The very act of being, human or otherwise, has a certain dynamic nature attached to it. In humans, the heart has evolved as the epicenter of this state of beingness. The four physical chambers of the human heart have four external openings – two for the input of blood and two for the output. This heart beats continuously from the time of its formation in the first few months after conception until the day we die… At an average of 72 beats per minute, our heart beats 103,000 times per day, 3.8 million times per year, 2.5 billion times in a 65 year life-span. It does its work, virtually non-stop. The physical heart is an astounding piece of ‘machinery’!
The closing and opening of the heart’s internal and external valves allows us to exist in our state of physical being. But what about our emotional and spiritual state of being? Are their different, separate ‘hearts’ for these states? While the physical heart may be centrally located in a specific space for all of us humans, the location of the ’emotional heart’ may be different for different people. The same may be true for the ‘spiritual heart’. And the mechanism of the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ of these hearts may also be different for different folks, yes?
One key difference between our physical and emotional/spiritual hearts is that the the opening/closing of the latter is directly influenced by their connection(s) to others’ hearts. This is not to say that our physical heart’s workings are isolated from the states of our own emotional/spiritual hearts – they are only indirectly influenced by others’ physical hearts. The reason that this distinction is important is that it can help us develop the awareness that the health of our emotional/spiritual hearts influences the physical hearts of those that we are closely connected to. So, we may want to closely watch the health of our emotional and spiritual heatts, even more so than our physical heart!
Try as we may, the ‘heaviness’ or ‘lightness’ conveyed by our emotional heart impacts our physical heart. The ‘tightening of the chest’ while watching an intensely emotional (real or virtual) event is a physical response we may all have experienced. Our emotional/spiritual heart may actually close or even ‘shut down’ as a mechanism of self-protection and self-preservation. In extreme situations, this can even lead to a shutdown of the physical heart. How often have we heard of people having heart-attacks when their favorite team ends up losing a crucial game? Emotional heart closure due to shock. It is no secret that we live in a hyper-connected and ‘react-and-share-first, check-the-facts-later’ world. The emotional heart’s rapid or sequential closure can often occur in response to reactions to news items or social media posts construed by us as an overload of our emotional circuits.
The danger of these frequent loading cycles is that we either ‘bury our heads in the sand’ or exert our emotional/spiritual hearts to the point of ‘irrecoverable’ fatigue. Or both. Either way, the health of our physical hearts is in turn bound to suffer. In the material sciences, a material that is subject to repeated cycles of loading and unloading will eventually undergo permanent deformation or fatigue. “Microscopic cracks” form in the internal structure of the material and failure occurs at much lighter loads than the material is originally meant to be able to withstand. Is there an analogy here to the current state of openness and corresponding level of fatigue our physical/emotional/spiritual hearts?
I don’t know about all of you, but in the past few weeks, I have found myself spending less and less time on ‘social’ media. Part of this action is driven by self-preservation of my emotional and spiritual states. “The first rule of self-defense is to get out of the way – Sensei Denniss” (my 8th degree black-belt Karate teacher). If my emotional/spiritual heart feels less open after I spend time on social media, it defeats the purpose of ‘social’, does it not? I want my spiritual heart’s state to remain open, and keep opening a bit more every day. Such a state is often achieved with a long walk admiring the grace and flux of nature, a meditation session that leaves me filled with light, a reading or writing exercise that lightens the spirit, an impromptu gathering and celebration with friends over a meal, and so on. I fill my heart’s reservoir with spiritual energy, and then expend it on actions that produce purposeful, meaningful and long-term growth.
I am convinced that the state of my spiritual heart affects every one of you who invest heart energy in the #SpiritChat conversations every week, and our community at large. The reverse is true too. The degree of openness of your spiritual heart affects all those that you engage with – particularly those that you have a strong heart-resonance with.
I encourage you to engage their spiritual heart with truth, intelligence, and joy. And watch your heart, and theirs, open a bit more everyday.
P.S. The weekly invitation – join us in #SpiritChat on twitter, Sunday February 12th at 9amET/2pmGMT to share the state of openness of your heart. We continue our celebration of #heartmonth in February… Namaste.