On my way home from co-teaching a post-graduate Craniosacral Biodynamics seminar in Switzerland with my husband, Franklyn Sills, I feel inspired to write about an insight I had during the class. The seminar was entitled Awakening the Heart. At one point, as I was introducing the class to a presentation on the embryological development and energetic ignition of the heart, I spoke of how the presentation was not entirely in chronological order. I invited the class to enter a time machine with me. Someone commented, “The Targus!” This remark delightfully led me to a new way of looking at the heart and it mysterious functions. I heard myself explaining that the heart, like Dr. Who’s Targus, was in some ways bigger on the inside than the outside.
The physical heart in the adult is about the size of a fist. Its effects, however, are so much bigger! The heart rhythms are now known to affect a person’s ability to regulate emotions, to be healthy, socially relational and intuitive. The research of the Institute of Heartmath (www.heartmath.org) shows that when the heart rhythms are coherent or chaotic, the entire system tends to follow suit. The heart produces important hormones and has its own nervous system, sending more neural information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. There is much more inside the heart than the blood and muscle we can feel and see!
When we look at the embryology of the heart, we begin to understand its remarkable relational ability to sense and be connected with what is far outside its walls. The blood and cells forming the heart begin developing on the outside of what becomes the actual embryo body, within the structures that become the umbilical cord and placenta. From the beginning, these cells are reaching out to make relationship with mother, to connect with her blood and glands in order to receive nourishment necessary for survival and growth. These cells travel through the embryo, feeding primarily what will develop into the brain and nervous system, pausing at the cranial end before returning to their extra-embryonic source. Where this pause occurs, the heart begins to form. In the fourth week, the faster growing nervous system expands as the embryo folds forward. In this process, the heart meets the energetic heart center. An energetic ignition occurs and the heart begins to beat.
In the little embryo, the heart is huge. This “heart bulge” can be viewed in the very center, or heart, ofthe embryo. The rest of the body grows around it, and eventually it seems smaller as it rests within the chest. It remains through life, however, an essebtuak influence on our physiology and relational presence.
While the physical heart in adults is not huge, the energetic field of the heart is the biggest of any organ in the body. The heart’s bio-electrical field has an amplitude about 60 times greater than that of the brain. The bio-magnetic field generated by the heart is over 5000 times greater in strength than the field of the brain. It can be sensed several feet away from the body. We might say the heart is much bigger on the outside than it is on the inside! Perhaps, it is an inverted Targus…
Apparently involved in intuitive processes, evidence suggests “the physical heart is coupled to a field of information not bound by the classical limits of time and space,” and has been found to receive and process information about events before they actually occur! (from 2014 article by founders of Hearthmath, Rollin McCraty and Doc Childre, The Intuitive Heart, p. 11). Like the Targus, the mysterious heart seems to have abilities to reach forward in time, or at least to be receptive to what the future may be offering. The work of Heartmath shows that such abilities are supported by simple acts of heart awareness, like breathing into the heart or feeling it beating. When we listen to the heart, we are more likely to receive its wisdom. We begin to settle into more coherent heart rhythms, which we can also enhance by orienting to what we appreciate or feel grateful for. We might begin by appreciating our hearts, which have been beating since four weeks after we were conceived!
If the fields of the heart are so big and so connected with other fields, it is not much of a stretch to see that tending to your own heart can benefit not only you, but also all those around you. Heart coherence can enhance our empathy, compassion and understanding of others. In the seminar last week, we explored the effects of early history and the profound healing possible when we establish safety within the relational field between two people with an intention to deepen together. As the little ones within us begin to perceive safety, we can settle under the old wounding, emerging into presence. We can settle into resonance with universal formative forces and re-create ourselves within an infinite field of love.