No, I don't have in mind aerobics. This is subtler.
Because I had a perfectly harmless but pretty intense (to an HSP) heart arrhythmia in conjunction with the lung infection this spring (which I'm now over), I reread a book called The Heart's Code by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D. (Broadway, 1998). That led to quite a bit...
PEARSALL'S CHANGE OF HEART
Pearsall had to listen to more than science when he sensed his own health was in trouble. He describes how for months he felt a deep dread that "seemed to be my heart crying. There was a sense of "impending doom that I seemed to experience in my heart" and an "internal decay" and "toxic energy" throughout his body. The doctors found nothing wrong with him. "My brain accepted their diagnosis, but my heart remained very worried." He finally told the doctors that "my heart was telling me I was dying." Eventually the doctors did a CAT scan, "Just to put your mind at rest." They found very advanced cancer, lymphoma throughout his body and bones, so that even with a bone marrow transplant Pearsall was not expected to live.
From then on Pearsall listened carefully to his heart as it told him who was good for him to be around, who was not, and that he did not have to be passive during the whole-body radiation treatments, but to establish a healing connection with the radiation device, so that the technicians found he needed much less to gain the same effects. His heart helped him receive the loving energy being sent by his wife and sons, and to establish a heart connection with the new cells he received.
During this illness, he also became friends with others facing life threatening diseases and having other kinds of transplants. His particular interest, naturally, was in those having heart transplants. A certain number of them, around 15% (surprise, surprise) were known to report quite spontaneously that they know things about the person whose heart they received, or else their behavior or preferences changed, and when it was researched, it was found that these changes were indeed in the direction of being more like the person whose heart they had received.
THE HEART'S INTELLIGENCE
The brain is given so much power by us and our society, but why not balance that power with something from the heart? Indeed, if the brain can have neurons that store memories, why shouldn't the heart have some? Why shouldn't it "think"? But if it does, the physiology of the two organs says that they would think in very different ways. The heart can communicate instantaneously with all of the body, 73 trillion cells, via the circulatory system. Pearsall thinks, in fact, that the heart in its central location and with its contact with every cell is constantly sending out "info-energy" that every cell recognizes, so that each cell uses its DNA to become a sort of holographic image of the energy coming from the heart. Pearsall also thinks that this info-energy radiates outside of us to some degree (the heart is a very powerful discharger of energy), and perhaps our heart also evolved to sense the energy from the hearts of others, in order to recognize love and safety--something as important to recognize as danger--and perhaps to recognize much more as well.
CARDIO-SENSITIVES AND HSPS
Are the hearts of HSPs different? Almost certainly. One clue is that mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is associated with personality traits that are also common to HSPs--I happen to know all of this because I have MVP. It is a usually harmless variation in heart functioning, a type of "heart murmur." It is more common in women, but we know that may not mean that women more often inherit a gene for it. It could be that it is a condition associated with or even caused by what the culture calls "feminine" traits. And, it may be that MVP develops when sensitive hearts have to cope with a great deal too early. If you go to the MVP websites run by those who have it, much of what is there reminds you of things HSPs write about.
Also, HSPs are more aware of their heartbeat. Alas, this research is not published, but a researcher studying who has heartbeat detection abilities used the HSP questionnaire and found the two did correlate.
THE CARDIAC EXERCISE
WHY NOT LISTEN TO ALL OF YOUR ORGANS?
Nor need you wait for symptoms. I have found that I if I "center" myself in my solar plexus, I can sense if I am following my "true self." Don't ask me to define that, but it's so. I realize that some of you are way, way ahead of me on all of this! But since we all have a brain bias, it's probably always helpful to have another person's validation that the heart is intelligent and can be heard.
The hardest part may be remembering to do this sort of exercise. I find being faithful to doing physical exercise is a snap in comparison. No doubt that's because the brain does not want to give up its rule, or at least is not used to sharing. But the potential here for HSPs is enormous. Like paying attention to dreams, paying attention to organs and to the body is something anyone can do because everyone has them. But HSPs can do it even better!
August 2005 Articles: