Everyone knows about the circus-balancing act. A wire is stretched taught between two poles high above the ground. A circus performer makes their way across the wire, often precariously. The trick is not to fall, to maintain balance throughout the journey.
Finding balance for our heart is a similar feat. Like the circus performer’s trip across the wire, our journey though life may sometimes look like a high wire act. Twists and turns, even grave challenges often stare us in the face.
In order to survive, we need to discover and maintain balance. In this case I’m talking about a balancing act within our own hearts.
The human heart is more than a pump. Research from the Heart-Math Institute has shown that the number and types of neurons that lead from our heart and connect throughout our body, suggests that our hearts actually act like a second brain. They carry an innate intelligence.
And what we feel inside our hearts can influence other parts of our body. Indeed, medical research has shown that negative emotions- anger, fear, grief, loneliness, and others, can alter the biochemical processes of the body and ultimately lead to illness. They can also produce a broken heart.
Hence, it is vital that if we want to remain healthy or heal ourselves of illness- we need to cultivate balance in our lives. We need to learn to balance what I call our inner and outer lives.
What do I mean by these two lives?
Our outer life is how we present ourselves to the world. It involves our interactions at home with our family, and at work with our colleagues. Frequently, our outer life is active. We are participating, moving, and doing. The outer life is busy and complex.
Our inner life moves at a slower pace. It is that part of ourselves that we access through introspection and contemplation. The inner life is reflected through our feelings. Are we sad, happy, or fearful? Do we feel contentment?
At times we can let the hectic activity of the outer life overshadow the inner life. If we are constantly running about frantically leaving no time to look within, our inner life begins to recede into the background.
Sometimes it actually seems lost. When this happens our feelings may also seem to be hidden. We begin to feel separated, displaced, or disillusioned. We lose track of ourselves.
Such discordance creates an environment for illness. Anxiety, depression, and even heart disease grow in such an environment- hence the term dis-ease.
So we need to strive to balance our hearts. One simple way to do this is to set aside 20-30 minutes everyday for quiet reflection. Forgo the television or radio and allow yourself time to just relax. Some people find it useful to acknowledge the abundance in their lives. Other people are drawn to reading insightful or sacred books. Still others gravitate towards nature. A peaceful walk through a park can be quite rewarding and insightful.
Less important is what you do, but rather how you do it. Can you allow yourself the freedom to let go of the outer life, and experience your inner heart?
Tapping into your heart’s intelligence and wisdom can be the recipe for true health and well being. Are you open and ready to take your circus act on the road? Are you ready to begin the process of Balancing Your Heart?
Kirk Laman, D.O., F.A.C.C.
Dr. Kirk Laman is a board certified, cardiologist interested in heart disease prevention. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Michigan State University.