Let’s start with a reminder: The science is not hard to find, but it seems hard to use if science is all you have. I’ve been disappointed in searching for application material. There are surely better writers for this subject, but the single biggest project attempting to use the science (Heart Math Institute) still clings to a Western mythology that pegs the heart to emotions.
The heart is not emotions; emotions are rooted in the “butt brain” or “belly brain” — the lower end of your spine where the nerves and collected activity of organs forming your basal physical existence give rise to a certain form of intelligence that most humans tend to misunderstand. You heart is an organ that pumps blood, but the independent neural network connected to the heart is the seat of a faculty far higher than emotion and intellect. It is not that the heart as a “mind” replaces or ignores the reason and emotions, but harmonizes them by weaving them into a sense of purpose. That faculty alone is capable of bringing order from the chaos of human existence by mediating between the various elements. The heart-mind allows you to sense the fabric of Creation itself, the fundamental nature of reality.
The heart-mind has an entirely different logic from the intellect. It’s more than a construct of reason; it is the nature of life itself. The logic of the heart is moral and contextual in nature. It allows you to sift things in terms of their very real cosmic importance. The coherence from the heart is a matter of conforming to a very dynamic and living reality that is formed by the overflowing glory of Our Creator’s person and character. There is nothing static about it. In other words, we can’t describe it in words, only indicate something of its nature. We are forced to speak of it in parabolic language, using symbolic logic. The heart itself handles the things of this life that way.
As you might expect, everything changes when you begin to move the focus of your conscious awareness into the heart. At a minimum, you begin to distrust the things that once led you — senses and logic. They aren’t evil so much as unable to answer the final questions.
A critical example is in the area of religion. We understand religion as the net human response to some spiritual apprehension, a sense of duty and obligation to some higher reality beyond this world. If reason is the highest level of consideration about this spiritual apprehension, then you will imagine somehow that your logical conclusions (theology) about these matters are binding in the sense that they are the only proper grasp of spiritual necessity. If you operate from the heart-mind faculty, you realize that your theology is merely your own personal organization for implementing your response to that divine call. You realize instinctively that it matters not a whit whether there is some objective truth out there, because you don’t trust your own reason to apprehend it.
Without the heart, about the highest awareness you can achieve is that dull, aching recognition that you had better do something to appease that sense of conviction that you have sinned. The religious term for that is a sense of condemnation. With the heart at the helm of your soul, you realize that the nature of God includes mercy, and that the mere awareness of conviction is a call to redemption. You become aware of the path to that redemption. Thus, you aren’t driven by a search for salvation. You are driven by a sense of gratitude and joy for what the Creator has revealed. There is no worry about going to Heaven, but a determination to make the Father of Life smile. You already realize that somehow that is connected to Heaven, so there’s no nagging fear.
In other words, fulfilling the comment Jesus made to Nicodemas in John 3 about spiritual birth is fulfilled in part by moving your conscious awareness into your heart-mind. The human mind is unable to grasp, and human tongue unable to tell, how it all works, but we know that a genuine touch of God always awakens the heart-mind awareness. Our problem is the vast lore of Western intellectual bias against what the heart was actually meant to do for us in this world.
If you continue working from your intellect, demanding that religion bow the knee to reason and logic, you cannot possibly know if the Father’s favor shines on you. The mind can never really know the ultimate truth of things, because your mind is not eternal; it’s just a manifestation of our fallen human form. Whatever should be there in charge of our awareness is far more than mere intellect. Your heart-mind is eternal in nature; it is your only conscious link to God.
And for those who would benefit by the same teaching from a different angle, let me suggest you drop by to catch up with my dear sister and pastoral associate, Wildcucumber. She covers it so nicely, it would be an insult to God if I didn’t alert you to it.