Monday, 14 February 2011

Let's Have A Heart To Heart

I wanted to share with you some thoughts about our hearts and our heart centre. I thought it apt to write it on Valentine’s Day, the day of hearts and love.

Our physical hearts are incredible. The heart is a myogenic muscular organ which pumps our blood round our bodies with repeated, rhythmic contractions. It is formed from an involuntary striated muscle tissue found only in this organ, no where else, and connective tissue. The average human heart is about the size of a fist, beating at 72 beats per minute, will beat approximately 2.5 billion times during an average 66 year lifespan, and weighs approximately 250 to 300 grams (9 to 11 oz) in females and 300 to 350 grams (11 to 12 oz) in males. When our heart stops that’s it, times up for this lifetime. So look after it. Through good exercise and healthy eating we can keep our hearts strong and vital.

Throughout the ages our heart has been depicted as a seat of virtue and love, but, also you may think naively, as the seat of intelligence. Ancient culture such as Meopotamia, Egypt, Babylon and Greece all viewed the heart as the primary organ for not only directing and influencing our emotions but our decision making ability. In yogic philosophy the heart is the seat of individual consciousness and the centre of life. Chinese medicine has successfully had the heart as a bridge between body and mind for thousands of years. Modern science has always scorned these ideas but now the scientists are having to eat their words.

Recent discovery has shown that the heart has its own independent nervous system with some forty thousand neurons, the same as some sub cortical centres of the brain. The heart has or is a brain!! There is documented evidence to show that the heart communicates with the body in three ways. Neurologically, biochemically and biophysically. Scientific evidence is also beginning to show that there is a fourth way. This is energetically through the electromagnetic field or aura. Er hello ... catch up.

So our heart uses all these methods to send emotional and intuitive signals to our bodies. It is the intelligent force between thoughts and feelings. Brain thoughts seem to be linear and heart thoughts seem to radiate. Are you in touch with what your heart is thinking? Well how about connecting with your heart centre.

Our heart centre is found at the fifth thoracic vertebra opening out in the middle of our chests. The Sanskrit name for this chakra is Anahata which means ‘unstruck sound’, conveying the idea that it is here that we hear and feel the divine sound not made on the physical plane by two objects connecting in some way. The pure, unstruck or unbeaten sound of love. This chakra is the point of balance and harmony between our lower and higher chakras. It is here that we can centre ourselves and connect with something deeper. A healthy heart centre vibrates to the colour green, giving us strength and a balanced, joyful outlook on life. We can work with this centre to bring harmony and compassion to all we do. To bring the finer quality of unconditional love to this chakra we can also use a soft pink. It ushers in a higher dimension. It helps us in learning the lesson of this chakra which is to transcend the mind and connect with divine love.

This idea of transcending the mind and connecting with divine love is at the core of the word heartmind. It comes from the Buddhist word chitta, literally meaning the fusion of the heart with mind to create a feeling consciousness or thinking heart. There is a beautiful Sanskrit mantra that helps to develop our heartmind which I want to share with you. I have used for many years because it brings about such a sense of joy and peace. It is one of the most famous mantras and if ever there is some token monk chanting a mantra in the background in a film often it is this one.

Om Mani Padme Hum (om - mah – nee – pah d – may – hoom).

It means “the jewel of the consciousness is in the hearts lotus”. It is a useful tool in opening the compassionate heart. We can then infuse all our thoughts and actions with feeling for others. It is used to combine spiritual advancement with service to all living things.

I hope this has given you lots to think about. Go and live truly from the heart. You will find strength not weakness. You will find love instead of bitterness. You will find a joy to outshine the pain. You will find a deeper part of you which will anchor you in the worst of life storms. You will find a smile which is never far from your face.

The Dreadess xx