This article originally appeared in Natural Awakenings magazine.
Through the ages, poets, playwrights, composers and other artists have explored the wisdom of the heart. When making important life choices, our loved ones often tell us to listen to our hearts. But what really happens when we choose to override our logical brains and instead go with the urging in our hearts?
“Our hearts are wise in ways we are just now beginning to fully understand,” shares Deborah Rozman, Ph.D., author, educator and one of the founding members of the Institute of HeartMath, a nonprofit research and education organization, in Boulder Creek, California, dedicated to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resilience. “Studies have shown that the brain is not always in charge—it actually marches to the beat of the heart’s rhythmic pattern. The Institute’s research validates that the wisdom of the heart is more than just a metaphor.”
According to Rozman, studies suggest that when our heart rhythm pattern is in a coherent state, like a sine wave (smooth, repetitive oscillations); our internal systems operate more in sync. As she describes it, “We have a tighter coupling and closer alignment with our source of intuitive intelligence. There is an increased flow of intuitive information that is communicated via the heart to the mind/brain, resulting in a stronger connection with our inner voice.”
Researchers at the Institute of HeartMath have found evidence that the heart’s energy is connected to a field of information that is not bound by the classic limits of time and space. “This energetic heart is tied to a deeper part of our self. Some refer to this deeper aspect as our soul or a higher power or higher capacities; it is what physicist David Bohm called the implicate order and undivided wholeness,” explains Rozman.
The team at the Institute of HeartMath has devoted itself to showing others how to tap into the heart’s wisdom and live heart-centered lives. “Our mission is really to help people align their mental, emotional and physical system with the intuitive guidance of the heart,” says Rozman. “Heart intelligence is the flow of awareness we experience when our minds and emotions are in coherent alignment with the heart.”
So, how exactly does one get aligned with the heart? The key is tapping into practical intuition; that is, getting our hearts and brains working coherently and synergistically. “Practical intuition is the wisdom of the heart in action. And once we’re in that state, we reduce stress and create more inner peace and poise as we go about our day,” says Rozman. “Our nervous systems become more balanced and the feelings we experience are ones of love and joy.”
We’ve all been in situations where being in a person’s presence has made us feel anxious or upset. We’re also often able to sense the energy of an entire room or crowd full of people. “Our hearts are transmitters of electromagnetic energy,” Rozman asserts. “We feel people’s hearts through their words, energy and thoughts. We often refer to it as vibes. If the energy transmitted is chaotic, it can create stress.”
On the flipside, if we’re in a state of coherence, it affects the world around us in a positive light. “When people in a coherent state begin radiating that electromagnetic energy, those around them have increased feelings of unity, flow, love and peace,” states Rozman. “Through HeartMath, we teach people how to get into that synchronized feeling of coherence so they produce those beautiful, harmonic waveforms more often.”
The Institute of HeartMath offers a variety of ways for people to learn how to manage their energies. In addition to comprehensive certified training programs, HeartMath offers Heart Mastery courses, corporate training programs, books, online courses and self-assessment tools.
“The goal is to learn the tools and to create a dramatic reboot of the heart rhythm to change your baseline stress response into a more coherent one,” remarks Rozman, adding that the heart’s intuitive guidance is always available to us. “Life is life,” she says. “We’re not always going to be in a state of coherence, but with practice, we can become more aware and truly hear what our hearts are telling us. We can build resilience and realize that no matter what happens during the day, we can always shift back into a balanced, heart-coherent state. Then, the next time we’re stuck in traffic, rather than being upset about it, we can appreciate other things going on around us, like the scenery or a song playing on the radio.”
For more information, visit HeartMath.org and click on the Free Services tab to get started, or visit Facebook.com/instituteofheartmath.