Heart is more than muscle
The heart is essential to our being on this planet but it is more than simply an organ that pumps blood around the body. There is also the inner heart.
Throughout the body there are many energy centres, some small and others more significant. Together with meridians and minor channels, they form part of a vast and complex network. Energy centres cannot be seen with ordinary vision, any more than electricity or the wind can normally be seen with the eye. But their effects can be felt.
Layered like an onion
If we can imagine for a moment our body as having layers like an onion, there are many levels which cannot be seen. These invisible layers are sometimes referred to as our subtle bodies. More subtle than the physical body is the etheric or vital energy system. Every organ and gland in the body has its subtle counterpart. Corresponding to the heart, for instance, is a very special centre. When the heart centre is more active and open, the individual tends to be more generous, kind and compassionate.
Imbalance in the vital or etheric energy can make us feel off-colour. Our vitality is weaker and so are the body’s defences. If prolonged, sickness is more likely to arise. Those who practise healing or the energy arts, such as yoga, qigong and tai chi, know this from experience.
At a deeper level of our being is the emotional or feeling layer, sometimes called the emotional or astral body. More subtle still is the mental body. Throughout all the subtle bodies, energy circulates. The freer this circulation, the better we feel. These have their corresponding energy centres. Throughout all these layers, energy circulates and the heart centre in particular radiates energy throughout them.
Inner and outer health
At the outer or physical level we know the good functioning of the heart is essential for good health but how much attention do we pay to the inner heart that governs the emotions and the way we think?
In the same way that the physical heart is concerned with supply, the emotional and mental heart centres – our feeling and thinking hearts – are also concerned with supply or giving. The more freely we can give of ourselves, the better the heart centre will function at all levels.
The more open our thinking is, the more easily energy will circulate throughout the mental body. Our mind will feel clearer and calmer. As a result, the emotional heart centre will circulate more energy and be freer and lighter. The channels and centres in the etheric or vital body can work more efficiently, increasing our vitality. Yes, the way we think really can have a profound effect on our health and well-being.
The energy of the heart is particularly significant in this because it is rather like the centre of all the centres. But it needs to be nurtured and one of the fastest and most effective ways of doing this is to cultivate generosity. We may think we are generous already. That’s good. But we may find that our generosity is not as universal as we think. We have to have an open heart and that is what we will begin to look at next time.
Adapted from Chapter 3 of The Great Little Book of Happiness
If you would like to receive notifications of new posts, please subscribe to this blog.