In preparation for our gathering at the Integral Living Room this May, we hosted a compelling conversation last week about heart intelligence, kicked off by a recording of a call we held with Ken Wilber the week before, exploring the role of the heart in our spiritual development.

In a recording, Ken describes the anatomy of our heart intelligence being rooted in what are really three hearts: the gross, physical heart on the left, the subtle energetic heart or heart chakra located in the center, and finally, the causal heart which resides two finger widths to right of the central meridian.

The sinoatrial node of the heart, where the heartbeat originates, is actually on the far right side. Ken says that this causal “heart on the right”, most clearly described by Adi Da, is the psychophysical locus where true non-dual realization erupts when the deepest self-contraction finally unwinds. Thus, the causal heart on the right is the highest source of our consciousness and intelligence, senior to the intelligence of our subtle and physical hearts.

Ken emphasizes that while the 7th chakra is the highest, the heart chakra is the most central. Large energetic channels run up and down from it, reaching up to the head and down to the root chakra. None of the other chakras do this.

Even though it is only half way up the Great Chain, as Ken points out, the heart connects everything.

It has an integrative function which brings a heart force to the mind and the gut, and helps to integrate the denser part of our earthly experience with the refined qualities of heaven and spiritual illumination.

A question we can ask ourselves to support this integration is how can I bring my heart to my mind, to my gut, to my life? As the human is between heaven and earth, the heart is between the head and the feet.

Our recording of Ken concludes with him describing how the very highest enlightenment coincides with a rare yogic realization in which attention and life-force ascend through all the chakras to the highest chakra, the sahasrar above the head—and then, via an S-shaped curve, falls into the causal heart on right, and then rises back up in a new S-shaped circuit connecting the heart and the higher light. This circuit had long been alluded to in traditional spiritual literature but it was only clearly described by Adi Da, who called it the “regeneration of Amrita Nadi.” Ken validates this rare realization and reiterates something he had written years ago,that “No one can afford not to be a student of Adi Da.”  Terry recalls Ken also having written that “no matter what you think of Einstein, E still equals MC squared.” Which sparks a hilarious, not-to-be-missed exchange with which the excerpt concludes.

In our discussion afterwards, Jeff Salzman expresses how his heart intelligence expresses itself through a natural appreciation for and sympathy with all points of view, even those he has outgrown or with which he disagrees.

Diane Hamilton points out that it is heart intelligence that appreciates the human need for belonging, and desire to be seen and heard and to fully express our deepest perceptions.  We recognize these same dimensions in others, and thereby participate in our shared humanness in a richly emotional way. Our heart is capable of extending to all beings and including them in an embrace of understanding and compassion.

Terry Patten describes how the heart is also the source of our feeling intelligence, and points out that, according to research conducted at the Institute of HeartMath, our neurocardiological signals fire prior to those in our brain. The intelligence of the gross heart shows up as healthy care for one’s own wellbeing and empowerment, as “voting for yourself.” The intelligence of the subtle heart has the qualities of ease, calm, and relaxation. And the intelligence of the causal heart is radical awakening, the source of intelligent discernment, and the “True North” of heart intelligence.

In ordinary life, though, the heart’s intelligence is that, despite evidence to the contrary, things are really ok.

This quality of ease opens us to higher intuitive knowing, and offers us an ability to appreciate our life and to extend care to others. Terry explains that our heart intelligence expresses itself as care, tenderness, wise vulnerability and appreciation.

The emotional textures of an open heart include love, equanimity, bliss, and compassion. Ken distilled that the heart’s organizing capacity vis-a-vis Eros as it moves toward higher and higher forms of wholeness. Each level of consciousness becomes more whole, as it transcends and includes the previous level. The heart moves this directionality out, towards greater embrace and inclusion. The heart expands from egocentric, to ethno-centric, to world-centric to kosmic-centric; to wider and wider dimensions of being. It allows us to recognize our own wholeness.

At one point in the call this is brought home in the most simple, direct terms. As an exercise, you can put your hand on your heart region and breathe as if you are breathing to and from the heart. You can allow the breath to come and go while opening to whatever sense of wellbeing is present in the heart region. Then, you can let yourself notice if there is a disturbance in your field, a question or an issue that needs resolution. Next, you can allow your heart to hear the question, to receive it. As you continue to breathe and to feel, you can listen to your heart and receive any response from the heart to your question. Just relax, feel, and listen.

Heart intelligence is ultimately inseparable from our highest cognitive and instinctive knowing — and yet the heart is right at the center of what we practice with each other, in relationship, and especially when we awaken together into a “higher we” in the ways we plan to do at the Integral Living Room event in May. We hope to see you there, intelligently, heart-to-heart!

The Anatomy of Heart Intelligence
Recorded 4.17.2014

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3 Responses to “The Anatomy of Heart Intelligence”
  1. Julia

    I was enjoying the print description of this conversation until I became overwhelmed by its grammatical errors and intense wordiness.

    I was really excited to find out what it is Ken said about the Heart’s organization of Eros was but it turns out that got left out of the sentence entirely. 🙁

    “Ken distilled that the heart’s organizing capacity vis-a-vis Eros as it moves toward higher and higher forms of wholeness.” <—- This is actually a sentence fragment missing the main verb and object.

    I'm going to listen to the podcast and I want to thank you for taking the time to write this. I am still curious though, in case I don't catch it when I listen, what you really meant in the sentence above as Eros is an energy of particular interest to me. Please let me know. Thank you!