Monday, June 30, 2014

Connect to the heart

"Many of the great sorrows of the world arise when the mind is disconnected from the heart.  In meditation we reconnect with our heart and discover an inner sense of spaciousness, unity, and compassion underneath all the conflicts of thought.  The heart allows for the stories and ideas, the fantasies and fears of the mind without believing in them, without having to follow them or having to fulfill them.  When we touch beneath all the busyness of thought, we discover a sweet, healing silence, an inherent peacefulness in each of us, a goodness of heart, strength  and wholeness that is our birthright.  This basic goodness is sometimes called our original nature, or Buddha nature.  When we return to our original nature, when we see all the ways of the mind and yet rest in this peace and goodness, we discover the healing of the mind." A Path with Heart, Jack Kornfield, pp 50 - 51

I recently had the pleasure of listening to a talk by a very entertaining and knowledgeable Howard Martin from HeartMath where he speaks very proficiently on living a heart-based life.  Watch this 11 minute video to get a peek or google HeartMath and there are many options available.

Or if you just want the basics:  Sit quietly and simply pay attention to your heart.  Then pretend that you are breathing through your heart.  Suspend belief and visualize your breath moving in and out of your heart for a few moments.  Next, think about all the things in your life you appreciate for a few moments. This positive emotion increases your heart electromagnetic field and puts you in a state of coherence. 

The benefits of reaching coherence is a sense of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being, clear thinking, reduced levels of stress and anxiety, good energy levels, a sense of calm and peace, increased access to your intuition (heart intelligence) and good immune function.

Hey, that sounds like a miracle drug!!  I want me some of that!! And its so simple.  Ancient wisdom proved by science.  Love it!

 FAQ's (taken from their website)

Question: What is Heart intelligence?
Answer: Heart intelligence is the flow of awareness, understanding and intuition we experience when the mind and emotions are brought into coherent alignment with the heart. It can be activated through self-initiated practice, and the more we pay attention when we sense the heart is speaking to us or guiding us, the greater our ability to access this intelligence and guidance more frequently. Heart intelligence underlies cellular organization and guides and evolves organisms toward increased order, awareness and coherence of their bodies’ systems.
Question: What is coherence and how can I increase mine?
Answer: The Institute of HeartMath talks a great deal about coherence – heart coherence, heart-rhythm coherence, physiological coherence, etc. – because the state of coherence is so important in helping each of us maintain our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Coherence, in relation to any system, including the human body, refers to a logical, orderly and harmonious connectedness between parts. Borrowing from physics, when we are in a coherent state, virtually no energy is wasted because our systems are performing optimally and there is synchronization between the heart, respiratory system, blood-pressure rhythms, heart-rate variability patterns, etc. When we speak of heart-rhythm coherence, we are referring to smooth, ordered heart-rhythm patterns. Among the many benefits of coherence are calmness, good energy levels, clear thinking and proper immune-system function. 

Each of us is capable of achieving, maintaining and increasing our coherence. One of the simplest and quickest paths to heart coherence is through intentional positive feelings – compassion, caring, love and other such emotions. In contrast, we can quickly become incoherent when we experience negative attitudes such as anger, fear and anxiety. A wonderful first step for learning how to increase your coherence is through HeartMath’s Coherence Coach®, a downloadable, interactive software application that includes the highly acclaimed Quick Coherence® technique for achieving coherence, refocusing emotions and releasing stress. Once learned, the Quick Coherence technique only takes a minute to do. All of HeartMath’s easily learned tools and techniques take minutes or less once learned. Read more about the Coherence Coach®

We also invite you to visit the following HeartMath Web page to learn more about coherence and how to achieve it, so you can begin transforming your life today: Learn about coherence.

Question: Are there any studies about HeartMath techniques that were not conducted by the Institute of HeartMath?
Answer: Yes, the Institute of HeartMath encourages independent studies of its tools, techniques and technology and many have been conducted, including the following:
  • Effects of Heart-Rate Variability Biofeedback Training and Emotional Regulation on Music Performance Anxiety in University Students, by Myron Ross Thurber. 

    The effects of heart-rate variability biofeedback training and emotional self-regulation techniques on music performance anxiety and music performance are examined in this study. Click here to read the study: Music Performance Anxiety.
  • A Controlled Pilot Study of Stress Management Training of Elderly Patients with Congestive Heart Failure, by the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention at Stanford University. 

    The effects of a HeartMath program on patients with congestive heart failure were examined in this study. Read the key findings and a summary of the Stanford Study. It begins midway on the page.
  • The Impact of an Emotional Self-Management Skills Course on Psychosocial Functioning and Autonomic Recovery to Stress in Middle School Children, by the Miami Heart Research Institute. 

    This study examined the impact of a HeartMath program on psychosocial functioning and physiological responses to
    stress in students at a middle school in Hialeah, Fla. Middle School Study.
  • The Effect of Employee Self-Management Training on Personal and Organizational Quality, by B. Barrios-Choplin, R. McCraty, J. Sundram, M. Atkinson. 

    This research examined the effect of HeartMath’s Inner Quality Management (IQM) training program on 54 employees in the Information Technology Services Division of a state agency that was experiencing change-related turmoil. Read the study