Harmony of Centers

Three elements needed for the process of understanding

To be able to turn away from something, to turn away from a certain experience, a certain sort of image, your identity needs to be at a deeper level than that self-image in that moment.

You cannot turn away or disidentify from something if you happen to be identified with something that is more superficial than what you’re intending to disidentify from.

This post is an excerpt from a teaching by A. H. Almaas in July of 1983

So, if you are identified with a certain self-image, and then there’s a feeling that arises and you find yourself unable to turn away from it, it might be because it is at a deeper level than you are operating at that moment.  Deeper than you.  If it is deeper than you then you cannot disidentify.  You need first to dive and the diving is what will bring in the perception and the awareness and the understanding of that deeper level, then it is possible to turn away.

Many people give the practice that whatever happens just turn away from it, right?  Some traditions talk about that.  Bullshit.  Not everybody could do that. It is not possible to turn away from something if you’re unconsciously identified with it.

It’s not possible, because you are it in a way that is deeper than your awareness at that moment.  It is your ground.  You cannot disidentify from your ground.  You see?  

First, you have to become aware of it, understand it. And when your awareness is deeper than it, then it is possible to turn away from it.  

So, turning away from something is always turning away from something you have already understood.

Turning away means not indulging in something, you see.

However, if it is something that is not a matter of indulgence, but actually something you don’t understand and you are unconsciously identified with it, how can you turn away?  No way.  It’s not possible.  

What’s needed then is a diving, a descent, an immersion in the experience, allowing whatever that experience is, and to get involved in it as completely as possible.  

You notice in your experience of understanding yourself that one step, part of the process, is an immersion, is an involvement with something.  When there is a complete involvement with something, then after a while there arises an understanding.

Without involvement the understanding will not arise.

So really, for the process of understanding to happen – understanding, disidentification, awareness, turning away – all of these things to happen, three elements need to be there at the same time.  The element of disidentification is only one of them.  

The three elements needing to be there means nothing more than the harmony of the three centers: the belly center, the chest center and the head center.  

When that is happening, then it is possible to experience fully, allow and disidentify.

What do I mean by these three elements?

harmony three centers

Each center has its own contribution to the process of understanding:

  • The head center in this case, if it is operating correctly, means that space or emptiness is allowed.  What does space and emptiness do?  What is the significance of space and emptiness?  What space and emptiness imply or make possible is an allowing quality.  Space means no self-image, no image of yourself.  That allows whatever is there to be there.  You’re not trying to stick to something in particular.  You do not try to go someplace.  There is an allowing of whatever is there to be there.  So the head center’s participation, contribution, is space, which is an allowing and a welcoming, in a sense.  A space for things to happen without rejection, without trying to hold on to something, stick to something, go someplace. There is just complete allowing.
  • Then the heart center has its contribution.  The heart center’s contribution has to do with its central quality which is the Personal Essence.  The contribution of the Personal Essence is the diving quality, the actual living of the experience.  You don’t only allow it, you’re in the middle of it, in the midst of it, you’re one with it.  You’re really it.  You let it happen.  You feel it fully, sense it fully, experience it fully.  Right?  That’s the contribution of the heart center.
  • The belly center has its own contribution too, and that is represented by the self, the Essential Self. The contribution of the Essential Self is the disidentification, the turning away.  So there is allowing, involvement and disidentification, all at the same time.  When they happen in harmony, then there is a process of understanding and turning away from something.  

You cannot have one of those and have the process of understanding running smoothly.  There has to be the three elements in conjunction, in equilibrium, in harmony.

To disidentify is not enough.  Because you cannot disidentify if you’re not completely first involved,  if you don’t allow the experience to be there.  So, when the moment experience arises you just disidentify.  Well, you don’t even know it, how can you disidentify if you don’t allow it to happen?  How can you disidentify if you don’t know it completely?

Somebody who happens to be the true self all the time might tell people, “Whatever happens, you know, just turn away from it.”  Well, that person could do it, because that person’s identity is at the deepest level.  That person who is always the true self could turn away from something, because their identity is the deepest identity.  But for other people who are not there, they cannot do that.  Who is going to turn away?  If the person is identified with something in them, you know, what does it mean to turn away?  Who’s going to turn away?  Who’s going to disidentify?

Four Spiritual Centers of Embodied Human Consciousness>>

5 thoughts on “Harmony of Centers”

  1. Hi. According to stephen Wolinsky book You Are Not he mentions the non-verbal I Am and the verbal I Am. Put another way, are the above Impersonal I and personal ‘I’ please? Wolinsky states ‘I’ ie personal I is de facto chemical I due to this ‘I’ is a mere appearance and a product of food body. However, my confusion arises when wolinsky states the non verbal I Am is ‘most primitive part part of the nervous system’. Could you please illuminate on the above as great confusion.

  2. Hi John

    I have not read much of Wolinsky, but my understanding of what you are speaking to would be more this:

    The Verbal I AM is associated with the body. The Nonverbal I AM is the underlying awareness and consciousness that becomes identified with and cathected to the body.

    This identification/cathexis results in our psychology being laid on top of our biology and enmeshed in it. So, the Verbal I AM can be understood in terms of biological and psychological processes. The historical memory creates a sense of familiar continuity which is the sense of the self.

    But it is the Nonverbal I AM that is the source of the real underlying our experience, e.g., awareness, consciousness, and existence.

    Does this help?

    1. Dear Sir,

      Thank you so much for your reply. My apologies for the late reply. Your reply was most helpful. Thank you sincerely. Regards, John.

  3. A great read.

    Thank you, John Murphy for your question and John Harper for your answer.

    This extract also reflects an issue that many students of spiritual traditions and practices have, that of feeling stuck at or frustrated with a certain level of their practice — they feel they can go no deeper — which can be because said tradition or practice speaks to only one of the three centres (or misses them all completely).

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