The Three Brains – Did you know?

“Coaching as a Learning Catalyst” was an important course in my Life Coach Training. I was intrigued as Jane Creswell taught about our “multiple brains” – Heart, Gut, and Mind. I was astounded to learn that the heart has 40,000 neurons and the gut up to 500 million. Of course, those are small amounts when compared to the almost 100 billion in the brain, but it’s still significant.  We are truly and wonderfully made!

Therefore, with reason we sometimes ask: What does your gut tell you? What does your heart say? What do you think?  It’s good to know how to pay attention to these three intelligences, the heart, the mind, and the gut (the body). The spiritual implications of this have opened up my understanding of how I can daily intentionally worship God with my whole being, loving Him with all my heart, my mind, my strength. It’s a way to offer ourselves up anew to God each day.

How can I love God with my mind? I have a say so about what my mind focuses on. I can focus on one thing or many things that are mentioned in Philippians 1:8: things that are true, gracious, and beautiful. Not knowing what to put in those categories is a telltale sign we need to take a good look at scripture focusing on the attributes of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Lately I’ve been drawn back to a book on my shelf regarding the names of God. As I read and pray, God is revealing certain names that I need to meditate more deeply. God is revealing some present weaknesses where I need His power and active movement in my life to help me find victory. This is being transformative for me.  These specific names of God are helping me stay more centered on Him as I allow Him to address some of my weaknesses.

How do I love God with my heart? When I meditate on the things of God there is every likelihood that those things will make their way to my heart. Emotions, values, feelings of love for God and for others are found here. Joy in the Lord and in life can flourish here and spring forth in action. That action is carried out through the body.

Another fascinating thing about the gut or body brain is that is it has something like a radar that senses when there is danger. The danger or fear may be real or perceived. It’s never a good idea to just follow what our gut is telling us since our instincts come from this place within us, unless we know it’s telling us to run for our life! We need to pay attention to it while also allowing the other two intelligences and our all-loving God to help us discern the right action to take.

We live life to its fullest when these three God-given intelligences are in harmony, integrated. How is that done? I was fascinated when I heard of the vagal nerve. This nerve extends from the brain to the gut. These three brains are connected because of this nerve. Messages flow from “brain to brain” through the vagal nerve. It’s not good to listen to only one brain.  We really need all three working together. When all three are in good alignment, there is peace and calm. That’s something I know I’m always in need of! Jane Creswell shared that a good way to have the three in harmony is through taking 3 deep cleansing breaths from the diaphragm. Take 6 seconds to breathe in and 6 seconds to exhale. Doing this three times has a calming effect upon every part of our being. It’s a place of peace with our Creator. It’s in this place that we can worship God freely and perhaps hear Him more clearly.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are mornings I get up and none of my brains are working! What can I do then? I make the decision, which is made by my mind, to get moving. Any kind of moving which gets my blood pumping is good. There are times running the vacuum cleaner works wonders for my soul!! That doesn’t work very well if my husband is still sleeping, but there are many other quiet things I can do to rev up this God given soul of mine. Researchers have found that even short exercise sessions can help our mind focus on the positive instead of the negative. As Christ followers we have many things to focus on which are good and lovely.

Another interesting finding for me is that these three intelligences play an important role in using the Enneagram personality tool for transformational growth. This personality theory teaches that there are nine different basic personality types. The nine personalities are divided into three triads: The Head, the Heart, and the Body. This is similar to the three intelligences.

Of course, we have all three intelligences, but we may not be in the practice of drawing upon all three as we live out our life each day. We really are wonderfully made by God!

For you to consider:

Which intelligence is the one that you most rely on? What are the dangers of leaning only into that one? Which other intelligence needs greater development? What are some ways you can develop it?

I love feedback. What questions do you have? Let’s continue the conversation . . .

3 thoughts on “The Three Brains – Did you know?

  1. Fascinating thoughts on loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, Kristi. Considering how we can live in harmony with the three intelligences, God created us with is so important for our spiritual growth too. As an Enneagram six, I am in the head triad. Do you have suggestions for learning to integrate body and heart for someone in the head triad?

    • Lucretia,
      That’s a great question.
      Something a 6 can do in aligning the body with the other two intelligences is incorporating some kind of movement into the daily rhythm of life. It is good if it can even be something playful like dancing or gardening when spring comes! Try taking a walk or doing some simple exercises. You might listen to music you like and sway with it or even sing with it. Pay attention to where you you might be feeling stress in your body. Use the deep cleansing breaths to help relax that part of your body. Something that can help in developing the heart intelligence is to daily reflect on the emotions you are feeling. Let your emotions just be without thinking them out. You will find much wisdom and discernment here. You desire for all three intelligences to be in harmony, not wanting any one of them to be taking over. I also find that taking time everyday to be still with God, resting and relaxing in His love and my belovedness helps bring all three into harmony with God and with myself. Hope this helps.

  2. Thank you for these excellent suggestions, Kristi. I am delighted that they seem so simple if only we will take the time to incorporate them into our day. You are a blessing.

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