If you are reading this you have a heart. And thank you. Even if someone is reading this to you, you have a heart. It is one tangled mess of a muscle that we cannot live without.
But when you think heart, do you think of that dark red pulsing thing with its aorta and valves and ventricles? Or do you think of the simplified Valentine? Perhaps something in between. Or maybe you think more of energy and emotion. There are no wrong answers.
When I think of my own heart I first listen carefully, trying to notice my heart beat. Sometimes it’s making its presence known, at other times it’s quietly doing its job. But then I begin to attach stories and emotion to it. How many times I’ve had it broken, or put it out there. How it likes to love. Or doesn’t.
The heart knows stuff, but it’s the connection to the brain that helps us understand that stuff.
People who have undergone heart transplant surgery often report liking or disliking something they never did before. They have flashes, like someone else’s memories. There are brain cells in the heart. At the very least there is a connection.
Much research has been done in recent years on the heart-brain connection. The heart sends more information to the brain than the other way around. According to the Institute of HeartMath, the heart sends signals to the brain that can influence perception, emotional experience and higher mental processes.
They are in cahoots. To fall in love with your own heart would be to also fall in love with your brain and ultimately your mind. This is the mind-body connection. When we are able to fully connect to both in harmony, we begin to find synchronicity in life and are treated to serendipitous moments and magic we like to think of as coincidence. We’re aware and present. In love with life.
When our heart gets broken we disconnect. We don’t want to feel the icky feelings. Not right now. If we don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist. We’ll come back to it later when we’re feeling better, which is a lot like saying you’ll join the gym as soon as you lose some weight. The disconnect only stalls things, it doesn’t fix them.
Staying connected, even through the pain, maybe especially through the pain, allows us to live more fully. If we begin to disconnect during strong emotional times, we’ll also miss the absolute joy that is available to us.
Feel the feelings. Think the thoughts. Let them find their way to each other, then let them work it out. It’s integration and it brings with it a tremendous feeling of grounded joy.
“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” – Paramahansa Yogananda