Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our Four Brains...Maybe More

I think we have more than one brain. I think we have at least four.

What most people consider our brain, the ones in our heads, is the one I think we use for self-consciousness and thinking.

We have another brain in our genitals, and it doesn’t take much thought to figure that one out. We have another one in our gut, or maybe our solar plexus – or maybe the whole area -- which is why people talk about “gut” feelings.

It didn’t surprise me many years ago when scientists found we have neurotransmitter throughout our entire bodies, and we have a large concentration of them in our abdomen. Hence, “gut feelings.”

Often, people know in their gut that something is wrong, but ignore it, usually to their peril.

I think we have another brain in our heart.

Some years ago, I was lying in a bed with a woman, who shall remain nameless, when I felt something breaking up, or better yet dissolving, in the center of my chest, right above my solar plexus. It felt like something was flowing out of me, so powerfully I thought she must be able to feel it.

Years later I found out the word "emotion" means to "move out," and that's exactly what it felt like to me: something moving out, flowing out of my chest. It felt like it was coming right out of my heart.

I've always wondered why love has always been located in the heart. Physically, it makes no sense. The heart pumps blood, nothing else. Yet, obviously, there's more to it than that.

That dissolving was accompanied by a great feeling of well-being and love. It was so intense and profound it is something I will never forget, and I was in fact changed by this experience.

Years later I was watching the movie, “The Professional,” with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman. In once scene Portman tells Reno that she thinks she loves him. As she does, she places her hands over her heart and says something to the effect, “The knot I’ve had here all my life is gone.” That, of course, is one of those images I will never forget.

There is an old saying, I believe by Pascal: “The heart has reasons the head knows not.”

Brain researchers are not exactly sure where the bottom of our head brain ends and our spinal chord begins. Why even separate them? The spinal chord is part of the brain, and then the nerves from the spinal chord branches throughout the entire body.

Perhaps, in a sense, our entire body is a brain, and we have “little brains” in various areas. Why, I have no idea.

The problem, of course, is that our brains – however many we have -- are not always in harmony. One goes one way, one goes another, a third goes another way. It is possible, for example, to love someone and not even like them. Your heart says one thing about them but your gut or head brain is telling you something else.

It’d be nice if they all worked together. It would save a lot of problems.

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