by Dr Rachel Hall B.Ch.D (Uni Leeds), LDSRCS(Eng), MACNEM, Holistic Dentist, Brisbane, Australia
We traditionally are taught to think of the brain or the ‘head’ as being the intelligence of the body, communicating with the body and telling it what to do. Yet the body is in fact a massive network of nerve and energy pathways that communicate with one another, sending signals and instructions from one part of the body to another, cell by cell. Information travels to the brain from the body and from the body to the brain. We know that the brain sends signals to the body, but have you ever stopped to consider that your body may actually be communicating with YOU, sending you subtle messages and information for you to respond to?
The body is in fact an intelligent organism capable of acting independently of the mind via its own self-regulation and feedback systems. Within the body there are areas or foci of cellular activity which contain concentrated energy and nerve systems that are capable of sending signals to the brain and body and as such these centres or foci actually have a strong influence on the body, its reactions and our emotions.
One area of the body that communicates powerfully and extremely effectively with us is the heart. Have you noticed that in certain situations your heart may skip a beat, get palpitations, feel all warm and fuzzy; flutter or feel like it is about to burst or perhaps even stop depending on how you are feeling or what is happening around you?
Throughout history, philosophers, poets and prophets have regarded the human heart as the source of love, wisdom, intuition and positive emotions. We are all familiar with expressions such as, put your heart into it, wearing your heart on your sleeve, follow your heart not your head, find it in your heart, from the bottom of my heart, big hearted, warm hearted, heart-to-heart, open your heart and so on which suggest that the heart is more than a physical pump that sustains life.
The fact is that the heart is much more than just a pump, with a complex system of nerves and energy centres that send more signals to the brain than the brain sends to it and scientific research has found that the heart has the ability to regulate itself and the rest of the body. The human heart contains an intelligence independent from the brain that can be a source of guidance for our individual lives and for our collective potential as human beings. This is significant as we have a powerful intelligence right there in the middle of our chest with a wisdom that is vast, much more so than we realise. In actual fact, every cell in the body is intelligent with the heart being like a conductor for the cellular processes taking place within us in each and every moment. The heart is the overseer of the whole intelligence of the body and science is only just beginning to tap into and understand the wisdom of the heart, a wisdom that has been spoken of and recorded by many cultures, religions and scholars.
Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Director of Research at The Institute of HeartMath, California has begun to examine the messages the heart sends to the brain and how the brain responds to them, exploring the role the heart plays in creating emotional experience and accessing intuition, as well as its role in the physiology of optimal function. Recent work in the relatively new field of neurocardiology has firmly established that the heart is a sensory organ and an information programming and processing centre, with an extensive in-built nervous system that confirms the heart is much more than a muscle pump and has a sophisticated intelligence that is much more advanced than previously considered or realised by science. The heart’s circuitry enables it to learn, remember and make functional decisions independent of the brain itself. The heart is in continuous communication with the brain and body through multiple pathways: neurologically (through nerves), biochemically (through hormones), biophysically (through pressure and sound waves) and energetically (through electromagnetic field interactions). This makes the heart unique as it can act as the overall coordinator of bodily functions, synchronising the system as a whole because of the extent of the heart’s influence on physiological, cognitive and emotional systems.
The fact that there is a heart and brain connection, as first postulated by the psychologist William James, has been known since the late 1800s, but has largely been ignored. Whilst it is recognised that the heart signals that flow to the brain have a regulatory influence on many aspects of the nervous system, including most glands and organs, it is less commonly appreciated that they also have profound effects on the higher brain centres. Cardiovascular nerves have numerous connections to higher brain centres where they play a direct and important role in determining our perceptions, thought processes, and emotional experiences. It has also been shown that our emotions are reflected in the heart’s rhythmic patterns.
The heart also has an energy field, called the energetic heart, which is coupled to a field of information that is not bound by the classical limits of time and space. Experimental studies have investigated the proposal that the body receives and processes information about a future event before the event actually happens. One of these studies, conducted at the HeartMath laboratories, showed that both the heart and brain receive and respond to pre-stimulus information about a future event. But even more surprising is the finding that the heart seems to receive and/or respond to the intuitive information before the brain. This suggests that the heart is directly coupled to a subtle energetic field of information within the range of energetic fields in which the body is surrounded.
The fact that the heart appears to receive intuitive information before the brain is perhaps not as surprising as it first seems, it just confirms what people mean when they speak of the intuitive heart or the wisdom of the heart – something that has been a key component of wisdom teachings and mystical texts for aeons. The energetic heart is coupled to a deeper part of ourselves. When we connect to the heart we align with a deeper source of intuitive intelligence, which produces an increased flow of intuitive information that is communicated to the brain resulting in a stronger connection with our inner voice thus allowing us access to the largely untapped potential within.
- This research demonstrates that the heart has its own intelligence, that the heart IS intelligent, is capable of giving instructions to the brain and communicating directly with us. Thus it is now being affirmed by science that “instinct”, “sixth sense” and “intuition” come from the heart.
One of the philosophies that come from the Esoteric Medicine presentations by Serge Benhayon is that the inner-heart is the seat of intelligence for the body and that the body does have its own knowing or wisdom. From this philosophy emerges the concept of connecting to yourself and listening to your heart and your body, which, as even science has demonstrated, has the ability to communicate with us. If we were to stop for a moment and feel we would realise the body actually talks very loudly.
At first this may seem a strange concept, however, what I found when I experimented with this was that quite amazingly when I sat quiet and still, simply breathing gently I could feel a beautiful warmth in my chest where my heart resides. I discovered that I could use that feeling of warmth as a barometer of what is true for me or not. I noticed that when I made choices that were more caring and loving, the feeling of warmth increased and the opposite occurred when I was less considerate of myself and the warmth diminished and felt less evident. In addition I found I could rely on my heart when making decisions and to discern if my thoughts were from my body or not. I was able to better gauge situations and remain unaffected by events and people around me.
So what if we chose to listen to the messages from our body, especially our heart, and made lifestyle and dietary choices based on those messages rather than waiting until we become ill? Why wait for science to play catch up to what the intelligence of the body already knows and is communicating to us – but which we are not listening to?
So much credence has been given to listening to our mind however, as we have seen, it is not the only site of intelligence in the body and yet it is the body that has to live with the consequences of all the choices made from our mind. The mind in fact is a central processing unit that receives and processes all the messages from the body. Our body, and every single cell within it, is able to work innately without having to rely on the mind, in fact the foci in the heart and other areas of the body are wiser than the mind, yet we simply ignore or overrule their messages and signals. The heart however works as the “mastermind”, the overseer and coordinator for the rest of the body, with its own energy field and the ability to regulate the processes and reactions of the body and respond to external energy even more rapidly than the mind. The mind as we know it can lead us astray, can override the messages of the body to allow us to carry on behaviours which are harming for the body. Thus, although the mind is a great central processing unit for all the messages in the body, it is not the true source of intelligence that we have been falsely lead to believe it is. As such we should be giving the heart more precedence over the mind and any gut feelings, as only the heart acts on the higher centres of the mind bringing intuition, intelligence and connection to our inner voice.
The body is a whole system where all the parts are communicating and interacting with each other and where change in one part affects the whole. It is detrimental and incorrect to see the body as separated parts working in isolation to each other and it is important to realise that any lack of regard or consideration for one part of the body will affect the whole body system. The body therefore has intelligence throughout it, rather than discrete isolated sections working independently to each other which is the impression we get when we only focus and rely on the brain in separation to the body. The heart exists as the true source or centre that feeds the mind which we can then choose to either listen to or override and ignore. An important aspect is the discernment of the messages from the mind and whether they have come first via the heart or not.
As this is the case, why then are we not taught to listen to or tune in to the wisdom within our body? Given that the body is innately wise, surely it would make sense for us to pay attention to it, to listen to it and in particular the messages from the heart such that we may live more instinctively and intuitively?
Listening to and feeling the feedback of the body via the heart can allow for more supportive and harmonious choices that lead to better health and improved moods and energy levels. If we choose to live, eat and care for ourselves based on what the body and the heart are telling us, then perhaps we might realise that true intelligence resides in the whole body and not in the head!
Give it a try – you might just surprise yourself as to how intelligent and naturally knowing the body really is.