In some ways, the whole body can be seen as a “brain” in the sense that the brain is an interface with mind and consciousness. However, there are certain centers that are more focused as a nerve plexus. We could say they’re more connected.
We usually think of the brain as being in the head between our ears but recent research has discovered other major centers of nerve concentration that have other specializations.
The brain between the ears is composed of about 100 billion neurons. It behaves as the central processor, the place where most of our sensing is interfaced into a world-experience (in the mind), and the executive function or intellect. Subjectively, we tend to experience thoughts in that vicinity too.
We also have a “heart brain” which gives us an overview of our situation and chats back and forth with the head brain. The heart’s priorities include circulatory neurotransmitters and many of our emotional responses.
Some describe the heart as the home of consciousness but I’d suggest it’s better to understand the heart chakra (in the center) as the home of the soul or point value of consciousness. Life begins from here.
And we have the “gut brain” which has more neurons than the head. Some describe it as a second brain, minding our quality of health, immune functioning, neurotransmitter functions, and sympathetic activation (fight/flight/freeze).
Also notable here is the gut biome. Our digestive track contains a wide range of flora that help us digest food, trigger appetite, and make requests for specific foods. In other words, it’s often not our body that is asking for food but the garden we’ve grown in the gut communicating with us.
We can say the entire physiology and everything in it interacts and is full of feedback loops. We access information in various places – gut hunches, head information, heart feelings – from which we view the world and respond.
This 3 brain approach also corresponds some with the Triune brain model. But more interesting is that they correspond with the 3 points of identification related to the first 3 stages of enlightenment: Self Realization, GC, and Unity. This corresponds with Adyashanti’s head, heart, gut model and the 3 “am-egos” I’ve described.
While there was a close correspondence between the stages and these 3 points of identity for Adyashanti, myself, and some others I know, I’ve since seen examples where these identifications lag the unfolding. Like the friend having their heart opening after Brahman. Or the teacher in Brahman who’s still driven by a gut identity.
This has surprised me – that openings can happen when core identifications are still in place. But human development is a messy and complex thing. Enlightenment is also something that has to mature and be integrated. It takes time to clean up and embody the shifts.
Isn’t it cool that the core identifications correspond to new brain discoveries? That makes sense.