As human beings, we are wired with core needs for certainty and stability — experienced as safety and security. We naturally create relative domains in which these needs are expressed. We take refuge in where we live, our relationships, our communities, our bank accounts and our work. It is important to have these relative external sources of stability and reliable references that give us a sense of belonging in which we feel grounded, connected and supported.
These are often the domains in which we consistently place our attention. Over time, in this way, we weave the many threads of the fabric we call home. It is human and even animal nature to seek shelter from the environment and to take refuge in these relative levels of our reality. What we continuously attend to with our attention grows in our experience and often provides a grounding sense of identity. “This is my home. This is my garden. This is my partner. These are my children. This is my town. This is my commute to work”… etc.
Of course at this time and phase of evolution — there is nothing in our external environment that we can take for granted. People’s homes are burning down or being flooded. Jobs are lost, offices and building’s foreclosed. People are dying. People everywhere are being displaced from what was once called, home.
There is nothing that we can count on 100% in terms of providing these relative levels of stability and certainty that perhaps just a couple of years ago, we perceived that we could. Why? Because all of these relative domains are taking place inside of a larger field. And that larger field is undergoing accelerated seismic change. From climate change, to economic collapse to political polarization— to new and mounting health challenges. Not to mention all of the various narratives about the above subjects. So we do not even have the refuge of a common ground in terms of a collective narrative.
Yet we are all affected by this larger field, no matter how we perceive it. And we are each affecting this larger field no matter how we perceive it. There are no true bubbles of ultimate safety. Everyone and everything is interdependent, interpenetrating and taking place inside of a Galactic space of inter-being.
Now – really, I am not intending to paint a doom and gloom picture of reality.
On a meta view of course, this has always been true. For millennia, meditation practices and spiritual teachings of all faiths have pointed to the cultivation of a deeper source of inner stability. The Buddha taught that the only reliable and certain experience in this temporal realm is that of impermanence, experienced as change. In other words — we can count on one thing for sure — and that is instability! Yet at the heart of all spiritual teachings are methods and practices that point to a direct experience of ones true nature as equanimity. Meaning no matter what the temporal realm of impermanence is cooking up, we can rest in our own inner composure. Connected to our true Ground of Being and sourced by this. We derive a genuine confidence that can only come from feeling connected to our Ground of Being. This is the only true and abiding stability that cannot be attained through any external references.
You you can lose your job, your partner or death comes and knocks on your door or takes someone close to you and you are rocked to your core; yet there is a space of empty fullness deep inside where you are seated. An experience of YOU that which does not come or go. You know yourself, your true identity as a Continuum of Love that is deathless, changeless and groundless.
Being a student of such teachings and practices for a number of decades now I can say that I have come to rely on this foundation that I have cultivated and continue to cultivate. It’s akin to having a deep root system like a redwood tree such that strong winds can blow my branches, take my leaves, burn my skin and yet, who I truly am remains deeply rooted.
This is not to say that being human does not involve feeling all of the feelings. I am not suggesting that there is some perfect practice that can ‘save’ you from that. Rather, what makes us truly human — what makes us truly ALIVE could be defined as our capacity to FEEL all that is LIFE ITSELF. What if genuine, honest feeling is the savior we might be innocently looking for? At times there are waves of intensity— paralyzing fear, looping anxiety, devastating loss, hopelessness, despair, loneliness, the fires of rage, excruciating pain as well as profound pleasure, exquisite innocence and our innate freedom as joy.
But what is the missing magic ingredient — the underpinning mis-perception in our current cultural zeitgeist that so often stops us from opening and allowing our innate human capacity to feel— to be this open, alive and honest?
Didn’t we come here, after all to truly experience the mystery of being human?
Did’nt we come here to be truly alive?
The answer to the above question that I pose actually has a bodily location in which we can explore and discover our own lived experience to this question.
You see, grounding and rooting initially began in a relational context. As little infants we required a loving, stable, secure attachment figure to feel safe to relax; receive nourishment and co-regulate with. Ideally a loving and attuned Mother and Father. As little beings we do indeed come into this world, wide open — our sensitive nervous systems, brain and hearts actually require a stable holding ground such that we can continue to develop beyond the womb. It is way too overwhelming for a little being to manage all of the feelings of being alive in this sensitive body/mind/heart without co-regulating with an attachment figure. It is though co-regulation that we discover how to regulate and ground ourselves. In other word’s, this is where we learn that it is safe to feel our feelings. This is where we discover our greatest human capacity to be honest, to feel and to allow the waves of the human experience to pass through.
If you have been in the presence of healthy, secure infant you can witness within a matter of minutes the range of feelings that move through that little system; from awe and wonder to disgust, to outrage, to tears, to laughter, to playful curiosity and openness again. This is our natural design as a human being to be a fluid feeling process unfolding as an expression and response to life itself. As infants we have no filters. No facade. Nothing to prove. This is in part why we love being around babies. They are the embodiment of authenticity, innocence and openness itself; and yet there is no person-hood yet.
For many of us, we did not receive this birthright of a stable holding ground from which we developed and anchored a deeply rooted sense of identity or person-hood in our belonging. And so quite simply, we learned to survive this lack of a secure holding ground by foreclosing around our life-force— our feeling nature. We literally pull our roots up from the ground itself. We close our hearts and judge our feelings, attempting to control our life experience from our heads.
This is the current dominator model of western culture that many of us have been born into. It’s based in fear, control and domination over feeling our more feminine nature and obviously nature itself. This program has been passed down from our parents and back through the process of ‘colonized civilizations’ over hundreds of years of generations. Thus we inherited these instructions, which now unconsciously insidiously run our nervous system. The main features of this system are scarcity, deficiency and separation, underpinning our perceptions, our choices and behaviors. We seek approval, validation, fitting in and external references/data/herd mentality in exchange for our own authentic responses. We disconnect from our bodies and our internal felt sense referencing (interoception) which is connected to the guiding principles of how nature works. If we simply observe nature for 5 minutes we can see that it is sustained within a symbiotic field of abundance, innovation, reciprocity and interconnected-ness. Everything has a purpose and function. Nothing is discarded or wasted- everything has value. We are each, no different in truth.
The good news is that we can reconnect with our true nature — the space from which we innately feel connected to who we truly are. Our purpose, our pleasure and our inherent value or belonging. We can reclaim a perceptual integrity from which we can make wise choices that produce new nourishing behaviors and outcomes. We can discover how to create corrective, re-parenting environments for ourselves in which we can be agents of kindness, rather then living out of this old default nervous system of the dominator model.
How do we make this shift? Well, for starters, we begin to attend and attune our attention to what is for many of us, deemed our weakest, most dis-owed and objectified aspect of our body.
Your Beautiful Belly.
Your belly center is also known as your Hara Center or Enteric Gut brain. In the eastern traditions your Hara is considered to be the main center in the body in which you ground your energy, access your power as well as the organs of digesting, metabolizing and elimination. From a modern Neuroscience perspective, the enteric gut brain is considered to be your “second brain”. It is the home of your microbiome, an ecosystem of bacteria that has a vast neural network comprising over 100 million neurons— more than your spinal cord! This ecosystem of your second brain is not a thinking brain — it does not reason, write poetry, or solve multi-linear regressions. Mounting evidence suggests that your gut health strongly influences your mood, capacity to receive nourishment, have a healthy relationship with your human needs and so much more!
How would you know if you needed to cultivate your Hara?
YOU MIGHT STRUGGLE WITH:
* Feeling isolated, cut off from your own body, feelings or intimate sense of purpose. * Feel split or trapped between your needs for safety and security and on the other hand freedom or authenticity. * Recognizing what your boundaries are until they have been crossed! * Receiving- instead you are prone to over-extending, over-doing, over giving, draining and depleting yourself. * Staying connected to yourself while also relating with another. * Anxiety, depression or chronic issues of belonging. Emotional eating or emotional ‘teching’ or emotional sexing. Grounding or issues related to feeling safe. Attachment issues or feel unmet in relationships. Body image or external identity seeking. Out of integrity in your actions or engaged in addictions to cope with your pain. Chronic gut, autoimmune or weight issues. Inauthentic, seen as successful in the eyes of the world, but disillusioned or feeling deprived on the inside.
If you can relate or resonate with any of the above, please know that these are not conditions to define or shame you; rather symptoms indicating that you are innocently not seated in your core (especially your Hara) in a stable and fluidly accessible way. This experience can change for you if you dedicate some quality time in cultivating your loving attention in the precise ways that I will offer in the upcoming Hara Immersion.
I’ve got a 21 Day Immersion that begins on August 28th at 12:30 PST. We will dive into the first needs in our psycho-biological development. The needs for connection, love and attunement which equal feeling connected to ones ground of being. We will discover how we can re-parent and create corrective environments for ourselves when these first needs were not met very well to begin with.
For the full invite and details for registration go to: www.corembodiment.com/hara
Thank you for your attention in reading this blog! I hope it was of benefit to you! Feel free to comment below.
In Devotion to our Freedom, Health & Happiness, Ajaya