In the last few years, more people than ever — from different backgrounds and walks of life — are talking about the heart. More company mission statements make a point to mention the importance of the heart in leadership and customer care. 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 life’s decisions.

As a result, a new understanding of “heart” is emerging-one that moves the view of heart past a philosophical, often soft characterization into the realization of the heart as a dynamic, creative intelligence. The intelligence of the heart encompasses physical, emotional, intuitive and energetic/spiritual aspects of heart, essential for providing discernment and guidance to navigate life and experience wholeness fulfillment. Bringing the physical, emotional, intuitive and spiritual aspects into coherent alignment leads to a new way of perceiving, acting, re-acting, and relating -called Heart-Based Living.

The Power of Heart-Based Living

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 intuitive discernment and more genuine fulfillment.

For the last eighteen years, my colleagues and I at HeartMath have been exploring the power of the heart physically, emotionally and spiritually. The HeartMath organizations, founded by Doc Childre, have developed a system for personal and organizational development consisting of techniques, tools and technologies 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, like those long metaphorically associated with “heart”.

For me the exploration of the heart, which led me to HeartMath many years ago, began with a genuine desire to become a better, self-empowered person and to find ways to live a life that was more balanced, caring and fulfilling. I read and studied many books and often saw the heart being referred as having influence over our thoughts, feelings and values. I wondered what “heart” was really all about and did it hold an essential intelligence? Little did I know that the future understanding of heart would usher in new views of physiology and psychology.

Researches here at HeartMath, working in consort with others, have discovered some amazing new understanding about the heart. For me this information was eye opening as it confirmed much of what I intuitively had felt about the heart being a source of wisdom and intelligence.

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.

How The Heart Is So Powerful

First, the heart has a very complex nervous system consisting of neurons, proteins and support cells that sends information to the brain. Scientists around the world who study this nervous system actually call it the “brain in the heart”. The information it sends travels through a nerve pathway that originates in the heart and terminates in the higher perceptual centers of the brain. This means that there is an important neurological conversation taking place between heart and brain. When scientists map out this biological conversation they clearly see 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. This is the wave of energy created by the beating heart that pushes blood through the arteries and veins. This blood pressure wave influences the electrical activity in the brain. As the blood pressure wave changes so does brain activity. In essence researchers now know that brain function is critically dependent on information it receives from the heart through the heart’s nervous system and blood pressure waves!

The third way the heart communicates to the brain and body is through hormones. In 1983 the heart was reclassified as part of our hormonal system. It produces several important hormones and one of them, atrial peptide, helps to reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol. So, in this third instance, we have a chemical communication going on between heart and body all of the time.

The fourth way, however, is where things get really interesting. The heart is an electrical organ producing by far the largest amount of electrical energy in our bodies-forty to sixty times as much power as the second strongest source, the brain. This energy permeates every single cell in our bodies. 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 three to four 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. How does the heart’s field affect the brain? How do fields created by living systems, like people or animals, affect one another? How does our field interact with the magnetic fields produced by the earth itself? Is the heart producing a non-linear field that extends out far beyond just a few feet? These are all questions that HeartMath researchers are looking at and I’m confident more exciting discoveries about the heart are in store.

Enjoy unfolding the power of your heart to increase your fulfillment.

Take care.

Click to view a short video of HeartMat’s CEO Bruce Cryer talking about stress, heart/brain communication and the emWave products.

About the Author:

Howard Martin is one of the original leaders who helped Doc Childre found HeartMath. In 1999 he co-authored The HeartMath Solution and he has been with HeartMath’s world-wide training and consulting team since its inception in 1991.

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