The ancient Egyptians and Greeks knew a lot about the human heart. They saw it as the seat of empathy and love, and the place to go when the intellect got stuck.
Modern science now confirms these intuitive beliefs about the physical heart as a source of inner guidance and even intelligence.
The physical heart is an information processing center, sending signals to the brain and the rest of the body. It has a complex nervous system, called the heart-brain, which talks to the head-brain. It produces a powerful electromagnetic field that is imprinted by our emotions. This explains why we sometimes perceive meaning intuitively through our heart faster than the head can process the same information.
The heart may be more important than the brain in calming the body, reducing stress, and increasing intuition. Getting the heart and brain to work in harmony is the key to living more peacefully.
The HeartMath Research Institute has developed tools to help us regulate our emotions and break the cycles of knee-jerk responses to stress. The beauty of their techniques is their simplicity. Anyone can use them to handle difficult emotions, change how they approach problems, and boost the immune system.
When heart and brain work together, that is called coherence, the opposite of feeling stressed. The more coherent our body systems are, the more we can rceive new ideas, understand connections, and experience the joy of expressing ourselves honestly.
Heart-brain coherence can be achieved at will by actively self-generating positive emotions like love, compassion, gratitude, appreciation, patience, and kindness.
Here is an example of a simple exercise you can do anytime you want to feel better, be more centered, and express more of your loving nature to those around you.
- Focus your attention in the area of the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual. Find a rhythm easy for you.
2. Activate and sustain a regenerative feeling such as appreciation, gratitude, love, care or compassion. Think of a beloved person, pet, experience, or place to generate the feeling.
3. Continue breathing in and out from the area of our heart, slowly and deeply. Radiate that renewing feeling to yourself and others.
Here is a link to a free video course that includes information, PDFs to download, and the basic HeartMath techniques.