The previous article discussed the crucial role played by desire in any form of achievement. This article will discuss the “how to” of discovering your heart’s desire. The strongest, purest desire we can experience starts in the heart. Our strongest, truest and most motivating desires are, in essence, the calling of the heart.
Becoming clear on the desires of your heart is essential if you are to direct your energies effectively. The first step in doing so is getting in touch with your heart. By doing this you can begin to understand what your heart desires. The second step is action. As you act through your heart’s wisdom, you will become clearer on what your heart wants and it will become a supremely effective guide for you.
The subject of the intelligence of the heart is vast, consider this merely a brief introduction to this fascinating subject. Please refer to the HearMath Institute to learn more about the fascinating scientific research being done on this topic.
So read on if you’re interested in learning about the role the heart plays in our lives.
The Intelligent Heart
In modern-day society we’ve been taught that the heart is an efficient pump which sustains our life; its function is to send oxygenated blood through our arteries to every cell in our body. From there, the blood returns to the heart where it is sent out again to the lungs where it is reoxygenated so it can flow out again to nourish our tissues with essential oxygen.
That is the picture I learned in school. I believe that’s the picture we all learned.
It’s also incomplete.
The heart is not only a pump. It does serve us as a pump, but it has functions which go far beyond the moving of blood around our vessels. It’s of paramount importance that we know that the heart has other functions aside from pumping blood. It’s only by becoming open to that reality that we begin to perceive the heart’s wisdom. So open yourself to the idea:
“The heart is more than a pump. It is a source of intelligence and wisdom.”
For instance, the heart was reclassified as an endocrine gland in 1987. This means it produces hormones which profoundly influence our biochemistry (and hence, our behavior). Last I read, the heart produces up to seven different hormones. One of those hormones is called atrial natiuretic pepptide, which actually inhibits the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. That’s fascinating.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The heart is a center of intelligence and wisdom which goes beyond the conscious capacities of the mind. It has recently been discovered that the heart contains up to 40,000 sensory neurites. The heart literally has its own brain, the heart-brain; it’s a network of complex ganglia, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells, the same as those in the head. The field of neurocardiology is dedicated to the study of the heart-brain
New scientific discoveries have proved that the heart and brain are in constant communication, and the heart is actually sending more information to the brain than it’s receiving. The heart-brain receives information from every major bodily system and sends it to the brain. The brain is influenced depending on what the heart-brain senses. In this way the heart shapes our perceptions of the world.
The heart-brain is capable of remembering, it has both a short-term and long-term memory which functions independently of the brain’s.
I’m reminded of Maya Angelou’s quote:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The heart remembers. It does so better than the brain, in a more holistic fashion. The mind can remember events from the outside, the heart remembers how we fit into them.
As humans, we can access the heart’s holistic memories, intelligence and wisdom and bring it to bear in our day-to-day lives. When we act from the wisdom of the heart, our decisions are wiser, kinder and we become imbued with a power which supercharges us in the pursuit of our goals, which also become truer to who we are, what we want and our role in the world.
This isn’t an abstract, theoretical concept. Ancient people’s around the world revered the heart as the center of supreme intelligence and took care to show their children how to access it.
The Wise Heart
There are numerous instances of ancient people around the world cultivating and revering a heart-based existence. You can learn about some of these traditions in the heart-expanding book “The Lost Art Of Heart Navigation”, by Jeff D. Nixa. For example:
The Lakota people practice a coming of age ritual known as the “Vision Quest.” The vision quest is a challenge every boy of the tribe must face in order to assume the role of manhood. It consists of four days and nights of fasting and praying, alone in nature. The point of the Vision Quest is for the boy to get to know his heart, so he may know what his role is on this earth. Upon completion of the Vision Quest, the boy, a man now, returns to his tribe and announces his role to his people, whether it be story-teller, warrior, dancer, the boy establishes himself in service to his community. Henceforth, he is recognized as such by his fellows.
The Hopi people first teach their children how to understand the messages of their heart. The first five years of education of a Hopi child revolve around listening to their heart’s messages so they can serve as cooperative, compassionate members of the community. Only once the child has developed an intimate relationship with their heart are they taught how to use their mind.
An elder of the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, in conversation with the Carl Jung, once told him that his people didn’t understand the white men. To the Puebloans, the white men always seemed anxious and restless, they seemed to always want something. The elder said his people thought white people were mad, because they said they thought with their heads. At which point Carl Jung asked the elder what he used to think. The elder indicated his heart.
When we access the heart’s wisdom we access a level of knowledge which goes beyond that of the mind. By acting from the heart we act with a deeper understanding, we become part of the world, rather than separate from it. We enter the flow of life and are able to make decisions in a non forceful way. Rather than working hard and pushing our way past obstacles, by acting from the heart we become like water, gracefully flowing about, nourishing the world as we work towards our objectives.
The world becomes a helper rather than an adversary.
How To Listen To The Heart
As a human you can listen to your heart. In fact, no matter who you are or where you’ve been, you are already listening to your heart. It’s impossible to be completely cut off from it. But it is possible to increase our awareness of the heart’s messages. And it’s very simple to do so.
Exercise to increase awareness of the heart:
- Find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed for at least five minutes.
- Sit, or lie down and put your left hand on your heart.
- Breathe in slowly and as you do so focus your attention on your heart. Imagine the air coming into your body nourishing your heart. It’s almost like breathing through your heart. Exhale slowly. Repeat
Take as long as you need to feel your heart beating within your chest. Feel your heart. Listen to it. This is how you build your relationship with it. Become aware of it as it beats in your body, nourishing you, guiding you. The more you listen to your heart the more aware you become of its messages.
Listening to our heart is a skill. Like any skill, we get better with practice. The more you listen, the more you learn.
I hope this article serves you well on your journey to wealth.
I invite you to leave a comment so we may have a discussion.
Love and Light,