October 3, 2013

Cultivating the Heart. ~ Joe DiSabatino

“The book that I shall make people read is the book of the heart which holds the key to the mystery of life.”

~ Meher Baba

The amazingly complex functioning of the heart is one of life’s great mysteries.

No one can  explain exactly why the tiny heart starts beating when the human fetus is only 18-22 days old, well before the brain is formed. And, if in good health, the human heart continues to beat faithfully 100,000 times a day, about 40 million times a year, and over three billion times in the course of a 70-year life span.

When someone has a heart transplant, the nerves that run from the donor’s heart to the brain are severed. Heart surgeons have yet to figure out how to reconnect them in the recipient; nevertheless, the donated heart starts beating anyway.

There are many documented stories of heart recipients, after surgery, acquiring the habit patterns and personal tastes of the donor, such as music and food preferences.

After her operation, one eight-year-old heart recipient led police to the murderer of her donor when she started getting spontaneous flashbacks of the murder scene.

Clearly, the physical heart has a mind of its own that is active in ways we never thought possible, such a serving as a repository of memories.

New Research 

The medical world now knows that the heart is not just a highly efficient pump, as it was once thought to be. Research has proven that the heart possesses its own center of intelligence that is different from the brain.

Under certain internal conditions, the heart is even capable of acting as the master regulator of every system in our body. The heart has at least 40,000 nerve cells that form an independent nervous system. It receives and sends out signals to every organ and system in the body, including the brain.

Outside of our conscious awareness, the heart beats in an intelligent language that strongly effects how we perceive and respond to the world around us.

Medical studies carried out by Heartmath (heartmath.org) reveal that the heart actually communicates simultaneously in four intelligent languages: 1. neurological (nerve impulses), 2. biochemical (via hormones and neurotransmitters), 3. biophysical (via blood pressure waves that travel much faster than the flow of blood and send information to the body), and 4. electromagnetic (cell phones and radio/TV stations transmit information via electromagnetic waves, as does the heart).

The electromagnetic field of the human heart is about 5,000 times more powerful than the brain’s, and it generates 40-60 times more electrical amplitude than the brain.

When we are “in our heart” we are connected to deeper positive feelings such as love, joy, appreciation, gratitude or a feeling of oneness. Heartmath’s research has shown that the heart’s ability to optimally coordinate all the systems of the body (the hormonal, immune, respiratory, autonomic nervous system, brain, circulatory, etc.) is at its peak.

In other words, positive feelings translate into optimal health.

 This desirable state is called “coherence” because the heart “entrains” all these systems to its own special rhythm.

The co-action principle of entrainment is similar to what happens when the largest pendulum clock in the room will, after about thirty minutes, influence the other clocks  to beat at its own particular rhythm. Likewise, in an internal state of coherence, the heart’s rhythms will “frequency lock” or entrain the body’s organs, systems, and  even low-frequency brain waves.

Internal coherence can be seen by graphing a person’s heart-rate variability pattern which is a measure of one’s moment-to-moment changes in heart rate (by ECG analysis). When we are in a state of emotional stress or anxiety, the heart-rate variability graph is jagged and uneven, like a series of mountain peaks. But, when we are “in our heart” and actively feeling love or appreciation, then the heart-rate variability graph shows up as a smoothly flowing sine-wave pattern, like gently rolling hills. These smoother heart rhythms complete one wave cycle every 10 seconds.

This particular heart frequency might be called the measurable rhythm of love.  At this frequency, one’s physical, emotional and mental capabilities are optimized. something else that is unique takes place in this state.

The brain’s alpha waves soon synchronize with the heart’s harmonious rhythms, establishing a balancing of the brain’s two hemispheres. This balanced state then creates a separate electrical frequency of its own that further integrates the heart and mind frequencies, thus creating a new field of intelligence that widens perceptions—the state of intuitive knowing.

Intuition, or the ability to instantaneously perceive with a wider or deeper internal lens, strongly kicks in when we are in the state of heart-induced coherence. Spiritual masters over the ages have taught that the head and the heart have to be balanced as a necessary prelude to the spiritual advancement of intuition.

Science is now proving what has been known by the perennial sages of spiritual wisdom.

Heart-centered Meditation

1. Sit in a chair or on the floor in a quiet space.

2. Bring awareness  to the chest region. Place the right hand on the upper center part of the chest to increase attention to that area .

3. Begin to imagine breathing in and out through the heart center.

4. Do a heart check-in.

Ask the heart, “So how are you doing right now?” Pay close attention to what is happening beneath the hand. Is there a difference in the way the left, right, front, and back of the heart feels? Is there pain, fogginess, clarity, light?

Just notice and accept without judgment.

5. After a few moments, drop deeper into the heart by evoking and feeling love, appreciation or gratitude.

Visualize a loving person or place—a spouse, child, family member, dear friend, a spiritual teacher, or special place that evokes positive feelings.

You might also want to do your own version of what Sufis call a zikr (repeating inwardly a name of God or the Most High, such as “Great Spirit” or “The One”). Place the name directly into you heart center and let it reverberate there.

6. If contracted or emotional areas in your heart are discovered, don’t judge or try to change the feelings. Just accept them. Send love or the divine name into those areas, washing the heart clean like the wash and rinse cycle of a washing machine.

7. Sink even deeper into the heart. Gradually the heart rhythm will naturally slide into the one cycle per 10 seconds pattern, producing  a slower, more subtle pulse than a ordinary heartbeat.

8. After a few moments, simply notice what the heart is experiencing. Is there more serenity, calm, quiet?

9. Tune into how the heart is sending positive messages to all systems in the body. The conscious awareness of calm, or love, is being sent out to every cell of your being.

10. When ready, gradually return the awareness to the outside world.

With practice, inner experiences at the deepest heart level will continue  throughout the day. xxxDifficult emotions and mental worries won’t grip as strongly.

In other words, life will have a new level of consciousness that comes from reading the book of the heart.


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Asst. Ed: Kerrie Shebiel/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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