We may believe that our brain is our control center and imagine ourselves residing in our head and looking at the world through our eyes. Yet whenever we point to ourselves, we don’t point to our head; we point to our heart. Why is that? Is it possible that our heart is not just an organ that pumps blood through the body as many tend to believe but actually is the seat of our soul as the mystics call it?
Some traditions believe that it is actually the heart that connects the physical aspect of ourselves to our spiritual essence. For example, in the seven chakra model, the heart chakra, Anahata is considered the bridge between the three lower chakras of our physical manifestation and the three higher chakras of our spiritual dimension, and therefore our source of intuition and our access point to the Universal Intelligence. But this is far from being just a mystical concept.
The HeartMath Institute in Northern California has been researching the heart and the heart-mind connection for over twenty-five years. They made some profound discoveries, the most important of which is the state of heart coherence and its incredible benefits.
Psycho-physiological coherence or simply heart coherence is a state of synchronization of our heart, mind, emotions, and the nervous system. It is achieved by rhythmic breathing and focusing on positive emotions like gratitude, love, and compassion. It is important to note that the state of heart coherence is not just a state of relaxation. It can include relaxation, but its distinctive feature is the entrainment between the heart and the brain, which creates a level of global organization in the body that the state of relaxation alone does not. This is the optimal state that allows us to tap into the wisdom of our heart to receive answers, guidance, and connect with others in the most profound way.
Doc Childre, the founder of HeartMath Institute, describes it as “the flow of higher awareness, wisdom, and intuition we experience when the mind and emotions are brought into synchronistic alignment with the heart.”
Here are some facts about the heart that will help us better understand its role:
It is this state that many meditation techniques are trying to achieve, without even knowing it. Being in the state of heart coherence not only creates a resonance between our heart and mind but also between people. The science behind it may explain why mass meditation and group prayer with a specific intention can be so powerful.
Negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, impatience, etc. cause incoherence in our heart, which over time can lead to mental, emotional and physical health problems. Practicing the state of heart coherence consistently even for 5-10 minutes a day is shown to reverse the effects of mental and emotional problems and increase longevity, resilience, cognitive flexibility, memory, immune function, intuition, happiness; improve problem-solving, job performance and achievement.
Here is a simple technique to create a state of heart coherence:
Our heart is much more than just a pump. It has the wisdom to guide us through our every challenge and the power to create a life of love, authenticity and true happiness. So, I invite you to stay coherent and listen to your heart – it knows the way.
Daniel Amen, M.D., Doc Childre, Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. HeartMath Brain Fitness Program: Connecting Heart and Mind for Optimal Performance.
Doc Childre, Howard Martin, Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart.
Diana Vehuni, Ph.D., is a certified spiritual and holistic life coach, mindfulness meditation teacher, and an artist. She brings together perennial mystical wisdom and cutting-edge scientific knowledge to facilitate profound transformation in her students and clients.