The three centers revisited

 

A quick revisiting of the three centers.

When there is receptivity at the three centers…

Our view is receptive, inclusive and fluid. We are able to find the grain of truth in any statement, position and view. We are able to see how they are all limited truths of practical value only. We are able to shift fluidly among them, including taking any position at any time as the situation seems to call for it.

Our heart is receptive to ourselves, others and life in general. It stays open, because there is a release from identification with any particular view. There is nothing to defend.

Our emotions are receptive rather than reactive. There is a sense of nurturing. Fullness. Generosity. Warmth.

There is a mutuality among these three.

When our view is fluid and there is no exclusive or rigid identification with any particular view or identity, there is nothing to defend. This allows receptivity for our heart. And it allows our emotions to be full and nurturing, rather than reactive. It also allows for a release from resistance to our experiences, which invites in a receptive heart and fullness of emotions.

When our heart is receptive, we are more open to find the truth in reversals of any view we tend to hold onto, and our emotions are less reactive.

When our emotions are nurturing rather than reactive, it invites receptivity at the view and heart levels. We feel more safe. We can allow ourselves to trust more. (Just trust, not trust in any thing or one in particular.) And this makes it feel more OK to explore the truth in reversals, and allow our heart to stay open whatever the situation may be.

And when there is a knot, a lack of receptivity, at the three centers, there are some telltale signs…

At the view level, we are rigidly attached to a particular view and identity, seeing it as the only truth, or at least the most important truth, excluding the truth in its reversals. We are reactive at the level of view. We try to hold onto a view or identity, protect it, defend it.

At the heart level, our heart closes down. We close down our empathy and compassion for the other.

At the emotional level, there is reactiveness. A sense of lack of trust. A sense of a hole in the belly region.

For all three, there is a sense of reactiveness, of precariousness, of ambivalence.

Again, when the centers close down, there is a mutuality among them.

When we rigidly hold onto a view, our heart closes down to those holding opposing views, and there are often reactive emotions.

When our heart closes down, it is more difficult to find the truth in positions others hold, and the emotions tend to be generally more reactive.

When our emotions are reactive, it is very difficult to allow an open heart, and a fluidity of views.

There are different practices nurturing the three centers…

Practices at the view level includes headlessness (finding ourselves as awakeness, already free from and allowing any views, identities and roles), The Work (finding the truth in the reversal views and identities), the Big Mind process (detaching identity from any particular voice, role or identity, and finding ourselves as awakeness), or basic meditation (finding ourselves as awakeness).

Practices at the heart level include any heart centered prayer or engagement, such as tong len, heart prayer (repeating a prayer with the breath and heart beats), Christ mediation (visualizing Christ outside the body in the six directions and the heart), praying for the well being and happiness of others, and rejoicing in other’s happiness.

The simplest practice at the emotional level is to allow our experiences fully, as they are. To be with it in a wholehearted and heartfelt way. This invites a shift from being caught up in resistance and seeing it as “other” to a sense of rich nurturing supporting fullness. We can also engage in nurturing activities and relationships and some body-mind practices. For me, Breema by far provides the easiest and most profound shift here, in addition to nurturing relationships. At the emotional level, there is a sense of filling a reservoir, which gradually provides a more stable sense of fullness and nurturing.

And applying it to a specific knot

We can see it more clearly, through inquiry, discovering what is already more true for us there. Such as the truths in the reversals of our initial belief, and that we are not bound by any of those stories. We can fully allow the experience, be with it in a heartfelt way. And these two tends to bring in the heart. We move towards seeing it, feeling it, and loving it more fully, as it is.

Looking at it in terms of Big Mind/Heart/Belly awakening to itself…At the head center, we see it all as God, as the field of awakeness and form inherently absent of an I with an Other.

At the heart, we love all as God. The heart stays open to any one and any thing, because it is recognized – at the heart level – as God itself.

And at the belly, we feel all as God. We recognize, as a deep bodily felt-sense, that all is God, and all is good.

And when only one or two awakens, and the others are missing…

If the head center alone awakens, there is a lack of warmth and compassion. It feels dry. Sterile. Detached. There is often a denial of the validity of how those not awakened experiences the world, and our human self in general. There can also well be emotional reactivity, in the midst of all being recognized as awakeness itself. This is sometimes seen in some Advaita circles, even when there is a genuine head center awakening.

If the heart center alone awakens, there is a lack of stability since the view and emotions are still reactive, which can then close down the heart. There may also be a lack of insight and ability to deal with the world as it is.

If the belly center alone awakens, we are missing the fullness of the heart, and insights, and the guidance that comes from both.

If only the head and heart awakens, there can be a sense of detached warmth and empathy, but not the fullness of including the human self and emotions. Our human self, in its fullness, may still be disowned and denied to a certain extent.

Looking at it as Big Mind, Big Heart, and Big Belly

Big Mind is the recognition of all as Big Mind itself, in its emptiness and fullness aspects.

Big Heart is the natural empathy that arises when Big Mind awakens to itself while still connected to a particular human self. It leaves nothing out, because it recognizes all as itself.

Big belly is the full embrace of our human nature and all it means to be human. It allows for a deepening of our human self, including the sense of fullness and nurturing that comes from nonreactive emotions.

All of this is only a map. One way to organize experience and practices, and to check if any of these areas are missing or neglected in our life or our practices. It works for me now, in a practical and limited way, but may not work for others, or for me in the future. That is the nature of maps.And there is no end to the details we can go into using this, as any other, map. With three centers, each more or less receptive, there is a richness of possible combinations and mutual influences among the centers.

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