The recent post regarding the ‘heart’ was about the space of the heart as a place of meaning, and a portal to spiritual expanse. Today we’ll look at the heart as a physical organ and some fascinating properties it has.
Research from HeartMath tells us that the heart:
- Is the most powerful generator of electromagnetic energy in the body.
- The magnetic field produced by the heart is more the 5000 times greater in strength than the field generated by the brain.
- The heart’s electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain.
- The heart’s electromagnetic field not only envelops every cell of the body, but also extends out in all directions into the space around us.
In fact, a large percentage (60-65) of the heart’s cells are neural cells. This means they are exactly the same kind as those found in the brain, and function in exactly the same ways.
The heart has it own intrinsic nervous system that operates and processes information independently of the brain. The heart communicates with the brain and the body in four ways:
- Neurological communication (nervous system)
- Biophysical communication (pulse wave)
- Biochemical communication (hormones)
- Energetic communication (electromagnetic fields)
The heart communicates with the brain in ways that significantly affect how we perceive and react to the world. The heart and the brain ‘talk’ to one another — and together they ‘talk’ with the body. The heart sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart.
— HeartMath research
What this translates to is that when we cultivate and generate positive feelings, the signals the heart sends to the brain are changed. In turn the brain perceives differently, and our feelings improve. This is significant as it is. It’s also significant spiritually. Many, many spiritual truths conveyed by a variety of teachings have been telling us the same:
Our traits—the way we relate to the world and to our own mind—are the result of the accumulation of countless thoughts and emotions. By transforming the content of these thoughts and emotions, nurturing wholesome states of mind—such as altruistic love and compassion—and using antidotes against afflictive states of mind—such as animosity, obsession, and envy—we can gradually change our way of being, in the same way we usually acquire new skills.
— Matthieu Ricard
Mental and feeling qualities are often clustered. Wisdom and compassion go hand in hand, as does love and healing. Fear clusters with resistance, and lack of empathy with selfishness. What lives together, grows together (remember the constant loop between the heart and the brain). Negative or suffering-causing human qualities can be transformed and wholesome ones can be cultivated and established.
The whole picture is yet more intricate and revealing:
The neural connections to the brain from the heart cannot be turned off; information is always flowing between two. The heart is, in fact, directly wired into the central nervous system and brain, interconnected with the amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, and cortex. These four brain centers are primarily concerned with
- emotional memories and processing;
- sensory experience;
- memory, spatial relationships, and the extraction of meaning from sensory inputs from the environment; and
- problem solving, reasoning, and learning….
The heart, which possesses the same kind of neurons as the brain, stores memories. These memories affect consciousness and behavior, how we perceive the world. They most often have to do with specific emotional experiences and the meaning embedded within them. The more intense the emotional experience, the more likely it will be stored by the heart as memory.
— Stephen Harrod Buhner
Because the heart stores memories and because it stores the ones with greater emotional charge more readily, the opening and healing of the heart takes on new meaning and significance. If the brain is plastic, i.e., malleable the heart is ‘openable.’ An open heart is not clustered with resentments, dramas and darkness. It lets light in, the light of understanding, forgiveness, and love. The heart can be moved, it can be persuaded to leave its entrenched position.
Opening the heart is an act of courage. Courage comes before healing and love nourishes courage. We have to occupy our heart wholly and unequivocally. This tells the rest of our body and being that a new harmony is being established. Since the heart’s energy is global (it radiates out and beyond), once the heart heals, the human heals.
An open heart breathes. Each breath exchanges vital meaning with its host, and its natural and social environment. The heart receives, perceives and also informs other hearts. An open heart has an affirming relationship with Life and enriches all aspects being.
All healing is first a healing of the heart. — Carl Townsend
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Authentic Japanese Reiki Master Teacher / Healer in Fort Lauderdale at my South Florida Oasis Reiki Dojo. Meditation, Healing, and Spirituality training and services. Meditation Guide. Intuitive Coach. Spirituality Writer. Photographer. Dad. Vegetarian.