03 Apr 2013 Leave a comment
“Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth.
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
We have caused a lot of damage to the Earth.
Now it is time for us to take good care of her.
We bring our peace and calm to the surface of the Earth
and share the lesson of love.
We walk in that spirit.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
26 Jan 2012 Leave a comment
Inside your body are flowers.
One of them has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will find a glimpse of beauty
of beauty before gardens and after gardens.
25 Jan 2012 Leave a comment
“Ultimately, every form of healing goes back to the Divine: love melts all blockages. Compassion gives strength and boosts power. Light heals and blesses.” -Zhi Gang Sha
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” The heart is a global internal synchronizing signal. What signal are you sending to every cell in your body? The electromagnetic field of the heart is measurable five or more feet away from the body. What signal are you sending to people you come in contact with? As we connect with the Divine in loving compassion, allowing light and love into our Heart we overflow this life to all around us. Sounds mystical? It is. And science is proving this ancient wisdom. Read on.
Chinese medicine teaches that the heart is the Emperor, regulating all functions and organ systems in the body. “Above all else, guard the heart, for it is the source of all life.” We read this in the Bible and in the teachings of Chinese medicine.
This teaching of the heart is also represented allegorically and historically. In China, the Emperor was considered to be the direct representative of Heaven. His word and directives were considered Divine Authority. He was protected at all costs, for upon him rested the fate of the whole nation. When the Emperor lived in accord with Divine principles of life, ruling with compassion, wisdom and mercy, the kingdom flourished at all levels. Favorable climate and weather promoted crops flourishing. Thus, the people were fed, healthy and content. This fostered well-being, healthy communities and spiritual, artistic and intellectual development leading to a rich and diverse culture grounded in spirit. Conversely, when the Emperor neglected Divine Authority and lived according to his own whims, lusts and thirst for power, the land would suffer from severe climatic conditions leading to earthquakes, droughts, floods leading to crop failure. Thus, individuals would suffer from hunger and hardship leading to decline of the nation at all levels.
The Heart was considered the seat of consciousness, the most important aspect of mind, encompassing not mere intellectual capacity, but spiritual qualities of awareness, compassion and wisdom. The spirit of the Heart, or shen is connected to the greater Shen or Spirit. In the quiet place of the Heart, we commune with Spirit and receive guidance. When we are centered in our heart with quiet awareness and loving kindness, harmony is created in our being at all levels: spiritual, emotional, mental and physical. In this way we effect our own well-being and positively influence the well-being of all around us.
Well, as I’ve always quipped, tongue in cheek, modern science is finally starting to catch up with ancient knowledge. Researchers are onto some fascinating territory investigating the role of the heart and positive emotions in our psyche and health. The Heart Math Institute is one the forefront of some of this truly exciting research. Scoffers of Chinese medicine and psycho-spiritual approaches to well-being, it is time to open your eyes and hearts. For the rest of us, our time is at hand. Awake and rejoice!
Researchers find the heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body, 5,000 times stronger than that produced by the brain. This field can be measured several feet away from the body with SQUID (Super-conducting Quantum Interference Device-based magnetometers). The electromagnetic field generated by the heart permeates every cell and acts as a synchronizing signal for the body.
Traditional models of the human body were based on the brain as being the determining factor in human health and emotions. The heart was considered to have too low a frequency field to exert any influence and has been heretofore considered by Western medicine as merely a mechanical pump for the blood. It was considered that only the endocrine system and brain produced neurotransmitters that effect our emotional state and health. Now, it is known that the heart itself produces peptides that effect emotions and that there is a nerve ganglia around the heart which communicates directly with the higher cognitive areas of the brain.
“Traditional linear theory predicted that weak, extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields, such as that radiated from the human heart, could not generate enough energy to overcome the thermal noise limit and thus effect biological systems. However, more recently it has been recognized that a linear and equilibrium approach is not appropriate for modeling biological systems, which are intrinsically nonlinear, nonequilibrium and noisy….” states Rollin McCraty, PhD in his paper The Energetic Heart (see reference below). “As a weak signal becomes more coherent, the greater its capacity becomes to entrain ambient noise and thus produce significant effect.”
HeartMath Institute researchers find that in positive emotional states of love, appreciation and gratitude, the heart rate and rhythm becomes even and the wave produced is a smooth, even sine-wave pattern. This positive, loving heartfull-ness evokes this pattern referred to as “heart coherence”. In this state of heart coherence, the higher cognitive functions of the brain are engaged, such as the frontal lobe and the areas of integration and processing between the right and left lobes of the brain.
Conversely, when we are in a negative emotional state, such as frustration, insecurity or anger, the waves measured on the ECG are disordered, close together and uneven. They look much as we feel when in those upset emotional states! When there is no heart coherence, the higher cognitive brain functions are simply not accessible. We are then reacting from the backbrain based on fear and memories of the past.
The good news is, that the moment we can bring into our heart a feeling of love and appreciation or gratitude, our frequency shifts, just as if a switch had been turned on. The squiggly, scrunched up lines become smooth, even sine waves. Our heart rhythm smooths, our heart becomes coherent, the cardiac ganglia communication lines are now engaged with higher cognitive functions and our thinking is now coherent! We can make choices based on empathy, caring, compassion. With our hearts relaxed and open, we can receive Divine guidance. Resting in the Presence, we can fully be in the present. From this place we can create loving and win-win solutions and options for our lives. We have a choice, moment to moment. Perfect love casts out fear, but we are the catalyst.
The state of our emotions effects heart rhythm and heart rate variability. These in turn produce changes in the hearts electromagnetic, sound pressure and blood pressure waves effecting every cell in the body.
Original post: May 11, 2006
25 Jan 2012 Leave a comment
“….pay more attention to your loving cellular memories stored within you in the form of a mature inner elder than you do to finding and indulging the often socially immature and narcissistic brain, that whining ‘inner child’.” Paul Pearsall, PhD in his book, The Heart’s Code: Tapping the Wisdom and Power of Our Heart Energy
Or, as Karol K. Truman defines the inner child “that aspect of us that usually perceives things incorrectly – that aspect of us that still has a lot of hurts and unresolved feelings…” (in Feelings Buried Alive Never Die…)
In other words, as we mature spiritually and move into a heart-centered awareness, we move away from the child-like focus on self. As we become rooted in Spirit, in the Heart, then we are able to expand our awareness to others. And as St. Francis said, our focus then becomes first to seek to understand others, rather than to be understood.
In the Presence within our heart, living from connection with Spirit, we can live fully in the present. Instead of reacting from past hurts and memories, catering to the immature inner child, we can choose how to respond in a manner that is caring, loving and creates a win-win situation for all involved.
When we are emotional, upset, angry we literally are unable to think clearly. Studies have shown that being present in our hearts with love, activates the higher cognitive function of the brain. This is congruent with the Chinese concept of the heart, which they consider synonomous with consciousness. In Chinese medicine, a balanced and integrated functioning of brain and heart together, centered in the heart, connected with Spirit, creates harmony and health in body, mind and spirit. This is because the Heart is considered the Emperor of the body’s organ systems which creates the rhythm and regulates all other functions in the body.
Today, we are encouraged to speak a language of feelings and needs based on “I”. “I feel”, “I need” and this often sets up a situation of potential emotional enslavement, where, like children, we expect others around us to cater to our needs, to ensure that we always feel good. Or we work hard to make those near us happy, by focusing on their ever-changing feelings and needs.
The language of “we” demands a more mature approach; one that is centered in the spiritual heart, governed by reason, guided by Spirit with the ability to set our feelings and needs aside. Certainly, we need to bring to awareness our feelings and needs, become aware of the often whining, demanding inner child. And then, with higher awareness and attention of the mature inner elder, to support and guide the child in growth – expanding awareness beyond it’s limited view to a greater experience. As we move forward based on faith, rather than feelings, our lives change; our inner child matures and can finally heal.
Taking time to stop and then to listen to our inner dialogue when we are stressed and upset is important. Learning to bring our awareness in love to our heart, we can then open again to Spirit, and receive the love and guidance we are so in need of. In that place, we are the inner elder, perceiving the situation from wider perspective, with benevolence and able to move forward with compassion.
This is part of what it means to live with heart and compassion.
Original post on March 18, 2006
25 Jan 2012 Leave a comment
“The heart is the sovereign of all organs &
represents the consciousness of one’s being.
It is responsible for intelligence, wisdom &
spiritual transformation.” Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine
“Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life” Proverbs 4:23
Essence of Healing
The character of a human being in Chinese shows the image of a person standing in between heaven and earth. What does this portray? To me this signifies our most basic purpose and relationship. We are meant to receive guidance from Heaven as we stand upon the earth in stewardship. In Chinese medicine, the Heart is a vital center. “It is a sacred vessel, holy land of each being….It contains and controls the Heaven/Earth exchange that makes us human and keeps us alive…”1
An inspired heart is the center of our being and our true source of inspiration is God, whose Word and purpose for us is written and enkindled in our hearts. The seed essence of our being is planted in the Kidneys, and brought forth through the Liver’s ability to plan and execute our vision with the creative, integrative and transformative ability of the Spleen. This is the healthy flow of spiritual energy coming to fruition through us on earth. The old adage, 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration is so aptly put!
Health, in Chinese medicine, is harmony flowing from appropriate relationship. Our individual harmony originates from being rooted in God and thus knowing who we are, our purpose and place in life. Self-knowledge alone is not complete because we cannot only be in harmony with ourselves; we’re not a closed loop. There is an infinite mystery pressing on our hearts, hoping to awaken us. Our Hearts are meant to pulse to the steady beat of God’s Heart, who gives us life and whose Word gives us the rhythm, beat and measure of our lives. Rooted in Spirit, we are able to receive the needed guidance as to how to be good stewards of the earth and of those placed in our care – each other.
Harmony to the ancient Chinese has to do with “the just rightness of things” (chung) in balance with “everything in proper proportion” (ho). In otherwords, harmony is a process of appropriateness and moderation. There is a maturity and depth gained when one learns to express oneself appropriately and with sensitivity to those around us, rooted in the knowing of our Heart.
It is through relationship with each other that we grow, learn and refine our being. We have many different relationships, such as those with friends, family, co-workers, animals, plants, forests, the planet, water, and even with our purpose for being here. Who are we in each of these relationships? Each relationship calls something forth from us and teaches us something. Each relationship has its own joys, its own challenges. How do we meet these teachings, joys and challenges? How can we move with integrity, truth and compassion to create harmony in our relationships so that all are nourished and honored appropriately? It’s the details of daily work and relationship that offer us the greatest opportunity for expressing God’s love on earth and for growth, maturation and healing. We cannot bulldoze over these in search of something greater because anything greater depends upon this foundation.
The art of the heart is mastery of life.
Our Heart can lead us to communion with God or our Heart can lead us astray. To remain tender-hearted amidst the challenges of life is our task because only then can we hear the quiet voice of God’s guidance in the stillness of our open heart and be nourished by that. It is said that a person with moderate emotions, content with a simple life, can achieve inner and interpersonal harmony. To understand our place in the world is humbling, grounding and basic to our healing. With a simple heart, we can truly rest in Christ’s command to be anxious for nothing and trust wholly in Him. Aptly, joy is the emotion of the Heart, as when we live in harmony with the Divine, we can know the peace and joy that passes all understanding. This is the Divine Fire that enkindles and inspires us, moment by moment so it’s no surprise that the Heart belongs to the Fire element in Chinese medicine.
This communion in our Heart, then sets up an energetic resonance in our body, a flow of energy and spiritual force through the organ systems. This affects the rhythm of the endocrine and nervous system directly and through various pathways including the hypothalamic-pituitary-pineal axis. One aspect of this, is that the Heart has a direct energetic relationship with the Kidney. Relevant to our discussion, there is a specific pathway through which energy and nourishment are sent from the Heart to the Kidneys. The Kidneys both Biblically and in Chinese medicine are considered the deepest energy in the body, the seat of our personal will and our emotions. In the New Testament, the Greek word “nephros” or kidney, was translated as the inmost mind and as the “reins”. The Kidneys are also the place where our spiritual essence resides. When they rest in trust and are nourished and moist with spiritual force (Yin), they receive Guidance sent down from the Heart. As the energy of our personal will (Yang) comes into alignment with God’s reason in the heart, our emotions (energy in motion) are reined in and directed, like horses. This establishes the basic energetic foundation for our life, health and well-being. Fear, doubt and anxiety keep us from receiving and engaging this spiritual force which is the most basic food of life. Personal will and desire in the Kidneys can override the rightness and reason in the Heart, which then becomes a place of great deceit (Jer 17:9) and imbalance ensues. In harmony, however, the seed essence energy of the Kidneys then gives support to the visioning and planning energy of the Liver to carry out the guidance initially received in the Heart. Known as the General, the Liver is in charge of the smooth flow of Blood and Qi in the body and the ability to plan and to bring our life vision to fruition.
This energetic flow influences the biochemical, neurological, endocrinogical, and nutritional systems of the body. The Chinese medical paradigm is inclusive of the dynamics of our spiritual and physical being. While the essence of healing is rooted in Spirit, all levels must be addressed to restore health and well-being. We are complex beings and must address our healing in the fullness of who we are. Our work is a process of finding balance and harmony in our being, in our relationships and as the bridge between Heaven and earth, day by day. Rooted in our connection with the Divine, we have a direction and purpose in life and are sustained along the path, no matter what hardships we meet because we draw from this deep well of sustenance.
1 Rooted In Spirit: The Heart of Chinese Medicine (Chapter Eight of Huangdi Neijing Lingshu) Trans by Claude Larre & Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee.
Original post: March 4, 2006
25 Jan 2012 Leave a comment
Here’s a simple exercise. You can practice this during a quiet time, a meditation, while laying in bed before falling asleep, and even throughout your busy day.
The natural tendency in pain or difficulty is for the heart to contract. We can expand this through our awareness and breath.
Take a few deep, gentle breaths, feeling the rise and fall of your lower belly until you feel quiet and still.
Now, bring your attention to your heart – wherever you feel a knot, constriction or contraction, breathe gently into that, feeling the area expand with each breath. Experience the relaxation the expansion brings with each breath.
Allowing peace to fill your heart.
Exhaling loving kindness.
Inhaling, feeling the knots and contractions releasing.
Exhaling, feeling spaciousness in your heart.
Inhaling, giving thanks for the opportunity to grow through the challenges being offered.
Exhaling, allow yourself to become aware of the new opportunities and attitudes that are now open to you through the expansiveness and spaciousness of your being fully in your heart.
Sit quietly for a few moments, simply bringing your loving awareness to your heart with each breath.
Throughout your day, simply check in every now and then, “Where is my heart?” and again bring your loving awareness to your heart.
original post: March 4, 2006