Why you should listen to the gut and not the heart or mind
How to start listening to your gut; It’s your best choice when you need to make a decision so I’ll give you a practice to start that will help you remember how. The heart and the mind will tell stories and lie to you. But the gut will not. It gives you a straight forward yes or no answer. The guts choice will be the choice truest for your best interest and those around you.
Why you shouldn’t “follow” your heart
How does the heart lie? Ever seen a young child get hurt and
feel better after you give the wound a kiss. The wound didn’t change, but the
child stopped crying and is now happily going back to play. This often happens
when we listen to our heart. We are not actually solving a problem. The problem
is still there. It’s like we just pacified it.
If you read my previous post, I speak briefly about how we have an inner child that will sometimes run your life. If the inner child is running your life, listening to your heart will be problematic. You inner child will just want to get its needs met. Even if they get their needs met with a kiss on the wound!
I’m speaking metaphorically when I reference the kiss, so
what wounds do you have that you can’t seem to get past? What “kiss” did you
get that made you feel better but didn’t actually solve anything?
Why you shouldn’t go along with the mind either
How does the mind lie? Have you heard that human reason can excuse any evil? That should just explain it all. But let me try and unpack this. There are those people who are good at making any argument to win no matter what. But it’s a little more than that when it comes to our decision making.
This can best be explained with a new years resolution. You are doing great then you start to lose momentum. Then you find yourself making excuses. “It’s just fries; I’ll do an extra long workout to burn the calories.”
At that point when you want to make the decision you are experiencing cognitive dissonance because you want to eat what you already decided not to eat. Your mind will come up with a solution to get rid of the internal conflict; So that you are OK with eating the fries.
The next time you are faced with a conflicting decision, be aware of what your mind is telling you. It will excuse anything no matter how terrible it is. It will keep coming up with excuses until you are comfortable enough to take action.
What the gut actually is
It’s what you feel instinctively before you can even explain things. It’s your natural guidance system. Ever heard someone say “I had a feeling…” Or even better yet have you ever felt like you are sick after making a bad decision?
A lot of research has been done around this. I find it interesting that the gut is lined with a network of neurons known as the enteric nervous system. It’s often referred to as the “second brain.” It functions much like the brain in that it can sense and receive impulses and it records and remembers experiences.
Stop ignoring your gut
If you have been pushing down your gut feelings, then it’s a
lot harder to tap into. If you think about the physical body, the body will
deform if forced into extreme conditions. The same thing happens with our non
physical body when we force it into silence. However it’s not too late.
In the least, know that you will start to get unhealthy,
since it will affect your digestion, emotions and physical health. With that
said, it’s important that you know how to start listening to your gut. The two
brains need to communicate and work together. Yeah I know I just said don’t go
along with the mind. But it’s more that it’s not meant to work alone. The heart
also has its place.
The gut just has the older more skilled part. When you walk
into a room or anything like that, it’s your gut that is responding first. Your mind is interpreting how the gut is
responding: when you feel fear, that collapse in your stomach or that butterfly
feeling… that happens first then the mind is looking at it and interpreting what’s
happening in the gut.
You already know how to listen to the gut. Remember!
So how do you tap into this ancient wisdom? I call it
ancient wisdom because as I mentioned; It stores memories. It will even store
what is beyond your experience. It’s the reason why once an athlete breaks a
world record, it doesn’t just end there; other athletes also start to break the
record that was just broken. They don’t even need to share any secrets of how
they did it. It’s like they just remember!
Start by noticing sensations in your body. Note that sensations are different from feelings. Feelings are the labels we attach to the sensation. A feeling like anger is often attached to sensations like tightness. With practice you get a handle on what your sensations are. There are so many sensations, try to feel them without attaching a label to them.
A quick exercise you can do right now is it to hold your hand in front of you with your palm facing up. Don’t look at your hand but instead, put your awareness on your hand.
Notice what you start to feel about your hand. A lot of people will say things like I feel tingles; some people say heat or coolness; some people even describe it as moisture, numbness or aliveness.
What do you think is happening? What you are feeling is more
sensation in your hand. Where your attention goes energy flows.
It’s called subtle energy: what you’re feeling in your hand. You can take that same awareness and put it anywhere in your body. For instance, you can put your awareness on your left foot and you left foot will start tingling or having more sensations.
Notice the sensations
Repetition is really important to start to make a change
when you know how to start listening to the gut. So how do the sensations help?
Let me take you through a much deeper practice first.
When you sit and you are in a quiet place, perhaps
when you are meditating or thinking, bring a joyful event or someone you love
into your awareness.
Notice what’s happening in your heart. You’ll be
able to breathe deeper, your heart is going to feel open. You might even start
to feel some tingles or warm sensations.
Next, bringing an event that you were scared of
or someone that upsets you, into your awareness.
Notice what is happening in your heart. You’ll
notice instantly your heart will clamp and then it’s going to slowly shut down.
You might even feel tension somewhere else in the body.
Flip-flop back and forth between the subtle body
sensations of joy and the subtle body sensations of fear.
Notice the difference of when your body is in comfort and when your body is in discomfort. Just feel the basic sensations. Don’t try and label them.
Don’t fall into pattern
As I mentioned, feelings are just a Sensation inside the body: by the time you call a sensation inside your body an emotion, your mind has had a judgment about some kind of sensation in your body and often times by the time you have judged that sensation in your body, you are already in pattern.
When you are in pattern you will go back to your old ways,
and operate from a scarcity mindset, a fear based mindset etc. when your system
is open that’s when you tap into intuitive guidance, inspired thought. Honor
Getting away from the emotions you often associate with, what we call gross sensations, and going into the subtle sensations of the body is key.
Repeat Repeat Repeat
There is an automated process that your gut and mind go through: the relationship between the gut and the mind. Your mind interprets whats happening in the gut, these subtle sensations. It’s important that you keep repeating this practice to get more in alignment with yourself. This is how to start listening to the gut.
If you can keep your awareness on the subtle sensations of
the body, you will actually start to notice that it doesn’t really matter how
the mind judges the subtle sensation.
In fact, if you don’t involve the mind in the subtle
sensations of the body, the body can actually work the energy and move it
through your system fairly quickly! This practice actually metabolizes the
energy and has a natural healing effect, reprogramming without you having to do
How to start listening to the gut
Quieting yourself down, slowing the body down and breathing are helpful in gaining an inner sense and inner awareness. A good book to dive into is The Gift Of Fear by Gavin de Becker . Your emotions are there for a reason!!
Remember to listen to your gut. The heart and mind will lie
to you but the gut will give you a straight answer. Your gut is the older wiser
part, listen to it, and don’t ignore it. You just have to remember how to
listen to your gut again.
Start by noticing the sensations and carry this over to every aspect of your life. Starting with the simple decisions like what to eat for dinner or what to wear. Don’t fall into pattern. Repeat the practice. Create a life you love!
When did your gut save you? Feel free to comment! It’s no wonder that one of the symptoms of tragic diseases like heart attack is impending doom. I remember my medical emergency, I did have that sense something was terribly wrong long before the physical symptoms. What do you think about the exercise I’m inviting you to start practicing? Please share with anyone who needs it.
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