Thinking With Your Heart
The sensory path to your brain has three steps, and the brain in your head doesn’t even process your experiences until they have been through the first two steps — from the gut to the heart, and yet another dimension of hidden intelligence.
Neurocardiologists, scientists in an emerging field, have discovered that the brain in the heart contains more than 40,000 nerve cells called baroreceptors. This heart brain is as large as many key areas of the brain in your head. It also has highly sophisticated computational abilities.
With every beat, a new thought or idea is communicated from your heart to the rest of your body. Like your intestinal intuition, this cardio-communication deeply influences how you perceive your world and how you react to it. The heart pumps out speech after speech and every other part of your body is in constant contact with the heart’s demands. These impulses race through the body many times faster than your blood, and it is up to your head brain to try to catch up to them and understand them. The heart also generates many neurochemicals that influence the way we act. One such chemical, atrial peptide, is a primary force in your motivation and commitment to your goals. As we discovered earlier, we need to believe in order to achieve. Well, the heart has more to do with our sense of believing than any other brain we have.
The Heart’s Sense
The brain in your heart also keeps searching for new opportunities to grow or learn, and cross references its interpretations of what those around you are feeling with its own inner state of values and passions. When people tell you to go for your dreams, no matter how far fetched those dreams may seem, people usually say something like, “Follow your heart.” There is now scientific evidence to support the idea that the heart has a dedicated sensory system perfectly calibrated to sniffing out innovative and creative opportunities.
But that’s not all: the heart’s electromagnetic field is by far the most powerful produced by the body. In fact, it is approximately 5,000 times more powerful than the field produced by the brain.
This is true of everyone to a certain degree. People ten feet away may sense exactly what you are feeling. They can even do it over the telephone, and it makes no difference what you are saying. Words are fodder for the brain in your head. Your heart will believe the feeling underneath the words. This means that those people who are most in touch with their own feelings, and the feelings of others, may be the most attuned to what’s really happening in life. It’s imperative that you focus your attention on what you can do, and what you can contribute, not what you can’t. This is one of the uncommon yet simple ways we can better draw upon the combined brilliance and potential of all three of our brains, not just one.
There is so much more to your gut and your heart than digestion and circulation. People are not machines, no matter how often personal or work relationships make us feel as though we are. It’s no wonder that when people don’t feel cared about and valued, it’s so hard to put their hearts into their life or work.