The Status of Your Heart

John Ortberg, author and pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, has called Jesus the first cardiologist–“He is always interested in the state of your heart.”

We use metaphors of the heart often in our culture. In meditation we use breathing to calm the heart, slow the beating, bring order to the body. We talk about heartbreak. There are affairs of the heart.

Kevin Roberts, executive chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi a creative agency, recently wrote about the status of the heart in relation to the brain.

“We often think of the brain as the command center, responsible for how our whole body functions, but scientists now know that the heart in fact sends more signals to the brain than the brain does to the heart. The heart therefore affects how we think and function emotionally; conscious awareness comes from the brain and heart working together,” wrote Roberts.

We were taught in elementary biology that the brain does not really control the heart. Turns out the heart really is the center of our being.

Roberts says, “Perhaps this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. From everyday experience we know that when we are calm and the heart beats steadily, we are more able to think clearly. When we are in a stressful situation or panicking, our heart tends to race and our clarity of thought is hindered making it more difficult to think, remember or learn. So different emotional states send different signals to the brain and affect our cognitive functions.”

We really do need to check the status of our hearts. Not only from the view of keeping it calm. But also from the view of such things as empathy, gratitude, joy, love. Let’s inform our brain about the higher gifts.

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