The Heart, the Intellectual Part of the Emotional Center or
the King of Hearts, and the Four Lower Centres
Gurdjieff (1866-1949) a Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher, who brought a spiritual teaching to the West known as The Work or The Fourth Way, explained that man has four different brains or centers, the emotional, intellectual, moving and instinctive brain. The emotional brain is a function through which we experience emotions related to people and impressions. The intellectual centre is a function that manifests as thought and reason. The moving centre is a function that enables one to move in one`s environment and design things. The instinctive centre takes care of the functioning of the human body, such as heart beat, growth of the body, activity of the senses, distribution of energy, and so on. It is the only centre that is fully developed when one is born, the other three centers have to be educated.
Each centre is further divided in three parts; a mechanical part, an emotional part and an intellectual part. One can see which part is functioning by looking at the level of one`s attention. The mechanical part functions automatically without the need of paying attention to what it is doing. It can also be seen as the memory bank of the centre. Once one has learned a new language, one doesn’t have to pay attention anymore to the meaning of the words, they come out automatically. Once one has learned how to ride a bicycle, one doesn’t need to pay attention to staying balanced, and one can talk with a friend while riding it. The emotional part functions with attention, but it doesn’t take an effort on our part to sustain this attention. The attention is sustained by the interest in the subject. Examples are playing video games or enjoyment in playing a sport. The intellectual part also functions with attention but it requires an effort to sustain this attention. Examples are studying for an exam, learning to drive a car or creating a piece of art.
The four centres are represented in the four different suites of the common deck of playing cards. Clubs represent the instinctive center, spades represents the moving center, diamonds stands for the intellectual center and -hearts for the emotional center. The parts of centers are symbolized by the different court cards. The kings symbolize the intellectual parts of centers, the queens refer to the emotional parts, and the jacks represent the mechanical parts. The King of Hearts is the gateway to the state of presence and is referred to as the heart by most esoteric traditions.
God refers to the God within, one`s Higher Self. The heart is the organ that knows the Higher Self and the best thing is the heart that is always remembering the Higher Self.
To reach a prolonged state of presence, a man must learn to access and use the emotional energy of the king of hearts. It is the only part in a man that is interested in experiencing presence rather that just talking about being present. The energy of Divine presence is refined and subtle, and implies an emotional awareness that can only come from the king of hearts. Usually, a child`s education focuses on the intellectual and moving center, and a little on the instinctive center. The emotional center, especially the king of hearts is left to itself.
When experiencing a deeper state of presence, in which a connection is made with the higher emotional center, simple things that one normally glances over, become deeply meaningful. Impressions penetrate one more deeply and one begins to see deeper meaning in everything.
The image above usually stimulates the jack of hearts, through which one experiences emotions that one expresses like: oh, how adorable! If the King of hearts is active, one will experience a beauty that touches one more deeply. The higher emotional center (a function of the Higher Self) will see an even deeper meaning connected to the state of presence. One begins to see that the whole creation, the universe, nature, animals and man itself, all have an inner meaning related to the effort to be present and the state of presence. This activates the heart even more, helping one to be more present.
Images often express ideas better than words.
A caterpillar is a symbol for the lower self. The transformation of a caterpillar into a chrysalis symbolizes making the effort of being present. The chrysalis represents the body of spiritual effort to reach this state.
The butterfly is a symbol for the Higher Self or the state of presence. It has four wings.