Have you ever tried to do something without your heart being in it? Doesn’t it feel flat, and unfulfilling? It’s also dangerous. Ignoring your heart and relying soley on your intellect can lead to bitterness, insensitivity, and in the extreme, violence.
I was taught that wearing your heart on your sleeve is foolish and a form of weakness. I spent years training my head not to listen to my heart. I had to work hard at ignoring my heart’s wisdom but eventually I learned to rely primarily on my intellect. I made rational choices. Unfortunately this practice resulted in an abusive marriage, jobs I hated, and too many false starts and dead ends to mention. What was lacking was a deeper, fuller, and richer heartfelt experience.
Musicians and poets have long known intuitively what scientists are just now beginning to discover. The heart has an intelligence of its own. If you intentionally began to tune in to and respect your heart’s intelligence you can improve your life significantly. I know because I’ve done it.
In case you’re not quite sure you can trust your heart to know what’s good for you there is a growing field of interest in a new science called neurocardiology. According to scientists, the heart contains a complex nervous system that is sufficiently sophisticated to qualify as a “little brain” in its own right.
That’s right. Your heart has a mind of its own.
The heart and brain maintain an ongoing two-way dialogue and influence the way the other functions. What is most surprising is the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. The “heart-brain” has the capacity to learn, remember, and even feel and sense. The nerve pathways that travel from the heart to the brain influence what we see, how we decide, how we feel, and how we think.
What this means is that when your thinking mind and your heart’s intelligence work together it is possible to remain calm in the face danger, chaos, and confusion. Instead of reacting out of fear or anger, the integrated brain function of heart and mind allows you to make decisions that are life enriching and life affirming.
The question is how do you make a calm response to stress second nature? An example of this ability is a friend of mine who instead of acting on her impulse to retaliate, good naturedly responds to the road rage of others who flip her the bird by holding up her peace fingers. (I’m still working on this!)
By strengthening the link between your “heart-brain” and your “thinking-brain”, you can out smart your fight or flight response when you are afraid or stressed out.
The practice of yoga postures combined with the cultivation of a meditation practice off your mat enables you to connect with your heart’s intelligence. It enhances your ability to access and learn to trust your heart’s intuitive wisdom.
It is not easy to live in your heart. But when you stop, look, and listen, the message of your heart is…Love, Love, Love. So why wouldn’t you want to? Become heart smart. Engage in the habit of listening to your heart to make sure you are aligned with those qualities of heart such as love, peace, generosity, kindness, and forgiveness that maximize the beauty of the world.
Be Heart Smart
- When you wake up, before you start your day, ask your heart what it wants. Then listen for the answer. Since your heart has its own intelligence, it knows and it will tell you. It’s just waiting for you to ask.
- Be intentional in cultivating the attitude of heart that you want to carry you through your day. Then use this attitude of your heart (intelligence) and the knowledge you have (intellect) to make life-enhancing choices.
- Before you go to sleep at night, check and adjust your attitude, which is a function of your heart. Make sure your attitude is positive and peaceful.I don’t know about you, but I notice that whenever I lead with my heart my passion takes over, I am in the flow of life, and I make decisions and choices that serve me well.