Listen to your Heart

Listen to your Heart

Listening to your heart can involve all of your senses, including intuition, balance, enviroment and sense of time or place.

Taking time to be with yourself, grounded through your senses into the land beneath your feet, the land that resonates deeply with your inner life and the creation of which you are a part, in and of itself, is deeply healing.

Life can be painful; it can leave scars in the mind and the body. Scars of thick, tight, squashed up areas of little or no sensation, where the area of past hurt is covered so completely, that nothing can get to it again. Ever.

Forgiveness

Protection is a natural response and has its place, but so often the many scars of life are simply left in place rather than turned to again, looked at, understood and, perhaps, forgiven.

Forgiveness is something that can be found by listening to your heart. Forgiveness is a deeply healing free-flowing river, washing away old hurts and gently cleaning the area of any ‘bad odours’ held there with them. 

Seat of Emotion

Anxiety and depression, job and relational stressors can also pose risks to the emotional balance of the heart. Finding ways to change habits and ways of going, mediate, and regulate to help ease these things, is paramount for heart health, and the wellness of your entire being.

The amygdala section of the brain is the main processor of emotions, but the heart has long been considered the seat of emotion. This belief has been made popular over the years by using the heart shape as a representation of love.

Aristotle believed the heart was the seat of the soul as well as emotion, and as such was the primary sense organ of the body. This belief may be related to the fact that, as we now know, at the height of strong emotion adrenalin is pumped into the heart causing it to increase the beats pace and strength – and this pulse can be felt throughout the body.

The Egyptians too placed great value on the heart. Their intricate embalming processes included drawing the brain out through the nose to throw it away, but they kept the prized heart for all to see in its own special jar of embalming fluid.

Medicinal practices throughout the ages have centred on the heart as the harbinger of well-ness or disease.

Greek physician Herophilus (c.330 – 260 BC) was the first to develop a water clock system for counting the hearts pulse rate.

Pulse practices of various kinds were used in many places over the world such as Greece and Japan, together with other early medical systems such as Ayurveda and Chinese Traditional Medicine. Some think these may have been influenced by the ancient Egyptian medical belief that ‘the heart speaks out of every limb’ and that the balance of the heart is of vital important to the life, and even more importantly, the afterlife of the person.

Heart Plasticity

Today, in times of the revelation of neuroscience and epigenetics, we know that brains have a certain plasticity and can change themselves, but perhaps less known is that the heart can change too. A finding in 2020* said:

 “The adult human heart has an exceptional ability to alter its phenotype to adapt to changes in environmental demand. This response involves metabolic, mechanical, electrical, and structural alterations, and is known as cardiac plasticity”.

The potentiality of this knowledge is fascinating.

If our thinking can change our brains, how does our emotion change our hearts?

As with most things, the balance of emotions is important to a healthy heart, life and, arguably, a healthy soul.

Severe emotional pain can have physical effect. For example in the Broken Heart Syndrome the left ventricle of the heart swells up and affects its pumping capacity. Interestingly however, the arteries are not actually blocked, and fortunately the swelling can be reduced by medication.

Time and Awareness

Time is also a healer, and to take time, spend time just using our senses to simply experience whats happening in us, we need some life balance. To be able to listen, we need to take time out.

Like the ‘in and out’ of the breath, your life needs the balance of both doing and being.

Maybe your senses call you to spend time with a particular person.  Another aspect of listening to the heart is to notice when an activity, person or place ‘calls’ to you. It may be an urge to take time out, to rest, or to engage in some artistic activity; it may be a pull to or away from someone or something, it may be that a part of the land, or a tree on it, that calls to you. 

Listening to the heart is about reconnecting to ourselves and in a way that allows us to understand, or at least be aware, of what we are experiencing. The act of applying awareness to any situation can allow rational thought, which is particularly useful in times of stress and emotional upset. With rational thought we can see things clearly. If we can see clearly we can begin to understand what’s happening in us, allowing the possibility to choose how to respond. If we can respond rather than react with our usual patterns or overload, we protect the heart, naturally.

As this article began, listening to the heart is about taking time to be with yourself, grounded in yourself, grounded to the land beneath your feet, the land that runs with the cycles of life, balancing and resonating so deeply with your inner life.

Opening the mind is key to opening the heart, and to be able to listen.

This can begin with the practice of awareness.

On this site and across the web there are many mindfulness based meditations to help you in this, including a Loving Kindness (Compassion) practice, which can help open the heart so that you can experience feelings in a guided and balanced way.

Listening to the heart can be enlightening, bittersweet, and lifechanging.

I encourage you to try it  …

AL

*Pitoulis FG, Terracciano CM. Heart Plasticity in Response to Pressure- and Volume-Overload: A Review of Findings in Compensated and Decompensated Phenotypes. Front Physiol. 2020 Feb 13;11:92. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00092. PMID: 32116796; PMCID: PMC7031419