The Intelligent Heart
While in the past the heart has been known as a remarkable pump, interestingly, it is only Western Science that defined the hearts function as being that of pumping blood only. Historically, in almost every culture of the world, the heart was ascribed a far more multifaceted role in the human system, being regarded as a source of wisdom, spiritual insight, thought, and emotion.
Many ancient cultures, including Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Greeks, maintained that the primary organ capable of influencing and directing our emotions and morality came from the heart. Similar perspectives are found in the Hebrew and Christian bibles as in Chinese, Hindu and Islamic traditions.
The Old Testament says in Proverbs 23:7, “For a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. In Judaic tradition, the heart centre is one of the energy centres. In the Cabbala the heart is the central sphere the only one of ten to touch all others. In Chinese medicine, the heart is seen as the bridge between mind and body. And of course the 7 chakra energy system in eastern medicine has a heart chakra which is linked to compassion and the electrical circuits of the body.
'Our old models were based on limited resources and information, but our new discoveries reveal that within each one of us there exists an organization of intelligence that can lift us out of these old paradigms...'
It’s a high speed source of intelligence and intuition that has clarity and awareness at both mental and emotional levels. It’s called ‘Heart Intelligence’. Heart Intelligence allows for direct flow of information from an intuitive knowing that manifests in thoughts and emotions.
In the new field of neuro-cardiology, for example, scientists have discovered that the heart possesses its own intrinsic nervous system—a network of nerves so functionally sophisticated as to earn the description of “The Heart Brain".
'The Heart has its own brain and nervous system . . .'
The Heart Brian:
- Contains over 40,000 neurons
- Has the ability to independently sense, process information, make decisions, and even to demonstrate a type of learning and memory
- The heart is an intelligent system
- Research has also revealed since 1983 that the heart is fully recognized as a hormonal gland, manufacturing and secreting numerous hormones and neurotransmitters that profoundly affect brain and body function
Did you know? The Heart Is the most powerful organ in the body
- Starts beating before the brain has formed
- Doesn’t need the brain connection to beat
- Has its own nervous system
- Is where your intuition comes from
- Each heart beat sends information to all 100 trillion cells in the body
- Beats one hundred thousand times per day
- Produces two gallons of blood per minute
- When a heart is transplanted surgeons cannot reconnect the heart to the brain but it continues to beat
- That Love can be measured visually leaving and entering the heart
'The heart produces by far the largest amount of electrical energy in the body, in fact up to sixty times more power than the brain and five thousand times more power electromagnetically.'
'The heart is an electrical organ that produces by far the largest amount of electrical energy in the body, in fact up to sixty times more power than the brain and five thousand times more power electromagnetically.'
This energy permeates every cell in the body, all 50 trillion of them. The signal is so strong that it creates an electromagnetic field that surrounds the body in 360 degrees and can actually be measured up to ten feet outside the body.
That's right, the electrical energy produced by the heart radiates outside the body into space. As we examine the heart's energetic communication, we move beyond biology and into physics, how electromagnetic and energetic fields relate to one another. Science has only begun to understand the effects of the electromagnetic fields produced by the heart, there is now evidence that the information contained in the heart’s powerful field plays a vital synchronizing role in the human body—and that it also affects others that surround us.
Research shows us that the heart is a key component of the emotional system.
The heart responds to emotion, and the signals generated by its rhythmic activity play a major part in determining the quality of our physiological experiences. These heart signals also profoundly impact perception and cognitive function through the heart’s extensive communication network with the brain.
'The heart plays a key role in receiving intuition...'
The Powerful Heart
The heart has a very complex nervous system consisting of neurons, proteins and support cells that sends information to the brain. The information travels through a nerve pathway that originates in the heart and terminates in the higher perceptual centres of the brain.
This means that there is an important neurological conversation taking place between heart and brain. When this conversation is mapped out it is clearly seen that the heart is sending a lot more information to the brain than it receives. The heart also influences brain function through what is called the blood pressure wave. As the blood pressure wave changes so does brain activity.
The heart also communicates through hormones. It produces several important hormones and one of them, the atrial peptide, helps to reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol (which we’ve already spoken about when we spoke about stress and the damage it can do to the body) it also releases Oxytocin—well known as "The Love” hormone.
"Did you know The Heart signals the brain more often than the brain signals the heart . . . The Heart is communicating to all 50 trillion cells in the body with each breath."
The Heart-Brain Connection
Most of us have been taught in school that the heart is constantly responding to “orders” sent by the brain in the form of neural signals. However, it is not as commonly known that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart!
These heart signals have a significant effect on brain function—influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In other words; not only does The Heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to The Heart.
HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive functions. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. (This helps explain why we may often act impulsively and unwisely when we’re under stress.)
In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect—it facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability.
This means that learning to generate increased heart rhythm coherence, by sustaining positive emotions, not only benefits the entire body, but also profoundly affects how we perceive, think, feel, and perform.
Heart Rhythm and Coherence
The heart is a primary generator of rhythmic patterns in the human body, and plays a particularly important role in the generation of emotion. With every heartbeat, the heart transmits complex patterns of neurological, hormonal, pressure, and electromagnetic information to the brain and throughout the body.
The heart is uniquely positioned as a powerful entry point into the communication network that connects body, mind, emotions and spirit. Studies show that techniques which combine intentional heart focus with the generation of sustained positive feelings lead to a beneficial mode of physiological function; they have termed psychophysiological coherence or heart coherence.
When we achieve heart coherence a sine wave-like pattern shows in the heart rhythms, increased heart-brain synchronization (alpha rhythms become more synchronized to the heart) and entrainment between heart rhythm patterns, respiration, blood pressure rhythms and other physiological systems.
During states of heart coherence, our inner systems function with a higher degree of synchronization, efficiency and harmony which correlates with improved emotional balance, quality of emotional experience, health, and cognitive performance. Reduced anxiety and depression decreased physical symptoms negative effects of stress, enhanced immunity, reduced cortisol and increased DHEA.
DHEA is a hormone that works alongside cortisol you can’t have both releasing at the same time as they work in conjunction. DHEA produces elasticity in the skin, slows the ageing process and helps with healing the body and makes you feel full of energy whereas cortisol enhances the ageing process, increases weight around the waist, etc.
These studies have been conducted by the Institute of HeartMath along with Stanford University and other institutions in studies which have shown that heart centred techniques and heart coherence facilitate the body's healing processes and improve physical health outcomes. For example, improvements in clinical status have been demonstrated in individuals with hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, asthma and AIDS.
The Power of Heart-Based Living
A new understanding of "heart" is emerging, one that moves the view of the heart from a philosophical, metaphorical place in the body that one uses in an emotional frame of mind to a very powerful intelligence, a physical, emotional, intuitive and energetic/spiritual connection to the magnetic field of both our body and the earth.
When we bring physical, emotional, intuitive and spiritual aspects into coherent alignment, this leads us to a new way of perceiving, acting, re-acting, and relating –this is called Heart-Based Living.
In the last few years, more people than ever - from different backgrounds and walks of life - are talking about the heart. More speakers, articles and books, both spiritual and non-spiritual, are referring to the heart. Whether people mention speaking from the heart, listening to the heart, connecting with the heart, or following the heart, it is a clear sign that there is increased energetic awareness of the importance of the heart in all of our life's decisions.
Heart-based living refers to all intentions and actions that express qualities of the heart in daily life. These heart qualities or core heart values can include appreciating or caring for others, expressing kindness to those around you, and giving back by volunteering to work with others to relieve suffering and to help the planet. Heart-based living allows us to experience less self-centeredness and separation, less judgment, more genuine fulfilment.
The Heartmath organization, have developed tools and techniques designed to utilize the power of the heart to improve performance, health and overall well-being while reducing stress. The entire system is underpinned with breakthrough scientific research on heart-brain communication and the many beneficial effects of experiencing positive emotions.
We all know that the heart pumps blood throughout the body, but new research shows it does a lot more. In fact the heart acts like a master control system sending powerful, healing commands to the brain and the rest of the body.
Enjoy unfolding the power of your heart to increase your fulfilment.
The emWave is a unique heart rhythm coherence biofeedback program. It objectively monitors your heart rhythms and confirms when you are in the coherence mode. It helps you learn to self-generate coherence and track your progress.
With practice you will learn how to shift into coherence at will, even in difficult situations which previously would have drained your emotional vitality and buoyancy. You will readily see and experience changes in your heart rhythm patterns as you practice emotional stress management techniques.
Your heart rhythms generally become less irregular, and become smoother as you send more heart-felt love, appreciation and gratitude through your system.