Wellness of The Heart
Some say it is just a muscular pump in the middle of our chest. Others say it is the center and essence of who we are. Seat of all human emotion or cardiovascular electro-stimulated organ, nothing captures our imagination, hopes and fears like our heart.
I love it when science validates what we know “in our hearts”. Research now tells us that the old notion that our brain is the singular origin of emotions is no longer valid. We are one amazing interconnected being with our body, the organs within, and chief among them our heart, affecting emotions in complete concert with our brain. The communication goes both ways, from brain to heart (stop and think of something that you are worrying about or angry about and your heart rate will change), and from heart to brain. We’re also seeing that the heart may be talking to the brain more than vice-versa! http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/11023208.
As a psychologist who worked in psychotherapy and biofeedback for many years I find it very validating that the naive posit put forth by some cognitive psychologists that all emotions are caused by our thoughts has been debunked. Anyone who has ever felt that opening or constricting of “our heart” emotionally arrive before the conscious thoughts entered our “big brain” knew this holistic view of feelings to be true.
Buddhist psychologists and scholars like John Welwood (http://blog.gaiam.com/quotes/authors/john-welwood) and Pema Chodrin (please read When Things Fall Apart http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/items/isbn/978-1-57062-344-8.cfm?gclid=CIHE7tSr3qECFUtX2god1X1TLg)
Speak often of the what happens when our heart “breaks”. We are encouraged to see this breaking apart as “breaking open”.
Sometimes the bravest act of our lives is accepting our vulnerability, letting down the armored wall around our hearts and allowing ourselves to open. The courage to do so comes from the core of our being and the faith that we can do so and remain standing.
We’ll explore Wellness of The Heart more in upcoming posts.
Be well and heart-full!