Call someone intelligent and we typically refer to one’s intellectual ability or ‘brain’ power and not the heart. But research shows that the heart is in fact intelligent, too. The brain in the head is dutifully obeying messages that are being sent from another brain, the one in the heart. The heart isn’t just a throbbing mass of muscle; it’s actually quite a sensitive instrument that is processing critical information, constantly communicating with the brain 4 different ways.
NEUROLOGICALLY. With every beat of the heart, a burst of neural activity is relayed to the brain. The brain in the heart senses hormonal, rate and pressure information, and translates this information into neurological impulses, processes it and sends information back to the brain in the head via the vagus nerve and nerves in the spinal column.
BIOCHEMICALLY. The heart produces the ‘balance hormone’ – ANF. It regulates blood pressure, body-fluid retention and electrolyte homeostasis and exerts its effects widely on the blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands and other regulatory regions of the brain. ANF also inhibits release of stress hormones and plays a positive role in reproductive and immune system activity.
BIOPHYSICALLY. With every beat the heart generates a powerful blood pressure wave that travels rapidly throughout the arteries, much faster than the actual flow of blood. These waves of pressure create what we feel as our pulse.
ENERGETICALLY. The heart produces an electromagnetic field that is approximately five thousand times greater in strength than the field produced by the brain. Its power influences every part of our bodies and even broadcasts itself outside the body.
The net of all this is to remind you that your heart affects the way you think. You don’t have a choice. And your emotions—your feelings–affect your heart. In this you do have a choice. By intentionally shifting to a positive emotional state you can modify input from your heart to your brain in ways that are good for you. It’s healthy, it’s smart and it’s FAST.
See Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson as an example