Mysteries of the Human Heart

Mysteries of the Human Heart

“The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed.” — Charlotte Brontë

The human heart, the size of two adult fists, is mysterious, intelligent, powerful, and sometimes inexplicable. The Egyptians believed that Anubis, the god of the underworld and judge of the dead, weighed the hearts of the recently deceased against a feather — if the two balanced, the heart would be returned to owner. If the heart was heavier, it was weighted by bad deeds and fed to a monster.

Heart as Ruler of the Brain

Aristotle considered the heart as the center of reason, thought, and emotion, senior to the brain in importance. Ninth century Arabic philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi believed that, “The ruling organ in the human body is the heart; the brain is a secondary ruling organ subordinated to the heart.” Auguste Comte, a 19th century French philosopher declared that the brain should be servant to the heart.

“The most common denominator in all religions is that the heart is the seat of wisdom,” said Rollin McCraty Ph.d, director of research at the groundbreaking HeartMath Institute in Santa Cruz, CA. Twelfth century Christian mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, would agree. She wrote, “The soul sits at the center of the heart, as though in a house.”

The Heart-Brain Connection

If you can read this, your heart is beating at twice the pace of most animals — and humans have vascular disease, while our cousins the great apes do not. With its own electrical impulse, the human heart can continue to beat if taken from the body. Beating heart cells grown in Petri dishes synchronize with each other. The heart emits a signature electrical frequency thousands of times more powerful than anything else in the body.

Neurons, the brain cells responsible for processing sense-based input, send messages to the body, such as, “reach the hand to pick up a sandwich.” Neurons also transmit emotion. These specialized cells are found in the brain and nervous system, but importantly, also in the heart. Neurons can be harnessed to establish heart-brain coherence — In fact, heart neurons fire in conjunction with the brain neurons. The heart and brain are undisputedly, profoundly connected.

Heart-Brain Harmony

Originally trained as a geologist, Gregg Braden explores the intersection of science and spirituality from the perspective of a trained scientist. He speaks of the heart/brain union, saying, “Our brain receives many of its instructions on what to do from the heart. Studies show that the heart is able to think, feel, and have emotions on its own.”

Heartache vs. Happiness

Studies have shown that intense anger is damaging to the heart — intense grief as well. Statistically, we are 20 times more likely to have a heart attack after the death of a loved one.

Positive emotions like joy and contentment are accompanied by coherent heart rhythms. Happiness is good for the heart. We don’t think of the heart as being capable of producing hormones like the endocrine system, but oxytocin, called the “love” hormone, is manufactured in the heart.

The Heart’s  Singular Intuition

For 25 years, researchers at the HeartMath Institute have innovated tools and methods designed to achieve measurable heart/brain coherence. HeartMath has focused on the psychophysiology of stress, emotions, and heart/brain interaction. Working within the parameters of the prevailing scientific model, these researchers have produced and published over 300 peer-reviewed or independent studies of the effectiveness of HeartMath techniques and technologies. Their research documents several types of beneficial outcomes from achieving heart/mind coherence.

Rollin McCraty Ph.D., one of the original founders of Heartmath, said, “The biggest hidden source of stress on the planet is the disorganization of heart/mind, causing lack of resonance. Lack of alignment eats the life force and happiness out of humanity.”

McCraty described intuition from the perspective of brain science, which identifies “ordinary,” “expert,” and “strategic” intuition. In his book “Strategic Intuition: The Creative Spark in Human Achievement,”  William Duggan, wrote, “Ordinary intuition is a feeling, a gut instinct. Expert intuition is snap judgment when you instantly recognize something familiar, the way a tennis pro knows where the ball will go from the arc and speed of the opponent’s racket.

“The third kind, strategic intuition, is not a vague feeling, like ordinary intuition. Strategic intuition is a clear thought. And it’s not fast, like expert intuition. It’s slow. That flash of insight you had last night might solve a problem that’s been on your mind for a month.”

What Duggan calls “strategic” intuition, HeartMath researchers refer to as “non-local” intuition and have established that this type of insight, or “knowing,” is a function of the heart. Non-local intuition is the only type of intuition that involves the heart — the other two are derived from the brain’s experience and entrainment.

womans hands holding a heart shaped candle in the dark

“We found that from the body perspective, the heart is the first to receive these non-local signals or intuitions, then they are passed to the brain. It’s a result I wouldn’t have predicted. The heart has access to information outside the boundaries of time and space. It’s been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt,” McCraty said.

But convincing the brain to accept what it may view as ” irrational” is the challenge addressed  in the HeartMath model, where researchers explore ways to resolve the heart/mind split, or “incoherence.” The Western view asserts that the brain is senior to the heart — our cultural and educational focus is on the brain, which is habituated to believing it’s the boss. But making the shift is as easy as intentionally creating new neural pathways in the brain. “The human brain doesn’t like change. Shift to the heart to send messages to the brain,” said Gregg Braden. 

Discussing coherence and healing, McCraty said, “Living systems have the capacity to self-heal.  Multiple studies show heart self-regulation lowers blood pressure, improves hormonal balance, and gives better recovery from heart attacks. More coherence means more health. Coherence facilitates the body’s natural regenerative processes.”

Howard Martin,  HeartMath Inc.’s Executive Vice President, said, “We have this magnificent intelligence that lifts us beyond our problems even in the midst of chaos and confusion. When the heart is put into practical application in daily life, we can experience a new fulfillment, a new life, beyond our greatest expectations.”

Martin described a HeartMath study in which subjects, wired to measure respiratory, heart, and other physiological functions sat in front of computers viewing random images — some beautiful, some potentially distressing. The image stream included a small time gap between pictures. Six seconds before an image displayed, test subjects’ physiology would react to what was coming, be it awful or wonderful. The conclusion drawn was that the heart’s “non-local” intuition anticipated imminent stress or pleasure a full six seconds before the actual experience.

The Heart’s Electromagnetic Field

McCraty explained that the earth’s geomagnetic field is a stationary, pure static magnetic field he likened to that of a refrigerator magnet. A magnet’s invisible electromagnetic fields are seen in iron filings that organize into patterns with lines that express the field. These line patterns are called “magnetic field lines. “These lines within a magnetic field literally act like guitar strings and have their own resonant frequency. Solar wind plucks the earth’s magnetic lines, causing vibration — field line resonance. The Earth’s primary resonance on a normal day is around 1 Hz, precisely the same as the coherent heart,” McCraty said.

He went on to say that human heart rhythms synchronize to the Earth’s resonant frequency to a level or degree no one ever thought possible. “Independent of time zones, we are all synchronizing to the Earth, and at HeartMath, we’re studying how it happens.”

Achieving Heart-Mind Resonance

Dozens of studies have documented the benefits of meditation. Researchers have observed lowered blood pressure, anxiety and depression relief, increased brain “gray matter,” and pain relief, to name a few. Meditation practices also achieve heart/brain coherence. “In meditation, different methods produce heart signatures —  a loving-kindness meditation shows a different signature than say, a mindfulness meditation. Loving-kindness practices shift the heart into a different state, called coherence, a synchronized heart/brain neurology,” McCraty said.

HeartMath has developed practices and technologies to support heart/brain coherence, but McCraty shared some fundamental principles. “ The HeartMath tools, techniques and training process all have one thing in common — they operate in the present moment. The method is to 1. focus on the heart, 2. activate compassion, 3. and radiate that feeling too self and others.” This simple, deliberate method can relieve stress, anxiety, or depression, and lead to all the countless other benefits of heart coherence.

With persistent practice, exercise becomes a habit. Braden said, “There are four keywords for coherence: appreciation, gratitude, care, and compassion. When we practice moving into states aligned with one of these words, or some combination of the four, we create communication between the heart and the brain. This practice takes about three days to establish new neural network habit patterns supporting the heart/brain connection and communication.”

This coherence is not only beneficial to us as individuals — it is possible to create coherence on larger scales than we might imagine. To learn more about what Martin and McCraty call “Global Coherence,” watch this interview with Martin and Regina Meredith on Gaia. To explore the science of the heart’s intelligence, watch this segment of the Gaia series Inspirations, with Lisa Garr.

Praying With Humility: How To Change Yourself And The World

Praying With Humility: How To Change Yourself And The World

It’s perfectly appropriate to defend our belongings, lives, and loved ones, and to yearn for specific relationships and life-experiences. It’s also suitable to desire titles, positions, gobs of money, and the highest levels of success. You might even have fantasies of domination or revenge. It’s all part of the play. 

While goals and desires can be conjured through intentions and focused effort, prayers tend to require a separate set of conditions and attributes. If all whimsies and hungers were equal to prayers, then prayers for football team wins, stock windfalls, and military massacres would dominate the supernatural circuits, and crowd the fulfillment funnel. 

For a prayer to be considered “fair trade,” it’s probably best it meets one or more of these conditions:

  • Reflects a personal, life or death situation
  • Is born from pure, heartfelt intentions
  • Stems from a place of humility
  • Reflects a measure of reverence 
  • Does not require that other living Beings be hurt, punished, or killed
  • Results in improved conditions for one or more people, the results of which do not threaten other living Beings
  • Enhances an individual’s or group’s health, safety, mental capacity, attitude, emotional state, spiritual wholeness, comfort, relationships, or general well-being, including yours
  • Expedites a person’s psychological, emotional, or spiritual evolution, including yours
  • Inspires and invites feelings of positivity, kindness, and generosity
  • Provokes compassion or empathy from anyone who might hear the prayer
  • Immediately increases the vibration of the person praying

If your prayer doesn’t embody any of the above attributes, it might be more of a hope, desire, or goal than a prayer. Authentic prayer does not generally involve the ego. For example: praying for a financial windfall is probably egoistic, but praying to receive money to pay for your Mother’s surgery, might have measurable appeal to the Universe’s vibrational, response-network.

How do we create and improve our realities?

To up-level our selves and lives, we start with a feeling or a sense, then we slowly churn it into an intention. Once it’s embedded in us, we imagine related scenarios, outcomes, and destinations. Within these elusive dreams, we form agendas and implement actions, thereby moving us toward the fulfillment of our desires.

To accelerate our journeys, we might use games, leverage, strategy, or cunning. We might also engage our friends, allies, and demons. These are the systems and rackets that rule our physical lives within our three-dimensional realities.

It’s perfectly moral to have goals, dreams, and fantasies that are self-serving. Even a measure of greed can produce positive feelings and outcomes. It’s also permissible to dance with shadows and invite devils to dinner. What separates goodness from evil is not our thoughts or associations; it’s the upshot of our efforts. If hints of our intentions, and hosts of our actions, produce favorable conditions, we still might be invited to sit at the right hand of the divine. 

When we’re in the aggressive pursuit of achievement and position, it’s not necessarily harmful or bad, but it’s probably not prayerful. Prayerfulness requires our vulnerability. If our prayers are muddied with desires for pleasures and trinkets, they can become superfluous, even benign.

What if we wish to shift something unique, deep, and lovely? What if our desires are perfectly pure and egoless? What if we have the heart, soul-intention, and desire-base of a child? What, then?

Strangely, the Universe, born from light, has the heart of a child. This child is not infantile; rather, She is the embodiment of the deepest and most profound truths in all of reality, and throughout all galaxies and realms. Whether you see Her as a God, Avatar, Master, or Guru, or the embodiment of pure electromagnetic energy giving birth to matter and circumstance, She is truth itself. 

When we beckon the Divine, we enter into courtship with eternal light. It doesn’t matter if we’ve named him Jesus, Buddha, or Elm Tree, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re rich or poor. What matters most is that we have chosen to bow to a Supreme Being, which is also us. As we embody the purest humility, we see through the eyes of the Divine, and into forever. It’s in this state that prayers are immediately fulfilled.

Once we are in a complete and humble prostration to the eternal Self, we can be anyone or anything. In this position, we can share every tidbit of our pain and let it all out. We can be sad, angry, or delighted. We can be full of love, rage or hate. We can be selfish, and we can beg. Most importantly, as we lay our hearts and burdens at His holy feet, we free ourselves. This is how every soul, regardless of religion, can be immersed in the bosom of eternal light, and be born again.

Genuine prayer is not easy. It comes at a price. To connect with and shift the fabric of reality through prayer, we must first admit that our self-identities and personas are temporary and barely real. 

While we might not need to embody our purest selves at the start of our prayers, we need to be open to our unraveling. Without a doubt, to achieve a durable state of prayer, we must acquiesce to the All-That-Is, from the cores of our beings.

The Reality Of It All

When leading and participating in Native American and Pagan rituals, I’ve seen people heal themselves of hatred, depression, and disease. I’ve felt spirits exit bodies, and I’ve seen miraculous transformations in the most broken and horrid people. 

Through deeply intentional and action-based prayers, I know that anything is possible. Even if for a moment, if we can strip ourselves of our false identities and desires, and open our hearts to the vibrations of pure light, we can co-create any reality.

To begin, sit in silence, and bow to the eternal master. Call out to your angels, guides, Gods, and helpers in all the realms. Yearn to be opened. Beg for the light to blow you away.

Read Article

More In Personal Development

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.

Use the same account and membership for TV, desktop, and all mobile devices. Plus you can download videos to your device to watch offline later.

Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Testing message will be here