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Lessons from the Heart

Some of the earliest recorded civilizations, including the Greeks, Mesopotamians and Babylonians, speak of the heart as harboring intelligence. Modern science has tended to consider this point of view metaphorical. But Doc Childre, founder of the Institute of HeartMath®, in Boulder Creek, CA, has produced scientific evidence to back up the "intelligent heart" theory. Corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, and all four branches of the U.S. Military, are now using HeartMath techniques to teach employees how to become more mentally and emotionally balanced, and provide for individual and organizational transformation. In addition, educators have found that school children can better manage their behavior, and improve their ability to absorb academic information by using the techniques pioneered by Childre and the Institute.

The core of the HeartMath philosophy is that the heart, physically and metaphorically, is the key to tapping into an intelligence that can provide us with fulfillment. Science has shown that the heart communicates with the body and brain on various different levels.

  • The heart sends neurological information to the brain and the rest of the body.
  • Through the pulse, the heart sends energy in the form of a blood pressure wave. Researchers have seen that changes in the electrical activity of brain cells occur in relation to the changes in the blood pressure wave.
  • The heart communicates on a biochemical level, releasing atrial peptide, a hormone that inhibits the release of other stress hormones.
  • The heart communicates electromagnetically. An EKG measured in the doctor's office is actually an electrical signal produced by the heart. This signal can be picked up anywhere on the body, and permeates the space around us.

HeartMath has taken this information, and translated it into simple tools that focus on teaching us how to listen to, and follow, the intuitive information of the heart. We can learn how to better make decisions, and to use the power of the heart to manage the mind and emotions.

The three most powerful techniques are Freeze-Frame®, Cut-Thru® and Heart Lock-In®. What follows is a highly simplified version of each. A far more extensive examination of each technique, including scientific data, can be found in the book, The HeartMath Solution, by Doc Childre and Howard Martin. Anyone who is seriously interested in using these tools will find a wealth of knowledge there.

Freeze-Frame - is the simplest of the HeartMath tools. It is a one-minute technique that allows a major shift in perception. More than positive thinking, it creates a definitive, heartfelt shift in how we view a situation, an individual or ourselves. When under stress:

  1. Shift out of the head, and focus on the area around your heart. Keep your attention there for at least ten seconds. Continue to breathe normally.
  2. Recall a positive time or feeling you had in your life, and attempt to re-experience it. Remember, try not simply to visualize it, but rather to feel it fully.
  3. Ask a question from the heart: "What can I do in this situation to make it different?" or "What can I do to minimize stress?"
  4. Listen to the response of your heart.

You may hear nothing, but perhaps feel calmer. You may receive verification of something you already know, or you may experience a complete perspective shift, seeing the crisis in a more balanced way. Although we may not have control over the event, we do have control over our perception of it.

Cut-Thru is a technique developed to help us better manage our emotions. It gives us the ability to "cut through" complex, long-standing emotions, and dynamically move from one place to another.

  1. Be aware of how you feel about the issue. Focus in on your heart.
  2. Assume objectivity. Act as though it were someone else's problem. What kind of advice would you give this person who's just been slighted by a co-worker? You'd probably say, "Hey, relax, it's no big deal."
  3. Take the distorted feelings, the emotional energy that is out of balance, and bring it to the heart. Let it soak there, as if you were soaking in a warm bath. Practice letting the heart do the work for you.

Cut-Thru tends to require more mature contemplation than Freeze-Frame. But it is also more useful with deeper, and more complicated issues. Long-standing emotions have been stored in us through our life experience. Cut-Thru gives us the ability to transform instead of repress.

Heart Lock-In - Rather than fixing something, Heart Lock-In is about experiencing your heart at a deeper level.

  1. Shift your attention away from your mind and focus on your heart.
  2. Remember the feeling of love or care you have for someone whom it's easy for you to love. Focus on a feeling of appreciation for someone or something positive. Try to stay with that feeling for five to fifteen minutes.
  3. Gently send that feeling of love or appreciation to yourself and others.

In fifteen minutes, a Heart Lock-In can provide physical, mental and spiritual regeneration.

Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

Program Description
Time of the Soul
Lama Surya Das
Help Yourself
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