Somatic Finance - The Belly


Life is a martial art. Whether we are practicing karate, qigong, typing at the computer, or unloading the groceries or sitting on the couch, the lower dantian, the core of the belly, is the root of the tree of life in the human body. In martial arts, the lower dantian is the foundation of rooted standing, breathing and body awareness. It is located three fingers lower than the belly button and a few inches in. Dantian, hara (Japanese), and fu (Chinese) are synonymous and considered the physical center of gravity of the human body and the seat of one's internal energy.

We travel downward to the belly this month in our continued exploration of Somatic FinanceTM, a new channel of study and practice connecting the brilliance of the mind, with the integrity of one's body center, through the compassion of the heart. Somatic FinanceTM is an integration of the head, heart and belly, in all matters of money.

The vital energy of the deep belly radiates outward to the entire body and to our lives. [I find it fascinating that English does not have a word to describe this space in our body like other cultures; we are disconnected from our cores.] To support your learning and direct experience, pause now and use the following practice to bring your attention to the lower dantian.


Sit in a chair, feet flat on the floor and buttocks connected to the seat. Feel your body rooted and resting in gravity. Feel the top of your head lift like a balloon, chin slightly down and your spine uplifted and straight. Feel both rooted and light. Ease resting in gravity. Now, bring your attention to your dantian. Let your breath support your curiosity by bringing your breath into your belly center. What do you notice in your thoughts, feelings and sensations?

Are you acting from your belly? Are you moving from your hara? Notice. Simply notice.

Our belly is the foundation of integrity, humility, ground, power, truth, confidence, energy - skillful action that roots us to the human world, present here and now. Mazlow, Integral Memes, Erikson, Spiral Dynamics, Kohlberg, Piaget, Freud, Jung... in each development theory, money is rooted in the ground of survival. In the world, money enables us to first survive and then to thrive. Access your preferred map (the cognitive space) so that we can explore the territory.

Moving as a Master of Somatic FinanceTM means an integration of head, heart and belly and skillful action meeting each money situation with wisdom and compassion. We need all three to be whole, of course. Whatever gate is missing holds the key to developing the skills toward wholeness. For example, a person who moves the way of head and belly may be very successful financially, and likely is, but the missing qualities are located in the heart. There are likely holes in the belly (integrity, humility) that will fill out when the heart of connection, compassion and relationship come online.

Developing our belly awareness is critical for being in the modern world with money. We might call it Core Currency Cultivation. Core development comes next once we glean the territory. We first look at our current way with money.

Way with Money:

Our way with money is how we relate to money - beliefs, actions and patterns; our belly is the source of energy that activates our action, aligned with beliefs and patterns. Until we develop wholeness with integration of head, heart and belly, we move partially with only one or two areas developed: 1) head only, 2) head and heart or 3) head and belly. Before you are activated by the labels suggested below, note the yin/yang qualities of each, always moving toward one or the other in the infinite journey of balance. There is no right or wrong, good or bad; there is movement always.

If your way is Head only, you move with facts. You are disembodied from the wisdom of your body. We can classify this way as the way of the Academic. The way of the academic is important. The knowledge to understand the money systems is required to navigate the territory. And it is partial. In the drama triangle the Academic usually claims the Hero corner.

If your way is Head and Heart, you move ungrounded, unstable, ignorant, wistful and longing. We can classify this way as the way of the Philanthropist. The way of the Philanthropist is important. Desire and urgency to feel others, be generative and generous is vital to access truth and meaning in the collective. And it is partial. In the drama triangle the Philanthropist lives as Victim.

If your way is Head and Belly, you move closed, determined, competitive and greedy. We can classify this way as the way of the Capitalist. The way of the Capitalist is important. Innovation and curiosity, combined with leadership and creativity enable progress, growth, and movement toward possibilities. In the drama triangle, the Capitalist claims Villain.

When we are really embodied in the belly, no money action, mundane or complex, is out of integrity. This means that individually we are in harmony inside and our actions manifest externally are clean. Collectively we honor each other in high values and our financial systems do not create the financial crises experienced in the past few decades. Perhaps you can sense the steep development required to access this space.

Bad Belly:

In Carl Hammerschlag's book The Theft of the Spirit, we hear about a visit to a native Mayan healer in the jungles of Belize who introduced bad belly. Disease begins in the belly, where we are not fully digesting all of life. Don Eligio said, "You can't heal if you have bad belly." You also cannot progress with your money evolution with bad belly.

Bad belly in Somatic FinanceTM manifests in two forms - void and tainted. If belly is void that means the qualities of the belly need to be developed; new muscles are waiting to be touched and activated. If the belly is tainted, there are toxic energies that need to be cleared and muscles (maybe different) enhanced to open healthy energy.

A person who has a head way, or a head and heart way, would be an example of void belly; while a person who moves from head and belly would be an example of the belly as tainted. With each, to grow it is simply a matter of seeing more and opening further.

Our belly is vast and spacious. Our belly is a grand invitation to meet the earth, to ground, and to become intimate with all of life: trees, flowers, rivers, oceans, mammals. It is waking down (versus waking up) into the naked, wondrous, luminous space of life. In the belly we are called to recognize that we are not alone, not just alone with other humans but we are not alone - period.

Closer to home, and far less harmful than money systems being out of integrity, weak belly may be a journey to power. In my case, my belly awareness is on the void side of bad belly. I need to be willing to be powerful, to stand in authority, to move skillfully from that place and to take 100% responsibility for my money movement, my money integrity. In fact, writing about Somatic FinanceTM is one way I am developing my belly.

Expanding belly,
Be Moved...