Heart intelligence is something that I believe is referred to in Chinese Medicine as the heart-mind. Ancient forms of medicine and philosophy all seem to have know about our deeper awareness and mind-body connection long before we had the modern tools for researching those phenomena.
In 1991 The Institute of HeartMath , a non-profit research and educational foundation was founded by stress researcher Doc Lew Childre and a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Through their research they have explored the heart and discovered much about the HOW of heart logic and, more specifically, how it influences behavior.
Heart Intelligence Quiets the Primitive Brain Centers
The Institute of HeartMath uses a method that creates coherent heart rhythms to generate “heart intelligence”. (Coherence is defined as that state where two or more systems are in sync, thereby operating more smoothly and effectively.) They found that when coherent heart rhythms are generated the primitive emotional centers of the brain no longer dominate and a clearer perspective emerges. Through quieting the emotions we are less attached to the ego mind and more open to higher frequencies of energy, information and knowledge. From there we have greater access to wisdom to inform all aspect of our lives.
The How of Heart Intelligence
Activating genuine heart-based feelings of care, love, gratitude, and compassion creates coherent heart rhythms, and stimulates healthy neural, hormonal, biochemical, and energetic flow to all organs. In addition, brain function improves, production of stress hormones decreases, anti-aging factors increase, immunity is enhanced and well being is experienced all the way down to the cellular level! It’s up to us; we can trigger all these effects at will! What’s not to love about that?
Appreciation and Heart-Mind Connection
HeartMath reports that appreciation is another emotion that generates positive shifts in physiology. To paraphrase their definition, appreciation is an active emotional state characterized by a perception and recognition of something for which you feel grateful. Appreciation, gratitude and unconditional love seem to be the three emotional states that most strongly produce coherence in the human energy field.
In research studies when subjects produce high rates of coherence in the heart, they also exhibit increased heart-brain synchronization (smoother signals traveling to and from each organ), increased immunity, improved physiological function, decreased stress, and better emotional management.
Individuals capable of sustaining high levels of coherence by holding feelings of love, gratitude and appreciation through intention showed profound changes in their DNA. High states of coherence produced an unwinding and lengthening of DNA strands, while fear, anxiety, frustration and stress caused DNA to tighten, become shorter and switch off many of its codes.
Members in a control group who could not produce high levels of coherence showed no changes in their DNA.
The bottom line is that our habitual states of mind affect our lives on many levels. The heart is a key player in shifting to higher states that trade the negative for a more positive health and life enhancing effect.
Heart Math Biofeedback
I was introduced to the theories and biofeedback system from HeartMath in the 90’s. Over the years I have used this system and been amazed at the results. I have seen the techniques taught at HeartMath bring positive shifts for my clients and for myself. As people are taught to focus on the heart and bring calmness to emotional turmoil, they often spontaneously have realizations that lead to greater understanding, meaning, resolution or healing of their particular dilemma or conflict.These realizations come easily, effortlessly and often lead in a new direction that is much more beneficial than if those involved had relied solely on the lower mind to problem-solve.
A fun thing that I have noticed is the response to people in general in the community to me during times when I have been actively practicing heart centered meditation. The people I encounter as I go about my day are friendlier, nicer, more open….coincidence? Experiment for yourself and see!