The Science of Spirituality Series: On HeartMath
We often hear the expression “follow your heart”! Yet, many of us often second-guess ourselves and doubt creeps in when our brain takes the driver’s seat.
What if I were to tell you that your true wisdom resides in your heart center?
In fact, your heart center can be thought of as a “heart brain”, as a source of innate intelligence.
Tuning into your heart’s wisdom helps you approach situations with emotional equanimity.
Follow Your Heart
When I met my husband, I almost missed our first date. I was returning back to my home, from the east coast. We were to have our first date that night (Valentine’s Day), and I missed my flight. I begged the airline service customer support to help me get on the first available flight, exclaiming, “I’m supposed to marry that man I haven’t yet met!”
And hours later when we did meet, my heart felt instant love.
This emotional experience was not driven by my brain. After all, when you love someone or feel love, do you place your hand on your head and say I love you with all my brain!
Of course, you don’t!
We place our hands on our heart. We are deeply driven to say, I love you with my heart. It’s a natural instinct or form of intuition to love with all of our heart.
What many don’t know is that since the late 1800s, it has been known scientifically that the heart sends far more information up to the nervous system to the brain than the brain sends to the heart.
A year after our first date, my husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day. Six months later we were married. About 3 years later we learned on Valentine’s Day that we were pregnant with our son, who we named Omni Valentino Lewis.
You see, I’ve consciously and perhaps unconsciously let love be the cornerstone of how I embody all aspects of my life from my thoughts, the words that I choose to use, love myself, love for my family, and love for my community, and love for what I do to make a living.
Perhaps I learned to follow my heart from my mom, who was the quintessential spiritual sage. She possessed deep soul awareness. Through her silent strength and heart-centered wisdom, she was instrumental in the spiritual awakening and soul-liberation transformations of all those who crossed her path.
When my mom suddenly passed a few years ago, my heart had a certain knowingness.
My logical brain would never have fathomed that our love was so strong that I performed her soul ascension ceremony on Valentine’s Day.
What transpired for me following her passing was a deep soul transformation. The catalyst was my mom’s heart-centered spiritual wisdom.
I cultivated a deeper connection to my own spirit, and my own intuition, and trusted my inner knowingness through heart-centered awareness.
Have you ever dismissed a “feeling” merely because you “thought” that there was no evidence to trust that feeling?
For example, you are driving down a street, and as you are about to make a turn, you feel you need to slow down. Just as you slow down you realize your car could have been hit by a reckless driver.
Your brain may not have any data to inform you that you are about to enter a life-threatening situation.
Often we let our brain be the driver, and we ignore signals from our body, such as that physical feeling from your gut that something isn’t right.
What we are unaware of is that the heart sends more signals to the brain than the brain to the heart. And our body gives us information through “feelings” as well. Think of feelings as awareness through our body.
Traditionally, scientists believed, that communication between the body and heart was sent through commands and information from the brain, but we now know that the reverse is true as well.
The Power of HeartMath
The HeartMath Institute was created through a deep sense of awakening for our humanity.
HeartMath has conducted over 25 years of empirically based research on the patterns of the heart’s activity. And over the past 40 years, they have extensively studied the effects of the heart’s activity on brain function.
Over the years HeartMath has developed scientifically-based tools and technologies, with over 300-peer reviewed or independent studies, empowering people to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors to “reduce stress, increase resilience, and unlock their natural intuitive guidance for making more effective choices,” and to “bridge the “intuitive connection between heart and mind and deepen our connection with the hearts of others”.
Researchers with the HeartMath Institute (HMI) have discovered that the human heart, in addition to its other functions, actually possesses the equivalent of its own brain, what they call the heart brain, which interacts and communicates with the head brain. The heart brain and head brain continually exchange critical information that influences how the body functions. This body of research is explained HMI’s Science of the Heart research.
The HMI article, Heart-Brain Interactions, explains that communication takes place through four primary pathways: neurologically (through the transmission of nerve impulses), biochemically (via hormones and neurotransmitters), biophysically (through pressure waves) and energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions).
“One important way the heart can speak to and influence the brain is when the heart is coherent – experiencing stable, sine-wavelike pattern in its rhythms. When the heart is coherent, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision-making. These changes come about because the heart, when it is coherent, sends out information that causes the changes via the processes mentioned above – neurologically, biochemically, biophysical, and energetically.”
Our Heart’s Magnetic Field
When the heart beats it creates electrical signals in the body. These signals can be measured with an electrocardiogram, which is a way to measure electricity. The electrical power put out by the heart is significantly greater than what the brainwaves created by the brain’s electrical activity.
A magnetic field is produced by the beating heart and radiates through the body, continuously broadcasting information. This magnetic field of the human heart can be measured over eight miles.
Our emotions are energy in motion.
So the emotions we feel on the inside, don’t stop at the skin. We radiate out those hearts’ emotions in the field environment.
And our physical nervous system tunes into those fields, and they tune into the information broadcasts from the emotional states of other people. These emotional states have a measurable effect on people around us.
The heart’s emotions such as empathy and compassion create a ripple effect that into vibrational fields all around us.
Our Earth’s Magnetic Field
The Earth’s magnetic field plays a role in our state of coherence. The earth is our energy source, and when we are more in tune with the Earth’s frequencies we have more energy.
The humans who have learned to be more coherent within their being (mind-body-heart), and connected through compassion with other beings, are more likely in sync with the Earth.
When we are in a more heart-coherent state we have the ability to lift others into a more optimal or coherent state.
When we are coherent, we are more synchronized and connected to one another, and the Earth.
HeartMath Institute Research Director, Rollin McCraty discusses why heart coherence is essential in stress management and sustainable behavior change. Per Rollin McCraty, “the lack of alignment to our deepest self is the biggest unrecognized stress on Earth.”
How to Bring More Coherence into our Lives?
Heart Math Research has shown that when we shift into a higher state of coherence we experience more emotional balance, greater resilience, increased mental focus, and reduced occurrences of anxiety.
The Heart Math Institute has created coherence techniques and tools, so that when we are feeling out of balance, frustrated, or overwhelmed we can proactively shift out of those states.
These heart-centered techniques, such as meditations, helps us intentionally produce vibrations such as love, compassion, gratitude, flow in creativity, and deep joy.
These vibrations benefit the practitioner’s body and also benefit other sentient beings within our immediate circle and beyond. The vibrations of the heart which emit electromagnetic current continue to circulate within the collective consciousness of humanity.
The below meditation is based on the Heart Math institute’s specific coherence-enhancing techniques.
The first step in most of them is “Heart-focused Breathing”; which suggests focusing your attention on the heart center (chest area). Imagine following the flow of your breath in and out of the chest area.
Mini Heart-Centered Meditation
The result of this technique is the feeling of more energetic flow in the heart area.
Start by placing your hand on the heart area.
Slow down you’re breathing a little slower than deeper than usual.
Adjust to a comfortable rhythm that matches the actual resonate frequency or breathing at the resonate frequency.
Breathe in for five seconds
Breathe out for five seconds
Maintain that even rhythmic flow without holding (at the top or bottom) your breath between breaths
With each cycle, consciously activate your feelings of gratitude, love, appreciation, and care.
What do I feel I am grateful for?
What do I feel love for?
What do I feel appreciation for?
What do I care about?
After a few cycles of breath, of slow fluid breaths, forget about counting as you want to get out of your head-space.
Radiate that love for ourselves.
The goal is the shift your awareness to your heart-space
Continue radiating the feelings of gratitude, love, appreciation, and care outwards.
This technique allows you to shift into a deeper level of heart-brain synchronization and coherence, which can be measured.
The next step is to radiate the feeling of coherence beyond yourself, to others, and then further extend that energy to all sentient beings and the planet.
Radiate that love outwards
Remember your heart is a magnetic force. Your heart is the cornerstone to making all of your dreams come true.
Learn to tune into your internal electrical system – your heart, and utilize it to its greatest potential.
Let your heart be your beacon for your life’s direction.