Do you ever have butterflies in your stomach or follow your gut instinct? Our gut is actually quite wise as we have a powerful “brain” in our digestive track.
Our belly-brain is called the enteric nervous system and is a complicated network of over 100 million neurons and neurochemicals that sense and control events in other parts of the body, including the brain. It does far more than process what we eat.
In Japan, the midsection, specifically the area of the soft belly below the navel, is considered the seat of wisdom and the center of both physical and spiritual gravity: the hara. The Japanese speak of the hara as their center of knowing. They acknowledge the intelligence and intuition present in it, what people in other cultures may identify as gut feelings, butterflies, or a knot in the stomach.
By mindfully putting our brain in our belly, we can listen to and access our gut intelligence at mealtime and throughout the day.
- Put your purposeful awareness into your belly next time you want to eat.
- Take a couple breaths to relax your mind and nervous system.
- Be still and perceive. Keep your awareness in your gut area.
- Can you sense a physical hunger? If so, can you perceive what you are hungry for?
- If you are not physically hungry, can you sense what is driving your desire to eat?
- Try this in the middle of a meal to see if you can feel your increasing fullness. Can you hear anything your belly brain is saying?
What’s your kinsho? Note your observations to yourself or share with a friend!