J. Randall Stewart
44 - Six Centers of Being & Knowing
Updated: Nov 29, 2022
THE THREE CENTERS OF KNOWING
The Three Centers of Knowing are our data centers. Through them comes all the information of the world around us, and the world within us. It is important to distinguish our Knowing Centers from our Being Centers, and not be too grounded in all the data coming to us from the world. Learning to filter and use wise discernment concerning our data centers is important. Not everything coming at us reflects true reality. Many thoughts and feelings can become ingrained within us that are not true concerning us and the world. Sorting through the data is important. That is the purpose of our Being Centers. If our Knowing Centers, especially The Mind, are too dominant, they can darken and disconnection us from our deeper identity as founded in our Being Centers. "I think therefore I am," is not a good foundation for identity or truth. The rise of mental health issues is evidence enough. "I am therefore I think" is a much better statement. The more we can detangle and distinguish our Knowing Centers, from each other and from our Being Centers, the more balanced we will be. It's important to know what is coming from where. Heart data, Mind data, and Body data are all different, telling us different things, and should be interpreted and filtered accordingly. When each of our Knowing Centers can operation within their proper space and function, we can find greater balance in our whole person. Then each of these data centers can work together to inform our Being Centers without distorting or convoluting who we are independent of all the data floating around us in the world at large. This is a great part of the spiritual journey, of detangling the Knowing Centers and bringing them back under the leading of God through our Being Centers.
THE MIND: The Rational Knowing Center
The function of the MIND KNOWING CENTER is problem solving. It loves to identify problems and come up with solutions.
The Mind is the most abstract center, the most disconnected from concrete reality. The Mind has the most ability to go into the past or future, to imagine and create things outside of, and often contrary to reality. We often think of our Mind as the most grounded and clear, the most able to pierce through to truth and reality. This is not always true, especially for the Mind which is the most dominant over our other five parts, and thus the most detached from the wisdom and information which can come through them. When the mind is over-dominant, our other parts can shrink and become more dormant. Even our bodies, which is the most obvious and concrete of our Three Knowing Centers can become obscured when the Mind Center is over-dominant.
The Mind is good at creating theories around reality. It is very creative, and able to lead to many good truths, when focused in a good way. When the mind is the most open to a wide variety of experiences through all Six Centers, it can form good ideas about reality, which can lead to good discoveries. The Mind has its own form of intuition and feelings. In connection with the other Centers, it can come to many good conclusions about the world in connection to others and God. In separation from the other centers, the Mind has the most ability to conceive of the person as a closed system. The Mind is the most dominated by the desire for control and independence.
THE HEART: The Feeling/Connection Knowing Center
The function of the HEART KNOWING CENTER is connection through empathy. It loves to feel with and for itself and others.
The Heart Center is very intuitive. It can follow deeply mystical intimations towards deeper truths which don't make sense to the rational Mind Center. But it also needs to be connected and balanced by all our other parts. The Heart Center can chase feelings for the sake of feelings, and end up stuck in the murky world of interior darkness, lost and overwhelmed. Depression, anxiety, anger, disillusionment, and the like can create great dysfunction when the Heart Center is too dominant, and not pursuing its emotive function with measure and balance. Still, the Heart Center brings great wisdom, especially concerning community and relational connection. The Heart Center knows how to make people a priority, and takes care to give the proper space to others feelings, thoughts, and bodies.
From the Heart Center comes great poetry, music, art, and stories. The Heart Center brings color and flavor to our lives. The Heart Center knows how to dance, feel the moment and suck the marrow out of life. It knows how to stop and savor the goodness of life, and leads us to balance concerning our darker desires for ego-affirmation and control. The Heart Center balances the Mind's need for dominance, and the Bodies need for protection. Without the Heart Center all can become function and survival. The Mind is very practical and purposed, the Body very bent on self-preservation. It is the Heart that makes good space for the "other," that honors difference and balances the "me" with the "we." A culture greatly disconnected from the Heart space is greatly divided and divisive, pitting the good of some against the good of others. The Contemplative idea of Unitive Consciousness is a predominantly Heart movement to see how everything in all creation is connected and how everything belongs. God creates no meaningless things. No wonder our reconnection back to God is primarily facilitated by the Heart Center of God, the Holy Spirit, who helps us come back to our proper connection to all things as God intents them.
THE BODY: The Physical Knowing Center
The Body Knowing Center is the most grounded in reality and the present. It loves to experience the goodness of the physical world in the moment.
Of the three Knowing Centers, the Body is the most concrete and the least permanent. It is grounded in present reality, but also by the reality of death and dying. It can be the most consumed with survival, and can thus easily feed into the Minds desire for control and dominance for the sake of self-interest and ego. But the Body Center is in the middle. Like the Heart Center, it also craves connection and community. It delights in the pleasure and joy of experiencing the world around itself, and world full of other people. The Body Center can fall to either side of the spectrum, towards the Heart's desire for community or the Minds desire to isolate and insulate for the sake of control. Controlling for the sake of dominance is a disconnecting energy, it pits us and our needs against the needs of others. This is the energy of war and death, of conflict and survival, of tribalism over globalism. The Body Center can't help but be grounded in its environment, but how it interacts with that environment depends on how it frames itself within it. Too much "me" and not enough "we" can ground the Body Center in a defensive and withdrawing stance. It can become fearful of a dark and threatening world, and through disconnection and self-interest can end up feeding the kind of world it fears.
Still, the Body Center can only isolate to a degree. Without leaving the world altogether, the Body Center forces us to reckon with the reality of our connectedness to the earth and other humans. It knows, intuitively so, that we are connected, and that the good of the one does not outweigh the good of the whole. Because the Mind is so abstract, when it is over-dominant, it can lead the Body into great fear and separatism. But so too can the Body and Heart help lead the Mind back out. Of the Knowing Centers, the Body can be the least attached to God and our Being Centers. It can conceptualize our personhood as extremely temporal and finite. Because the Body Center is the most fragile and in need of daily sustenance, it can become consumed with its own existence and space. The Body needs most to be reminded by our Being Centers that its actions in present, physical reality have far-reaching emotional, mental, and spiritual consequences. The Body is good at reacting in the moment to the moment, but not at balancing momentary actions with long term consequences. The Body needs a proper attachment to the other five centers in order to be well balanced and healthy.
THE THREE BEING CENTERS
We are grounded, or meant to be, through our Three Being Centers. The proper order of all our parts is Spirit leading Soul leading Flesh, and then Mind, Heart, Body, filtering through the Soul to the Spirit. We are meant to process and understand everything in light of our Spirit Center, because that is the part that connects our whole person to God. And it is God, through the Holy Spirit, who alone can guide and give meaning to our lives. The goal and purpose of every human being is to find their being in the being of God, spirit to Spirit. Every aspect of our spiritual journey is purposed and pointed towards reconnection to God. This happens from God, who is pure Spirit, through our Spirit, which is the pure essence of our being, as it is with God. We are first a spirit, and our spirit is the highest part of who we are. When our spirit falls into darkness and stupor, we lose the most grounding aspect of our being. When our Spirit leads the Flesh, in conjunction with the Soul which connects the two, then we are grounded in the best way. And when God's Spirit through our Spirit helps us process, filter, and disseminate the data which comes through our Knowing Centers, then we are in our proper place and balance as a person. The Being Centers are for this purpose, to ground our identity in relationship to God, who He says we are, and how He calls us to exist in the world. We are most human when we are closest to God.
THE SOUL: The Conscious Being Center
The Soul Being Center is like our Mind Knowing Center, only with a higher purpose and function. The Soul is the true center of our personhood. It connects all the other parts to each other. As the Soul rises and expands, it gives us the ability to have the proper space and connection between all the parts. It is the conscious Being Center, but it's way of "thinking" is in conjunction with God. Where the Mind Knowing Center is perfectly content to think its own things, and do its own thing, the Soul aches and longs for communion with God.
The Jewish idea of the soul was as a third part created when God breathed life into mortal flesh. It is the bridge, not only between our Flesh and Spirit, but between the Being and Knowing Centers. Where the Mind Center connects but tends to reject the functions of the two other data centers. the Soul naturally draws all our parts together. The more our Soul expands, the more our parts will operate with the proper spacing and balance. Where the Mind will tend to dimmish and dominate all our parts with its incessant desire for control and self-preservation, the Soul space brings the wisdom of balance. The Mind Center tends to shrink the Soul space, drawing all things out of their proper functioning and towards itself. It will mind the body and heart, and practically cut us off from the Being Centers, because they offer the guidance of a higher consciousness other than our own. The Mind is a terrible bridge. The Soul is the better bridge, because it helps distinguish and balance all our parts. When the Soul is expanded all the way out, we have the proper space to distinguish all our parts, and to view them in light of our connection to God. Then we can tell, not only what data is coming from where, but can interpret it in concert with God. The Soul rises as the Mind Center learns to be quiet. To get in touch with our soul, we must let go of our own desire for dominance in our personhood and begin to reach back towards God. The first step in that process brings us back to our Soul. But the next step brings us back to our Spirit, through our Soul.
THE SPIRIT: The God-connection Being Center
Spiritual reality precedes and supersedes Physical reality. This is why our Spirit is our highest part, and meant to lead all the other parts. It is the part of our Being which remains, even after our physical bodies die. Our Spirit is eternal and indestructible. The more we connect with our Spirit, the more we step into the reality of true life and thriving, of life without the sting and shadow of death. It is our physical side which pulls us into death and dying, but these are the illusions created by our disconnection from God as our life. Just as our Heart Knowing Center's function is connection, so too our Spirit Being Center. But the Spirit leads us to a higher connection to God, and through God to all things as they should be. It is truly because of our disconnection that all the dysfunction of the world is created. When we cannot see how all things belong, and the purpose for which God created all things, we will use and abuse all things, bending them according to our small purposes and mind. When we are connected back to the mind of God, through our Spirit to God's, then we understand all things through God's perspective and purposes. And since God created all things according to His plan and purpose, seeing as God see's is seeing things as they are. This is how we begin to enter into true reality, and out of the false-self living in a false reality created apart from God.
Thought our Spirit Center is the most ethereal and intangible, it is still our most grounding and important. The more obscure the more real. What we easily see is the small. What we struggle to grasp is the big. It's easy to see ourselves and the immediate surroundings of our little world. It's easy, apart from the Spirit Center, to see ourselves as the center of our lives and our world. Our Spirit helps us connect to the bigness of life and the biggest arena. When we walk with God, we see not only the largeness of the entire cosmos moving in harmony under one will, but even the smallness of our purpose and identity within the larger plan of God's will for us. Then we can step into our small part of the one, overarching purpose God has for all humanity and all creation throughout all time. We will naturally see ourselves as too big when we see the world too small. We will easily see ourselves as a closed system, cut off from the world at large, and needing to be. We will see the world as threatening our small self. We will naturally isolation, insulation, and seek to control all things for our small purpose and will. But our Spirit Center opens us up to the true reality of all things connected by the Life and Will of God. Then we will embrace ourselves as a small part of God's grand purposes. Then we will lose our small self and find our true self in God. All this is brought about as we learn to reconnect through our soul to our Spirit to the Spirit of God.
THE FLESH: The Will Being Center
The idea of The Flesh is a strongly New Testament Notion, but not unrepresented in the Old Testament. It represents our own strength and ability. The Flesh is not synonymous with our physical bodies and the physical world, but derives its energy from physical reality in separation from the Spiritual.
All we see in the physical is direct cause and effect. What we do matters, and who we are is what we do. Our will to move through the world dominates this reality. In this paradigm, the whole world is moving under the will of individuals. All is contention and strife, a striving and contest of wills. When we live purely out of what is seen, we are cut off from the reality of the unseen. This is The Flesh. It is our will. It is our ability to make things happen for our own benefit and thriving. It is how we survive in the physical, mechanized world where the forces of human will and nature are all bearing down upon us. These forces can crush us, but can also be harnessed for our benefit, if we are strong enough to master them. Our will in this kind of world must be strong, and stronger than the will of others. And so, we must develop and strengthen our will in order to survive and thrive. With our will we must dominate others, and the planet, or they will dominate us. This is the essence of The Flesh. But when it comes to God, our will is powerless, and only useful for the opposite of what we've trained it for in separation from God.
In the spiritual reality our will cannot dominate. It is not, nor ever can be strong enough. We cannot will our way to God, or will against the spiritual forces and principalities of darkness in the heavenly realms. God created us with a will, but not with the ability to will apart from Him. God created us to live in harmony with Him, our will subservient to His. We are meant to acquiesce to God's will. When all our parts are in harmony and balance, The Flesh gets connected through the Soul to our Spirit, and naturally falls under the direction of God. This is the purpose for which our will was created. To will in harmony with God, God's will leading and directing ours. We were made in God's image, with the freedom to choose relationship. But we were never meant to choose disconnection from relationship, especially with God. Using our will to disconnect from God is using our will in the wrong way, for the wrong purpose. This puts our will in our own hands, and makes us our own god. This is why we are in conflict with all other wills in the world, including God's, because we have accepted the false reality and purpose of our will, to do what we want for ourselves. We cannot guide ourselves to what is good with our own will, independent of God. Our will does not work independently. To fall out of the direction of God's will is to come, not under the control of our will, but under the guidance of the will of Satan and his purpose for the world. We will be dominated by a higher will. Satan offered the independence of our will so He could dominated it, and through us the world.
The essence of The Flesh is simply our own will. The dysfunction of The Flesh is independence from the will of God. The proper functioning of The Flesh is our will tethered to the will of God.