The Prime Functions of the Head, Heart and Gut Brains
One of the key insights from mBIT is that each of your brains (head, heart and gut brains) has its own 'Prime Functions'. Each brain has a fundamentally different form of intelligence; they utilize different language, have different goals and operate under different criteria. In other words, your head, heart and gut have different ways of processing the world, of communicating, operating and addressing their own concerns and domains of expertise.
mBrain Prime Functions
Heart Brain Prime Functions
· Relational Affect
Gut Brain Prime Functions
· Core Identity
Head Brain Prime Functions
· Cognitive Perception
· Making Meaning
About the head brain…
In many ways the prime functions of the head brain are obvious, they involve the mental cognitive functions of logical thinking and include the processes of reasoning, perception and how we make meaning. Thought processes involve mental imagery, language expression, abstraction and symbol manipulation. The main job of the head is to intellectually make sense of the world and to provide executive control.
About the heart brain…
The heart is the seat of love and desires, goals, dreams and values. When you are connected to something you feel it and value it in your heart. When you hear that someone ‘wears their heart on their sleeve’ you intuitively know that this does NOT mean that they are too logical. Instead, this is saying that they show their emotions, desires and intentions too obviously and readily.
If you say something is heartfelt, you aren’t saying it’s intellectually concise. And when you look at the language patterns of the heart, they express notions of love, connection, kindness and their converse. The prime functions of the heart intelligence involve salience, affection and relational issues such as a deep sense of moral rightness as compared to rule based ethics.
About the gut brain…
Due to its evolutionary history, the gut brain is responsible at a core level for determining what will be assimilated into self and excreted from self. It must determine what is required to maintain health and wellness in the system and decide whether molecules ingested into the stomach will be absorbed or excreted. Indeed, research has shown that more than 80 percent of our immune cells are located in the gut, and the enteric brain is intimately involved in managing immune function.
The prime functions of the gut are around protection, self-preservation, core identity and motility. Back when evolution was at the stage of complexity of sea cucumbers and worms, organisms only had a neural processing system of an enteric brain. This intelligence was used to detect threats and food in the environment and move away from danger and towards food. The gut brain maintains boundary detection and mobilization. In humans it is expressed as motivation, gutsy courage and a gut-felt desire to take action (or not).
Using the Prime Functions as life enhancing diagnostic tools
One of the most powerful and useful things you can do to gain more personal control in your life is use the mBIT Prime Functions as life enhancing diagnostic tools. Using the Prime Functions as a set of filters you can begin to track and change which of your multiple brains are operating in any given situation or context. Of course, all your brains and neural networks are operating all of the time, however, focus and control moves throughout your brains and knowing which brain is the prime controller at any point in time can really provide leverage for change.
Let me share an example from my own personal experience to make sense of this... I had been expecting an overdue delivery of the very first printing of my mBraining book, and contacted the courier to find out why the delivery was late and when I could finally expect to receive my books. I eventually managed to speak to a customer service representative of the global courier company used to deliver the books and was informed that due to various organizational issues, they would not be able to deliver the books to me for another 4 weeks. I got off the phone and found myself feeling both angry and incredibly turmoiled. The book was important to me and I had various commitments and timeframes that relied on having stock of the book on hand.
As I sat there fuming over the crap service of this big-named courier company, that promised swift and efficient service on their website and advertising, I realised that feeling angry and upset wouldn't help me or help resolve the situation. I stopped focusing on the issue for a second, and instead did an inventory through my body and noted where and how I was feeling and representing the issue. I noted that I felt anger in my heart region, tension in my forehead and shoulders, but most strongly and overwhelmingly, I felt the issue deep and viscerally in my gut. This told me immediately that I was representing the issue at a gut level and that it was a gut prime function that was driving my response. The gut is responsible for core identity and threat detection. I was obviously treating the book and the missing delivery as if this was a part of 'me' that was under threat. The gut brain was then communicating the message of threat to the heart and head leading to angering and repetitive negative cognitions and ultimately tension around the head and face region.
As soon as I realized that I was representing the book as if it was part of me, I was now immediately at choice. Did I really want to see the book as 'me', was it really part of my core identity, or was it just something I valued highly as a process and an artefact of the production of my creative abilities? Naturally, the book is not 'me', it's just something I produced. And as soon as I acknowledged that, and breathed the message of that from my heart, into my head, and down to my gut, everything shifted. I belly laughed, with a big smile of inner realization on my face. The anger in my heart dissolved immediately. And I was able to get a much more useful perspective on the situation. With a light-hearted attitude, I was then able to track down someone within the courier company who really wanted to help and delightfully my books were delivered within the week. Problem solved and done in a compassionate and creative way. By using the Prime Functions as a diagnostic tool and thereby realizing I was treating the book as 'me' I enabled a wiser choice in how I responded to the exigencies of life and that truly is life enhancing.
So I trust that from the above example you get a sense and idea of how to use the Prime Functions as filters and diagnostic tools. Start to notice where and how in your body you are representing and reacting to each situation. Are you fundamentally processing the situation with your heart? Your head? Your gut? And what prime function(s) are thereby being expressed by the neural network that has prime control? Once you've gained meta-awareness of how you are processing and creating your awareness and reality, you can then use the mBIT Foundational Sequence and Highest Expressions techniques explained fully in the mBraining book to produce a more generative and wiser response.
So start now to notice how you are mBraining your life, which of your brains is operating in which sequence with the others, which is in control, which can provide the leverage point for change, and what prime functions are operating as you respond to and create your world.
with appreciation and smiles,