Falling in Love is Not All in Your Head

Some years ago, I fell in love. I remember the day, in fact the exact moment it happened. My brain knew it was foolish, and everything in my intellect told me (because of the circumstances) it would never work out. But my heart was deaf to reason, and down the rabbit hole it plunged, madly, truly deeply, dragging my kicking-and-screaming common sense with it.

Ultimately, and just as my brain had predicted, it didn’t work out. And still, my heart has never fully relinquished what it conjured up, as if that love had somehow became part of my DNA. I asked myself a million times over, why didn’t reason trump emotion and spare me the anguish of love unrequited? And yet I am infinitely thankful for the experience.

We’ve all heard the songs, read the poems and literature, and viewed the art. We love with our hearts, we feel joy in our hearts, and we can have our hearts broken into tiny pieces. But is this talk of the heart just sweet sentiment and colloquialism? Surely our hearts are just hard-working muscles, mechanical-like pumps, secondary slaves to a superior and omnipotent brain.

Our recent culture has ascribed all our thinking and emotions to the electrical and chemical impulses produced by our brains. But it’s possible that the Egyptians were closer to the truth when they considered the heart to be the seat of our souls. The Egyptians would discard the brain (and all the other organs) when mummifying their dead, but left the heart in the body so that it could be weighed in the afterlife. If their heart was deemed worthy, the deceased would be welcomed into the kingdom of Osiris, who was described as the “Lord of love” [1]

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some heart transplant recipients have taken on uncharacteristic likes and dislikes after surgery – characteristics of the people who’s hearts they’ve received. I watched a documentary of a young ghetto rapper who developed a love of the violin, a former couch potato who started marathon running, and a health-fanatic young woman who suddenly craved beer and pizza. All of these new interests were what their donor had loved!

So this begs the question; is it possible that a muscle can retain, not only memory, but emotions such as love? 

Thanks to modern medicine and science, more and more is being discovered about that amazing fist-sized muscle in our chest. And it seems that besides pumping blood, the heart has an intelligence of its own. Joel K. Kahn, MD describes in his article that: [2]

1). The heart communicates to the brain and the body in four ways including: 1) nervous system connections, 2) hormones produced in the heart itself, 3) biomechanical information via blood pressure waves, and 4) energetic information from the strong electrical and electromagnetic fields.  The fact that the heart produces hormones released into the blood stream affecting all of the body was first demonstrated 30 years ago and has led to tests routinely performed in hospitals across the country.

2). There are 40,000 sensory neurones relaying information to the brain from the heart leading researchers to call the heart the “little brain” and to coin the field as neurocardiology.

3). There is actually more information sent from the heart to the brain on a daily basis via these 4 means of communications than vice versa.  Indeed, the neurones within the heart enable the heart to learn, remember, and make decisions independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex.

4). The heart emits an electrical field 60 times greater in amplitude than the activity in the brain and an electromagnetic field 5,000 times stronger that of the brain.

5). The electromagnetic field of the heart is so strong that it not only can be measured anywhere on the body (such as an EKG with electrodes on the ankles and wrists) but for several feet outside the body too.

6). The electromagnetic field of two individuals (human or pet and human), touching or within a few feet of each other, can interact so that energy activity in the heart of one individual is measured in the brain waves of the other.  The act of touch for healing therapies can be postulated to be due to this method of communication.

7). The electrical activity of the heart and the brain can be guided into a synchronous electrical rhythm easily measured and displayed by simply focusing on positive and loving emotions emanating from the heart.  This state of organ “coherence” is associated with improved higher level functioning, lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, and improved immune system function.

According to Rollin McCraty, Director of Research at the Institute of HeartMath [3], the heart’s electromagnetic field interacts with and permeates every cell of our bodies. The heart is an important carrier of emotional information.

So that explains a lot about why the brain’s ‘reason’ is no match for what the heart wants! It also explains why we can’t ‘think’ ourselves into (or out of) loving something or someone.

The heart is so much more than a mere muscle. It is the intelligent, intuitive seat of our emotions, especially love. And love is the most powerful and binding emotion we share.

But what about when love goes awry? 

As painful as a broken heart is, hearts are resilient, and they heal in time. So we should never shy away from love – it offers so many gifts! We can learn so much from love, and we can learn so much from heartache.

A loved one may be transitory, but the love you feel for that person can last a lifetime. So love with no regrets. My favourite poet said it best.

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” ~ Rumi

Continue to open your heart to love. The heart’s capacity to love is limitless, and love can heal anything.

[1] “The Gods of the Egyptians”, E. A. Wallis Budge, p. 259, Dover 1969, org. pub. 1904, ISBN 0-486-22056-7

[2] http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/24239537/the-smart-heart-part-1-7-amazing-facts-about-the-hearts-control-of-the-brain

[3] http://www.heartmath.org/research/research-home/research-center-home.html