Learn how to practice heart coherence for physical and mental performance.
“Heart coherence can only be elicited by positive emotions like appreciation, not by simple relaxation exercises. An individual in the state of high heart coherence has a higher degree of mind/body coordination, one that enhances his (or her) physiological and behavioral performance.” —Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
The heart is the most powerful organ in the body. It creates the largest electrical field of any system in the body. It has its own nervous system. It doesn’t just follow the commands of the brain but works out whether what the brain says to do is the right thing to do.
And the heart can be the engine of desire, even making us do crazy things. We want our heart to guide us to create our perfect lives. But many of us are not aligned with our heart’s deepest desires. We keep drawing into our lives the things we don’t want instead of things we do want. It can be deeply frustrating.
One of the most important things you can do for your overall health is to bring your conscious and unconscious desires into alignment. Our unconscious runs upward of 90 percent of our daily activities. We mostly run on autopilot, which is great for doing the dishes but not so great when it keeps bringing us the same bad relationship or the same missed opportunities. Chances are your autopilot program is not in line with what you consciously want.
The heart coherence practice
You need to change the program, and the practice of heart coherence can help. It has three components, and you can take specific steps to align your mind and heart.
1. Practice gratitude.
To get what you want out of life, start with gratitude for what you already have. There have been many studies on gratitude and its benefits, and it turns out that gratitude leads to a feeling of happiness and not the reverse. Chances are, even if you are lacking something in your life—even if it’s something big like your dream house, relationship or job—you likely have many blessings and much goodness in your life already.
To do: Every day for 28 days, write down in your journal three things you’re grateful for. It helps to do this at the same time each day, maybe after you sit in meditation in the morning or right before you go to sleep. Every day, write down three things. Notice what shifts and what begins to manifest.
2. Craft your desire.
Sometimes it isn’t easy to know what you want. A beautiful and powerful way to find a deep desire that might be eluding you is to do some stream-of-consciousness writing.
To do: Be a superhero! Write your bio as a superhero in your daily life. You might be able to fly to work or stop the hurricane bearing down with one breath. What powers do you have? What tasks or travails do you overcome? What’s your quest and who do you save? Be as bold and audacious as you can. Even write down what your superhero costume looks like. Then go through and circle the words that jump out at you. Things like: She saved endangered plants, or he stopped all chemical factories with a single thought. These may be clues to what desires you’re hiding from yourself. Have courage. Carpe diem. There is only one of you on the planet. Live your dharma!
To do: Craft your new program. From the previous exercise, write out two sentences, short and concise, about what you want to manifest. Write them in the present tense, as if what you want is already happening. Write one sentence that has a negative word in it: not, no, don’t. For example: I no longer eat junk food. And write one sentence that has a positive phrase such as, I eat a healthy, nourishing diet.
3. Reprogram your “autopilot.”
In order to insert a new program into your metaphorical hard drive, try relaxing the vigilance of one of the energy systems that governs us. In traditional Chinese medicine, this system is called Triple Warmer, and it’s in charge of your habits. If you want to change a habit, you need to tell this system to relax its grip on the old habit, to give room to the new one. In Energy Medicine Yoga, we use a technique called the temporal tap to help insert a new habit.
To do: Perform the temporal tap. With two or three fingers, you’ll tap a line from your temples, around and behind your ear, to the base of your skull, first on the left side and then on the right side. Tap with some pressure. On the left side, tap using your negatively worded, present-tense statement. For example: I am no longer unemployed. On the right side, tap using your positively worded statement. For example: I am working at my dream job. Tap each phrase in sequence, three times. Practice temporal tapping three or four times a day.
Here’s a video on how you do the temporal tap …
If you feel you’re not one of those people who can “manifest” things, doing this practice with some simple goals can really shift your outcomes. Maybe not, “I am a brain surgeon,” but something like, “I always get a great parking spot.” Consider the possibility that getting what you want out of life is a practice as much as anything else. Little by little, this “muscle” will strengthen. Pay attention to what shifts and manifests and what you draw into your life.
Photo credit: Thinkstock, iStock, robertprzybysz.