Does Your Heart Have a Mind of Its Own?
Until recently, modern science perceived the heart as merely a pump to regulate the flow of blood throughout our bodies. But across numerous cultures, the heart has historically been thought to have a much greater function that corresponds with our thoughts, emotions, and spirit.
When we speak or share feelings from a place of deep meaning or passion, we say we’re speaking from the heart or we’re trying to convey something that is heartfelt. This is no longer just an archaic maxim, but instead, one with factual backing. And science is now realizing that the heart and brain have more of a corollary, interactive relationship than previously thought … a relationship that has residual consequences on our bodies, and possibly even humanity as a whole.
Connecting Two Major Organs
The brain has typically been thought to be the control center for the body, sending directions through the nervous system to different organs, telling them how to behave. This is done through voluntary or involuntary action, like telling the heart to pump blood. But in reality, the heart sends more signals to the brain than the brain does to the heart, influencing emotions, memories, problem-solving, and high-level cognitive functions.
In fact, the heart has its own network of neurons. This network is so sensitive that our heart rhythms become highly ordered when we experience positive emotions, love, and joy. On the contrary, negative emotions and psychological activity cause erratic and jerky heart function, leading to inefficiency, lack of energy, and poor reasoning.
While massive fluctuations can shake up our energy and emotional levels, our heart rates already fluctuate very regularly, sometimes even every beat. Although these fluctuations are minute it shows just how sensitive our hearts are and how susceptible they are to change. These oscillations in our heart rate are called Heart Rate Variability or HRV. HRV essentially measures the change in our heart rate with each beat. It is an effective way of being able to maintain and effect psychophysiological coherence or heart-brain coherence.
How To Maintain Heart-Brain Coherence
The goal of developing and maintaining heart-brain coherence is to essentially tune these organs to the proper frequency, creating a harmony that allows for optimal functioning. The ideal frequency that one wants to achieve is 0.1 Hz. At this frequency, it is scientifically proven that the body activates enzymes that work to delay aging, improve cognitive function, boost our immune system, and promote the production of DHEA, the precursor to all hormones. So how does one achieve a 0.1 Hz frequency?
Eating healthy, organic food should be the first step one should take in the process, but it is not necessarily enough. With soil quality often lacking to provide optimal nutrients, supplements can help give the boost needed to implement one’s diet and attain coherence. Vitamin C from ascorbic acid, Vitamin K, Magnesium, and Calcium are often nutrients that we don’t get enough of, as well as the enzyme CoQ10 which is an antioxidant that promotes cardiovascular health.
Paired with this healthy diet, the primary method for activating heart-brain coherence is through a 10-second breathing technique. Using a breathing rate of five seconds in and five seconds out, while consciously evoking positive thought and emotion, one can activate heart-brain coherence.
One of the benefits of practicing heart-brain coherence is that it can lead to greater resilience in one’s heart waves. Although it may sound counterintuitive, the more heart rate variability there is between each beat, or the higher HRV, the more our bodies are capable of adapting to changes.
When we are young we are born with great variability in our heartbeats and therefore greater resilience to deal with the stresses involved with learning. As we grow older, there is less variability, making it more difficult to deal with changes in life. As we age, or when we look at the behavior of older people, sometimes there is a tendency to be stubborn or rigid in our ways, whereas younger people tend to be more flexible and willing to cope with changes in life — this correlates with HRV.
Another extraordinary consequence of the resonance that is created through the frequencies of our body, especially when heart-brain coherence is achieved, is the effect it can have on others. It has been measured that the frequencies generated by our body are emitted and can be picked up within a five-foot radius.
What’s even more astounding is that the frequency generated from our collective consciousness has the power to affect Earth’s magnetic waves. Gregg Braden describes this by showing massive spikes in magnetic fields during times of significant global events. Historically, these massive human-induced fluctuations have occurred from global tragedies, but what could happen if we were able to consciously, collectively harness that power from positive events? The results could be extraordinary.
Living With an Open Heart
There is something so undeniably beautiful when I look into the darkness and deep hours of the night, when the world around me is completely silent. Tonight, as I stare into our backyard through our moon room, I see a reflection that represents my heart. It is the light that shines from the moon, illustrating that even when there is darkness there is eternal light.
As I continue to lose myself in the glow of the moon, I feel a peace that is simple and all-knowing; all the answers are right in front of me. This reflection of silence in the night offers up my most raw truth, one that even my ego cannot deny. When I feel this truth so deeply, I want to press pause; I know that as the night blends to greet the morning sun it may, once again, be disguised by many layers. This is when I love to sit at my desk and release every ember of a thought that wants to meet paper. Sometimes it turns into a story, sometimes I feel like it may be a “Jerry McGuire moment” in the making, but right now it feels healing.
Find Your Light of Love
Deep inside all of us is a brilliant light of love. This gift of love never has to be figured out, fixed, or solved – it just is. It is when I relinquish control and completely surrender that I know I am in my truth because I am not in charge. In this moment I trust that everything is as it divinely should be. It is a true invitation to follow suit, to look at a new path regardless of any boundary I may have created for myself.
When I think back to the moments in my life when I have been entirely present, they have been when I surrendered fully, was extremely vulnerable, and didn’t worry how that vulnerability would be received. I wish every day could be this spiritually in shape, but it is because of these moments that I know there are endless possibilities. I know that I am the only person in my way, and that is extremely humbling and inspiring all at once.
A Guide for Opening & Connecting
Learn the art of mindfulness and loving kindness — the foundations for living with an open heart — in The Yogi’s Heart, a guide for opening and connecting. For it is only when you approach life from a place of openness can you embody connectedness with all things.
It is not easy to be raw in our everyday lives. We don’t like to see ourselves vulnerable, even when the world around us whispers that we are safe. We have been taught to always have it together, have it all figured out, separate ourselves from the pack, and, most importantly, be successful by a societal standard. We actually get angry when we believe others are not living life the “right way.” However, after we strip away all the insecurities and boundaries, it is easy to realize we are all craving the same thing – unconditional love, understanding, and compassion. We are begging for someone to throw us a rope when the rope is already present.
This space of love exceeds all limiting beliefs of religion, race, and class. It is a platform that seats our soul as we share the message. We all want to be loved and accepted for who we really are in our soul. We want those around us to understand that we are doing our best even if it goes unnoticed in the eyes of another. We want the world to understand our experiences have shaped who we are. We secretly beg for others to meet us where we stand with compassion and kindness, but unfortunately, this gets misunderstood in our fanfare of costumes and roles.
I don’t believe anyone would consciously admit he or she judges another to make his or her experiences more justified, or that we choose to make decisions based on what others think is the right way. But sometimes, we get caught in the crossfire. We judge others because we are trying to build our own story. We try to identify how we are different to still the voice that has been trained to see this as an opportunity to be better. We use all kinds of boundaries to shape how we have it right and others have it wrong. Here’s the simple answer: we ALL have the gift of light inside of us. No one is EVER more ahead than another; it is not a line we travel but a cycle that has no beginning or end. When we release and surrender, the boundaries wash away. What is left is a light of raw, unconditional love that was always present.
Embrace What Is
The biggest question becomes how do we live in this light? How do we let go of the boundaries the ego has created? In this moment of living truth it goes beyond an answer. It just is.
God, a higher power, the Universe – whatever you have named your light is pure love. It is a space that has no conditions or power. It is a space that doesn’t care if you are a lawyer or doctor, rich or poor, mean or kind, or if you think you have it all figured out. This space doesn’t care if you think you are a better parent than another, have it more together, or if you’ve had it harder and no one understands. Most importantly, this space doesn’t care if you think love is a word hippies use to justify their disconnection from the world or if this word is so powerful you can’t say it at all. The best part is that this space is always here for you, just as the sun is always burning brightly no matter what the day may suggest. This space is limitless without boundaries or conditions; it is the most powerful space.
What I know is that in the moments of my imperfect thoughts, I feel this space and I know that every breath presents an opportunity to leave the old behind and build from this source of love. We can choose to go there in moments while we chip away at the boundaries, or we can jump in with both feet. No matter which way you choose to shift, this space will always be waiting for you. I use this thought every day to elicit compassion for myself. I use the mantra I lean on love. I use every opportunity to peel back more layers of myself. As I do, I begin to see the levels of attachment I and others have in the roles I play. I have to completely let go and know that my heart is full of love. This means no longer trying to justify where I am coming from, no longer being afraid of how others will receive me, and no longer trying to define my life. It means living in the present moment. I can’t give myself a better gift.
Take pause, close your eyes, and listen to your heart. This space of love is always present. It doesn’t take prayer or asking for guidance to get there. It is just a matter of listening.
Peace to you in your journey!