“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor touched but are felt with the heart.”
On Saturday, I made my weekly trip to the dry cleaners. Usually when I walk in I find the owner smiling and seemingly happy to assist me. This time, however, she looked very tired and withdrawn as she retrieved my husband’s dress shirts.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. She seemed surprised by my question. “You look very tired,” I continued. We have had many conversations in the past but this one I could tell was going to be different.
“I am tired,” she responded as she quickly glanced around the shop. “Sometimes I look back at my life and think what am I doing? I’m always working.” Sensing how she was feeling, I responded, “I know how you feel. So many of us reach a point in our lives when we look back and wonder what we have truly done. You have to do what makes you happy. You have to do what gives you a sense of purpose. In other words, do what speaks to your heart.”
She looked at me intently, “But I don’t know what speaks to my heart. How do I know what speaks to my heart?”
“How can you know what speaks to your heart if you don’t take the time to listen?” I asked. “When we are so busy going from one mundane activity to another, we can’t hear our heart speak to us.”
A smile now warmed the owner’s face.
So how do we know what speaks to our heart? Before I explain this, let me just say that there are two ways we can listen. We can either listen with our mind or we can listen with our heart. When we listen with our mind, we are operating out of fear, opinion and reason. However, when we listen to our heart, we are operating from our emotions and feelings. Think of it this way: the mind speaks from past experiences and the heart speaks in the present moment. The heart is your intuitive or true self.
What many don’t realize is that the heart plays a much bigger role than just pumping blood through the human body. The heart has been found to have a mind of its own:
“Our research and that of others indicate that the heart is far more than a simple pump. The heart is, in fact, a highly complex, self-organized information processing center with its own functional ‘brain’ that communicates with and influences the cranial brain via the nervous system, hormonal system and other pathways. These influences profoundly affect brain function and most of the body’s major organs, and ultimately determine the quality of life.” (https://www.heartmath.org/resources/downloads/science-of-the-heart/?submenuheader=3).
The heart, therefore, is a sophisticated information processing center that is constantly communicating with the brain. Among others, the heart tells the brain how we are feeling and indicates our various emotions.
“Basic research at the Institute of HeartMath shows that information pertaining to a person’s emotional state is also communicated throughout the body via the heart’s electromagnetic field. The rhythmic beating patterns of the heart change significantly as we experience different emotions. Negative emotions such as anger or frustration, are associated with erratic, disordered, incoherent pattern in the heart’s rhythms. In contrast, positive emotions such as love or appreciation, are associated with a smooth, ordered, coherent pattern in the heart’s rhythmic activity. In turn these changes in the heart’s beating patterns create corresponding changes in the structure of the electromagnetic field radiated by the heart, measurable by a technique called spectral analysis.” (http://in5d.com/the-heart-has-its-own-brain-and-consciousness/).
I can remember when I was in school, we were taught that the brain was the mastermind. The brain was the one that told the body what to do but now we know that is simply not the case. The heart and the brain work in unison.
Getting back to my friend at the dry cleaners, you can’t hear what the heart is saying if you don’t take the time to listen. Likewise, you can’t listen to your heart if you don’t quiet the mind.
As I mentioned earlier, most of us are so busy going from one routine to the other that we don’t take any time to ourselves. To be honest, I am no exception. Every day I am so busy trying to keep up with the demands of being the mother of two active teenagers, a wife and an author. But I deal with this by willfully telling my mind to slow down.
Before I go to bed at night I do a simple meditation technique where I relax my body and pay attention to my breathing. With each breath, I find that I quiet the outside and draw myself within. Doing so makes me aware of what I’m truly thinking and feeling. Doing so gives me access to my intuitive voice or my heart’s center.
When I’m in this relaxed state, I am better able to come up with solutions to problems, release stress and develop new ideas. Being in this relaxed state helps me to connect with my true self. What I find is that when I listen to my heart, my life seems to flow effortlessly. However, when I ignore it, things appear to be erratic and tense. Nothing seems to be going right no matter how hard I try.
There is no sense in letting your heart talk if you are not willing to listen. As I asked my friend at the dry cleaners, how can you do what speaks to your heart if you don’t take the time to listen?
There is no stronger power in the human body than that of the heart. Take the time and listen to what it’s telling you and you’ll be surprised by its wisdom; you’ll be amazed where it can lead you.