The Knowledge of the Heart
The knowledge of the heart is in no book
and is not to be found
in the mouth of any teacher,
but grows out of you
like the green seed
from the dark earth.
When we use the word "think" or "knowledge" we imagine a mental process, one that is rational and logical. This kind of head thinking is generally what we consciously use to see, define and relate to the world around us.
However, there is another kind of thinking, called "heart thinking," described by Jalaja Bonheim in her most recent book The Sacred Ego. Heart thinking means shifting our focus to our heart and asking it what it desires, what it feels, what it knows, and then being guided by its knowledge and wisdom. Our thinking mind ceases to be the master and begins to function in service to the heart.
As you read this, you may be skeptical or have a hard time imagining that the heart truly knows what's best for you, or you may feel anxious at the idea of relinquishing the control of your mind to your heart.
Neuroscience has recently discovered that the heart has its own independent nervous system, known as "the brain in the heart." There are at least 40,000 neurons in the heart, and it communicates with the brain and rest of the body neurologically, biochemically and biophysically, making it a little brain in its own right.The heart's electromagnetic field is the most powerful in the body, 5000 times that of the brain (The Heartmath Solution).
Although Jung's quote is much more poetic and predates neuroscience, he intuited what is now proven by neuroscience: the heart has its own actual wisdom which knows in a way that is deeper and more authentic than our mind's ability to think on its own.
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Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley