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Finding True Will

In Enneagram literature, as well as most spiritual traditions that honor the body, the body is divided into three major centers: the head or thinking center, the heart or feeling center, and the belly or instinctual center.

Our three centers contain Essential aspects of the Divine. Seeing the three centers as the sources for three specific kinds of intelligence and as the site of three of the Essential qualities, we can attribute essential consciousness (stillness) to the head center, essential compassion to the heart center, and essential will to the belly center. 

These Essential aspects are always with us, but they have been distorted by our Egos in an effort to defend us from being hurt in the world. The distortions produce our personality fixations and passions. Although, the defense mechanisms were important and valuable when we were small children and could not defend against the separation anxiety of living in the world and becoming an individual, they now keep us reacting mechanically from a habitual stance even though we are no longer powerless children. Furthermore, the defense mechanisms are amoral in that these habitual reactions are based on history rather than the needs of the present moment. They have not conscience of their own. They are simply reflexes that we have learned.

For months, I have been struggling with my habitual Will reactions. I am unsure whether this struggle is arising from the fire energy of the cosmos that is coming to earth now, from my work in the Atlanta Diamond Heart group on the white latif, or from the fact that now that I am enrolled in massage school, I am finding that I rarely "let go". What I do know is that I am firmly entrenched in False Will and having a tough time relaxing enough to let True Will surface.

It is hard to talk about True Will without talking about what it is not. I cannot allow True Will to arise if I don't recognize the imposter taking its place. You must recognize the enemy, and in this case, defeat it by allowing it to be. Recognize and relax— this is my new mantra.

 False Will is the willpower we use in the world to make things happen-- or perhaps it would be better to say to force things to happen. Most of us cannot think about Will without imagining some sort of effort in our definition. For example, when I typed "will" into the search engine to find some interesting quotes on the subject, most of what I found dealt with success and the value of hard work. True Will, however, is not about hard work; it is about surrender. 

What I am discovering is that I have trouble surrendering even during something as enjoyable as a massage. I am really having trouble in surrendering control in my pet projects and in my work. At the same time, I want something new and different (I take pride in my flexibility), but I can't let go enough to make room for it to happen.

upside down mugA friend of mine once led a meditation based on Joyce Rupp's book, A Cup of Life. She asked us to imagine a mug filled with all the things that keep our lives too busy to make room for ourselves and for God. We added all our problems and obsessive patterns of thinking, all the obligations that we take on just because we "ought to", all the wasted energy we spend in working for things we really don't want or need. Then she asked us to turn the cup upside down, symbolically getting rid of all that saps us dry and keeps us from the life we really want to live. What is left is room--the space we need to surrender and let the impossible happen.

I have found that dumping the junk from my cup of life is not as easy as I would like it to be, but I now have an upside-down cup on my bedroom dressing table. I am trying to let it remind me each night before I fall asleep that, paradox though it may be, surrendering is strength and making room allows the Holy to find a place to rest.


Your Soul Power

honoring your bellyOur contemporary Western culture makes the belly a cause for shame and embarrassment, often a target of assault. Yet cultures native to every continent have recognized the belly to be sacred, the home of the soul. African dances, Japanese martial arts, Chinese healing arts, and the dances of Africa, India, Polynesia, Native America, the Middle East, and Old Europe have served as body prayers, honoring and energizing the belly to awaken the soul-power dwelling within the body's center.

In the Japanese language, the word hara refers both to the belly and to the qualities of character that emerge as a person activates the life force concentrated in the belly. A "person of hara" is one who lives with creativity, courage, confidence, purpose, integrity, and endurance.

Several Japanese phrases incorporate "hara" and declare the belly's significance for living fully and well. "Belly art," for example, refers to any activity that a person accomplishes both perfectly and effortlessly. "A grand belly" refers to a person who is broad-minded, understanding, compassionate, and generous; "a clean belly" refers to a person who has a clear conscience. To "determine your belly" means to clearly define your intention; to "beat the belly drum" means to lead a contented life.

"Hara" in Japanese is akin to the word gutsy in the English language. In English, "gut," "guts," and "gutsy" refer both to the belly and to someone who is adventurous, brave, persevering, earthy, attuned to her instinctual knowing.

In Chinese, belly center is named tan tien, meaning Cinnabar Field. Tan, cinnabar, is the bright red ore that the ancient Chinese alchemists used as the source material in their attempts to produce the elixir of eternal life. Tien denotes a field cultivated to produce food. Taken together, tan tien names the belly as a field to be cultivated for nourishment essential to the sustenance of life.


When we activate our body's center with movement and breath, we engage our center of being, the site of our soul-power, our inner source. Through the sourcepoint sited within our bellies we enter into communion with the Power of Being—that power which creates, sustains, and transforms the entire universe.

lisa sarasohnLisa Sarasohn, who calls herself Belly Queen, is a bodywork and yoga therapist and an advanced Kripalu Yoga instructor. Her 20 years' experience facilitating body-mind integration includes seven years on staff at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, MA.

Lisa's articles on honoring the belly have appeared in publications including Yoga Journal, Radiance, SageWoman, Caravan Trails, and Personal Transformation. Her workshops have been sponsored by colleges and universities, health education agencies, and holistic learning centers such as Omega Institute.

Honoring Your Belly shares what Lisa has learned in the process of healing beyond an eating disorder. She calls herself Belly Queen not only because she gained and lost more than 2,000 pounds during her twenty years of dieting and bingeing. More to the point, she says: "I call myself Belly Queen because these are words for a woman who owns herself."

Lisa' is the author of The Woman's Belly Book: Honoring Your Treasure Within, and a DVD of yoga moves entitled Honoring your Belly, both of which can be ordered from her website or from Amazon.com. She lives in Asheville, NC. 


Visualizing and Letting Go

If you have read about creative visualization, you have most probably been told to visualize, and then release the mental image to the Universe, otherwise it won't materialize. In other words, visualize several times a day for several minutes, and then forget for the rest of the day what you have visualized.

Have you ever thought why?

Common sense says that the more you visualize, the faster you get results. It is reasonable to believe that if you keep the mental image of your goal constantly in your mind, it will materialize faster. So why are you told not to think of your goal the rest of the day?

It is not that if you hold the image constantly in your mind it cannot manifest in your life. It is not that you have to release it, because if you keep it stuck in your mind it won't materialize.

The reason is very simple. Most people do not have control over their minds. Most people have doubts and little faith, when thinking about goals and ambitions. Their minds are inclined to negative thinking and worrying.

It is usually possible to hold the mind on a goal or desire for only a few minutes, before it starts interfering with opposite thoughts. You have most probably seen how after a few minutes of visualization, doubts and impatience rise up, which makes it difficult to concentrate and keep thinking positively. This means that if you keep thinking about your goal for too long, you will unconsciously start to sabotage all your previous positive visualization, and consequently accomplish nothing.

During the day, while engaged in various activities, the predominant mental attitude rules, and if it is negative, any thinking about your goal will be negative too. Only if you are well trained in concentration, and positive thinking became a habit with you, it will be possible for you to think positively about your goals, at any time of the day.

There is another reason why it is advisable to let go. Visualization activates your subconscious mind, which consequently sharpens your intuition, brings you useful ideas concerning your goals, and inspires and motivates you to achieve them.

By releasing the mental image, you free your conscious mind to become aware of the prompting of the subconscious mind. You make it possible for the subconscious mind to bring important information to your conscious mind. This action makes you become more aware of opportunities that pop up, and let the subconscious mind motivate you to take action, instead of just wait for things to happen.

Copyright Remez Sasson, used with permission.

ramez_sassonRemez Sasson writes and teaches about self-improvement, spiritual growth, meditation, positive thinking, creative visualization, success and mind power. He is the author of several books, and the publisher of the biweekly eZine, "Consciousness and Success". Visit his website, Success Consciousness, and find articles, advice, guidance, eBooks and quotes! 

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Nov. 2005

In This Issue

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More from the Belly Queen: Find Your Tan Tien

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earth beat


Your belly pulse is the earth Mother's heartbeat.

Press into yourself: exit the breath, expire— and sink, sink down into the consecrated center: intense, dense, compressed, the consolidated possible, life engaged unto itself, life drawing light unto itself, life compacted to the one still one point.

And press yourself out again: be filled by the breath, inspired— to live, to live in to the world that's ever being born from you: galaxies expanding, stars chasing stars, filling, bursting the radiating joy, life swelling beyond itself, life exploding light, life spiraling outward, the turning world.

Your belly pulse is the earth Mother's heartbeat.

The earth trembles her rhythm through us; our feet skip along her surface while beneath she beats her molten drum.

~Lisa Sarasohn

purple spiral



When we finally give up the struggle to find fulfillment outside of ourselves, we have nowhere to go but within. It is at this moment of total surrender that the light begins to dawn. We expect to hit bottom, but instead we fall through a trap door into a bright new world. We have rediscovered the world of our spirit.
~Shakti Gawain

...the belly center has to do with embodiment, with the capacity to sense oneself. However, the belly center is also the will center. In a sense, the ultimate function of the will is to surrender to what happens, surrender to the now. And to surrender to the now means not to hold onto something. The true function of the will is complete surrender to what is happening without holding on. That is will. ~ A. H. Almaas (Diamond Heart Book 3, pg 79)

In Japanese, the belly is termed hara, meaning home of the soul. In Chinese, the belly center is known to be "the Gate of the Mysterious Female." In English, we use the word "gutsy" to describe a woman who's spirited, brave, sensuous. The belly center is the sourcepoint of our physical and spiritual vitality. ~ Lisa Sarasohn

True will does not involve surrender to another person, but to yourself, to life, to your experience, to the truth of now. Surrender to the truth of now does not mean that you see what is happening and don't care. That's not surrender. Surrender means complete willingness to be with your experience, including your emotional reactions, whether they are pleasurable or frustrated. You are steadfast with the truth. ~A. H. Almaas (Diamond Heart Book 2, pg 119)

In surrender we discover the spiritual power through which we can become not only the seers but also the possessors of Truth. This Truth is the omnipotent power. If we can surrender in absolute silence, we shall ourselves become the reality of the real, the life of the living, the center of true love, peace and bliss. ~Sri Chinmoy

When the power of love becomes stronger than the love of power, we will have peace. ~Jimi Hendrix

You are only as strong as your purpose, therefore let us choose reasons to act that are big, bold, righteous and eternal. ~Barry Munro