When people talk about the “consciousness of the heart,” we automatically assume that they are speaking metaphorically, or romantically, or spiritually. We make allowances for the metaphor because, first, the understanding is based on common sense – love, care, and intimacy are all associated with the heart – and, second, because we don’t expect hard science to discover that the heart is anything more than an elaborate pump.
Well, all of that is changing – and fast. New research is showing that the heart is a realm all its own. In fact, the heart may be the master of the entire body – first, because the electrical energy produced by the heart regulates all the body’s functions, and, second, because the distinct kind of thinking and feeling associated with the heart enhances the heart’s power to create health.
We Are Electrical Systems, Creating Waves And Fields
Every cell, organ, and system of the body runs, in part, by electricity, and every part of the body produces an electrical field. Sensitive electrical equipment can measure the electrical output produced by any part of the body. You might automatically think that the brain is the body’s biggest producer of electricity, but you’d be wrong. The heart produces 60 times the amplitude of the brain, and generates a field 5000 times greater in strength and size than the brain.
When seen through the lens of electrical sensors, a human being’s electrical field looks like a giant doughnut lying on its side, with each of us standing in the doughnut hole. The field extends in all directions by as much as five feet. At the center of the doughnut is a little ball of electricity, which is the electrical field produced by the brain. The doughnut of electricity is produced primarily by the heart.
Comparing the electrical output of the heart versus the electricity produced by the brain is like comparing the power of an elephant with that of a rabbit.
Why is this important?
Because there is a scientific principle known as entrainment, which is the ability of a powerful, pulsating wave, or set of waves, to draw all other fields into harmony, or coherence, with it. In other words, the heart coordinates all the other pulsating, or oscillating energies of the body, meaning every cell, organ, system, hormone, and chemical event within the entire organism.
Entrainment: How The Heart Regulates All Your Systems And Creates Health Or Illness
In 1656, the Dutch physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Christian Huygens was in the process of inventing the first pendulum clock. One evening, Huygens decided to put several pendulum clocks on the same wall. Naturally, all the pendulums were swinging at different rates – the clocks looked like an alley-full of cats arrayed on the wall, each one with its tail swinging back and forth at its own pace, all of them out of rhythm and rhyme. Huygens soon fell asleep. When he woke up, all the pendulums were swinging together in perfect unison. Somehow they had all been harmonized while he slept.
Huygens was a smart guy – he had already improved the lenses on telescopes and had invented the balance wheel that we still use to make wrist watches work. The Dutchman immediately understood that the pendulums had been synchronized by waves that traveled through the wall. But the “aha moment” came when he realized that the strongest wave – the one produced by the most powerful clock – had drawn all the other waves into harmony with its own wave pattern.
Thus was born the theory of entrainment, or the knowledge that oscillating bodies produce waves that, when they share the same medium, tend to coordinate and oscillate in harmony with each other.
An everyday example of this is music. You can be in a low, dark mood, but when the right song comes on the radio, or is played on your stereo, your mood is immediately lifted by the notes and harmonies of the music. Your waves have been lifted up, or entrained, by the song’s waves.
Every cell in your body oscillates, thanks to a number of activities, including electrical signals and chemical processes, including the turning on and off of genes. Throughout the day, you experience surges and falls of hormones, which create oscillating waves throughout your body, as well. Your lungs contract and expand, as do your intestines, and every other organ in your body. As they oscillate, they produce waves that flow throughout your system.
Since there are ten trillion cells in your body, and each of these cells are composed of smaller bodies of energy, right down to their molecules and atoms, we obviously are talking about numbers that extend way beyond the trillions. And all of these elements are producing electrical wave patterns.
These waves could create a chorus of cacophonic waves, all banging into each other, throughout your system. That would soon create electrical, chemical, and hormonal chaos, which would lead to physical, emotional, and mental illness, and then death.
That is, unless some larger wave organized all the trillions and trillions of smaller waves into a larger harmony. Guess which organ does that?
That Heroic “S” Stands For Synchrony (And Maybe Super)
Your heart is the strongest electrical wave pattern in your body. Consequently, it coordinates, or entrains, the entire system, based on its own condition. If your heart is producing a harmonious, rhythmic wave pattern, it will entrain all the waves of your body into a harmonious concert, which in turn will produce beautiful music. That music has the ability to open and illuminate all your human capabilities; indeed, it can awaken the powers of your soul.
On the other hand, if your heart is weak, conflicted, and chaotic, it will lose its ability to organize the many trillions of waves in your system. The chaos that ensues will eventually lead to the breakdown of organs and cellular functions, which in turn will create mental and physical illness, and ultimately death.
In short, your potential as a human being depends on health and optimal function of your heart.
What, we should ask, causes the heart to produce harmonious or chaotic waves? I’m glad you asked.
The Regulator Of Your Heart
Like so many other aspects of your body – your immune system, hormones, and digestion, just to name a few — your heart is controlled by your autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS is divided into two branches, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic systems. Each branch is responsible for very different functions within the body. In general, the sympathetic nervous system speeds up nervous, chemical, and electrical events within the system.
As sympathetic activity increases, multiple systems throughout your body speed up as well. Your metabolic rate becomes faster. Your digestion gets faster. As it increases, diarrhea becomes more likely.
As the system accelerates, brain chemistry changes, as well. Brain function speeds up. You think and speak faster, for example. But chemical events change within the brain, causing dopamine and norepinephrine to increase, thus causing elevations in anxiety and nervous tension. If allowed to increase, you will experience more and more fear and anger. Eventually, those chemicals will lead to increasing states of paranoia, rage, aggression, and even violence.
All physical and electrical events function at higher rates, as well. This means that your body will burn more energy and generate more oxidation. Oxidants are highly reactive oxygen molecules that break down cells and organs and increase the speed with which we age. Most of the serious illnesses we contract today are caused by elevated levels of oxidation throughout the system. Thus, as sympathetic activity rises and dominates your system, you’re going to age more rapidly and your chances of contracting a serious illness, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, are going to rise precipitously, as well.
You can see where all of this is going. Sympathetic nervous function can lead increasingly to stress, anxiety, fear, aggression, paranoia, more rapid aging, mental and physical illness, and death.
That is, unless it is balanced by its sibling, the parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic system not only slows chemical and electrical functions, but it also creates coherence and order. It is associated with energy recovery, gathering, and rest. It stimulates anti-oxidation, and thus sustains cellular order and health, which in turn slows aging. Since oxidation is the basis for most of the illnesses from which we suffer, the antioxidant effects of the parasympathetic system also protects us from many serious illnesses.
Just as the sympathetic function is stimulated by various emotions, and in fact generates those emotions, as well, the parasympathetic is also associated with an array of mental and emotional states. These include the experience of relaxation, openness, feelings of love, peace, and gratitude.
The chart below gives a summary of the two branches of the ANS and their respective effects on our lives.