Read an Excerpt
Beyond the Brain
The Intelligent Heart
It was 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, February 6, 1995. We were at HeartMath's business center in Boulder Creek, California. Dr. Donna Willis, the medical editor for nbc's Today show, had called the previous afternoon to say that they'd decided to run a segment on our work the next morning. They were going to call it "Love and Health." Dr. Willis would start off with an overview of the Institute of HeartMath's research about the electrical energy produced by the heart. Then she'd go on to tell Bryant Gumbel and the viewers about our Freeze-Frame technique, which uses the power of the heart to manage the mind and emotions.
"We'll have only a few seconds to give them your number," Dr. Willis said, "but you might want to put some of your people on the phones, just in case."
With little time to prepare, we quickly arranged for our staff to come in early to handle any callsand it was lucky we did! As soon as the phone number appeared on the screen, the switchboard lit up. For the rest of that day and into the night, then all day long the next day, we fielded calls almost continuously. Each time the show aired in a new time zone, another wave of calls came in.
We talked to thousands of people from all over the countryfrom anonymous parents in big-city ghettos to leaders in science, medicine, business, education, and religion. Before it was over, we'd gotten calls from around the worldall from a four-minute segment on a national television show that flashed our phone number on the screen for five short seconds. Why was that brief mention ofthe heart so magnetic?
The people who called us knew instinctively that the heart played an important role in their overall well-being. "I knew it all along," they said, and now they were eager to find out more. They wanted to know how their thoughts and feelings could be used to improve their healthmentally, emotionally, and physically. Otherpeople who associated the heart with lovewondered what they could do to bring more "heart" into their lives.This immediate response further confirmed our long-standing belief that people are ready to put the heart to work in their lives. Without knowing the specifics, they sense that loving, positive feelings are somehow related to health, and they do their best to encourage those feelings in their lives.Most people would rather feel loving and appreciative than resentful and depressed. But often the world around us seems to be spinning out of control. Despite our best intentions, it's hard to maintain our emotional equilibrium when we're confronted every daysometimes every hourwith stressful situations.
We've all been told, at one time or another, to follow our hearts. And it sounds like a great idea, in principle. But the problem is that actually following our heartsand loving people, including ourselvesis much easier said than done. Where do we begin? People talk about following their hearts, but nobody shows us how to do it. What does following the heart really mean? And how do we love ourselves? Aside from love's being a nice sentiment, why should we love other people? We'll show you a practical, systematic approach to answering these questions for yourself and outline the enormous benefits you'll reap in doing so.
Over the past twenty years, scientists have discovered new information about the heart that makes us realize it's far more complex than we'd ever imagined. We now have scientific evidence that the heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives. Instead of simply pumping blood, it directs and aligns many systems in the body so that they can function in harmony with one another. And although the heart is in constant communication with the brain, we now know that it makes many of its own decisions.
Because of this new evidence, we have to rethink our entire attitude toward "following our hearts." At the Institute of HeartMath (ihm), scientists have found that the heart is capable of giving us messages and helping us far more than anyone ever suspected. Throughout this book, we'll share the research that provides new evidence of the power of heart intelligence. And we'll show how that intelligence can have a measurable impact on our decision-making, our health problems, our productivity at work, our children's learning ability, our families, and the overall quality of our lives.
It's time to reexamine the heart. As a society, we need to take the concept of heart out of confinement in religion and philosophy and put it right in the "street," where it's needed most. The HeartMath Solution is a comprehensive system that will give you new information about heart intelligence; new tools, techniques, and exercises to access that intelligence; and instructions and examples regarding how and when to apply it to make your life better.
The biomedical, psychological, and social science research presented in this book provides the underpinnings of the HeartMath Solution. As you learn and apply this system, you'll rapidly gain new solutions to problems, new insights, and an expanded understanding of yourself, other people, society, and life itself.
The heart isn't mushy or sentimental. It's intelligent and powerful, and we believe that it holds the promise for the next level of human development and for the survival of our world.
As we enter the new millennium, our increasingly global society is faced with daunting challenges. The world's power structures are changing. Leaders are suffering from a lack of credibility. Technology is rapidly linking the world through satellite TV and the Internet, creating both opportunity and challenge. More nations are gaining nuclear capabilities. Threats of terrorism, global weather changes, and uncertainty prevail. Many important institutions and systems that we rely...