By Shivi Verma
The time has come for humanity to free itself from the divisive and competitive world of the mind, and step into the inclusive and all-embracing world of heart consciousness, says Shivi Verma
I often become acutely aware of a certain sensation around my heart region. It is a warm, expanded feeling, making me conscious of its heightened presence. I enjoy it, and have often wondered if it is okay to be so aware of its presence. I wondered if it was an egoic space which excluded others from my range of feelings and emotions.
But while sitting in a workshop, I decide to drop judging this feeling and accept it the way it was. It was then I realised that my heart field had expanded, making me more loving and more accepting of people and situations. I also increasingly realise that I do not live in my mind anymore.
I have a clear memory of functioning from the mind. It made me nervous, doubtful, judgmental and completely out of sync with myself and my surroundings. This space was wobbly, unstable, and had me labelled as confused by my peers. For how long can one stay in such a shaky situation? My feet searched for a strong ground to plant themselves upon. And the more I advanced in my search for self-discovery, the more I found my consciousness shifting, and finding itself at home in my heart. My awareness had packed its bags and taken permanent residence in my heart. It no longer found the upper story of my mind a natural, habitable place.
As a consequence, minor ups and downs do not throw me. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the world and its varied people, I can now find my centre even when I am in an apparently unstable and challenging situation. My heart took over the reins from my mind, and made it a willing, compliant follower.
Apart from making me believe in myself, it has also gifted me with other gifts such as intuitively knowing what is best for me, what path I must traverse, and also not worrying too much about other people’s reactions. It no longer mattered how the other behaved as long as my heart was filled with love. Once while travelling onboard a local train, a lady obstinately refused to give me space to stand despite my repeated humble requests, even though she had room enough to accommodate two people. Left with no other option, I was compelled to push her gently. And even though she retaliated with aggression, I was able to stand my ground, with peace and a smile upon my face. She could not dislodge me from my place, nor my inner composure. I was able to smile at her and others too who had joined her in opposing me. Subsequently, everybody settled down and before getting down at my stop I managed to say bye, as well as, ‘Hope to see you soon,’ to my adversary without any malice in my heart.
It has also eased the job of my mind. It now has to worry more about minor detailing, than pondering about the big questions of life. I have also found that the more I listen to this unavoidable force, the happier I am. Which means that it is a call emanating from a higher place, far beyond my cognitive mind. While attending workshops too I came across several healers increasingly referring to the heart possessing a unique and much more powerful intelligence than the brain. My own state, combined with the talk going on in healing circles, compelled me to find out more about the subject.
How to get there
Sanjiv Ranjan suggests watching one’s breath slowly to get connected to the rhythm of the heart. He provides a simple mechanism.
“Sit down in one place. Focus on your breath. Watch it come and go. Keep counting the number of cycles of breath you inhale and exhale. Doing it for 10 minutes regularly will connect you with your subconscious mind. When you free your mind of thoughts, through regular practise, it gradually enters the heart consciousness which is in sync with the natural rhythm of the universe.”
The Heartmath technique created by the Heartmath Institute also offers a surefire way of connecting with your heart intelligence.
1. Recognise the stressor – the problem that bothers you.
2. Shift your focus to the heart. Put a hand on your heart, and breathe deeply into your heart.
3. Activate a heart feeling. Recall a positive memory, a beautiful, blissful moment of your life when you felt wonderful (we all have such memories, just search a little if it doesn’t come easily).
4. Ask the heart, ‘Tell me a better way to deal with the situation/the problem’.
5. Listen to the message from your heart. Pay attention to the first words, pictures, or sounds that come to you.
The rhythm of the heart
However, let me clarify that we are not discussing emotions here, although they too seem to emerge from the heart. Says Irma Battig, coach, healer and seminar facilitator (Emotional Intelligence), who is also a certified Heartmath practitioner, “Most emotions aren’t heart-based, but fear-based. They tend to originate from our ego. Being emotional usually means not being in control over one’s emotions and actions which makes us prone to reacting irrationally. It also means that different systems in our body are out of alignment and we are under stress. It is that which is normally called emotional,”
The heart-based approach is a far deeper reality, which is accessed when we have purged and cleansed ourselves of most emotional debris. It is when the mind is no longer the slave of turbulent and compulsive thoughts, that a person enters the new era, the era of the heart.
Says healer, writer and psychotherapist, Sanjiv Ranjan, who is the founder of the All India Institute of Body-Mind Medicine, “The universe vibrates at a certain rhythm. And the rhythm of the human heart is in consonance with the cosmic rhythm. But since our breathing is out of sync with our natural harmonic rhythm, we feel alienated from our surroundings. When our breathing becomes aligned with the rhythm of the natural cosmic order, we enter heart consciousness. There, the slower and deeper we breathe, the more we are attuned to our natural universal rhythm.”
Throwing more light on this phenomenon, he says, “The heart being a bigger and more organised brain is not a new concept. It is a truth which was intimately known to all the civilisations. Ancient India, the spiritual as well as intuitive capital of the world, has always given tremendous importance to the intelligence which resides within the heart. The earliest mention of the Wisdom of the Heart finds its existence in the Nasadiya Sukta also known as the Hymn of Creation, the 129th hymn of the tenth mandala of the Rig Veda.
“It says clearly that the relationship between that which is manifest, and that which is not, can only be known to those who think with the heart. And this is one of the deepest mysteries of the universe. Decoding these mysteries requires profound intelligence. Therefore, this hymn gives us very vital clues to the depth that heart intelligence can touch if allowed to.
“All poets think with their heart, which is why a poet is always more intimate with the truth while a scientist can only approach it awkwardly. God also thought with His heart which is why Creation named itself the Universe . . . an integrated, unified verse, seeking expression existentially. The Bible too testifies to this eternal truth when it says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
On a more scientific and analytical basis, studies are being conducted to actually measure and quantify the influence of the heart on the thoughts of people. The Institute of HeartMath in California has been doing a lot of research on the topic for almost two decades. They seem to be the forerunners in the Western world.
“The heart is an additional brain that has always been there. It has about 40,000 neurons, and has the capacity to feel, and has memory. It is a sensory organ, and acts as a sophisticated information encoding, and processing centre that enables it to learn, remember, and make independent functional decisions,” says Rollin McCraty, Director of the Research Institute of HeartMath.
|Irma Battig: Believing profoundly in the power of the heart|
To simplify such a cryptic definition, Irma says, “According to the research, the heart sends more messages to the brain than the other way around, and in many areas it controls brain functions. The heart is the most powerful rhythmic field produced by the body. It envelops every cell and extends out in all directions. This cardiac field can be measured several feet away from the body. As measured by an electrocardiogram (ECG), it is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded by an EEG.”
Adds Irma, “We don’t just think with the brain in our head. Much more is involved. Scientists are still researching this topic.”
In a free online global seminar on, Keys To Awaken Your Heart Intelligence, held on October 9, 2013, on Tedtalk, the panellist Aja Bogdanoff said, “There is increasing evidence suggesting that the cardio-electromagenetic field of the heart can actually affect human beings in close proximity. These signals are detectable up to several feet away from the source. Through these interactions, the heart transfers energies between human beings…These extraordinary results illustrate that the heart is not only responsible for blood regulations, but is also a very powerful intelligence system. This made me wonder, could intelligence be distributed through the body in ways we might not expect?”
According to a paper published by Kentucky University called Heart Intelligence, the heart has at least a basic ability to learn, remember, sense, and feel with its own complex network of neurons and neuro-transmitters. Far more than most of us realise, the heart and brain work in tandem, each communicating with, and influencing the other.
It says, “From a mechanical viewpoint alone, the human heart is a miracle, beating 2.5 billion times in an average life. In just one year, your heart pumps approximately a half-million gallons of blood through some 60,000 miles of blood vessels. In addition, the heart is the body’s central electrical power station, generating an electromagnetic field that is far more powerful than that of any other organ. In fact, the electromagnetic signals from the heart of a person very near to you can actually influence your brain rhythms. And we invariably keep affecting the other through our heart’s vibrations.”
The paper goes on to say, “Heart Intelligence is your intuitive sense of what is true, or what is best to do. It’s a universal force of loving guidance. It’s a type of knowing, often instantaneous, that represents a harmonious interplay of body, mind, and spirit. Heart intelligence is like a flashlight beam that illuminates the darkness, allowing you to see what’s really important.”
Corroborating the sensation that I talked about earlier in this article, the research accepts that although this intelligence of the heart refers to an intuitive or spiritual type of understanding, it is often connected with sensations felt in the centre of the chest, in the area around the physical heart.
So powerful is this region that often people who receive a heart transplant, experience the dietary preferences, emotions, and thoughts of the donor.
Psycho-neuro-immunologist Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., recounts an incident that lends credence to the finding that the heart has the ability to remember and communicate.
An eight-year-old girl received the heart of a murdered 10-year-old girl. After that she started having nightmares about the man who had murdered her donor, including visions of the weapon, the place, the time, and the clothes he wore. Using the information provided by the little girl, the police were able to apprehend and convict the murderer.
Says healer Anu Mehta, “This is the very reason why I prefer to have group therapies. When several people sit together for therapies, they are basically sitting within each other’s heart field. So they invariably end up influencing each other, and I get good triggers. Instead of prodding each one to open up which is a difficult, I get quicker results like this.”
The ancients have always known it. Said the Chinese sage, Confucius, “To put the world in right order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.”
Says Sanjiv Ranjan, “Everybody is blessed with this power of heart intelligence. But since we are not programmed to tapping into it for guidance, we often miss its promptings. What people call hunch or gut feeling is nothing but momentary glimpses of this power. But to develop it on a full scale, you need to practice it and be aware of it constantly.” He adds, “If we look closely, we will see that the spelling of Earth carries the spelling of heart within itself.”
Does this mean we need to pension off the brain? By no means. We cannot survive without it, but the difference would be that instead of leading the way, it will allow itself to be led by the guiding heart.
Says Sanjiv, “Your brain creates beauty. You may be shocked to know that in nature there is no colour, no fragrance, no texture, there is no breathtaking design which stuns your senses. The beauty you experience is all neurological, created within your brain. Your brain intoxicates your five senses . . . through which you experience physical and material beauty.” Says Irma, “The rational mind – left brain – has helped us advance technologically. It is well suited for intellectual prowess, but on its own, it can be rather dangerous, because it doesn’t take emotions and more mitigated options into account. And it has gotten us into the mess we are in. It is dualistic, black and white, and linear. It is one-sided in its approach. To be in balance, the left and right brain have to work in tandem. To go to a state of unity consciousness, beyond the right and wrong.”
Those who have traversed this journey from head to heart have fascinating tales to tell the world.
Siddharth Sthalekar, an IIM graduate and a former investment banker, began to feel that a life dedicated solely to making money was no better than that of an animal. In a bid to find meaning, he aligned himself with Gandhian philosophy and attached himself to the Seva cafe in Ahmedabad, where food is served as an offering to the visitor, and they are requested to pay whatever they want from their heart for the next visitor’s meal.
Talking about his experience, he says, “I came from a field where creating value was recognised in terms of making money and profits. Initially, when I began to operate the Seva cafe, I had this ambition to prove to the world that Gift Economy works. I used to operate from my head and calculate the minimum amount needed to operate it successfully. I would invariably focus more on NRIs and foreigners, thinking that treating them well would end up in at least breaking even. My friends told me that such an attitude was defeating the very ideology of Seva cafe. So I switched my attitude, and decided to treat everybody coming to the cafe equally, acknowledging the divinity in all. Once, a chaiwallah came to the cafe with his family. As I greeted his family with warmth and genuine love, he shared that this was the first time he had brought his family out for lunch. After the family had eaten, his youngest son voluntarily cleaned up all the tables and dishes as a mark of gratitude. Though they could not pay moneywise, the kind of value that got created that day was immeasurable. I often think how this little boy must have gone out believing in goodness, and affecting others too with the same attitude. The universe has incomputable ways of returning back to you. My heart expands to realise that this love has the power to infect and a send a ripple effect across communities. The head does have a certain organising capacity, but the heart’s ways are far more mysterious and beyond human cognitive capacities.”
Listening to your heart’s calling is like going beyond your narrow selfish self and harking to the call of the universe.
Says VS Prakash from Chennai, “I used to drop my son and daughter on my two-wheeler to their school. There was a time when I used to follow my mind and drop them just in front of the school gate. One day some six years back, when I was returning after dropping them, I found many children getting down from autos, vans and feeling very afraid to cross the road which was flooded with vehicular traffic. Right then my heart suggested that I must regulate the vehicles for those 20 minutes. Though I encountered a lot of opposition, I ensured that the majority obeyed the rules and stopped the vehicle a little ahead of the school gate. It is very pleasing to look at these children walk without any hesitation or fear today. A few more sensitive ones have joined me, and we are able to inculcate orderliness in the generally unruly ways of vehicle driving.”
Explains writer Satish Purohit on the ways of the heart. “Our deepest longings like the desire to walk barefoot on the grass in the morning, or never commute to work, may be utterly irrational but may be central to our happiness. In the understanding of our irrationalities, is the wisdom that decodes why others are the way they are. I always consult my heart about what I want, and I consult my mind about how to go about getting it.” What a perfect and succinct way of putting together a simple yet complex topic.
|The recipe to a meaningful and happy life!|
Says GL Sampoorna, psychotherapist, and soft skill facilitator, “Today, whatever I am is because I listen to my heart, as opposed to the injunctions of my mind. I only regret one decision so far, which I took from my mind. Long ago I married a person even though my heart did not agree, because logically it seemed the most perfect thing to do. After seven years, we divorced. This made me take a vow that I would never betray myself again. Later on, which is again many years ago, I began to feel redundant in the organisation where I worked as a psychologist. One day while getting ready for the office I sat for hours before my wardrobe, wondering what to wear despite having around 500 saris in my collection. Then I realised that I did not want to go to work. In my heart, I knew it was over. I immediately went and wrote my resignation. For some time I did not know what to do. I started with learning French, and then went on to learn painting, meditation, theatre and dance. All of this came back to me when I designed my own healing programme, which had psychodrama that included art, music, movement, and mindfulness that facilitate the overall healing of a person. I did it all at a time when these things were not even heard of.”
Today, Sampoorna is one of the most sought after facilitators at the Life Positive Expo.
Raj Mali, founder of Red Wisdom, a leadership development company, also has a similar story to tell, “In 2006 when I was VP in a multinational, one day my heart said, ‘Quit. The next day I quit. A week later I came to India with no clue of what I would do. Then I started Red Wisdom, my consulting firm, which operates in the realm of balanced leadership, and mentoring, and today I am pretty happy. A year ago my inner voice asked me to write a book. I did it, and it is doing well on Amazon now. Some years ago, my heart asked me not to ask for money for all that I did. I followed it and found love, compassion, and connection. When all my friends were forcing me to build a swanky looking website, my heart said, inspire individuals to build conscious businesses with least investment, and lead by example. Honestly, it is the heart that held me when I walked the dark nights of the soul, and fought my battles alone.”
Raj believes that the truth can be understood only from within, by listening to the heart, and not from outside sources.
Siddharth Sthalekar too agrees that simply changing the motive from making money to offering service can enormously rectify the current crisis the corporate world is in.
The business community too has begun to realise that there is something fundamentally flawed in their approach of cold calculations, profit motivation and considering people as no more than means to a particular end. Realising this need, both Irma and her husband, Deepak H. Asarpota, have together created COR- Seminars and Coaching, a company that coaches managers on emotional intelligence, teamwork and healthy goal setting. They also intend to bring this material into schools so that children can grow up with a more encompassing intelligence, than narrow ego-mindedness.
In a nutshell, the answer to all the ills of the world lies in moving away from the divisive, me versus you, mind-based thinking, to the all-encompassing, inclusive and universal language of the heart.
However, a word of caution. Before you embark upon this journey, remember that it is the path of the brave, the courageous and the one who trusts the implicit intelligence and goodness of the universe. It requires you to be open-minded and receptive, but is not without its learning process of trial and error. An evolving intuition can mislead you, so proceed with caution as you forge a relationship with your heart intelligence and learn to respond to its signals.
By intelligently saying yes to the promptings of our heartfelt intuitive guidance, we can make major progress in creating a more loving and healthier world.
Says Sanjiv Ranjan, “The human race is definitely moving into heart consciousness. When you see too much of violence and aggression, then it means that the planet is trying to get closer to its mother polarity.”
There is no other way to heal the earth than to open up your heart region. May all our hearts open and may healing descend upon Mother Earth.
If it sounds encompassing and wise, you know that the answer truly stems from your heart. The voice of the heart speaks of wholeness and oneness; it is the song of your higher self and your soul – all-encompassing, drawing a bigger picture, and taking you to a higher level of awareness. It offers win-win solutions.
Irma Battig says, “When you are in that space, different systems within the body begin to sync up. The rhythm of the heart and the mind begin to get aligned with each other. They come into a state of coherence. Observe this state. At this stage everything in your body and mind is functioning optimally. You are off-stress and your hormonal system gets balanced, your immune system gets stronger and there is a general state of relaxation.
“At such times our physical frequency is in sync with the earth’s frequency. They are both vibrating at 14 Hertz. Our heart beat begins to match with that of the earth’s vibrations.”
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