Since ancient times, humans in many cultures (not all) have considered the heart to be the center of their being, consciousness and the seat of emotions. Ever wonder why this is?
History and the heart
Some believe it was because ancient people traced blood vessels to the central location of the heart and made the simple determination. The truth is, there isn’t really a solid single reason for their belief or a traceable cause as to when this originated. At least not one I’ve been able to locate.
We often consider people from ancient times as being unintelligent simpleton goat herders without any capacity to understand deep things we “understand” in the present. Perhaps that foolish notion is a bi-product of the also silly notions of Darwin’s theory of evolution and an assumption that humans advance with time.
I find that idea silly because in the present, humans are perhaps the only living organism where the overwhelming majority of the species is unable to survive in our natural habitat. Most humans would die a fast cruel death in the great outdoors. That doesn’t sound like a positive advancement to me.
Also interesting to me is that it’s been the consensus of most modern engineering understanding that we have no conceivable way in the present time to build the Great Pyramids. Hmmmm. We sure are doing a great job in our evolution!
Perhaps the belief we have better wisdom and understanding than our ancestors is unfounded.
It is fairly well understood however how we came to see the mind as the seat of being – the Greeks. The Greeks popularized the concept of dualism – the belief that our bodies are distinct from the rest of consciousness and personhood. As a result, many of the ancient greeks had a view that the body was somewhat unimportant and the gnosis (Knowledge) was the real deal. This is where Gnosticism was born.
Alcmaeon, a Greek philosopher and physiologist and a student of Pythagoras declared that the brain to be the center of the intellect around 500 BC. As Hellenism grew to become the predominant force on the planet in the centuries that followed, dualism and the belief of the mind being the center of being came to be the accepted norm of western society.
“Umm Sven, why are you dropping all this Greek stuff on us?”
My own personal journey has revealed to me some deficits in my understanding over time. My life decisions and education taught me to tacitly accept both dualism and a bio-centric view of the heart. Both of these ideas have proven ineffective, and I believe will be shown scientifically in time to be demonstrably false.
My body is an important part of me, not merely a prison sentence. I don’t just abide in it until “I die and go to heaven”. This was just something I learned from my heavily hellenistically-influenced Christian background.
My heart is also an important part of me – and not just for pumping blood!
Understanding and the heart
Turns out, the heart is now understood to be far more than just a blood pump. In fact, the heart has over 40,000 neurons. We have brains in our hearts! Legit brains! They can learn, feel and remember. In fact, our hearts send more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart!
But wait…. it gets better
Ever talk to someone and listen to their words and had that strange vibe that something seemed off? Like their words were different than their “heart”? It turns out our hearts actually project an electromagnetic field to around three feet out of the body. It’s measurable. I wonder if there is discernible data in that electromagnetic field?
What if what we been calling “intuition” what is merely our way of describing a person’s sensitivity to their own hearts? What if intuition is an ability to perceive the real, demonstrable heart energy of ourselves and others?
Why am I writing about this on a blog for men?
If you’re trying to do men’s personal development work all in your mind, you’re going to do a poor job. That is, if you go at it without understanding and utilizing your heart. Stop approaching life from the gnostic viewpoint that the body has little meaning or value. It’s ineffective.
When we engage our heart we can witness a wonderful thing – we can appreciate the understanding, wisdom, and intuition of the heart and involve it in the process our personal growth.
Cerebral is not the solution
My average client tends to be under considerable stress and anxiety, prone to feeling a slave to their thoughts and emotions, and generally trying to solve their problems under these conditions. The Gnostic and dualistic influence on life has reaped poor results for them and will continue unabated.
While I deeply value thinking and many concepts of Stoicism, it’s been my personal experience with myself and others that getting the heart and brain working together – in something called “Coherence” – pays big dividends for men doing personal development work. These men learn to appreciate their whole being and the what each part of them brings to their experience of life.
They’re connecting deeper with their whole selves and in the process, finding more means to achieve calmness, clarity and the wisdom to make hard decisions in emotionally-charged times. They’re also generally more able to connect with others on heart basis.
Introducing Hearth Math
They’re doing this using new understanding and tools developed by the Heart Math Institute.
These folks produce amazing resources about this topic that have helped me tremendously. They have and continue to unveil the mysteries of the heart. They have developed real, scientific means of engaging the heart in meaningful ways that benefit us. They’re science-based research and it’s lending a high degree of understanding and credibility the ancient wisdom of thousands of years.
For those on a personal development journey, it’s my belief that this information and related tools offers crucial help. Specifically in managing stress and with going deeper into understanding self to accomplish personal transformation. This is not merely a deep breathing exercise. It employs real-time a bio-feedback way of learning to own and master our whole person, bring the heart and brain into coherence and from their live our best versions of ourselves.
To start I recommend every man I know take this course; The HeartMath Experience: 90-minute online video program to uplift your inner journey. It explains the science above, the technique and the benefits.
I have every client of mine take this free class. I often all but insist they follow-up with purchasing the Inner Balance Trainer. This tool and their corresponding (free) mobile app allow a person to teach themselves how to achieve heart coherence. It teaches them using demonstrable feedback. They learn how their stress is impacting them AND how they can use their heart and mind to correct it. It’s pretty awesome, really!
The Heart Math Institute offer several different variations of their Inner Balance Trainer for Android and Apple iPhones in both wired and bluetooth. You can purchase any of these with free shipping here: Free Shipping On Inner Balance Products!
Good stuff. Very deep. Had to reread. Thanksn
I’m on the Renewed Masculine Man track with Sven as my mentor and I can attest to the value this has brought to my life. I feel more empowered to own my emotion, to own my self discipline and to finally find a tool that literally teaches you how to replace less helpful emotions with empowering ones. Sven, I know I’m way in the beginning of this track but I feel like I have a path that is helping me take myself to the next level. Thank you!