Can an Open, Loving Heart Save your Life?
Apr 30, 2011 12:13AM
By Carla Gorsky
Would you be surprised to know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States? According to the American Heart Association, more than one in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease. Nearly twice as many American women die of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases as from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.
Much has been written about diet and exercise as a tonic for heart health, yet the problem remains. Perhaps we need to look at this issue holistically, to consider the whole person: body, mind, emotions and spirit. Perhaps what has yet to be emphasized is the effect of thoughts and emotions on the heart’s health.
Every thought and every emotion we experience has a direct effect on the heart. This can be seen quite clearly using a computer program from HeartMath, an innovative wellness company in California. HeartMath has done extensive research on the effects of stress on the heart and on the heart and brain connection.
By simply placing a finger in a small cuff, you can pick up and view your pulse on a computer screen. Not only does that reveal your heart rate, or beats per minute, but it also shows your heart’s rhythm, or how the heart rate varies from moment to moment. This “heart rate variability” reveals a lot about your inner state of being.
This heart wave when under stress (the sympathetic nervous system) looks choppy and erratic. But when the relaxation response (the parasympathetic nervous system) is produced, the wave becomes flowing and even. This is referred to as “heart coherence.”
As you watch your heart’s rhythm on the screen, you can clearly see the reaction of every thought you have. Whether you are thinking about a conflict at work or a challenge with your teenager, you will instantly see a response on the screen. Our hearts are responding to both our thoughts and our emotions every minute of every day.
The stress doesn’t even necessarily have to be about anything real. Stress will cause our bodies to induce the “fight or flight” response to any threat, whether real or perceived. So if the mind is worried about any future event, the body reacts as if that event is real and actually happening. Therein lies the danger of negative thoughts.
So how can we change this reaction to the stresses in our lives? Certainly there is no way to control our environments to keep all conflict from ever touching us. The answer is in learning how to shift from being reactive to proactive through Heart Meditation. Heart Meditation is a simple yet profound practice that can empower you to return to heart coherence in spite of the stressors in your life.
It is often said that it’s not the things that happen to us, it’s how we react to them that matters. In truth, there are infinite ways to react to any given situation. Typically, however, our response is knee-jerk and predictable, based on past traumas and challenges, as if our emotions are on auto-pilot.
Heart Meditation allows you to become proactive and choose your reaction. This allows the heart to do what it was designed to do: give and receive love. An open, loving heart allows the life force to flow freely. When we close our hearts or feel the need to protect our hearts, we actually interfere with this energetic flow. Diminished energy flow over time could eventually affect the heart physically.
Heart Meditation is a simple technique with vast implications that increases heart coherence. It is actually possible to become proactive and bring our hearts back to an even, peaceful rhythm at will. Not only can you see the results of Heart Meditation on the computer, you can also feel the results in your heart. As your heart rhythm becomes coherent, your heart becomes more open and loving and you can actually feel the difference.
If you’ve ever tried meditation and have found it difficult to quiet your mind, Heart Meditation may hold the answer for you. Heart Meditation helps your mind to become quiet and your thoughts to become clear.
Heart Meditation is much more than simply a tonic for stress reduction, however. As we open our hearts to a flowing state, we naturally become more loving and peaceful. This has a direct effect on all of our relationships, both personal and professional. Imagine not always being triggered by challenging people—and if triggered, being able to return to a loving state at will.
For those on a path of personal or spiritual growth, Heart Meditation purifies the heart from past wounds, hurts, grudges and other traumas that act as veils to hide the light within. Many spiritual paths offer some form of Heart Meditation; the techniques are ancient and holy. But only recently have we gained the cutting-edge tools to demonstrate what the mystics have known throughout time.
Our hearts hold the answer to true healing. If you’ve ever been hurt, or suffered a broken heart or other significant loss, Heart Meditation may hold the key to your wellness. If you decide to practice Heart Meditation daily, you may find that you can open your heart to become more loving and peaceful, and heal your heart as well.
Click here for Guidance for Heart Meditation
American Heart Association, Heart.org
Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease: The Only System Scientifically Proven to Reverse Heart Disease Without Drugs or Surgery by Dean Ornish, M.D.
How to Heal Your Broken Heart: A Cardiologist’s Secrets for Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Health by Kirk Laman, M.D.
The Institute for Applied Meditation, AppliedMeditation.org
Carla Gorsky CMT, has been in private practice since 1979, providing massage therapy and spiritual healing, and specializing in the treatment of chronic pain. She offers instruction in Heart Meditation for individual and groups for improved health, sports performance, overcoming test anxiety, corporate wellness and spiritual growth. For more information, call 847-367-8842 or visit ThePeacefulHeart.com.