“Then God said, “Let Us Make mankind in Our Image, in Our Likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God Created mankind in His Own Image, in the Image of God He Created them; male and female He Created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
This scripture means so much more than we realize upon first glance. We are flesh and blood, but we are also three-in-one as God in Heaven is Three-in-One – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some might think of this as mind, body, and spirit. Freud posited a theory that the self has 3 distinct parts – id, ego, and superego*
Scientists have discovered that we actually have 3 physical areas of “knowing” within our bodies. In addition to our minds, we have two other centers in our bodies with true brains of their own. 40,000 cardiac neurons form our heart brain, the cardiac nervous system. 1 billion plus neurons form our gut brain, our enteric nervous system. Sensory neurons, motor neurons, ganglia, and neurotransmitters are all present in both of these other brains. The heart-brain constantly sends electrical messages through the vagus nerve to the head-brain. The gut-brain also sends electrical messages to the head-brain – 400 times as many gut signals travel to head as are sent from the head to the gut. The gut sends neurotransmitters to the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and gaba, as well.
People have intuitively known this for centuries. We regard the heart as the center of Love, using ❤️ to symbolize Love. Often, we are counseled to listen to our hearts. We talk about having “gut feelings” – a deeper knowing that guides us. Stress and anxiety often result in stomachaches and even intestinal “disfortitude”. Intense grief feels as if we have been stabbed in both heart and gut.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
Most of us “live” in our heads, where our brains receive and process information – primarily, input from our five main senses. The head is also the seat of executive functioning, sending signals out to our bodies in order to act upon our intentions.
While our sense of identity resides in our minds, God’s Law is Written on our hearts. Our hearts are where the Fruits of the Spirit exist – Agape Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control. These are only made manifest in our actions when we turn away from ourselves – our own wills, which are directed by our desires. This is what dying to ourselves means. The Gift of God’s Holy Spirit Empowers us to do this.
“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 16:13-14
We must quiet our minds in order to tune into our centers of Deeper Knowledge, where The Infinite Dwells inside of us. (This actually has a term – “Multiple Brain Integration” or mBIT) This happens most often during times of solitude – when we are praying, meditating, walking, or even mindlessly washing dishes. Artists and other creatives experience mBIT as “flow” – Creativity becomes an act of Collaborating with God. It is in this Unity with God that we find our True Selves.
And it is at these times that we are most apt to hear God’s Voice Speak to us. This is where we learn to align our intentions with God’s Will. God doesn’t Call us to be believers – knowing God only in our minds.
“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on Knowledge.” – Paul (Romans 10:2)
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” -James, brother of Jesus (James 2:19)
God Calls us to be disciples/followers – to know God deeply in our innermost beings. God Desires to have a Personal Relationship with us. It is through Communion with God that we find True Peace and Joy. We are Saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ – Claimed as Adopted Children by The Father – Transformed by The Holy Spirit
*In Freud’s theoretical model, the id represented humans’ baser instincts. The superego represented humans’ sense of morality. Freud saw the ego as the mediator between the other two conflicting identities, which he theorized were in a constant tug of war to control human behavior. Despite being a committed atheist, he perceived the dual nature of humanity – animal-likeness vs God-likeness. (I don’t know how he reconciled the idea of our innate morality and acts of altruism with his belief in a Godless universe.)