The Heart-Body-Spirit Connection
For three years I have been teaching a course in Zurich, Switzerland called Spiritual-Body Psychotherapy for psychiatrists, physicians and healing practitioners in various disciples. Spiritual-Body Psychotherapy involves working with our body consciousness, which I refer to as the body elemental, to determine the underlying spiritual causes of illness and less than optimum health. In this work we have discovered that the heart plays an essential part in orchestrating health in the body and in restoring spiritual, emotional, and physical health to the individual. In fact, the heart is as intelligent as the brain and has as great an impact on us in determining our moods, behaviours, and ultimate happiness.
Neural Cells in the Heart
We know that the emotional state of the mother affects the development of her child’s brain while still in utero and that fifty percent of the heart’s cells are actually neural cells. This means that the heart is a major intelligence in the body. Half of these neural cells in the heart are involved in harmonizing the entire bodily system. The other half maintain an ongoing communication with the limbic (emotional) brain through the use of the ANF hormone.
The degree of unconditional love that the child receives up until the age of three profoundly affects the heart’s response to its environment. If the child, and later the adult, feels safe then it tends to move into a positive emotional state in its relationship with other’s and the world, seeking new opportunities to grow, and feeling good about itself and others. If the child, and later adult, does not feel safe or loved it tends to move into a fight or flight pattern of reaction, which leads to disharmony in its entire body systems and life.
Negative and Positive Emotions Affect the Heart
The Institute of Heart Math has conducted many studies on emotional coherence, which is the ability to maintain a harmonious state of sustained, self-created positive emotion. It goes without saying that this is important to maintain optimal health and functioning in life, in general. The heart is the key organ involved in doing this. When emotions of love, compassion, and appreciation are maintained, the heart creates a coherent pattern that entrains the entire body into harmony. Positive emotions, such as love, even have the ability to rewire neural circulatory so that an individual will be more predisposed to feel positive emotions in the future. Negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, impatience and fear, have the opposite affect on the heart and create incoherence and patterns of distress.
An UCLA study demonstrated that Buddhist monks meditating on generating compassionate love exhibited heart coherence. Another study showed that senior Zen monks also exhibited heart coherence, whereas novice monks did not. So, the longer we have been a meditator the greater the effect on heart coherence, but not all kinds of meditation are equally beneficial. It appears as if techniques focusing on the mind or disassociation do not, in themselves, produce heart coherence, although they may produce other positive effects. Techniques that practice loving-kindness, forgiveness of others, and compassion actually heal us physically accompanied by feelings of happiness and well-being.
Love Hormones Secreted by the Heart
The heart inhibits the release of stress hormones and stimulates function and growth of the reproductive organs. It, along with the brain, also manufactures and secretes oxytoxin, commonly called the ‘love’ or ‘bonding hormone’. The amount of oxytoxin produced in the heart is as great as those in the brain. Oxytoxin involves bonding between the mother and child in childbirth, breast-feeding, and maternal feelings. This hormone is also involved in developing trust, tolerance, complex sexual behaviours, as well as learning the social clues and establishment of partnership bonds with another person.
The Heart Affects Global Consciousness
The electromagnetic output of the heart extends at least twelve feet from the body and is so powerful that you can do an electrocardiogram reading three feet from the actual heart. This is why we can sense another person’s feelings regardless of their words or actions. Furthermore, Karl Pibram and other scientists have discovered that the heart, like the brain, receives information outside the physical body in energy frequencies and that this information is not confided to space and time and links to what could be called a global, or universal consciousness. This means that the more our heart registers a coherent positive energy signature the more we are resonating with others around the Earth and through our own love frequency assisting them to also more into this resonance.
Tanis Helliwell, M.Ed., speaks more about the importance of the Body Elemental in her DVD Elementals and Nature Spirits. You can order it from her bookstore at http://www.tanishelliwell.com
Tanis is the author of Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns, Summer with the Leprechauns, Decoding Your Destiny and Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose and a book of poems Embraced by Love.