The Gut Path

“Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”

“Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”


Silence Within Us Part Two

In the previous entry I wrote about the two most widely used paths of mediation today, the mind path and the heart path. There is a third path that is less widely known — the gut path. This path comes from ancient traditions, newly refreshed by recent research and the popularity of the Enneagram with its tripartite mind, heart, and gut centers of intelligence. In addition, such contemporary teachers as Adyashanti, Grant Soosalu, and Stephano Sabetti have written about the gut, and I have learned from my own practice.

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Here is Jesus’ striking statement describing the “gut” path:

Jesus cried out, . . . “Out of the believer’s belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Now he said this about the spirit. (John 7:37-39).

The word here, translated as belly, κοιλία (koilia), is also translated as abdomen, gut, stomach, heart, innermost being, and most often, womb. In some Eastern traditions this center is referred to as hara.

Remember that spirit in the New Testament refers to an awakened state of consciousness beyond the normal, everyday state of awakeness. Jesus said living waters of awakened consciousness will flow from out from our “spiritual womb.”

The gut center of awakening, located in our abdomen, is sensed as identity, courage, and power. It is how we see ourselves in the world which, before awakening, is our constructed self. As we stop clutching at our temporary, limited ego, our true divine identity is able to surface.

The mind and heart paths are incomplete without a deep identity shift to divine essence which leads to gutsy courage and creative action.

Movements between the mind, heart, and gut paths of awakening

Upward to Mind

Upward to Mind

Downward to Heart

Downward to Heart

Further down to Gut

Further down to Gut

The mind expands        

The aim of most mind-sourced meditation is to lift consciousness out of the body which is a limited container for the pure light of consciousness. We become aware of the vast spaciousness of non-physical reality in and beyond us as our physical consciousness recedes. However, we can still be shut down emotionally which only the heart path can address.  

The heart flows outward   

The aim of heart-sourced meditation is to allow the richness of the universe to flow into ourselves, and revel it in the heart. It is deeply incarnational. The flow of love energy collects in the heart and expands it, flowing out to everyone and everything without attachment and love without conditions.

The gut grounds us in our divine identity

The aim of gut meditation is to experience our true identity, that we have always been and will always be One with God. When our constructed identity is released from its terrorizing grip by our gut, our natural divine identity is finally uncovered, and we experience a powerful anchoring and vitalizing freedom. This can also release deep wells of spiritual energy to rise up to our heart and flow outward to the world in creative, courageous action.

The mind path results in becoming aware of being aware

The goal is pure awareness with no object, sometimes described as having no thought or an empty mind. The mind path opens the observer within us where we can look at everything from an expansive, transcendent place. This is a difficult method for many that usually takes years without the strong force field of the heart throbbing within us.

The heart path results in extraordinary intimacy with all of existence.

In front of us it is a focused personal journey of the lover returning to the arms of the Beloved. We “die” as egos so we can deeply connect with our Divine Lover God. We then increasingly embrace everyone and everything we see in this love. From behind us this divine intimacy flows diffusely outward to join the spacious, love-filled universe. We become a fully-engaged cosmic/personal lover, not a detached observer. The goal is to be in a meditative state of love all the time and everywhere.  

The gut path results in gutsy courage and creative action.

The goal is to release the living water of divine consciousness flowing through us. Our efforts are free from the burden of identification. Our action is filled with the creativity of divine intuition, free from the need for affirmation. We are the hands and feet, heart and voice of God in the world today just as Jesus was in his day.

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 Gut Practice   

1.     Drop your attention to your “spiritual womb” or gut.

2.     Breath from your abdomen. 
If your belly is moving up and down, you are doing it right. Continue until your feel a fulness in your abdomen.

3. Place your attention on your feet on the ground or floor. See yourself breathing earth energy up through your feet into your spiritual womb. Continue until you can feel something of that flow.

4.     Surrender your life again to God, saying, with Jesus,
“Not my will but yours be done.”

5.     Say this “letting go” sequence:

I have a body. I am not my body.
I have thoughts. I am not my thoughts.
I have feelings. I am not my feelings.
I have a personality. I am not my personality.
Who am I?

Now rest in your spiritual womb, intuiting that you are made in the very likeness and image of God, loving and creating from the depths of your being. 

Gestational Art: Loving and Creating

Gestational Art: Loving and Creating

6.     Place your dominant hand on your gut and your other hand on your heart as you let the rivers of living water flow up to your heart and out to the world.

There is a Three Faces of God Practice for each of these three practices of awakening meditation.

We reflect on God-Beyond-Us in the mind path.
We relate to God-Beside-Us in the heart path.
We rest as God-Being-Us in the gut path.

Integral Christian practitioners would seek to utilize and integrate each of these three paths for the fullest, most evolved practice available to us now.