“I have little doubt that the heart is not only the major energy center of the body, but that it also has its own intelligence, an intelligence superior to the brain’s and its cells hold memories that influence only every other cell in our bodies but also every cell in the bodies of those close to us, and even those faraway, in both space and time” – Paul Pearsall Ph.D.
There is an old saying that the way to greatest happiness is in helping others. But did you know that this altruistic form of love actually activates and strengthens our own hearts and quite literally sends love to those who surround us?
Cardiology has established the heart generates energy in the form of an electromagnetic field that can be measured extending out 10-12 feet from our bodies. But this field also extends outwards merging with electromagnetic fields of the earth, plants, other living beings, even the sun, the moon, and stars. But most astounding are the studies by The Heart Math Institute which suggest that the heart serves as a transducer for converting and integrating higher-dimensional energies into the electrical system of the human body, allowing us to not only ‘download’ higher dimensional information from the universe, but retransmit this energy to others.
Since 1991, The HeartMath Institute has conducted hundreds of studies (published in established and respected publications such as the Harvard Business Review and the American Journal of Cardiology) measuring the effect of emotion on the electromagnetic field of the heart. When you are in a loving state, this heart field strengthens and expands. Conversely, when we feel negative or fearful, the heart field contracts, closing us off from the world.
By converting electrocardiograms into frequency diagrams they discovered that positive emotions such as love, appreciation, and gratitude generate strong, orderly coherent heart rhythms while emotions such as unhappiness, anger, hatred, and jealousy generated incoherent, chaotic, weak, heart rhythms.
Not only do coherent heart rhythms make us happier and healthier, they can actually entrain other people in close proximity – to come into coherence. Entrainment is the process by which oscillators come into synch with each other. Rollin McCraty, PhD., Mike Atkinson and William A. Tiller, PhD. in their study on head/heart entrainment demonstrated when two people were at a conversational distance, it was the more “coherent” heart rhythms of the two that began to entrain the other. In other words, when two heart fields meet, the frequency of the more loving heart uplifts the other.
So how then do we “change our hearts?” According to HeartMath research, it’s much easier than we think. By consciously shifting our attention to positive feelings like joy, appreciation or love, we can create synchronization in heart rhythm in seconds. And one easy way to create happy hearts is by stepping outside. Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings.
Multiple studies show mood is improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed and anxious to a more joyful and positive mood. One study at the University of Illinois suggests that residents in Chicago public housing who had trees and green space around their building reported knowing more people, having stronger feelings of unity with neighbours, being more concerned with helping and supporting each other.
In yoga, the heart is where we interconnect with the vast sea of energy extending throughout the universe. The Heart Chakra or Anahata’s element is air, and not surprisingly it signifies energy. According to yogic tradition, when love awakens the energy center of the heart, we experience hridaya, “the whole” a place of unity, oneness.
The Vedas describe the heart chakra as a lotus flower hanging downward with its petals closed. When activated by love, the lotus lifts its head and opens its petals and a spontaneous expansion of consciousness occurs. In the yogic tradition, this rising above the third chakra of power and ego – opens the ‘gate of heaven’ on earth.
So when we feel depleted, powerless, or depressed about the state of the world, it’s important to remember we can BE the change we want to see. And sometimes it’s as simple as getting outside for a walk, a picnic or just to sit on the grass. Spend a few minutes to feel your appreciation for the beauty and bounty of mother nature and for just a brief while, don’t worry, be happy. And who knows, by filling your heart with love, you just might make the world a better place!
P. S. If you want to learn more about the heart chakra and yoga be sure to attend my outdoor Herbal Workshop for Anxiety & Depression this Sunday (August 20th). For more info click here.