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Body Centers

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Body Centers?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Body Centers

Beginning of Real Life

The embodied human consciousness has four spiritual centers that are necessary for life. They are inborn as potentials for all human beings, but they do not develop or activate without the correct attitude and practices. The first is the belly center, which has to do with the physical body and the embodiment of our presence. It is also the center responsible for action and movement. The second, the heart, in the center of the chest, is the seat of our feelings and the conduit of the love energy, sensitivity, and personal contact. Our mind is the third center, which is the discerning intelligence. The fourth center is located over the head and outside of the physical body. When the first three centers have opened and developed, and they function together in a balanced way, the fourth is ignited, which means that the conduit of the individual consciousness is awake to itself as Living Being manifesting in human form. It is said that when the fourth center opens, our real life has begun to be lived.

Body Centers and Functioning

Yes, usually the belly center has to do with embodiment, with the capacity to sense oneself. However, the belly center is also the will center. In a sense, the ultimate function of the will is to surrender to what happens, surrender to the now. And to surrender to the now means not to hold onto something. The true function of the will is complete surrender to what is happening without holding on. That is will. The essential self, like all essential aspects, can function in any of the subtle centers. When one is being the essential self, its location is usually the heart center. However, when the essential self is functioning in relation to identifying or disidentifying from any content of experience, it becomes associated with the belly center. The essential self is more like a potential for experience, and it also manifests as the capacity for identification. One of the results of the capacity for identification is embodiment. Embodying something means you are identified with what is happening. An essential state is present. You are embodying it if you are it. The true self has the capacity to identify with something you are experiencing, but it doesn't have to. It has a choice; it has the freedom. When you are the true self, you can become completely what is there -- one hundred percent. If truth is present, you are truth -- "I am truth". But the moment something else arises, you become that. There is no holding on.

Contributions of Body Centers to the Process of Understanding

Now, what do I mean by these three elements? Each center contributes to the process of understanding. If the head center is functioning correctly, it means that space or emptiness is allowed. What is the significance of space and emptiness? Space and emptiness make possible the quality of allowing. When there is space in the mind, there is no self-image. You’re not trying to stick to something in particular. You’re not trying to go somewhere. The mind is allowing whatever is there to be there. So the head center’s participation or contribution is space, which is an allowing, a welcoming in a sense—space for things to happen without rejection, without trying to hold on. You become complete allowing. The heart center’s contribution has to do with its central quality, which is the personal essence. The contribution of the personal essence is the diving movement, the actual living of the experience. You not only allow it, you’re in the midst of it, you’re one with it. You’re really it, you let it happen, you feel it fully, you sense it fully, you experience it fully, right? That’s the contribution of the heart center. The belly center has its contribution, which is represented by the self, the essential self. The contribution of the essential self is the disidentification, the turning away. When you are truly functioning in the belly, you are completely present, and being completely present, you are being yourself. So you are not identified with the usual activity of trying to get somewhere else. I am not implying that space is always in the head, the pearl in the heart, and the essential self in the belly. Centers lose their importance after a while in terms of locations of essential aspects. What I mean is that when space is functioning as allowing, it activates the head center; when the pearl is functioning as involvement, it is usually in the heart center; and when the essential self is functioning as disidentification, it is usually in the belly, in the Hara center.

Experiencing Living Daylight in the Body Centers

This quality is called by many different names in different spiritual traditions. It is called divine love, conscious presence, universal love, Christ consciousness, or Christ love. In the Hindu tradition, it is called satchitananda, which expresses the experiential qualities of this aspect of Being. Sat means presence or truth, chit means consciousness or awareness, and ananda means bliss, pleasure, or love. These three qualities are the experiences of Living Daylight in each of the three centers. When it is experienced through the mind, it is experienced as light and consciousness. When it is experienced through the heart, it is experienced as universal boundless love. When it is experienced through the belly, it is experienced as a pervading conscious presence. When you feel it in the belly, you feel that you are held, contained, enfolded by a loving presence, and that this presence is what really exists in the world.

Facets of Unity, pg. 33

Participation in the Movement of the Body Centers

No, it's not a matter of putting attention on any particular center. It's a certain attitude. In the head center, the correct attitude is to allow things to happen. In the heart center, the correct attitude is involvement, participation. In the belly center, the correct attitude is disidentification. So the awareness itself is enough. If you're aware that you're not allowing, you might see why you're not allowing things to happen. If you're aware that you're not participating, then you might find out what the resistance is, what the block against the participation is.

The Condition of the Complete Human Being

When these four centers are developed and impregnated with presence, our individual consciousness becomes radiant and functionally refined. The Russian mystic George I. Gurdjieff uses the concept of three centers and refers to them as three brains. Each of these develops a certain way of processing information. Each center is an organ of perception and expression. As living organisms, we have heart, mind, and the body (the belly center), which are all differentiations of our consciousness that are needed for being in the world. They arise in particular ways and are in varying degrees of development in each one of us. We become like a prism for the deepest secret to live its life, refracting the light in specific and individual expressions of that secret for worldly functioning. So you are the secret one living the secret life! Right in front of everyone! This is the condition of the complete human being who is fully in the world of time and space yet not of it. This is the one who is the living, breathing secret name of God. The four centers make you, in a sense, an organ of perception for God. You become the functioning mind, heart, and body of God. Your eyes see with the purity of perception; your ears hear the celestial hum within all of manifest reality; your nose opens to the sublime scents of existence; your fingers touch the texture of reality; you taste the richness in the diversity of life; you walk with the grace of eternity; you move with the totality of your nature. You are the individual consciousness that enables the universe to know and experience itself in varied ways.

The Deeper Connection between Mind and Heart

What we call love is the same as consciousness, but it is experienced in the heart rather than in the mind, in the chest rather than in the head. It is also the same thing as will, which is experienced in the belly. Essential presence in the mind is often felt as a diamond, and in the heart is often experienced as a pearl. It is the same consciousness, seen from an objective, clear conscious level or from a personal heart level. If it is perceived at a universal, objective level it is seen as diamond consciousness. In the heart it becomes personal presence, the pearl beyond price, and rather than being seen as consciousness it will be seen as love. Here then we see that there is a deeper connection between mind and heart beyond the personality; in fact they are one.

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