How to get all three 'brains' working together
Nick and I have been interested in the workings of the brain and studying introductory neuroscience for some years now as we like to include some of the principles in our work. Some of you may be wondering which brain? Others may say that the answer is obvious, we only have one, the head or cerebral brain. But modern research is indicating that's not the case.
In fact, there is recent evidence to suggest that we have multiple "brains” in our bodies with three main ones identified as the head or cerebral brain, the heart brain and the gut brain. In this context brain means "complex, adaptive and fully functional neural network” and if you're interested in knowing more about that, you could read mBraining by Grant Soosalu and Marvin Oka.
Traditionally we tend to value and trust our head brain and all that it offers us as thoughts, beliefs and opinions but in truth it is flawed and feeds us information that is often inaccurate and disempowering as it bases current reality on past experiences that are purely subjective.
Simply put, mBraining describes how the three "brains” interact and what each offers in relation to how we engage and respond to the world around us - suggesting that the head brain is for creativity, the heart brain for compassion and the gut brain for courage. Some may find this philosophy a bit too out there, but to me it makes some sense.
Consider for a moment the last time you were making an important decision; how did you go about it? Did you go with your head or your heart? What were your reasons? What was the result?
The book suggests that instead of defaulting to what the head brain offers as knowledge, facts or information about a situation and what to do, we should instead start with the heart brain. What is it we truly want in the situation? What would make us feel happy and fulfilled? What is the loving and compassionate approach?
We follow that with asking the head brain how it can create that for us and once it has crafted a response, offer it back to the heart to check the solution and then to the gut brain. Does it feel OK? Do we have the courage to go through with what the head brain has come up with?
If the gut says 'No', and I think most of us know what that feels like, then we go back to the heart brain and reassess and repeat the process until all three brains feel aligned and coherent so that we can take focused action.
I picture the process flow as a figure of eight or upright infinity symbol with the heart at the centre then the energy moving up to the brain, back to the heart, down to the gut and back up to the heart in a continuous flow of energy and interaction between the three "brains”.
If you're not sure if this is for you then perhaps you can try the process next time you have a decision to make and test it for yourself. mBraining offers some simple suggestions and guidance on how to do that.
Rowena Hardy is a facilitator and coach at mindsaligned.com.au