Over the years on the blog I’ve talked about the primary centres for release: what Adyashanti called Head, Heart, & Gut. They’re often the primary identifications of the individual ego, what I’ve also called the 3 am-ego’s.
The head identification is the self-concept of a me. This relates to what we tell others and ourselves about ourselves. The heart is our emotional drivers of self, the energy of defence, grasping, and resistance that sustains the first. And the gut is what I call the core identity, the identification with the I-sense as who we are.
Broadly, I’ve associated their release with the openings of the first 3 stages of enlightenment: Self Realization, God Consciousness, and Unity. They had been here, with Adyashanti, and with others I know. But a lot of learning has unfolded since.
These key releases often don’t time to these stage shifts. Susanne Marie, for example, had the “gut” release with her Brahman shift. She similarly called it the existential identity. And I’ve seen people in Brahman have their heart opening so they’ve not yet come to the gut.
It seems we need enough clearing to make the shifts but how clear and deep they are varies widely.
These identifications are more on the sattva or feminine side of the enlightenment process. They are associated with the stages in consciousness but are somewhat distinct. Key is restoring balance and releasing identifications so the fullness of the process can unfold.
It’s important to understand these contractions are not usually conscious until shortly before or during their release. This is why they’re unhealed. And yet their influence is still shadowing our experience. We may recognize unconscious reactivity or attempts to control certain types of experience, for example. Most of that is from secondary contractions. Deeper themes may point to the key three.
Kundalini traditions may point to 3 key knots or granthi in the Sushumna energy channel up the spine. However, these relate more to the kundalini rise prior to awakening.
Healing is a process. Even if the core contraction has been released, there are normally a lot of accessory contractions to be healed over time.
The head release aka the core concept of a me seems to need to let go for Self Realization. But there are big variations in how complete that is.
Was there a big release with the shift or shortly before or after? Usually, such a release is accompanied by tears and/or laughter. The “theme” of the contraction may not be apparent until later.
In many cases, if the release has not happened, the shift is less clear and more inclined to get overshadowed. Too much me-sense remains. Inversely, even if a big release happens, it doesn’t indicate a shift. The shifts are in consciousness itself, not the purification or the experiences.
Even if there is a big release with a shift, we typically have lots of what I called shrapnel to process later. This is old stories and attachments that were built on that core contraction. Once the centre is gone, the shrapnel rises to the surface through life experiences. Because we’re no longer “in” it, it’s now a simple process of experience and release. For a time, this process may seem a little endless.
Behind all these stories are the energetic drivers that push them forward and keep them going. It’s difficult to wind down some stories if that energy (emotion) is still in play. This is where the heart comes in.
First, note we’re talking about hridaya, the higher-octave heart, not the anahata heart chakra that can open much earlier, prior to awakening. Hridaya typically arises in the post-awakening descent of Shiva-Shakti into the physiology and embodiment. It wants the stability of awakening to feel safe. Often, it’s surrounded by a thick crust that needs to be broken open and dissolved. In place of fine feelings, we have protective reactivity. We’ll find old emotional baggage coming up as energy sensations or base emotions, seeking to be experienced and resolved.
Remember these are old incomplete experiences waiting for a chance to be experienced and resolved. If we learn to allow what arises, these can just wash over us in a brief wave of emotion. Now it’s been experienced and thus completes.
As these wind down, the impetus to revive the me-construct fades out.
For the big contractions, there can be layers of protection and shadow peeled off like an onion. We experience and release each layer, step by step until we reach and experience the core knot. Then that burden lifts. Sometimes, it can be like putting down a big load we’ve carried for a very long time.
All those contractions and shadow take energy to maintain. When they resolve, a lot of energy can become available.
When enough is healed, safety is felt (“mother is at home”) and the crust can fall away and the heart open. A depth and richness of emotion unlike anything we’ve experienced prior can emerge.
Greater inner harmony is reflected back to us by the environment. We experience much fuller support from the world around us and learn to trust life.
The Core Identity
Finally, under all the noise of the mind and emotions, we have the core identity. It’s a defensive contraction in the gut. This arose in the deep past when we lost our conscious connection with the Divine. We compensated by grasping at what was still conscious, our local I-sense.
We need an I-sense to function in the world and distinguish self from other. The issue is when we mistake that for who we are.
The core identity has a childhood association with our given name and is usually very subconscious until much of the above has lifted.
When it’s seen and released, there can be a sense of barbecue or burning as the gut region is the fire centre.
Recently, I realized I’ve had a convenient concept that there is a single release at the gut, with other random clearing later.
However, it’s much like the prior centres. There is a core identity release, but then there are typically many other interconnected contractions to be cleared as well. It varies how thorough the initial release is and how many other contractions remain. As long as there are significant contractions here, ancestral or past life, there is identity defence that can be triggered.
This can be why we see examples of very awake people acting out and taking things personally. And why traditions commonly recommend the awakening mature for a while. There is no instant enlightenment, even though the primary shifts take just a moment.
The tricky part is that this territory is often well hidden in shadow. We can seem clear long before we are. Behaviours may not come up until triggered by events. Or if we feel “done”, acting out may be seen as life operating through us, crazy wisdom, and other misapprehensions. The core identity is much more subtle than ego self-concepts. More like memes.
For example, I’ve mentioned the strong provider meme I had. There was a difficult period where life seemed to be fighting progress at every step. The meme was not conscious, and I needed strong challenges to see it. First, I lost the ability to provide, to play that role. But that wasn’t enough. Sufficient contrast finally came when I stepped into the white knight rescuing the damsel role. Financially disastrous but I learned. 🙂
Similarly, the meme I had around higher education rose to the surface again more recently, finally seen deeply enough to resolve. Both of these were mainly ancestral, with some karma thrown in to complete the set.
As usual, it’s not life events that cause the trouble, it’s how we respond to them. How do we respond to nature’s movements to heal and rebalance? Do we resist or grasp to try to perpetuate the status quo, including what is unresolved? Or do we allow it as it is, experience it, and complete?
You may have noticed that head, heart, & gut doesn’t cover all the chakras. This is because we’re talking a stage more subtle, the mahamarmas.
A marmas is a subtle plexus or node studied in Ayurveda, similar to a Chinese acupressure point. The maha or great marmas are larger, more subtle centres that dominate a region.
When clear, these 3 centres associate with Shiva (the observer & destroyer), Vishnu (the sustainer & heart), and Brahma (the creator & mind)(or their feminine counterparts Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati) in embodying Divinity.
Slightly confusing here is “head” is where we experience our mind and it’s self-concepts. And yet mind is powered by the third chakra in the gut. Mind is a field that surrounds the entire body. We think of it as “in the head” because of the concentration of our senses there. They interface through the brain with the mind.
Equally, Shiva (observer), Vishnu, and Brahma can all be experienced in the head or any other point as they are omnipresent.
In the larger context, we’re rising out of a dark age. Life was more traumatic through that period and those shadows make healing more difficult, both in the blood line (ancestral) and past lives of the soul.
Old Vedic stories may create expectations of a faster, smoother process where healing is aligned with the stages. Yet in the current time, we typically have a lot of catching up to do after the shifts in consciousness. The more expressed a level is, the more dense it is, and the slower it is to adjust. Our physical form is the slowest.
This is getting smoother with more and more doing their healing and more and more awakening. The collective is rising, making all of it easier for all of us. But we shouldn’t underestimate how much shadow we’ve been carrying and how much it’s been influencing our quality of life. This is true both personally and collectively.
The collective has been doing a LOT of purification this year and I notice this fall, the pace of waves of purification has sped up. They’re coming faster and closer together.
This indicates excellent progress in the collective, but also intensifies the eventfulness of the world. Many are not yet able to process it all energetically, so the waves rise up as events in the world.
By the same token, we shouldn’t underestimate what’s possible based on our recent experience. As we clear our past burdens and release identifications, our reality can upgrade so dramatically, we don’t even recognize ourselves in the mirror. What’s looking has changed. 🙂