Friday, March 21, 2014

What's more powerful, your head or your heart?

In a recent workshop, there was a question posed, what's more powerful in influencing our decisions, the head or the heart? That brought up the ensuing question, does the heart think and feel? We've all used language like 'what does your heart say', 'have my heart set on it' and 'to my hearts content'. But does the physical heart, which we've learned as essentially a bunch of valves that pump 100,000 times a day, engage in decision making?

Ancient philosophies from the east have talked extensively about the heart center, called anahata or hridhaya chakra, as the center of emotional empowerment, love and compassion. Recent scientific studies, particularly, those at the HeartMath Institute, have corroborated that there is a actually a heart-brain. This heart-brain is made up of vast neural network consisting of 40,000 neurons around the physical heart and can sense, feel and send powerful signals to the head-brain. They often find the heart-brain sending more intelligent signals, compared to the head-brain which is more emotional and irrational.

Compared to the electromagnetic field produced by the brain, the electrical component of the heart’s field is about 60 times greater in amplitude, and permeates every cell in the body. The magnetic component is approximately 5000 times stronger than the brain’s magnetic field and can be detected several feet away from the body with sensitive magnetometers.

When an individual is overcome by fear, loss or prolonged stress, the heart can send a signal that results in Sudden Unexpected Death (SUD). If one learns to slow down through the practice of meditation, the heart begins to talk to the brain. Within a few minutes, it offers flow, ease and clarity to the individual. Good news is people seem to be waking up, thanks to the supporting science, to the wisdom of letting their hearts guide them, finding it leads them to more joy and fulfillment.

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