(or the physiology of loving)
Why does the heart center capture such an important place in our approach?
Or what is the meaning or significance of this center – what is the functionality that places it so squarely in the center?
“Open your heart” she tells me, “Why is yours so uptight? … yeah, that’s better, go on, go on opening it, let go, more, no need to carry on holding there just let go.”
What do we hold in there? Why is it that with (almost) all off us it is so closed and what does it mean to open it, and what for?
The heart center sits on the most important energetic junction of our bodies. The junction that connects the horizontal and vertical flows.
The Vertical Flow
Defines our physical existence which is a direct product of the existence of gravity. Gravity pulls our body to the center of the earth, but the outer crust of the planet acts so as to counter our mass, a force that prevents our merging with the planet and creates pressure inside our body and as a result a sense of being.
And the Horizontal Flow?
The horizontal flow (the line that connects one palm to the other when they are perpendicular to the body or parallel to the ground) expresses our creation, both in the sphere of human relations and in the physiological sense – the things we make with our hands or even our minds are our creations.
These two energetic flows crossover at the heart center.
In an optimal organizational state of our system, these flows are connected and feed one another and our entire existence.
The heart center is present in both and forms an important part of both.
In the internal part of the heart center the action responsible for center-outwards blood flow occurs.,
In the external part of the heart center breathing happens.
It is interesting to note that these twin actions represent the term “love” in a complementary way.
Love according to this approach is a state of flow that springs from open channels, as opposed to a condition of flow failure due to blocked channels.
Both these activities are necessary to sustain life; they are activities of combining the internal and external, activities that express the interdependence of the internal and external.
Blood flow is pushed from the heart outwards to all extremities of the body but depends no less on the blood’s return from the extremities to the heart. Breath sucks air and mainly oxygen from the outside into the lungs and with the help of the bloodstream the oxygen reaches the whole body. But for the oxygen to enter, exhaling must occur which creates sub-pressure that creates inwards suction of air.
Again there is interdependence: oxygen from the outside cannot enter before the pressure is vacated by exhaling, and cells cannot receive oxygen otherwise than from the blood that reaches them, etc.
This free flow inwards and outwards and between the center and extremities is the essence of love – open flow in and out.
Such open flow demonstrates the essential interconnection of all that is – between out and in and between center and extremities.
If we only understood that interdependence in the world we live in, if we only understood the interdependence of the center of the world with the external remote dispersed extremities, if we only understood that no full life can exist without this open flow in – out, center – extremities, perhaps we would find it less difficult to be reconciled with people who hurt us, love those who are far away, as then we would lean on the understanding that there is no real separation that we are all part of a larger organism and in the same way we would not want different parts of our body to fight one another, so we would not want to take part in a war between different parts of that organism that we are all a part of.
But before we try to deal with seemingly impossible tasks perhaps it would make it easier for us to start with a simple technical task the only difficulty of performing which is simply remembering!
I divide this task into two:
On the vertical plane we can learn to notice and experience the experience of physical existence. Meaning to sense the body’s weight pushing off the earth,
to apply slight pressure to the ground and to feel it pushing back – to sense the flow of our weight upwards because of that pressure!
– This small action reminds us of the physical existence! So it reminds us who we are!
On the horizontal plane we can notice the movement of the ribs – the slight movement upwards and back of the breastbone that expands the ribs forward and sideways – the body as if growing and expanding outwards and then shrinking back to its previous size.
This small movement of the ribs is the movement that expresses the fact that we are alive. And when I sense my own existence I also sense that I love existing!
This small movement of the ribs is the movement that expresses breathing – communion of the external and internal a communion that in fact sustains us! And it is an expression of love – open channels in and out!
Remembering the physical existence and paying attention to the love that is expressed in the breathing movement, are such simple and primal acts that we can do, and they remind us what really matters,
But what will remind us to do these two little actions with attention?
This is where I turn to you with a question and I welcome answers and comments:
What reminds you to pay attention to the physical existence and the fact that you are alive?