By Linda Marks
Research by the Institute for HeartMath in California4 has shown that the heart is the most powerful generator of electromagnetic energy in the human body:
o The heart’s electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain.
o The magnetic field produced by the heart is more than 5000 times greater in strength than the field generated by the brain
o The electromagnetic energy of the heart not only envelops every cell of the human body, but also extends out in all directions in the space around us
o Our cardiac field touches those within 8 – 10 feet of where we are positioned (and perhaps in more subtle ways at greater distances)
o One person’s heart signal can effect another’s brainwaves, and heart-brain synchronization can occur between two people when they interact
o Research conducted at the Institute of HeartMath suggests that the heart’s field is an important carrier of information
Our mental and emotional state impacts the quality of contact we offer to another person. When we touch one another with safe, respectful, loving intention both physically and emotionally, we call into play the full healing power of the heart. The greater the “coherence”–a sense that life is comprehensible, manageable and meaningful– one develops, the more sensitive one becomes to the subtle electromagnetic signals communicated by those around them.
In my experience working with groups, the combined impact of the interaction of the electromagnetic fields of all the group members’ hearts creates a powerful space in which individuals can do deeper healing work than one-on-one. As one group member goes deeper, and gets closer to their core, the others in the group feel the energetic vibration of this person’s “heart opening” and are touched by it–energetically, as well as emotionally.
LESSONS FROM THE POWER OF THE HEART
Having a greater understanding of the role and power of the heart sheds light on how to think about a wide range of human experience.
1. Heartpower and our genetic make-up: Dorothy Mandel writes, “”Genetically, cells adapt to what they perceive their environment to be. Because an event experienced in the midst of a heart response will be perceived and interpreted very differently than an event experienced in the midst of a stress response, the heart can also powerfully affect genetic expression”5Becoming more heart aware and working towards authentic emotional expression and inner peace may positively impact our genetic health.
2. Heart consciousness and pregnancy: Following from the point above, the quality of our heart energy during pregnancy impacts the developing baby’s experience. At a prenatal and perinatal psychology workshop I participated in many years ago, Thomas Verny, the facilitator, discussed the research of an Italian colleague that explored how a mother’s conscious and subconscious feelings about the pregnancy impacted the child.
When a mother both consciously and subconsciously wanted to be pregnant and welcomed her baby, the child thrived. When the mother either consciously or subconsciously wanted the baby, the child was fine. When the mother neither consciously nor subconsciously wanted the baby, the child felt the effects of this hostile emotional climate. I remember a story of a woman who not only didn’t want her baby but also resented his intrusive presence in her body. When the Italian doctor would use an ultrasound to view the baby as the mother talked about her resentments of him and the pregnancy, the baby would curl up in a tiny ball in a corner of the uterus, trying to make himself very small. Even in-utero, a baby can feel the power of his/her mother’s heart.
When considering having children, making a thoughtful, heartful, integrated decision is important for the overall wellbeing of a child.
3. The power of touch: When we reach out and touch another person, we are literally extending the energy of our hearts. We can understand why loving, present, respectful touch is such a powerful healing force. Likewise, hurtful touch carries deep messages that register in the heart and body, both in the moment and over time. Learning to engage our hearts consciously in touch can bring forth the natural healer in each of us.
4. The power of love: Love is more than an emotion. It is an electromagnetic phenomenon. When someone is coming to you from a place of love, it feels different than when someone is coming to you from a place of indifference or dislike. The energetic current transmitted from one person to another varies with their state of heart. Being received with love day after day must be incredibly nourishing for the soul.
5. Getting stuck in triggered behavior patterns: Because one person’s heartwaves register in another person’s brainwaves, when one person gets emotionally triggered or stuck, the impact of their emotional energy may be strong enough to immobilize the other person. Have you ever felt stuck yourself when a loved one has been triggered by your behavior? If two people are triggered at once, their hearts and brains interact in a dance of difficult energy waves. Just as an electrical outlet needs to be grounded, so do our emotional energetic circuits. When a couple gets stuck, a third party can help break the pattern by containing and grounding the energy of the relational circuit.
6. The pain of isolation: Just as we nourish each other when we share loving, open hearts, life becomes more empty and barren when we lack energetic contact with others’ hearts. Isolation is at first painful, and often numbing if too much time goes by. Human beings need to touch and be touched, both physically and emotionally. Our heart’s energy fields are enriched by connecting with others’ hearts.
7. The power of heartfull community: Since our hearts influence our brains, imagine the impact of sitting in a circle of healing community! Imagine what the electromagnetic energy diagram would look like of a group of people speaking and listening from their hearts! The energy grid formed by a heartfull community must be strong and far reaching!
8. Resolving conflict: Heartfelt communication between two people not only deepens the dialogue, but also enhances the energy field between them. If we can get underneath a conflict and address the heart of the matter, healing and closeness can take place.
Overall, we have a lot to gain through consciously harnessing the power of the heart. We can have healthier bodies, greater intimacy and satisfaction in our relationships, and the nourishment and support of being connected to others living and thinking from the heart.
1. See “Interpersonal heart-brain registration and the perception of parental love: A 42 year follow-up of the Harvard Mastery of Stress Study,” by Linda G. Russek and Gary E.Schwartz, Subtle Energies, 1994
2, 3, 5. From “Spirit and Matter of the Heart” by Dorothy Mandel, Grace Millenium, Winter 2001.
4. The research done by the HeartMath Institute is available on www.heartmath.org.