Feeling like you can do nothing to change what is going on in the world? The truth is you have the power to enact positive change, but you must first learn to listen to your heart, because without self-awareness we remain lost in reaction.
To create meaningful change externally, you must first transform internally.
If you fail to build a foundation inside of you that is solidly constructed on your core values, and aligned with the desire to serve a purpose greater than your “self”, than your actions might be well-intentioned, and meaningful, but they will fail to sustain over the long-term. And when we repeat this cycle of taking an action only to experience a short-term gain, or no measurable gain, then we become disillusioned, depressed, and disheartened.
If you want to feel, and see true change occur in this ever-changing, chaotic world, then you will need to utilize your heart, and the intelligence of the heart, to synchronize your heart, body, mind, and spirit.
Our heart has intelligence, it has an intrinsic nervous system, and the same type of neurons as the brain in our head, and it can act independently from the brain. Research has shown that the heart brain transmits information upwards through our body and into our brain, quicker, and more frequently than our head brain communicates down to our heart and our body.
What is really important is that the information being transmitted from our heart to our head can modify the cognitive, and emotional centers located in our brain 1. Therefore, our heart is actively, and continuously communicating, and influencing our perception, cognition, and emotion. Our heart, when intentionally listened to, can provide clarity around how we think, feel, and interact with the world.
In essence: the heart speaks, the mind listens, and the spirit acts.
To listen to our heart, means to become heart-centric, to become deeply self-aware, and this requires that we learn to go quiet so as to hear our heart, and not simply react to the story the brain in our head is telling us. This is not about labeling, good or bad, or what is better, but understanding that when we willingly go inside, into our heart, we elevate our decision making, form stronger personal connections, are better able to persist through difficulties, and remain stronger in the face of conflict, and in the embrace of love.
To take action without witnessing positive results can be exhausting, emotionally, and physically, so here are some ways to become more Heart-Centric, using our heart in coherence with our mind, so that our actions align with our purpose, and in support of our spirit.
- Individually: intentionally schedule quiet times in your calendar, anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, wherein you sit, or walk in a space of quiet contemplation consciously listening to your heart. A simple technique is to mentally locate your focus on to your heart, and begin deeply breathing in and out of your nose and into your heart, and then simply listening for what your heart has to say. The more consistent the breathing the more coherent you become, the more the mind settles, the more aware you can be of your heart’s message. Our minds tend to be “on” all the time, constantly stimulated, like churning water, when what we need to hear our heart is the calm pool of reflection, so we must learn to stop stirring the water, allow the thoughts to settle, so we can look deeper into ourselves, knowing that when we do this we become stronger, kinder, healthier, and more in tune with our true self.
- Locally: intentionally engage with your family, friends, and peers, by listening. Invite them to talk about their dreams, their passion, their purpose; the reality is very few people take time to think of themselves, because we have bought into the myth that to be a good person means we must be busy in service 24-7, when the truth is, if you are a hot mess due to your busyness, are you really serving others fully? To be heart-centric means to be self-compassionate, and self-loving, knowing that your ability to go quiet, positions you in a positive way to be open to and listen to others without fear, or judgment, and in support of their difference, and diversity. For more on how to listen in a heart-centric manner click here: http://emcmike.com/31-heart-centric-communication/
- Globally: intentionally choose to consume, communicate, and invest in things, people, or services that align with your purpose. Research to discover ways to actively participate with your money, and your time so that your desire to serve a purpose greater than your “self” can create positive change on a global scale. This does not mean you have to do something dramatic, and earth shattering (but if you do, great), but it does mean to think about how what you buy, consume, and invest in can cause a ripple affect that little by little can transform the lives of people around the world. This can be as simple as being more intentional about who you follow and engage with on social media (find global influencers that align with your purpose, and create a relationship), to running for office, and or utilizing your resources to generate a positive movement with global appeal.
The key to being heart-centric is to do things, and live a life guided by your heart’s intelligence, and not simply informed by your brain’s story.
- Glob Adv Health Med. 2015 Jan;4(1):46-61. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2014.073. Heart Rate Variability: New Perspectives on Physiological Mechanisms, Assessment of Self-regulatory Capacity, and Health risk. McCraty R1, Shaffer F2.