What does it mean to live in the heart? Why is that different from living in the mind? How can you tell whether you are in your head or your heart? The place to start this inquiry is to understand that the organ we refer to as the heart is more than just a pump moving blood around the body. It has over 40,000 neurons and communicates with the brain and the digestive tract regarding blood flow and circulation. When the heart communicates with the brain that something is off balance, we can feel it. This is where “light headedness”, or “dizziness” can come in which is the direct result of the heart not being in sync with the rest of our body. Something is off.
Researchers have discovered that the electromagnetic field generated by the heart is much larger than any other organ, including the brain. This field is approximately 8-10 feet in diameter for a healthy person. This would explain why people who are sensitive to the fluctuations in electromagnetic fields can tell when a heart is diseased or distressed. Similarly, people who are experiencing large amounts of stress or anxiety due to disappointment or loss will experience fluctuations in their electromagnetic field that is often called it “a broken heart”.
While there is no empirical evidence to prove what perceptions are harbored in the heart versus the head, there are some experiences I have lived that would tell me that there are distinctions between the types of perceptions we have when we are “heart-centered” and when we are “ego-centered”. These differences are quite dramatic and life changing. They show me that focusing on perceiving the world through the heart or while being “in the heart” make a big difference from “being in my head”.
A few years ago I was brutally attacked by some gang members in Dublin Ireland. Due to my martial arts training I was able to disarm my two attackers and get them on the ground. At the time I was at a spiritual workshop and had been focusing on “being in my heart.” As a result, I did not want to hurt these attackers, once they were on the ground I was able to get away even though I was badly beaten. I never once thought of hurting them, I was only concerned with disarming them without any serious damage to anyone of us. I did not feel any emotions about them personally, I was able to see that it was a life lesson about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I believe that the “being in my heart” enabled me to see the whole incident in a completely objective, non-judgmental way. It is the mind, the ego that would judge these people and make them villains and me a victim. I was actually grateful for the experience and that I was not permanently injured. The curious thing was that I did not have to forgive them. Being in the heart means that you understand that everything happens for a reason and there is nothing wrong. It is the ego that labels events “right or wrong”. Forgiveness is a concept that is only necessary if you believe something is wrong. Thus, I was able to love both the experience and the individuals involved.
Many of us have experienced a loss of a loved one through death or moving on, or the break up of a relationship. I have been divorced twice, and both were very painful to me. When I meditate and go into my heart to experience those memories from my heart, I discover that there is no pain associated with those memories in my heart. It is the mind, the ego that attaches emotions to the memories. It is almost like the heart has no memory. There is no need for a memory when you are in your heart. We developed our memory for self-defense purposes, so we could remember what hurts and what is dangerous. I wonder if there is anyone who only remembers pleasant memories and never remembers painful memories? If there are, I would bet that they spend most of their time being in their heart.
When I am in my heart, I feel calm and peaceful, whatever is going on around me. When I am in my head, I experience the negative emotions, anxiety, worry, fear. That is what our primitive minds, our ancient minds do…worry about survival and longevity. The heart cares not about these things; it only is concerned about radiating love and happiness.
So how do you get into your heart? Meditate and relax. Feel your awareness drop from your head into your heart. Use your imagination to envision the joy and peace of being in a safe, calm, peaceful place. That is your heart. Leave all of your fears and anxieties behind in your head. Feel a warmth and golden light fill your chest cavity and expand throughout your body. Sit with this feeling for as long as you can. Start with short intervals, five minutes every hour. Expand these intervals as you can until you can keep this feeling as you go about your day. There are several immediate benefits. First, you will notice that all of your worries and anxieties melt away under the warmth of the golden light. Second, you will notice that your body responds to this new feeling with relaxation and well-being. Third, you will notice that people will start responding to you in a much different manner, with kindness and affection. Fourth, people will ask “have you lost weight?” The more you can stay in your heart, the more you will shift your reality to peace, happiness and calm. That is what we all want and it is called “heaven”.