Esoteric practices and most ancient cultures understand what I’m about to say: Follow your heart.
They know and highly regard the fact that the heart can offer sound guidance. That’s right. Your heart (the pump-like organ in your chest) speaks to you as if it were an advisor, a sage, dear friend or confidant. Following your heart isn’t just a phrase or practice; it is a physiological function that occurs inside us all. Neuroscientists believe the heart communicates in ways (neurochemical, biomechanical, and electrical) that can significantly influence perceptions, reactions and even responses. In recent years, research has confirmed this heart-brain connection.
Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s Psychophysiologists John and Beatrice Lacey pioneered scientific research that relates physiological measures to psychological function, and their data continues to impact the field of neuroscience today. It suggests that the regulatory systems of the body influence the brain. It appears brain and body are engaged in a two-way conversation, and the heart can often diverge from the direction given by the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
These sorts of conversations are what we’re discussing here. In order to conceptualize what following your heart might feel like, I’d like to draw upon a technique Organizational Anthropologist Judith E. Glaser uses in her work regarding Conversational Intelligence®: Looking Back to Look Forward.
Stop right now and look back at two or three paths you’ve chosen. What do you see? Can you distinguish one or two pathways you’ve traveled that were selected with deliberation or inspiration and one or two that were taken because of reaction, impulse or fear?
Now ask yourself: Which of these pathways aligned with my heart? Which of these paths pulled me out of alignment—away from following my heart?
Chances are, those paths that had heart, even if the journey was difficult and painful, are experiences that hold deep value. Equally, those pathways that pulled you away from your higher purpose and the intimations of your heart probably hold less value.
Use this simple exercise of Looking Back to help you Look Forward toward the next decision point. And next time, consider exerting greater conviction and action toward following your heart.
Life is a dynamic blend of all sorts of choices. When we converse with our heart, we participate in the essential art of taking time to access and be guided by deep wisdom. We then engage more strength, creativity and love. We choose more deeply and true when consulting the heart.
When we fail to listen to the heart, we experience less flow, integrity and less peace of mind.
At SoulSalt, Inc., we engage with people who want to follow their hearts, who want to know their truth and then live it. If you’d like to start learning how to better follow your heart, download our one-page guide on the topic.
Soosalu, Grant and Oka, Marvin. mBraining, Using your Multiple Brains to do Cool Stuff. CreateSpace 2012
Glaser, Judith E. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results. Bibliomotion 2013
Kornfield, Jack. A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life. Bantam 1993