by Sophie Johnson
The healing transformation of Mind and Body
"The longest journey any man or woman will ever take is the journey from head to heart"
Heart intuition or intelligence brings the freedom and power to accomplish what the mind, even with all the disciplines or affirmations in the world, cannot do if it’s out of sync with the heart.
Childre and Martin, The HeartMath Solution
At the moment there is a upsurge of interest in Mindfulness. It is everywhere, the NHS are using it, organisations, leaders, even Parliament are talking about it. The wonderful benefits gained from mindful practice are being recognised for work, stress, relationships, sustainability and resilience.
Within this article I want to explore a wish of mine.... That this movement continues to grow and expand, enabling more and more of us recognise the value of meditation, but specifically that there is a growing recognition of the place of the heart.
It is possible that the use of the word Mindfulness is a mistranslation. The word for Mindfulness in Sanskrit is Citta (mind)but within the east Citta is located within the Heart. The ancient Daoists describe the mind and heart as the 'heart/mind' and in many Asian languages the word for heart and mind is the same. It seems significant to our appreciation of what we are doing if we think of ourselves as developing the mind or developing the heart. The two words have a different feel, a different resonance within our awareness.
So what is Heartfulness? How can we develop it? How is it different to Mindfulness?
The fundamental difference is the quality/texture of our attention or awareness. Where this awareness is coming from, where it is located. Is it cool, detached, remote? Or engaged, warm, full of kindness and expansive? The real revolution of meditation is the liberation of our heart. It is only with the heart active, supported by our practise that the transformation, not just the awareness of our patterns, blockages, difficulties can occur.
Awareness or mindfulness will enable us to see clearly the clutter of our internal landscape but without the kind, accepting spaciousness of the heart, the clarity of vision will stay a remote view; seen, but not felt, embodied and transformed. For this transformation to occur we need to 'get involved', get intimate with, be imperfect, touch, feel, forgive, hold, soften, and appreciate: all qualities of heart.
To develop the heart is no easy thing. We need to have courage and a loving intention to really know the truth of ourselves. Our love of the truth needs to be greater than our fear of the unknown, our desire to be free greater than our attachment to denial. Interestingly the sanskrit word for Heartfulness is Sruti - the cosmic sound of truth. Sruti is to listen, to hear the truth of ourselves.
Life is a great wonder and at times tremendously hard. I have found that if asked to summarise the most valuable thing I have learnt from 30 years of meditation practice, it is to be able to actively apply the support of my heart to the rest of me. The emotions, complaining, dissatisfactions and commentaries are still there (humph!), yet the spacious acceptance of kind awareness provided by the heart gives a backdrop to reach into when needed, the availability of love, and a quiet joy ever present.
All those hours those of you have spent with me actively focusing on the heart center, working with your body, using your awareness to increase the field of energy around the heart and into the body, can now be measured on machines. Your EMF field will be more vibrant for it, and your overall health better. One study showed that it is possible to measure the light relationship inside and out of the body (biophotons). When meditating (using heart based energy practises), experienced practitioners were able to emit up to 100,000 photons per second of sustained light from the heart, whereas the background light measurement had a photon count of only 20 photons per second.
Heartfulness is to is to develop a relationship with the heart, and therefore with ourselves. When the heart is active compassion for ourselves and others flows. It becomes easier to meet our difficulties and conflicts with kindness and to extend the same quality of tolerance and spaciousness to those around us.
Intelligence centered in the heart becomes intuitive and altruistic and ceases to be selfish.
And on that note I am going to go and watch a film no one else in the house wants to watch!