POWER OF THE HEART
©2003 Linda Marks
the past twenty years that I have practiced heart-centered,
body-centered spiritual psychotherapy I have found myself often being
asked, the infamous question, "What do you DO?" My questioners have
often been men with technical backgrounds, for whom the word "heart"
has a one dimensional, linear connotation. As I would answer, telling
them that I work with the heart, I would often be greeted with "The
heart is a mechanical pump. It goes pump, pump. There is no emotional
and spiritual life to the heart. That is all metaphor."
knew in my gut that there was more to the heart than just the
mechanical pump. I could feel the electromagnetic energy emanated by a
client's body as I worked with them. I could tell how open or defended
someone's heart was, sitting across from them and engaging in dialogue.
I could sense the change in the quality of their energy as a client's
emotional safety increased. When I would place my hands, with
permission, on their heart or another part of the body, to facilitate
their emotional work, I felt that an energetic encyclopedia was at my
fingertips. Likewise, the quality of my intention and presence seemed
to flow from my heart to my client's heart.
many years I did not have the scientific data or language to show
people that what I knew and could do clinically was indeed
scientifically grounded. I found a common language with my friend and
colleague, Linda Russek, whose research in the early 1990's showed that
the EKG of one person's heart could be measured in the EEG of another
person's brain1. In other words, one's emotional energy registered in
the brainwaves of another.
colleague, cardiologist Bruno Cortese, would talk about how heart
transplant recipients would often experience a literal change of heart.
Not only would their health condition be remedied after a heart
transplant, but also their personality would incorporate aspects of the
personality of the person whose heart they had received. A person who
never had a taste for ice cream or motorcycles, would find themselves
craving ice cream and motorcycles. They would then discover that ice
cream and motorcycles were passions of the person whose heart they had
POWERFUL ROLE OF THE HEART
heart is the first organ to form in the body. It is the organizing
factor for physical formation, including for brain formation. The heart
contains extensive brain-like neural matter and has recently been
classified as a gland because it produces its own hormone. In addition
to our cerebral brain, we indeed have a "heart brain." The heart not
only puts out its own balancing and regulating hormones, but also
instantaneously communicates electromagnetic and chemical information
to the rest of the body and to other bodies near it.2
her article "Spirit and Matter of the Heart, "3 Dorothy Mandel writes,
"The heart can act as an internal pharmacy-dispensing and communicating
what is needed where and when. Its rhythm and pulse can entrain all of
the body's rhythms and cycles into coherent harmony and communicate
many other types of vital information as well." Each person's EKP
pattern is as unique as their fingerprint. The wave variations in each
"heartprint" contain information about the different organ systems and
rhythms in the body. When two people touch, the heartwave of one can be
seen registering in the brainwave of the other.
by the Institute for HeartMath in California4 has shown that the heart
is the most powerful generator of electromagnetic energy in the human
The heart's electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude
than the electrical activity generated by the brain.
The magnetic field produced by the heart is more than 5000 times
greater in strength than the field generated by the brain
The electromagnetic energy of the heart not only envelops every cell of
the human body, but also extends out in all directions in the space
Our cardiac field touches those within 8 - 10 feet of where we are
positioned (and perhaps in more subtle ways at greater distances)
One person's heart signal can effect another's brainwaves, and
heart-brain synchronization can occur between two people when they
Research conducted at the Institute of HeartMath suggests that the
heart's field is an important carrier of information
mental and emotional state impacts the quality of contact we offer to
another person. When we touch one another with safe, respectful, loving
intention both physically and emotionally, we call into play the full
healing power of the heart. The greater the "coherence"--a sense that
life is comprehensible, manageable and meaningful-- one develops, the
more sensitive one becomes to the subtle electromagnetic signals
communicated by those around them.
my experience working with groups, the combined impact of the
interaction of the electromagnetic fields of all the group members'
hearts creates a powerful space in which individuals can do deeper
healing work than one-on-one. As one group member goes deeper, and gets
closer to their core, the others in the group feel the energetic
vibration of this person's "heart opening" and are touched by
it--energetically, as well as emotionally.
FROM THE POWER OF THE HEART
a greater understanding of the role and power of the heart sheds light
on how to think about a wide range of human experience.
Heartpower and our genetic make-up: Dorothy Mandel writes,
""Genetically, cells adapt to what they perceive their environment to
be. Because an event experienced in the midst of a heart response will
be perceived and interpreted very differently than an event experienced
in the midst of a stress response, the heart can also powerfully affect
more heart aware and working towards authentic emotional expression and
inner peace may positively impact our genetic health.
Heart consciousness and pregnancy: Following from the point above, the
quality of our heart energy during pregnancy impacts the developing
baby's experience. At a prenatal and perinatal psychology workshop I
participated in many years ago, Thomas Verny, the facilitator,
discussed the research of an Italian colleague that explored how a
mother's conscious and subconscious feelings about the pregnancy
impacted the child.
a mother both consciously and subconsciously wanted to be pregnant and
welcomed her baby, the child thrived. When the mother either
consciously or subconsciously wanted the baby, the child was fine. When
the mother neither consciously nor subconsciously wanted the baby, the
child felt the effects of this hostile emotional climate. I remember a
story of a woman who not only didn't want her baby but also resented
his intrusive presence in her body. When the Italian doctor would use
an ultrasound to view the baby as the mother talked about her
resentments of him and the pregnancy, the baby would curl up in a tiny
ball in a corner of the uterus, trying to make himself very small. Even
in-utero, a baby can feel the power of his/her mother's heart.
considering having children, making a thoughtful, heartful, integrated
decision is important for the overall wellbeing of a child.
The power of touch: When we reach out and touch another person, we are
literally extending the energy of our hearts. We can understand why
loving, present, respectful touch is such a powerful healing force.
Likewise, hurtful touch carries deep messages that register in the
heart and body, both in the moment and over time. Learning to engage
our hearts consciously in touch can bring forth the natural healer in
each of us.
The power of love: Love is more than an emotion. It is an
electromagnetic phenomenon. When someone is coming to you from a place
of love, it feels different than when someone is coming to you from a
place of indifference or dislike. The energetic current transmitted
from one person to another varies with their state of heart. Being
received with love day after day must be incredibly nourishing for the
Getting stuck in triggered behavior patterns: Because one person's
heartwaves register in another person's brainwaves, when one person
gets emotionally triggered or stuck, the impact of their emotional
energy may be strong enough to immobilize the other person. Have you
ever felt stuck yourself when a loved one has been triggered by your
behavior? If two people are triggered at once, their hearts and brains
interact in a dance of difficult energy waves. Just as an electrical
outlet needs to be grounded, so do our emotional energetic circuits.
When a couple gets stuck, a third party can help break the pattern by
containing and grounding the energy of the relational circuit.
The pain of isolation: Just as we nourish each other when we share
loving, open hearts, life becomes more empty and barren when we lack
energetic contact with others' hearts. Isolation is at first painful,
and often numbing if too much time goes by. Human beings need to touch
and be touched, both physically and emotionally. Our heart's energy
fields are enriched by connecting with others' hearts.
The power of heartfull community: Since our hearts influence our
brains, imagine the impact of sitting in a circle of healing community!
Imagine what the electromagnetic energy diagram would look like of a
group of people speaking and listening from their hearts! The energy
grid formed by a heartfull community must be strong and far reaching!
Resolving conflict: Heartfelt communication between two people not only
deepens the dialogue, but also enhances the energy field between them.
If we can get underneath a conflict and address the heart of the
matter, healing and closeness can take place.
we have a lot to gain through consciously harnessing the power of the
heart. We can have healthier bodies, greater intimacy and satisfaction
in our relationships, and the nourishment and support of being
connected to others living and thinking from the heart.
See "Interpersonal heart-brain registration and the perception of
parental love: A 42 year follow-up of the Harvard Mastery of Stress
Study," by Linda G. Russek and Gary E.Schwartz, Subtle Energies, 1994
3, 5. From "Spirit and Matter of the Heart" by Dorothy Mandel, Grace
Millenium, Winter 2001.
The research done by the HeartMath Institute is available on
Marks, MSM developed and has practiced EKP (emotional-kinesthetic
psychotherapy), a heart-centered, body-centered spiritual therapy for
nearly twenty years. The content of this article draws from her new
book HEALING THE WAR BETWEEN THE GENDERS: THE POWER OF THE
SOUL-CENTERED RELATIONSHIP (HeartPower Press, 2004). Linda works with
individuals, couple and groups in her Newton practice. You can contact
her at LSMHEART@aol.com or (617)965-7846.
Linda Marks, MSM, has practiced body psychotherapy with individuals,
couples and groups for more than twenty years. She is the founder
the Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network and is the
of Healing the War Between the Genders:
The Power of the Soul-Centered Relationship
(HeartPower Press, 2004) and Living With Vision:
Reclaiming the Power of the Heart
(Knowledge Systems, Inc, 1989). She can be reached at
LSMHEART@aol.com, www.healingheartpower.com or (617)965-7846.