom!
Brain peptides and endorphins have also been found in the gut. It is a large source of benzodiazepines, which are psychoactive chemicals used in popular drugs such as Xanax and Valium. It has been found that during times of massive acute stress, the gut produces sufficient benzodiazepines to calm and sedate the head brain, down to regulating cognitive and emotional stress response.