Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Head, Heart and Gut

Originally uploaded by Chechi Pe.
It was during the process of coming out that I first realized that to really understand something I had to “know it” in three very different ways: via the head, the heart, and the gut. As far as coming out was concerned, I started with my heart. In my heart I knew that “how I loved” was good and pure and brought out the best part of my self.

Of course, this knowing from my heart didn’t really correspond with the understanding that my head had acquired from the world in which I had grown up. I found my mind required answers to a slew of questions comprising the major Question, “Why does society hold homosexuality in such disdain?” It took a year or so of reading, snipping articles, making notes and talk, talk, talk in therapy before my intellect could settle down satisfied. With all the questions answered my head now knew what my heart had known all along. My love was good.

However, at this point it became obvious that the “issue” was still not settled deep inside. I was painfully aware that messages from head and heart had little, if any, impact upon my stomach. Apparently my gut had a mind of its own and on that level my homophobia remained basically untouched. My gut had a clutch of its own issues: fear and shame and nausea to name a few.

I was at a loss as to how “to get the message through.” It’s been over twenty years now and I cannot recall ever having a single epiphany during which my stomach was “transformed.” I think it took simply living my life, day to day for years in a loving relationship that was publicly acknowledged to finally let the message trickle through. Through simply living life eventually most if not all the residual fear and shame became erased.

Now, why bring all this up just now? Because, when I came across the following Adyashanti quote regarding the stages of enlightenment, I knew it was the same process of “getting it.” If coming out is the death of one form of consciousness and the birth into a new (and it was at least for most of my generation), then becoming enlightened is that process written large. So here is what Adyashanti has to say about enlightenment:

“For realization to be complete it has to hit on three levels- head, heart, and gut. You can have a very clear, enlightened mind, but your being won’t be dancing. Then, when the heart starts to open along with the mind, your being starts to dance. Then everything comes alive. And when your gut opens up, there is that deep, deep, unfathomable stability where that opening, who is you, just died into transparency. You are dancing- the emptiness is dancing.”

Yes! Head, heart, gut. With coming out presumably you start with heart for the issue itself starts with love. In a sense, the head is forced into playing catch-up. With enlightenment, the process starts in meditation with the mind- the monkey mind. But still, there are these three distinct ways of knowing that must also be engaged and re-educated if one is to deeply embody an enlightened consciousness.

This is hopeful information to me. A whisper of, “You can do it.”

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