In this time of so much polarization and conflict, it feels more important than ever to include heart perception and intelligence as part of moving through everyday life. I’ve written many times about how being mindful offers ongoing opportunities for choice and, these days, having access to being able to choose how we want to engage and move through conversations with people with whom we may disagree becomes a very important resource.
One of the other things I know I’ve mentioned a number of times is the powerful quality and orientation of the heart brain’s intelligence and perception. Most of us are quite familiar with our head brain’s ways of perceiving and of our cognitive styles of intelligence and understanding. The heart brain often perceives and understands things quite differently, which becomes immediately apparent when we take the time to tune into it.
Over the years, I’ve found that if I ask my heart what it thinks about a situation, a person, or some other issue, I’m often surprised by how different my response can be compared to what my head brain tells me. I have also noticed that when I ask my heart what it thinks, the quality of my whole being seems to shift to something softer. It may be very subtle at times, but the shift is enough for me to notice it and my body seems to move out of tension and into a more relaxed and open stance.
Also, the HeartMath Institute offers information and research on the heart’s magnetic field. Apparently, when we’re oriented to our heart brain and we are in tune with it—something called coherence—the magnetic field of our heart radiates out into the environment and affects it in positive ways. Here’s an article about this phenomenon from the Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rose-caiola/can-your-hearts-energy-ch_b_6721130.html
Because of this effect, the practice of orienting to our heart brain, to the intelligence and perception of the heart, can also contribute to a more harmonious environment around us. For me, this is a double benefit—not only do I move through situations with greater ease, but I also contribute something positive to the world around me along the way.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to play with asking your heart what it thinks in a variety of situations and then see what comes into your awareness. Let yourself explore what shifts in your responses when you add in your heart brain and can compare its responses to what you tap into with your head brain. Be sure to also track your body and notice any shifts in tension and relaxation as you move between these two “brains”, these distinct and different sources of awareness.
As with all these practices, there’s no right way to do this one. Rather, it’s one more way to bring awareness to how you move through your world and also to the power of awareness. Moment to moment, awareness offers you an opportunity to notice how your thoughts, emotional responses, and perspectives impact the quality of your internal life and your experience of the world around you.
And, as always, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through.