8 Fascinating Facts on the Heart's Intelligence

8 Fascinating Facts on the Heart's Intelligence

As our valentines week special, we’re reviewing the mystical and scientific discoveries regarding the intelligence within our hearts. Since antiquity, the heart has been a revered organ, not just for its ability to grant us life and influence emotions, rather for being the command center for intuitive intelligence. Below we’re reviewing amazing facts found within neuroscience, along with three steps you can take to ensure your heart is aligned with your brain.
Thankfully due to the amount of research within neurobiology since 1985, the heart has been discovered to be a lot more than just a pump. Scientists have come to study the intimate relationship between the brain and the heart coming to discover that the heart has many parallels to the brain. Scientists found that the heart has about 40,000 specialized neurons that can sense, feel, learn and remember, forming a sophisticated communication network just within the heart itself. 
What’s truly exceptional is that the intricate network of neurons, nerves, neurotransmitters, proteins, and more, found in the heart making it identical to those found in the brain. 
The discoveries and understanding on heart intelligence can forever change our relationship to how we perceive the world, and ourselves. And interestingly enough, many of these “newly” found discoveries within neuroscience in general, have been written about for thousands of years by ancient civilizations. 

Science is just beginning to catch up with traditional beliefs when it comes to explaining experiences such as intuition, precognition, self-healing, empathy and talented abilities like telepathy and clairvoyance. This is especially clear when we examine the principles offered in some of the most cherished spiritual traditions, such as Ayurveda, Daoism, Sufism, Traditional Chinese, Medicine, Mayan, and many other ancient indigenous traditions. Historical teachings demonstrate a deeper understanding of the heart’s intelligence at the level of having direct influence upon our mind, personality, daily decisions, intuition, and our ability to make moral choices, can be found in almost all traditions world wide. 

In the groundbreaking book The HeartMath Solution, authors Doc Childre and Howard Martin distill over 30 years of research on the complex role the heart plays in your health, happiness, well-being, and longevity. Their research reveals the heart to be a command center of formidable intelligence and intuitive knowledge that is tied into every system and every cell of your body. Here are some of their key discoveries...

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8 Facts on the
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1. The heart contains its own independent nervous system, comprised of more than 40,000 neurons.

2. The heart’s electromagnetic field is the most powerful field generated by your body. It is projected throughout the body, and radiates several feet outside of you.

3. Your heartbeat, rather than being a simple “lub-dub, lub-dub,” is a tightly compressed information stream, broadcasting its message to every cell of the body.

4. The heart provides you with emotional and intuitive guidance to help you direct your life.

5. Core heart feelings (love, appreciation, compassion) down-regulate the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). 

6. Your heart rhythms are mirrored in your emotional states. Negative emotions such as fear, anger, and hostility create disordered and irregular heart rate variability (the healthy variation in the time interval between heartbeats). Positive emotions create improved order in the heart’s rhythms.

7. The heart is the body’s master oscillator—its rhythm pulls all the body’s systems into a state of entrainment or synchronization.

8. Positive emotional states have a balancing effect on the nervous system by strengthening immunity, enhancing hormonal function, and improving brain function.

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Did You Know That The
Heart is Naturally Coherent?
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But perhaps the most profound revelations about heart intelligence involve the concept of internal coherence. Coherence is the state of being highly ordered, organized, and efficient. In a coherent system, all the individual parts are operating in harmony and virtually no energy is lost. It is a state of least effort and maximum benefit because all the individual components are working together rather than against each other. When the rhythms of the heart become coherent, the heart’s electromagnetic field becomes equally more coherent. This strengthened coherence transmits waves of healing and transformation throughout your entire system, including your brain.

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3 Steps to Heart and Brain Coherence
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How do you create this profound and powerful state of heart/brain coherence? According to The HeartMath Solution, there are three power tools of the heart that are potent means to generate the laser-focused coherence that can create a more balanced and healthy system. Each of these tools is a gateway to a deeper, more profound connection to the heart’s intelligence. Use them with the intention accessing the healing and transforming power of your heart.

1. Appreciation

When you feel appreciation, you are tuning into the good qualities of someone or something. It is both the awareness and recognition of those pleasing people, situations, and things—as well as the gratitude and thankfulness you foster for those experiences. This is a special state and you intuitively know it, if for no other reason than because it feels good. Appreciation literally causes your internal environment to shift; it puts a hard stop on the incoherence of the stress response and reframes your mindset from one of lack to abundance. When you shift into a state of appreciation, you take your attention off what you don’t have and put it on all that you do have. And in doing so, research has shown you produce an extremely coherent, entrained, balanced, and harmonious energy field within the heart that is then radiated throughout your body.

Practicing appreciation can sometimes be challenging for several reasons. First, most of us have been encultured to focus on what we lack, and narrow in on negative aspects about our life. This is a built-in mechanism often stemming out hardwired subconscious behaviors that are often passed down through generations, cultural programming, traumas in life, and many more potential aspects. 

Despite these factors, you can make the conscious choice to override your evolutionary and societal conditioning, rewrite your neural pathways, and look for more things to appreciate. Try one or all of the following as a test every day before you officially start your day: 

  1. Begin and end each day with two minutes in grateful recognition of the miracle of being alive and all the joys life has to offer. (A good meditation to start with is the Inner Smile meditation by Mantak Chia, which is essentially visualizing your heart smiling.)
  2. Make a list of things to appreciate in your life. Consider a challenging situation in your life and look for things to appreciate that lie hidden in the problem.   
  3. Try to literally embody and rehearse your gratitude. Abandon your regular thoughts while you’re doing this. Shift your mind into the present moment and observe through the eyes of wonder and gratitude. 

2. Non-judgement 

In this intellectual-based society, judgment is a standard operating procedure. The mind is efficient when it comes to separating, analyzing, and categorizing information. This can be beneficial in matters of business or when making rational choices about your safety and security. However, it can often become so dominant that it creates rigid, negative, and intractable boundaries that separate you from others.

This type of judgement is the byproduct of the ego, your false self that strives to feel separate, special, and superior. This judgement also creates an enormous amount of mental turbulence and static. The end result is an unhealthy and incoherent internal atmosphere. Judgment also uses a great deal of energy in maintaining those opinions and firm barriers. So while judgement feels natural, the person who is doing the judging is actually hurting him/herself.

Practicing non-judgement represents a deviation from your standard operating procedure. It creates a neutral mental state in which you unplug from your preconceived notions and see things as they are. If you are to open yourself to the coherence and entrainment of the heart’s intelligence, you must let go of your definitions and see things as they are. Explore these steps to non-judgment:

  1. When a judgement arises, put your attention in your body and notice how the judgement makes you feel. Judgment usually feels constrictive and limiting. Similarly, when you practice nonjudgement, notice if you feel lighter or more expansive.
  1. Choose to look at things, people, and situations through the lens of neutrality, knowing that things just “are” and inherently don’t mean anything until you define them as such. (A great book in association to this is A Course in Miracles)        
  1. Put yourself in another’s place. Recognize that you can never truly understand the behaviors or feelings of another without walking in their shoes. Try to empathize with others to better understand their perspective, opening doorways to your own deeper understanding.

3. Forgiveness

A lack of forgiveness creates an enormous emotional and energetic debt in your system. It is one of the most subtle, yet significant, sources of incoherence in your heart, mind, and body. When you don’t forgive, you pack away a grievance and hold onto it for months, years, or even a lifetime, eventually converting it into negative emotions like anger, fear, resentment, judgment, lack of self worth, and more. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~ Buddha

In practicing forgiveness, unpack your past hurts, traumas, grudges, and grievances, giving yourself permission to move on. Ultimately, forgiveness isn’t about simply forgiving someone who you feel wronged you. It’s the processes of reclaiming the aspect of your soul back to yourself, and re-investing the energy, through gratitude as an emotional conduit, back into your soul’s growth. Oftentimes we don’t forgive because we’ve created comfort with the identity that was birthed from the pain story. Here is where forgiveness is the process of letting go of our old self and making space for our new self.  

Please share below any insights and practices that have been valuable to you and in your process of aligning your heart with your brain. Thank you for reading!

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