“I have little doubt that the heart is not only the major energy center of the body, but that it also has its own intelligence, an intelligence superior to the brain’s and its cells hold memories that influence only every other cell in our bodies but also every cell in the bodies of those close to us, and even those faraway, in both space and time” – Paul Pearsall Ph.D.
Lately there is a lot of talk in new age circles about the importance of the heart in a coming shift or expansion of consciousness. The gist of the talk is this, if we can get out of our ego driven heads and begin living in our hearts; ‘heaven on earth’ is possible.
This idea isn’t new. Nearly all religious and spiritual traditions acknowledge the heart as the gateway to higher consciousness. According to ancient yogic tradition love awakens the energy center of the heart opening the “gate of heaven” where we experience hridaya, “the whole” a place of unity, oneness.
But what is news is research suggesting both the new agers and ancient yogis are right. Having a loving heart not only connects us to a higher dimensional field of energy, it grants us the power to reach past the boundaries of the material world and positively affect the well-being of others.
Sound a little airy fairy? Maybe even far-fetched? Well let me explain.
The heart is more than a simple pump; it is an electronic organ which produces the greatest electro-magnetic field in the body, radiating outwards from 12 to 15 feet. Cardiology has established the heart is broadcasting electrical information, not only to every single cell in our own bodies, but also into space.
Since 1991, The HeartMath Institute has conducted hundreds of studies (published in established and respected publications such as the Harvard Business Review and the American Journal of Cardiology) measuring the effect of emotion on the electromagnetic field of the heart.
By converting electrocardiograms into frequency diagrams they discovered that positive emotions such as love, appreciation and gratitude generate strong, orderly coherent heart rhythms while emotions such as unhappiness, anger, hatred and jealousy generated incoherent, chaotic, weak, heart rhythms.
While coherence results in a host of physical benefits (reduced stress and levels of cortisol, balanced hormones, lowered blood pressure and enhanced immune system function) negative emotions do the opposite, raising stress and dampening immune system function.
But here’s the good part. Not only do coherent heart rhythms make us happier and healthier, they can actually entrain other people in close proximity – to come into coherence.
Entrainment is the process by which oscillators come into synch with each other. Rollin McCraty, PhD., Mike Atkinson and William A. Tiller, PhD. in their study on head/heart entrainment demonstrated when two people were at a conversational distance, it was the more “coherent” heart rhythms of the two that began to entrain the other.
McCraty is the Director of Research at the HeartMath Institute and he theorizes the ability of the heart to ‘synch’ people up is sourced in its ability not just to generate signals but receive them. He reminds us that the heart is constantly receiving information from the great sea of electromagnetic energy that surrounds and penetrates us. Generated by every living and inanimate thing including us, animals, plants, rocks, the earth, sun, moons, and stars, this field not only shapes our bodies, affecting our health, emotions and circadian rhythms, it ultimately composes us.
McCraty makes the astonishing speculation that coherence makes us more receptive to the subtle electromagnetic information encoded in the field around us. The electromagnetic field of the heart is shaped like a toroid (a donut). In physics this shape is often referred to as a subtle energy transducer because it converts one form of energy to another. In other words a loving heart not only allows us to ‘download’ higher dimensional information, it allows us to retransmit this energy to others.
This idea certainly runs in accord with the ancient yogic view of the heart. The Vedas describe the heart chakra as a lotus flower hanging downward with its petals closed. When activated by love, the lotus lifts its head and opens its petals and a spontaneous expansion of consciousness occurs. In yogic tradition, this rising above the third chakra of power and ego awakens the fourth chakra of the heart, opening the ‘gate of heaven’ on earth.
I think the yogi’s were definitely on to something. They definitely foreshadowed the view of esteemed neuroscientist Paul Maclean who stated (I paraphrase) – that individual ego translates through the brain, but universal consciousness translates through the heart.
I also think the new agers have a valid point too – our most powerful tool for achieving ‘heaven on earth’ may well be a shift into a more loving state of consciousness.
So how then do we “change our hearts?” According to HeartMath research, it’s much easier than we think. By consciously shifting our attention to positive feelings like joy, appreciation or love, we can create synchronization in heart rhythm in seconds.
For more information: http://www.heartmath.se/img/the_coherent_heart.pdf