The human experience is processed by three components – the mind, heart and body.
We observe with the mind. We feel with the heart. We live in the world through the body.
These three components work together to make you an individual – one with the universe.
If your mind, heart and body are operating in the same frequency, it means you are doing what you are meant to be doing. If they are not operating in the same frequency, it means you are wasting your time and energy. This is where you feel exhausted and you feel it fast.
For instance, let’s say you are a designer. You like to design the interiors of buildings. You like to express yourself through design. It’s important to you that people can relate to the space you created through the colors you selected, through the textures, patterns and shapes you elegantly bring together.
You are speaking from your heart where you are most comfortable. Your heart is telling you that this is what you want to do. This is where you should stay.
But you hate your client. Your client has no morals and you’ve come to realize that he is not paying you enough. He argues with you about your ideas and does not understand what you are putting together. Your ideas are also going to cost him a pretty penny. He believes you can be used and thrown away like all the other designers.
You are observing from your mind that although you are doing what you love, this is a terrible situation to be in. You work for someone who is despicable and who does not share the same values as you do. Your mind is telling you to get out.
Your body is exhausted from this conflict between your heart and your mind.
Although you are doing what you love, the person you work for does not appreciate what you do. Your heart is in the right place, but your mind is not. The mind is telling you this is more trouble than it’s worth.
What is the result?
Your body starts to shake violently out of control.
It gets out of whack because you don’t know what you’re doing anymore, why you’re even still there. All that energy you had for your project is burning away. And it makes you sick…
In Taoist philosophy, there are three centers which correspond to your mind, heart and body.
It’s essential that we cultivate all three to be in balance and in harmony. The mind must talk to the heart. The heart must let the body know what it feels. The body then functions based on the information it is receiving. All three work as one.
Quite simply, if they work together, then life is easy. If they don’t work together, then buckle up for a rough ride.
I recently came across a similar model for explaining our human behavior called the Triune Brain Theory, proposed by the neuroscientist Dr. Paul MacLean. In his theory, we have three brains in one or three parts to the brain specifically. The three brains are the lower or reptilian brain, the middle or mammalian brain and the upper or neocortex brain.
The human brain as we know it today has evolved over time from these three brains. The first brain was developed to interact with the physical world. It gets us to fight when there is an enemy. It makes us run when there is a predator too powerful to fight. It controls the fight-or-flight response. The reptilian brain protects us with instinct.
We learn how to survive in the physical world with this lower brain.
On top of the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain developed. The mammalian brain controls our emotions. It has emerged to protect us from our emotions, such as fear, anxiety and anger. It also is there to help us bond with family, and nurture our young through intuition.
We learn to relate with one another with this middle brain.
On top of the mammalian brain, the neocortex was formed through evolution. The neocortex is where we abstract ideas, where we make pictures, and connect dots. We can understand symbols, complex systems and concepts from it. With this rational brain, we can watch somebody do something and we can then do it fairly quickly ourselves.
We learn to reason and observe with this upper brain.
Does this sound familiar?
The Triune Brain Theory has been used today by such advocates for well-being as Deepak Chopra and Eben Pagan. I am grateful to both of them for their work in explaining the human experience. Therapists are using this advanced knowledge to help children and adults with a variety of health issues such as anxieties, phobias and addictions.
So there you have it. The three centers. Three brains. Three minds. Three dan tiens.
While there are differences in how the Three Dan Tiens of Taoist philosophy and the Triune Brain Theory are formulated, both explain why conflict arises.
It’s because the Three don’t play well together.
When you have a physical drive, that drive may conflict with your emotional position. Your emotional stance may also conflict with what you know is right for you.
If you’re not careful you can get pulled in three different directions.
What do you do about it?
Watch the video to get more of a background on the three centers.
Take a moment NOW to smile at your three centers.
Smile at your mind, smile at your heart and smile at your body. That goes a long way. You’ll be glad you did.
Then remember that all three combined, working together, create the richness and fullness of life.