BOUNDLESS INTIMACY: The Eye And Treasury Of Core-Self
by Andrew Shugyo Daijo Bonnici, Ph.D.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 – “Abiding In Core-Self – The Hara”:
When we embody Zen in our everyday life, we practice deep intimacy with three somatic experiences. These three somatic experiences include the natural flow of our breath, the expansion and contraction of our belly breathing, and the sensation of being in the visceral core of our lower abdomen. These three somatic experiences establish the traditional Zen foundation for viscerally realizing core-Self inside of just sitting while embodying the visceral seal of core-Self inside of just living.
In our traditional Way of Zen, we call the lower abdominal area of the human body the “hara” (pronounced hah-rah). Your “hara” is an oval shaped area just below your belly button. The hara is six inches across your lower abdomen. It is about two and a half inches wide at the very center. Although the Japanese word “hara” is translated as “lower belly,” this does not give us any indication of its profound spiritual meaning, its inherent capacity to manifest an honorable human being, or its deep interconnectedness with the dynamic functioning of total reality. Nor does it reveal the hara’s awesome power to stabilize, regulate, and enhance our daily experience of health, vitality, wellness, and aliveness. The hara contains the bioenergetic reservoir for our whole body, the somatic integrity of our radical humanness, and the visceral center-point that promotes physical health, mental clarity, emotional balance, and confidence in our intuitive gut-core Way of knowing. When you dwell in the deep bio-energetic core of your hara rather than your heady ego-self, people intimately sense your authentic visceral presence as a trustworthy and honorable human being. To faithfully embody the visceral bio-energetic core of your hara in everyday life is to openly and effortlessly communicate the integrity, soundness, and dependability of your humanity and your character.