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.
478 thoughts on “The Body is Intelligent”
“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”.
I agree Rachel, Over twenty years ago I came across the studies of Heartmath and was blown away by its research findings proving that the heart is the centre of intelligence. The missing element was how to bring this science into daily living. Universal Medicine shows you how, without the need of any tool outside of ourselves. Learning to break a habit of lifetimes and let our inner heart and body speak takes practice. It’s what children naturally do and we’ve have forgotten how to. This article invites us to return to the ways of the child.
A simple experiment for myself: go a whole day simply listening to my body, letting it speak and move from there.
A former student of history, I remember the ‘heartless’ way information was presented as purely fact. We were given cold clinical studies of earth shattering events without a inkling of understanding or sensitivity of devastation to lives, peoples and continents. This is an example of brain intelligence, devoid of heart. It can deaden us and can cut out our humanity. Bring in ‘heart-centred intelligence’ into teaching and this will truly reform the system.
The wisdom of ancient mystics and philosophers finally affirmed by the scientific community. What is needed now is an education system aligned to these findings. Formal education would change radically, if we adopted a whole body approach to learning.
Rachel this is an awesome blog so full of information about our bodies written in a way that is easily accessible to all. I watched the video that The Institute of HeartMath, California presented to the world and it is fascinating to watch and makes so much sense that it is our heart first that receives the impulses not the brain. I am surprised that actually there has not been more publicity about this research as it would have an impact on how we behave with ourselves and others.
I had not realised how much our body is intelligent until it started to fall apart in places. And when I pondered on the whole notion of the ‘body is intelligent’, it is a living organism and like all living organisms, there is intelligence within.
It was only since meeting Serge Benhayon, have I realised how important it is to listen to it. Every ache, pain, is a signal that something isn’t right or that there is a clearing. All the countless coughs and colds were signals the body was clearing but also communicating. I have come to realise that we are not prepared by the education system, how our body communicates and how to take care of it.
I now see the body’s clearing from a different perspective to how I used to perceive it in the past, and I still go to modern medicine for what is required to support it too.
I am much more committed to listening to my body than I ever was before. I always knew my body could communicate with me but I overrode this with my mind. This did get me into a lot of unnecessary trouble. Since meeting Serge Benhayon I have stopped fighting myself and started to listen, so that if some days when I wake up early my body feels it needs to rest, I will stay in bed until my body feels it is time to get up. If I get up without listening to my body I build up frustration and resentment through a lack of appreciation of what my body is communicating, so then I have two issues to deal with – feeling tired and feeling frustrated with myself for not listening to the fact that my body is asking me to slow down.
There is something so simple and magical about stopping for a moment and asking what my heart feels. My whole body responds and enjoys being part of decision making.
I agree Matilda, there is ‘something simple and magical’, it only requires a heart beat to stop, listen and feel.
This is confirmed when we say ‘In my heart I knew the truth.’
It occurs to me that if we isolate any part of the body as being more important, intelligent or superior than any other part we are reducing our overall intelligence and wisdom.
Listening to the heart and in respect to the body is a deeply joyous choice, it gives us a lot of vitality and inspiration.
Whole body intelligence, that makes complete sense, after all we have a whole body and despite what our mind might think, our body is not it’s slave, but it’s equal and often it feels and knows more than just the mind.
I have often sensed things from my body about situations that my mind completely missed or was unable to discern.
Me too. And my body lights up and tells me more when I listen to it.
We all have had our own private moments where we had felt something but allowed the mind to override it with its reasons only for us to later go ‘I knew it!’. It just makes sense to let that part that does know to take the lead. The mind is very good at coming up with why we shouldn’t, and we are so used to following that, but why keep following something that has not actually got a proven record of being a reliable source of intelligence? It definitely is worth giving a go.
Fumiyo I agree with you as I have lost count of the times I have said to myself ‘I knew it’ after giving into to my mind or doubting myself, this shows me that our minds are not so intelligent. And let’s be honest we have made some horrendous decisions that have led to many mistakes by relying on our minds rather than our sixth sense.
The mind is very singular, a great central processing unit, yes, but it often disregards the rest of the body and does things which do not work for that body, to live from the heart is different for the heart takes the whole body into account, not just one aspect, and it can surprise us with what it knows.
Yeh I love this Richard – we can wait for science to catch up or we can study ourselves and begin to understand what is actually possible.
” 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.” This adds a whole new dimension to life – not only are we running our lives with the wrong organ or intelligence, we also consider that we respond to things as they happen, not understanding it may be happening or we may be processing it actually before the event itself.
What a great read, thank you Rachel. It’s fascinating that we have since the 1800’s known about the link between heart and mind intelligence, as well as more current research, yet there has been no changes to how we apply that medically or psychologically, etc. Once we establish something as true, even if it’s untrue, it seems to be very difficult to shift out of that belief to adopt the truth. This whole article has been one of those life changing reads, and has been put together with clarity and a sense of order making it easy to understand.
When we live from the innate inner wisdom of our body, life has a simplicity and flow that otherwise cannot exist.
Yes when we are open to what is being communicated by our bodies we allow the spaciousness for magic to happen.
Our heart is constantly communicating with us; all we have to do is be open to what is being delivered and not letting this be overridden by the arrogant all-knowing mind. Choosing to trust what I feel from my heart has transformed the way I live and care for myself and thus interact with others.
So true Linda. When my body feels content my mind feels likewise. Could a way to be dealing with emotional and mental disturbance lie in focussing on our body, not our mind?
When I first heard about this it made so much sense – “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.” And recent research shows the brain activates before we make an action – and we think we are choosing freely? What energy are we aligned to?
Constantly responding and feeding back to us, our bodies are the most amazing guides and wise friends and there is a disarming simplicity to life when we start to listen.
Over time I’ve learnt how to have conversations with my body through the connection with my inner-heart. The body is far more intelligent than the mental commentary that has me make ill or daft choices I later or straight after regret.
Yes Leigh, to have conversations with our body via the inner-heart is the way to be and offers beautiful support. In life there are only ever two choices – ones aligned to soul and others to spirit. Discerning between the two is part of daily living and a constant offering.
I had dropped those conversations and recently picked them back up. So vital in order to make truly supportive choices in life.
I have discovered kehinde2012 that when we reconnect back to our soul and deepen that connection, the stream of negative thoughts lessen, as our bodies come into stillness. So that when I get caught with racy thoughts I know I have lessened the communication with my soul and to stop and reconnect again. This is a great marker to have as the first steps back to our soul. Soulful living is the true and only way for us all.
‘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!’ having ignored my body to my detriment this way of living is so worth giving a go. My worst decisions have all come from my head persuading me to ignore the wisdom my body so clearly communicates.
Yes, there seems to be a lot more than physiological function with the heart and other parts of the body and this may be verifiable.
I totally agree that the body and heart are far more intelligent than any commentary from the headspace acting separately from the rest.
I like this, that the heart is the centre for a great intelligence to be lived throughout our whole bodies, and so we do not need the brain to figure everything out, as the heart already knows.
Thank you Rachel, super supportive to read how it has become a proven fact that the heart communicates with the brain, and how our instincts and sixth sense comes directly from the heart, which makes perfect sense because neither of those are learnt actions or knowledge they come from a greater wisdom from within.
When we live in a quality of tenderness and self care the body knows how to restore itself to a balanced and harmonious state. However when we live solely from the intelligence of recalled knowledge we can override the natural feedback systems of the body and ignore the wisdom that is being communicated.
That’s very true Jenny, the natural feedback systems are part of the body continually restoring itself to harmony, the more we can listen and stay connected to the body we can actually begin living in harmony with ourselves.
Very timely read for me right now, as I am nursing my cold and finding myself reverting back to what I remember has worked in the past, rather than simply listening to the body.
” 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?” Great comment Rachel. Why indeed when so many Universal Medicine students (who pay attention to what the body says) are confounding the ‘norm’ by living healthy vibrant and amazing lives is there such resistance to accepting that there is another way to live? Slowly some doctors are now catching on to the fact that lifestyle medicine is the way to go in an effort to reduce the likelihood of serious disease.
Such a simple but profound thing you are sharing here Rachel that we can actually feel a difference in our bodies and our hearts when we honour what we are feeling in the inside and make a decision based on this intuition and when we override this knowing and make decisions based on information outside of us. I can certainly feel the difference and I will be using your heart warming idea more in future to really sense what is going on.
Given that our minds can be so destructive, in that we can allow all sorts of negative and self-abusive thoughts through, thinking that they are us, how would our relationship with ourselves change if we were taught from young how to discern where our thoughts are coming from: our hearts or our minds? To know that there are only two sources: one loving and encompassing of the all, and the other not, would significantly impact our well-being and our health.
Bryony if we were taught from young to discern our thoughts and where they are coming from, I feel that we wouldn’t have the escalation in mental health problems we are witnessing today.
We may ignore, block out and go with the mind, for as long as we like but the body will always let us know what’s right. Our every cell, when allowed sure speaks loud. Thank you Rachel for prompting me to ask, do I really need to make my body get its loudhailer out?
‘True intelligence resides in the whole body and not in the head’ Spot on Rachel, and Serge Benhayon gives us a greater understanding on the whole body intelligence in his interview on Serge Benhayon TV:
Our mind holds knowledge yet our heart holds far more wisdom and is capable of much more.
‘An important aspect is the discernment of the messages from the mind and whether they have come first via the heart or not.’ This is definitely key, since the messages sent from one or another site are very different among them and take us to very different points. Discernment so, offers to us the freedom of choice.
I love the fact that the heart sends more signals to the brain than the other way around – clearly we are giving too much authority to the mind over the body, instead of the mind serving the impulses of the body.
We have a choice and overriding the body, that choice has a lot of negative consequences but I am unaware of negative consequences of listening to the body.
Wow, this is a fascinating study. Thank you, Rachel. It all makes sense and proves that we were not entirely oblivious to the intelligence of the heart as we all have experienced its wisdom at some stage. And your question “Why then are we not taught to listen to or tune in to the wisdom within our body?” really just reveals the fact that world we live in is built by and around the intelligence of the mind to sustain the system and keep producing the like-minded people.
Fumiyo i agree we are feeding the false narrative of the intelligence of the mind, when actually it is the body that holds the keys to a way of life that will get us out of the mess we have made for ourselves.
Wow I didn’t know it was proven that the heart and brain communicate with each other, and that it’s also proven the heart has its own intelligence. It makes so much sense to me and I’ll definitely be paying super close attention to my heart today and what it feels like.
There is a guiding wisdom offered by the body; one that is simple and clear. A very different feeling than how the mind communicates with lots of thoughts, chatter and pending complication.
The fact that most people do not intimately know the connection between the heart and the mind is simply showing us that we have disconnected from our body and are walking around as if we are literally heads with legs. No wonder we lack awareness!
The body is undoubtedly a complex organism of interconnecting systems, strong and delicate, adaptable. It has so much to communicate about our environment, our lifestyle, the society norms we live within if we can just be open and honest to what it is communicating.
After reading this, it seems crazy that we are not taught to connect to the body as a whole. I imagine that once upon a time we were taught that the body communicates with us, that it was a birth right to know how to treat wounds and illness with known herbs and mixtures. It seems we are stepping further away from what we once knew as common sense. So even though modern medicine is an amazing support that saves lives and has come so far, there is still a sense that we are disempowered and that we have broken everything up in to parts, including the human body, rather than viewing the body as one big communicator that is designed to bring us back to harmony. The heart is a great compass in this way.
It is so gorgeous to read of the studies that are beginning to show the wisdom of the heart. This is something we should be all taught at school so that we don’t grow to disregard it as we often do, denying the deeper source of intuitive intelligence that in connection is innate.
Last night as I drifted off to sleep I was aware of a deep and wide flow that I could feel in my whole insides – it reminded me of a huge slow moving river, with no jagged edges or barbs – no issues. It was simply beautiful and as I take that into my morning it has the ability to inform me when something does not feel right as it does not match that quality I can feel within. All I have to do then is to express that….
The emotions from our mind completely underestimate the clarity and wisdom we get from feeling with our heart.
So much is rightly turned on its head when we restore the heart to its central governing place in the body – and turned on its head it should be, for clearly ‘leading with our heads’ hasn’t solved the greater conflicts (and smaller) in this world.
It is our hearts that need to open to ourselves, others, and the part we can all play in navigating a truly purposeful and caring way in this world.
And if we ‘lead with our hearts’ and build our life on the principles of absolute care and purpose – how does that change our physiology?
This is a truly great article – showing us a truth held by many through the ages, inclusive of Pythagoras and the cardio-centric focus he brought to his teachings about ‘the Way’ to live life in true accord with the All.