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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Reflections on Meetings with Isabel Myers and The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to Develop the Somatic Reflection Process on Gut Feelings

     Over the past four decades, many people have asked Robert Sterling and I about our relationship with and personal experiences with Isabel Myers, who created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator along with her mother Catherine Briggs. We have written in What's Behind Your Belly Button? quite a bit about our lengthy history with her as a colleague in the 70s. As we were creating a career storefront center for students and the general public alike affiliated with the local community college in Gainesville, Florida, we used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator with hundreds of people. And we met regularly with Isabel Myers and Dr. Mary McCauley to give them, for their on-going research on the MBTI, the data from the inventories we had administered and to discuss the meaning of the findings. The MBTI was quite important in our development of the Somatic Reflection Process and really, we are not sure that without the MBTI we would have ever seen the importance of past childhood experiences in understanding our human needs nor the need to recover the unconscious information stored in our feeling memories.
So we wanted to share with all of you a few pages from WHAT'S BEHIND YOUR BELLY BUTTON? that describes much about our first hand experiences with Isabel Myers and Dr. Mary McCauley, director of the Typology Lab at the University of Florida, so you can get a true glimpse into the initial work of these amazing empowered women who struggled against lack of resources and how their work related to our work with gut feelings and the Somatic Reflection Process. If you enjoy this excerpt, then you will surely enjoy reading the book where it is all further discussed in depth and a complete protocol for the Somatic Reflection Process is given.

Excerpt below from page 119-124 of
What's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct:

The MBTI and the Development of the Somatic Reflection Process

Early on, when we began our work at SFCC in Career Gap, we began to enjoy a special working relationship with Dr. Mary McCauley, Director, University of Florida’s Typology Lab, and our meetings with Isabel Myers and Dr. Mary McCauley, on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). We mention the importance of the MBTI in our work because it was through interpreting our own results before using it as part of a battery of tests in the Career Gap Center that we first had a need to reflect on our early childhood experience to assess if our type results had changed as adults, and if so, what that might have meant in serving our needs as a person. We were in search of the understanding if our type results were true for us naturally or if our type had changed due to necessity and environmental adaptation. And if our type had changed, we were interested to understand if the early type was more satisfying of our human needs. This deep unconscious information could only be accessed through a reflection on our feelings, rather than our thinking process, beginning in childhood and brushing up to the present time. And it was in our personal exploration and validation of the results of the MBTI that the Somatic Reflection Process had its beginning and served as a further guide toward understanding a new image of human nature. . . .
. . . . Many people in America during this post ‘60s period were going through profound transformations in their lives and experiencing confusion as they attempted to make drastic changes in career and life style toward the goal of higher personal fulfillment. We soon found the majority of people coming into the center not only had absolutely no idea of a suitable career direction for them but also had no idea who they were inside. We found that the usual career interest tests were meaningless for these people because they had no real idea of their own inner feelings and thus had no way to determine if the results were accurate and thus useful. Often the test-results would point the person in a direction that had more to do with their cultural and family values than their true inner feelings, instincts, and personal values.
Fortunately for us, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was at this time, in the mid ‘70s, being extensively researched at the Type Lab by Dr. Mary McCauley at the University of Florida, so we had the opportunity to abandon our idea of using standard personality tests for career counseling and employ the MBTI. For several years we had the opportunity to administer, interpret, and gather data from the MBTI for hundreds of people using the services of Career Gap and fed this data to the University of Florida Typology Lab, headed by Dr. Mary McCauley. Because of this association with Dr. McCauley, we were introduced to Mrs. Isabel Myers and had a number of private meetings with both of them.
Isabel Myers would come to town several times a year to check on how the research was going at the Type Lab. The MBTI was used at that time, more locally at the University of Florida and, perhaps, a few other university communities. Dr. McCauley and Mrs. Isabel Myers were struggling to provide additional research data on the use of the MBTI, though its validity and reliability had been proven in the early ‘60s. But the funding was so skimpy for the research project that we had to meet at Dr. McCauley’s home, because the Type Lab at the university was just a small office where she had a computer and one part-time assistant, whose name, our memories have barely recorded was Penny. (We can now actually remember more about her personality type than her name, as she was a very friendly ENFP). Funding was a struggle and on several occasions Dr. McCauley was not sure if they would be able to keep the Lab open due to the lack of support. But somehow they managed to continue their work, even with occasional cutbacks. Perhaps it was as they thought and on occasion told us, that their intuitive preferences, both being INFP’s, kept them persistently focused in moving forward, despite financial lack of funds, toward a vision of a future time when their research would be accepted and fully funded (Personal communication with Dr. McCauley and Mrs. Isabel Briggs-Myers, 1975).
On one occasion during a meeting in which we were handing over data to Dr. McCauley for their research, and Isabel Myers was also visiting, we asked Isabel if she would come talk to one of our freshman classes, an introductory course in psychology (BE100), in which we were using the MBTI. She graciously accepted and appeared the next week. It was long before the days of cell phones, and there was not an easy way to affirm the appointment, so we were a bit surprised and very much elated that she actually came. When she arrived at the class, she was wearing a simple housedress and had her hair in a bun. She was a lady in her early 70’s and made no pretense of being a professional. She sat with her legs crossed, in front of the students, her hands folded in her lap, and a relaxed sweet smile on her face. Everyone seemed to accept her as Grandmother for the evening imparting the knowledge of a wise old woman. The following is an account of what we remember of Isabel Myers’ personal communication to the class (Personal communication 1975):
My Mother, Catherine Briggs, was a woman that noticed even small things about people. She wasn’t a psychologist and I don’t think she had read a word of Carl Jung. She just noticed the different relatives acted the opposite from each other when they all got together for Thanksgiving dinner. She would say, Uncle [Hank] always talks about only facts and Aunt [Sarah] always talks about possibilities. Sometimes they had whole conversations, my mother would say, without really listening to each other. She wouldn’t judge any one for being so different. She was just interested that it seemed to be that way. So she sat down over a period of time and wrote all the characteristics of each relative and made up a questionnaire. It was very different from the one you take now, although it asked about the same basic kinds of preferences.
Isabel Myers went on to tell the story of how the MBTI was developed, and we remember her saying she helped her mother by working with a Jungian psychologist to develop the inventory, fitting Jungian theory. What was really interesting to us was her account of how the Myers Briggs Type Indicator had its root beginnings as a homespun personal inventory. It was born out of the keen observations of the every day experiences with people of Catherine Briggs and her interest in helping people communicate with each other with greater understanding.
Most of the discussions we had in our meetings with Isabel Myers and Dr. McCauley centered around accounts of the research in the Type Lab. They were both quite excited that the research was going so well and the findings were coming up significant for certain job categories. They found it interesting that elementary school teachers came out a majority of sensing types and college teachers were showing results of being a majority of intuitive types. We talked about the implications of how type affects learning styles and how the difference in type can explain intuitive types who may do better in higher math like algebra while having had difficulty adding and subtracting, and sensing types doing well in applied math areas of study as a career choice. They also found a difference between the type outcome of police professionals—being sensing types, and the university students—being intuitive types, and mused over ways they could bridge the communication gap between these two types during student protests that were quite prevalent on campus at this time in the ‘70s.
Over and over, Dr McCauley and Mrs. Myers expressed that we all have the ability to understand each other and thus communicate more effectively if we can understand our different preferences in type. We do not think it was Jung’s intention that we label ourselves and obsess about our category or label or type. And we think that the MBTI was meant to be used by both Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs as simply a way of thinking about ourselves and our gifts, not a device to trick us into a typology box in our minds, but as a tool to guide us in life decision-making and communication with others. We base our opinion on the many talks we had personally with Isabel Myers and her close colleague, Dr. Mary McCauley, whose explanations of typology were always flexible and open to the person’s inner decision about himself or herself. We will add that both Isabel Myers, her mother Katherine Briggs, and Dr. McCauley were all Introvert Intuitive Feeling Perceptive (INFP) types, according to what we were told in our conversations with Dr McCauley and Isabel Myers. True to their types, they meant the MBTI to be a flexible and perceptive tool that the person could use as a guide to illuminate one's inner experiences and accept their unique gifts of perception and judgment.

 End of Excerpt

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and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.

"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and  other international Amazon sites

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

How the Somatic Reflection Process Brings You New Hopeful Information From Your Past!

When dealing with persistent emotional feelings of sadness and loss, fear, shame, and/or hostility that result in depression and anxiety, many people feel it is hopeless to explore and reflect upon their past for fear that they will just come up with the same old suffering and nothing will change. And this would be true if you simply rehashed the details of your life, just thinking back over the details of your life over and over again. Or if you simply looked at the isolated emotions without exploring the pure feeling impact of life before, during and even after the experience that these emotions are related to. And when we speak of pure feeling impact of life, we mean how it felt to be you in your body (not your thinking), how empty or full you were (with the needs of acceptance and freedom being registered in your gut feelings) and how well your needs were met or not met at that time. It is only through examining your gut feelings in your past from moment-to-moment, coming up through time from early childhood to adulthood and into the present time, that you can often see new pieces of information that change your entire perception of what you think really took place in your life and more importantly what you think about yourself, and thus emotionally feel about yourself. 
This sort of emotional “aha moment” that comes from using the Somatic Reflection Process on gut feelings is best understood with an example. The following is an excerpt from What’s Behind Your Belly Button in which a young woman named Anne who was dealing with extreme feelings of loss in her current life, used the Somatic Reflection Process to get in touch with her gut feelings to deal with her emotions. As a result, she reassessed a core belief about herself that had weighed on her much of her life. It did not take away the loss in the present that she was experiencing, but it took away much of the feeling of shame that had accumulated through her life and had made the current loss so difficult to deal with.

Chapter 3 — The Impact of Experience: Anatomy of Feelings, page 68-70
“We had a patient, Anne, who came to us in deep distress mid school semester. She was an “a” student and was sure that her chosen field of nursing was exactly what she needed, but she was not able to function in school as she was devastated by a divorce that had just hit her like as she said, “an ocean of waves of sorrow.” We had found with our patients that divorce was a time that all of the person’s negative feelings of loss from past experiences would crash in on them and while it seemed that all the sadness was related to the loss of the present day spouse, the devastation they were feeling was much bigger and reached far back into their past experiences. While it does not take the sting of divorce away completely, it does help lessen the pain to work on the past unresolved issues and at least erases much of the pain and suffering mixed into one’s feelings in the present. Often the person is not even conscious of having the past suffering as it has all been repressed and so well hidden from the conscious ego in our unconscious, our shadow. Once the unconscious content has been brought to light, people would often find that the repression was at least part of the reason the present relationship was not fully functioning and had met with an end. It is often the part of ourselves that we are hiding from our loved one that is the most appealing part of ourselves and holds the key to our feeling pulse that gives energy and life to both ourselves and to our relationship.”
“As we began in coaching to have her focus on her feelings of sadness, Anne was able to trace it back to the death and loss of her younger brother in childhood. She had been quite young and had, in the way that children often do in absence of information, blamed herself because she had scolded him to get out of her room earlier in the day before his untimely accident attempting to cross the street alone at three years old. Upon reflection on her feelings, she realized that she was not even home at the time the accident occurred and a baby sitter had been in charge of her brother. She felt for the first time in her life a relief that her brother’s death was not her fault and was astounded that she was feeling all of that loss and guilt in the present mixed in her feelings of loss of her spouse to an impending divorce. She went home and shared this feeling experience with her spouse and while they finally did part ways, it was as friends and Anne was able to stop blaming herself and continue school successfully to become a nurse. We saw her on several occasions in the halls after the session and noticed that even though she was struggling with a divorce, she possessed a glow and less stress facial expressions about her that had not been there previously.”
“As we learn to reflect on our feelings, we can see more clearly that each crisis in our lives alerted us to an awareness that we needed to back off the direction we were headed and go back to pick up the signals from our guts and follow them to fullness. As we learn more to do this, we find our thinking less likely to borrow a role from the world for us to play and more likely to work in support of our gut feelings to bring the feeling of fullness to ourselves and live a full and healthy life.”
 End of Excerpt

Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:

"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites
and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.

"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and  other international Amazon sites

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Relationship of Instincts and Gut Microbiome in Human Development and Personality

Studies are now being conducted on the analysis of the gut microbiome of infants at Ohio State's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research to assess how intestinal bacteria interact with stress hormones. The importance of these studies by Lisa Christian, PhD, and microbiologist Michael Bailey, PhD, is to discover how stress hormones that have been found to relate to chronic illnesses later in life like obesity and asthma might start and impact the gut at an early age, and specifically how gut microbiome impacts personality and toddler temperament. The hope is to learn how to identify and prevent chronic health issues at an early age and to make positive effects upon personality and healthy development of the child. In this article, we would like to look at the development of personality in early childhood as it relates to gut instincts, all of which we see having an impact upon well being, including healthy gut microbiome. We will also touch on the new field of psychobiotics in our discussion of the relationship of the development of the child's instinctual awareness to gut microbiome and mental health.

While researchers are finding that there is a communication between bacteria in the gut and the head brain at an early age, still much is unknown about which starts the communication — gut brain or head brain — or exactly how this communication functions. We have worked with hundreds of people in counseling, reflecting back in time on their gut feelings and the impact of early childhood, and it is our belief from this experience that for the researchers to understand the relationship of the gut to stress, we need to look at the instincts of the infant and how this effects early childhood development. So let’s look at the maturation of the child from the point of view of the child and his/her gut feelings, instincts.

Given the genetic inheritance, the quality of life in which the child is born, and the furnishing by the parent or caregiver of the needs of human nature — both the need for freedom and for acceptance — a foundation is provided for the newborn to use and develop her instincts to feel good about herself as she matures throughout life. 

We know that the gut is developed in the womb and is fully functioning at birth with gut instincts that the infant will use to survive. If we watch a newborn cry at feeding intervals, we can all agree that it is practical to assume that the infant is experiencing hunger feelings of emptiness (as do adults) from the beginning of life. And we see that the infant also stops crying when her need for food and holding is nurtured, so we also assume the infant experiences a feeling of fullness when this satisfaction takes place. We may also then assume that the infant (as we have also found with adults) is feeling the emptiness and fullness in the gut that relates to the more psychological needs of acceptance (attention) and control (freedom). (See our book What’s Behind Your Belly Button? to read our research and clinical studies on these two instinctual needs connected to the gut responses of empty-full). And without the logic developed yet, nor the language necessary for thinking, the infant is close in awareness to her pure feeling responses. So from the very onset, the infant is developing a sense of whether she has the ability to have her needs (both physical and psychological) met or not, and this affects her personality. The infant learns that communication is useless if she cries and no one comes to feed her and hold her, and she will then eventually withdraw and has learned a powerful lesson that becomes part of her sense of self and personality. On a positive note, if she cries and her parent or caregiver picks her up and holds her, feeds her, smiles and gazes at her, she learns that communication is worth it and this greatly affects her personality development. We could see how the introvert-extrovert personality is influenced from the very beginning. And without the gut responses of emptiness and fullness, this important time of learning could not take place for there would be no way to discriminate by the infant if needs are met or unmet.  

Although it may seem that an infant is doing very little besides eating and sleeping in the first few weeks of life, she is developing new skills and learning to deal with many new sensations that are felt throughout the infant’s body. It is through holding the infant and showing reassurance by a caregiver that the infant learns to accept these new feelings she is having, and to feel safe and thrive. 

When an infant is born, she has an automatic grasp reflex, gripping anything in her palm, and other reflexive movements in response to the world, with no real control over her movements. But within about three months, these reflexes are replaced by abilities to move. These abilities take much effort and determination to develop. One of the first abilities that is learned and occurs at only a few weeks old is the infant’s ability to control her head and neck muscles. Within a couple of months, the infant learns finer motor skills like hand control and begins reaching with her hands and fingers for objects. 

From the very beginning of life, the infant attempts to communicate with her parents through first crying to express needs and then from gazing at the parents. The newborn infant is watching movements and listening to the tone of voice of her parents as a first attempt to understand and communicate, and later will copy these sounds, tones, and facial expressions. It is from being held and loved that the infant begins to make connections in her brain cells, developing pathways between the 100 billion brain cells she is born with. While some pathways are already hardwired and the newborn has a set of reflexes like turning her head, sucking and swallowing, there are others that need to be formed by experiences through sensing. So everything that the infant smells, hears, feels, sees and tastes builds these important pathways. If, for example, she sees her mother’s face over and over gazing at her and saying her name, that neural pathway will be strong for recognition of the mother and her voice, as well as the infant‘s name. During the first two years of life, the infant goes through the discovery process about her environment and begins to imitate and copy what she sees and to practice many new skills daily. So the infant is working very hard from the very beginning of life to develop and each of these learning experiences has an impact upon how the infant feels about herself, thus is part of the process of developing the personality. 

How this all effects gut microbiome is an easy stretch to make. We can see that positive gains toward the child’s instinctual need satisfaction will give the child what she needs to deal with stress and thus help produce the inner environment for a strong immune system and healthy gut flora. To be clear, we are saying that the instincts of the infant are set to guide learning such that the child develops intelligence, and when this is nurtured properly in an environment that gives the child the acceptance and freedom she needs, the child’s gut microbiome are affected in positive ways. In this way, the use of the instincts at birth and early childhood sets the foundation for the health and satisfaction of the entire life processes.

We conclude that researchers who are studying the head-gut connection and the affect of the gut microbiome on childhood development and on both physical and mental health (particularly the new study of "psychobiotics" or changes in the gut microbiome that effects mental health), must look at the psychological needs that our gut feelings monitor. We feel certain that this approach will collaborate with a combination of medical and psychological approaches to gut health.

We thought it might be useful at this point to share with you an excerpt from our recent book Increasing Intuitional Intelligence about the infant’s use of instincts to develop a healthy personality and full human intelligence.


Excerpt from Increasing Intuitional Intelligence, Chapter Part two: “Instinctual Awareness and Its Affects Upon Longevity,” page 102.

A Life of Instinctual Awareness

Instinctual awareness has little credibility as long as the animal instincts in Humans are under pressures from the outside world, because the animal instincts are essential to the functional health and intelligence of Human life and cannot be consciously used if suppressed. This statement does not mean that instincts are ever not available or un-useable. It does mean that the Human instincts are subject to control (may be suppressed) by outside pressure of civil law and are highly influenced by religious dogma. In modern cultures, they are generally allowed to be free only until the sensory brain of the newborn matures, enters the culture, and begins to think for his/herself. We have spent much space in this book describing the importance of the newborn being free to use its instincts to develop the sensory brain—with a minimum of outside world interference. The reason for this lengthy discussion about the newborn is because it is the time that there is a clear display of the Human instincts and because that time of life sets the foundation for the health and satisfaction of the entire life processes. 

The newborn infant is our purest living model of Human instincts that we have to observe. If we want to understand the essence of who we are as Human beings, it is the baby that we need to focus our attention upon and observe. In our observation, we might ask ourselves, if for the infant to grow up properly then do we need to change it by manipulating it into what we think it should be? Or can we concentrate upon nurturing the infant and assisting it to be what it already has the capacity and will to regulate itself to be? This is a big question, perhaps bigger than life itself. Much in politics, religion, education, and even medical and natural sciences throughout history, from era to era, has been an extension of the answer we have decided upon either one way or the other to this question. 

Since we have never had a full understanding and definition of what our Human Nature truly is, we propose that even in eras that were more supportive of our inner nature, we have never had a culture that fully and consciously supported our Human instincts. 

Presently, we have far too many people not supporting full Human intelligence (which includes instincts), therefore not helping us go forward as a Human species. However, we feel that it is both imperative for our species’ survival and also that it is the right evolutionary time in Human history for us to explore once again this fundamental question of who we are instinctually. Modern technology has made it possible for Human beings to now be far more global community-minded than ever before. Thus, many people are beginning to embrace an inclusive view of the entire Human family, with common instinctual needs. 

In order to answer the important question of whom we basically are inside, we must fully understand that society has never answered this question before with any depth or true accuracy from the point of view of life in the process of being lived, as a feeling experience. It has always defined our instincts by observing Humans from an external point of reference, from what behavior we see. We are saying that we cannot possibly understand whom we are inside through observation but instead must define our Human Nature and instincts through inner feeling reflection. We have suggested that we begin by looking at the “baby” to see what the infant is capable of and knows at birth, but our perception in this observation needs to be with the eye of understanding how the infant feels and what needs the infant indicates that they have. 

Of course, this type of observation of need has been done already by every parent who ever had an infant and also attempted by some scientists, such as developmental, child, and social psychologists. Yet, we have missed just what these instincts are other than the will to physical survival and have not make a substantial claim to our most Human instincts, that which drives us throughout life, other than the biological ones. For this reason, we began our discussion in this book by redefining what these unclaimed Human instincts are, or at least what we have found them to be with the many people we have somatically reflected on gut feelings with in counseling sessions and who have reported awareness of early feeling memory. 

Now that we have defined these Human instincts (freedom/self-control and acceptance/attention), then we shall look to see how we might best honor them and begin to nurture Humans as they age to be all that they can be and to live a full and long life. Of course, aging begins the second we are born (and some would argue from the moment of conception), so our Human story of instinctual aging begins there!
 End of Excerpt

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"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
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Monday, March 28, 2016

Read what is on this Blog on Gut Intelligence and Instinctual Awareness! Our 24 Most Viewed Blog Posts on Exploring Gut Intelligence, Gut Feelings and Instincts

Welcome to our blog on exploring gut intelligence, feelings and instincts. We give thanks to all our followers. Since we have been posting this blog site now since 2009, there may be some important posts that you have missed. We have had a number of people ask us if we could make a convenient links list, up-to-date, that would be a summary of all the important post on this blog. The following is a list of our blog posts to which we have had the most traffic and positive responses. You may find older such lists on this blog, but this is the most up-to-date at this time. There are many more posts on this blog, so if you are interested in reading every one of them, please feel free to use the left side bar archive or just keep clicking “older post” at the bottom of each page on the right side.

24 Most Viewed Blog Posts on Exploring Gut Feelings and Instincts:

1.Morals and Gut Instincts: How Our Awareness of Gut Feelings and Intuition May Protect Us From Immoral Behaviors.

2. Increasing Intuitional Intelligence: How the Awareness of Instinctual Gut Feelings Fosters Human Learning, Intuition, and Longevity.

3. Affects of Increased Awareness of Gut Instincts on Aging and Longevity
JULY 27, 2015
4. Freeing Human Nature: An Essay on the Process of Human Learning and the Two Brain System—Head and Gut
JULY 22, 2014

5. Healing the Trauma of the Body-Mind Split Through Accessing Instinctual Gut Feelings
MAY 27, 2014

6. Reflecting on Gut feelings as the Key to Recovering Childhood Memories that Enhance Healthy Adult Decision-Making
APRIL 19, 2014

7.  Is Love, Happiness, and Compassion Truly More Related to Your Heart or to Your Gut?
FEBRUARY 13, 2014

8. How to Explore Gut Feelings to Help In Making a Marriage Decision and Develop Self-Awareness for a Successful Love Relationship
DECEMBER 3, 2013

9. Exploring Gut Instincts and the Need To Be "Social" as Applied to the Education of Our Children
OCTOBER 23, 2013

10. Following Gut Instincts to the Awareness of Our True Human Nature
APRIL 16, 2013

11. Was Religion Invented By the Thinking Mind to Try to Make Sense of Gut Feeling and Gut Instinct? An Exploration of the Theory of "God Is In the Gut"!
FEBRUARY 9, 2013

12.  What are the Instinctual Needs That are Often Confused for the Need of Food in Gut Feelings of Emptiness and Fullness?
MARCH 27, 2013

13. Improving Gut Health Using the Somatic Reflection Process to Influence Both Physical and Mental Health

14.   Reflecting on Gut Feeling to Deal with Sadness and Loss in Love Relationship
FEBRUARY 14, 2013

15.  Exploring Gut Feeling and Unresolved Issues with People
JANUARY 14, 2013

16. How Do We Know When Our Gut Feelings Are Reliable? Can you Trust a Gut Feeling?
DECEMBER 13, 2012

17. Reflecting on and Sharing Gut feelings of Emptiness and Aloneness to Deal with Fear During a Hurricane (or other Life Threatening Event)
OCTOBER 29, 2012

18. Explore Why Doctors Can Save Lives by Listening to their Gut Feelings During a Diagnosis: On Gut Feelings in General Practice
OCTOBER 5, 2012

19.  Why Is Reflecting Upon Our Gut Feelings So Important to Our Immune System and Well Being— Distinguishing the "You" and "Not Truly You" for Excellent Mental and Physical Health!

20.  Are Gut Feelings Really in the Gut? Understanding Your Gut Feelings and What They Are Telling You
AUGUST 16, 2012

21.  Increase your Intuition By Learning the Difference Between Emotional Feelings and Gut Feelings
JULY 16, 2012

22.  What Are Gut Feelings and Instincts and How To Become Aware of Them To Overcome Stress
JUNE 27, 2012

23.  A Specific Guide to Use to Listen to Your Gut Instincts—The Somatic Reflection Process
FEBRUARY 15, 2012

24. Acknowledging the Enteric Nervous System in the Gut To Provide a New Image and New Myth of Humanity
OCTOBER 15, 2009

Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:

"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites
and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.

"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and  other international Amazon sites

If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Morals and Gut Instincts: How Our Awareness of Gut Feelings and Intuition May Protect Us From Immoral Behaviors

A recent study (in Nov. 24, 2015) was conducted by doctoral student Sarah J. Ward, in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, to determine if people who are prone to trust their instinctive hunches and gut feelings, may at times be less likely to commit immoral acts compared to those who tend to discount their intuition. Ward, along with co-author Curators' Professor Laura A. King of Psychological Sciences at UM, tested 100 people (75% were female) and the results indicated that those who listen to their gut instincts are more likely to be truthful and are less likely to cheat on an IQ test. It also showed that those who do not rely on their gut feelings are likely to cheat and feel guilt and shame afterwards. While the researchers must have understood the reasons for this condition intuitively, we did not find that Ward offered a clear explanation of why exactly our awareness of gut feelings protects us from immoral behaviors. Therefore, we would like to do a bit of speculation on why those who listen to their gut feelings tend to be more moral and we base our ideas on our own research on gut feelings and decision-making with hundreds of people in counseling.

First of all, remember that the gut holds the feeling gauge of emptiness and fullness and it reflects our two instinctual needs, acceptance (social need) and control (need for freedom). Therefore, if we are following our gut feelings, we are likely to do what is best for maintaining a balance of these two needs. Awareness of the gut feelings of emptiness and fullness concerning these two instinctual needs is self-regulatory. If we are aware of our gut feelings, then we might feel empty to cheat or to blame a coworker for our mistakes, for instance, because we would lose a feeling of connection and acceptance from that particular co-worker (even if it appeared to us that by lying we might save face and protect our reputation and relationship with others who thought previously that we were honest). Also, and perhaps even much more importantly, lying and cheating requires us to pretend to others that we are not lying and cheating, and this is a loss of the freedom to be ourselves in a natural way, which induces a feeling of loss of control of our own responses to life and results in a feeling of emptiness in the gut. Another way of saying this is that telling and living a lie impacts the instincts and generates stress. Most all of us have experienced this at one time or another and we know how stressful and uncomfortable it is to live a lie. Any time we must put on a “face” and hide our own responses to life, we lose our freedom and we must perform and filter our words and behaviors rather than respond naturally and authentically. For the person who is accustom to following their gut feelings, this stress is understood as not a positive way of being and it feels better to go ahead and admit failure than to experience the loss of the freedom to be authentic. We also have pointed out how following our gut instincts and satisfying our inner needs on a gut level will open the heart chakra and the feeling of compassion and caring for others. We have found over and over in our clinical findings (see our book What's Behind Your Belly Button?), that following one’s gut feelings is a path of self-regulation and also of caring for ourselves and for others as well. 

This is a highly important piece of research that Ward has performed because people need to understand that the gut is a reliable center of reference as a guide in our lives and that our human nature is a caring one of others. This study shows that leaving out the awareness of the gut response in decision-making and relying solely on our thinking brain is not the best moral path many people have for so long thought it to be. It would be valuable to continue Ward's research and explore the affects of the use of the Somatic Reflection Process on gut feeling awareness to find how it improves moral behavior. The importance of this research says a lot to one's choice of parenting styles and goals, in that following Ward's research calls to parents to do well to nurture the child's awareness of their instincts and gut feelings as a guide to developing morality rather than imposing rules, external thinking, and even religious standards upon the child for a moral compass.
For a complete protocol of the Somatic Reflection Process and verbatim counseling sessions using it to explore gut feelings and unite body-mind, we refer you to our book What's Behind Your Belly Button?.

We have certainly found in our work with people exploring gut feelings, that there is a direct correlation between gut feeling awareness and “caring” for self and others. In fact, it is the 12th and final Key to Understand Your Gut Instincts and Overcome Emotional Stress in Increasing Intuitional Intelligence: How theAwareness of Instinctual Gut Feelings Fosters Human Learning, Intuition, andLongevity:
 12. Reflection on the gut voice helps us to be more mindful of our caring nature and thus be more caring of others. And with the new awareness of our gut responses and needs that we acquire through reflection on our instinctual gut responses, we are able to live a more caring and healthy life, with the thinking head finally conscious and listening more clearly to the responses that are our path to our most reliable and authentic self—our gut instinctual feelings in our body.” (Page 41)

You may be now asking yourself, “If consciousness of our gut feelings is proving to increase our ability to care for self and others and act more moral in relationship to others, then why are we not educating our gut intelligence?” Here is a beginning look at that important question, an excerpt taken from our most recent book Increasing Intutitional Intelligence, pages 46-49.

Why Are We Not Educating Our Instincts?

It became clear to us that prior to our counseling clinical work with gut feelings, the conscious use of this gut intelligence was never before cultivated in Human society. By this we mean that there has never been a culture in history based on uniting both the thinking and gut brain intelligence. We began this book by discussing the importance of instincts in the learning process and many other aspects of Human growth and development starting with conception. Yet, as we get into the subject of instincts, we find that we face the question; “Why aren’t we encouraging the use of the instincts beyond birth—especially in the learning process in the early years of life, when learning is at its peak?”
Our answer suggests that at some time quite recently in Human history (and to this day), it has been decided that in order to find dependable ‘good’ behavior in Human Nature, it is necessary to control Human Natures’ “evil” behavior by inventing external forces to keep it in check. So we find that we are surrounded by arbitrary civil laws and religious laws, which insist that natural law be distorted to conform to a set of ethical and moral standards. Kind of dumb is it not? How does anyone change natural laws? Does anyone who can think clearly as we look at the results of this concoction believe that this scheme is working? Fortunately, modern science has now come to the rescue furnishing convincing evidence that Human Nature has the intelligence to control its self.
To begin to deal with Human learning as a process of animal need for the Human individual is to change our cultural focus of attention from the plethora of external Human achievements to the inner world of Human necessity. We think this change involves our Human feelings and it will lead us in finding through some serious self-reflection elements of emptiness that we have ignored—overwhelmed by the externally focused senses. Many people today feel that something is wrong with our inner satisfaction with life but few have any notion of what to do about it or where to look for a solution.
To include the ancient animal intelligence—a powerful natural inner intelligence with which the Human animal is born—with the essential instincts is presently sure to be a disturbing subject for many people who have marginalized the importance of their instincts. Such a change is necessary, however, to free those “devilish” instincts, which have now been discovered by both clinical and neurological research to be essential to accurate Human learning needs, and which we as a species are presently denying. The results of these efforts of both experience and research now demand a new and more accurate functional image (way of viewing) of our homo sapient nature.
In order to produce a more healthy and accurate understanding of the animal mind and body intelligence, thinking and feeling together—the intuition—requires experience with these basic tools for healthy and accurate problem solving (learning) for the newborn, older children, and adults as they mature.
From the amalgam of modern science now available, intuition, and personal experience, we conclude that most cultures have never consciously integrated the two brains with their nervous systems. Therefore, we as educators are not effectively using this Second Brain—the animal brain. “We are not effectively applying and consciously using the brains we were born with!” And many cultures are still denying the obvious fact that Humans are members of the animal kingdom.
Until the latter part of the 20th Century, there was little interest from our modern world (so focused on logic and the head brain) in the digestive system as a center of functional intelligence—intelligence that could play a dominate role in the learning process and the well-being of Humans as members of the animal kingdom. The notion of the importance of the gut as a center of intelligence was left years ago prior to our modern cultures. Any attempt to revive the gut’s place of importance has been rejected until recently. What is suspected is that the gut—the ancient animal brain with its enteric nervous system (ENS)—and perhaps the whole body has somehow been mistakenly viewed as the disruptive force that interferes with the management of Human behavior.”
The above is an excerpt taken from Increasing Intutitional Intelligence pages 46-49.

To read more on educating the gut brain and increasing our Intuitional Intelligence, click on the following links to our books to go to Amazon:
"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and  other international Amazon sites. First published in October 2015.
"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites
and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping. First published in Nov 2011.
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