On How Many Hearts?, a commenter asked why some teachers talk about the Self being in the center of the head and others in the heart. I thought the response was worth sharing. I’ve added more.
The Self or Atman aka self-interacting consciousness is universal and thus is located everywhere, infusing everything. It is the essential medium of all we experience, including what is experiencing, the process of experience and what we experience. Form, emotion, thought, or sensation and what is noticing these – it’s all consciousness. And yet, at its highest, we recognize that Atman is aware universally and at every point within itself. One of those points can be said to be what is experiencing here, in this body.
Thus, while universal it is simultaneously experiencing from a point here and there.
What are the mechanics of this in form? There is a thread that comes in the top of the head and feeds the chakras. The chakras are what channel life force into this form. Depending on our relationship with those centers, we may experience the Self most easily in one or another chakra.
The witness value, for example, is most easily noticed in or behind the head area or the 6th or third eye chakra. As this is also the center of subtle seeing, it may well be considered the “location” of the Self, where Self sees itself most obviously.
On the other hand, the heart chakra is where the jiva (soul or point value) resides during the life. The heart is a junction and fulcrum point that is key. We can most easily Feel the Self here.
Thus, if we’re a seer, we may lean to the first. If we’re more heart oriented, the second.
This also may relate to where someone is in the post-awakening descent process. With Self-Realization, the “head” is often more dominant. In God Consciousness, the heart is more dominant. Then in Unity, Self is recognized in the world so the localization is wherever the attention is. We “become” wherever the attention goes, recognizing ourselves as that by being it and experiencing from that point. This body is just the default observation point.
While Unity may have an associated gut release and Brahman a root grounding, they’re less oriented this way, so head and heart are the more prominent “locations” for the Self to be known.
This illustrates part of why teachers and traditions will describe the details differently. It depends on how it was experienced subjectively. Also, what stage they’re describing from. For example, in this article, I’m using a high Unity perspective as it’s the most inclusive of consciousness. That perspective then gets passed down as “truth” and the larger context slowly gets lost.