In our modern world, we have re-defined intelligence to mean something like the ability to collect, sort and retrieve information. Tests in schools are designed to judge how much one can remember, not how well one thinks. In fact, we seem to be moving away from the concept of education as a way to help people become great thinkers. Philosophers are ignored or marginalized, and anti-intellectualism has become such an ingrained part of so many cultures that children try to avoid being thought of as ‘smart’. This sad condition exists because most of us have forgotten that intelligence comes from the heart, not from the ability to process data.
Many people identify themselves by pointing at the heart, not the head. In Chinese, the words for intelligence, knowledge, spirit and other strictly human qualities are derived from the word for heart. We use the heart as a symbol for one’s all, one’s best or one’s integrity, as in expressions like “he really put his heart into it” or “her heart is in the right place.” It can be demonstrated that ’emotional intelligence’ is a far more powerful indicator of success and happiness than the IQ, a culturally biased measurement of information processing.
In almost all religious teachings, deist or not, one’s compassion, love, joy and sense of equality are considered as either the manifestation of the best human qualities or an expression of an individual’s closeness to god. The practice of cultivating these qualities is at the heart of Yoga, Tantra, Kabbalah, Buddhism and many other mystical systems. The majority of these practices help turn the attention to the heart, consequently releasing its power. The experience of the conscious connection with the heart is usually followed by experiences such as lucid dreams, spontaneous healing, siddhis (mystical abilities such as telepathy and precognition), and, eventually, states of ever increasing bliss.
In the philosophical and metaphysical systems of both the East and the West, intelligence that does not serve the betterment of the quality of life is, in fact, ignorance. They also believe that self-improvement improves the lives of others. After searching for the source of this improvement, they found it waiting in the heart without a cause or reason for being there, radiant and full of joy.
It’s easy to “bring the breath” to the heart while enjoying positive feelings for a little while, but very difficult to do without understanding the immense power of the heart and its role in human life.
The heart is more than a pump made of muscle. Modern studies have taught us that the heart is the vibrational center of the human being. It regulates the brain, the emotions and the chemistry of the body; it starts working before one is born, and life ceases when it stops operating. The heart is the most powerful organ in the body. It expresses itself in four ways:
Neurologically: Every heartbeat generates a burst of neural activity that reaches the brain. Nerve cells within it are only now being understood, and their functions seem to be far more complex than many of those in the brain. The heart monitors the hormones, the rates of electrical and mechanical vibration, internal pressure throughout the body, etc. It then sends this information to the brain via the Vagus nerve and the spinal column, so that the brain knows whether or not to produce more neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and so forth.
Biochemically: ANF, produced in the heart, is the “balance hormone.” This biochemical miracle regulates important functions like blood pressure, fluid retention and electrolyte balance. ANF powerfully affects various organs such as the blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands and certain regions of the brain involved in other regulatory functions. ANF is involved in the immune and reproductive systems, and can inhibit the release of hormones usually associated with stress.
Physically: The pulse is the result of the physical pressure wave produced by the heartbeat. Skilled traditional medical practitioners can gain a tremendous amount of information from the pulse – not only about one’s physical state of health, but about their personalities, likes and dislikes, and even how they will react to circumstances.
Electromagnetically: The electromagnetic field produced by the heart is approximately 5,000 times more powerful than the field produced by the brain. In recent experiments, stimulating emotions in one person would register changes in the EKG of another person at a distance of several yards.
Modern scientists working in the field of neurocardiology have re-discovered what has been said for thousands of years – there are many supposedly automatic functions of the body that can be regulated. It has been proven that when focus is brought to the heart and a positive feeling like gratitude or compassion is generated, the many heart signals become coherent. This coherent state automatically entrains the brain and regulates the body bringing rest, peace and focus to the body and mind. Habits of thought that no longer serve one, or those that are keeping a person unhappy or ill can be completely eliminated; sometimes immediately. Anyone can make this happen by bringing the focus and the breath to the heart in peace, and offering the universe gratitude, love, compassion or appreciation, for just a few minutes a day. For more information, connect with The Institute of HeartMath, or lookup “The Heartmath Solution” on Amazon.com.