In Mind Programming, I talk about my personal experience with the powerful effect of forgiveness on your health. Never underestimate the importance of releasing anger and negativity. In the spring of 2007, I was going along, playing with horses, and enjoying the outdoors while working a full week, as do so many people, when I discovered a burning feeling in my left lung. It would appear when I exerted myself on the treadmill or bike, but I could work through it, and it disappeared. I told my wife about it casually because it was strange, but I was convinced that perhaps I had some new allergy.
A couple of weeks passed, and one morning my wife opened a new box of cereal. As she prepared to pour from it, she noticed a warning on the box. She came to me upset. This cereal box described my symptoms exactly and warned that these can be the signs of an impending heart attack.
Needless to say, I was soon undergoing a nuclear stress test, which I promptly failed. Next there was an angiogram, and this one had my wife and younger son in tears. By this time, we were mentally prepared for a stent, but no one was thinking triple-bypass surgery.
The long and the short of it came down to my just being very lucky (or looked after). Two of the three main arteries in my heart were totally blocked, and the third was 99 percent blocked, yet my body had found ways to keep blood coursing through the entire heart. There was no heart damage.
The surgery left me with time to reflect on many things. I initially felt betrayed and angry. I'd been working out, no longer smoked, ate little salt and less sugar, consumed lots of vegetables and fruit—why me? As I went into my anger, I discovered two things. The first was that, despite my belief that I'd forgiven, I hadn't. I carried all sorts of angry scripts within me, waiting for a chance to act them out. These were often the scripts of my childhood, and when they weren't, they could have been. My thinking patterns generally placed being right over being at peace.
I had a theory. When you live in the state of forgiveness—that is, you forgive yourself and all others—you live in a special state of inner peace. Forgiveness is the antidote to anger, blame, guilt, and so on!
To test my theory, I obtained a software/hardware setup from the Heart Math Institute. I installed the software and began working with the system. It's designed to evaluate several measures, including pulse rate and heart rhythm; but most important, it teaches the operator how to develop heart coherence. It's a simple yet powerful device, and I quickly saw a correspondence between thoughts that were angry and incoherent versus peaceful, loving, even laughing thoughts, and coherence.
I tested others. My beautiful wife had a very coherent heart pattern—until I asked her to think about something that angered her. In came the anger and out went the coherence, and so it was with everyone I tested. I was learning more, not only about the power of forgiveness but also about what I termed a happy heart.
A Happy Heart
What does it take to have a happy heart, and why would you want one? Here's some of what I learned. A heavy heart inhibits our immune, endocrine, and autonomic nervous systems from optimal performance. This means that life is likely shortened, and the quality is lessened. "Life sucks and then you die" is a self-fulfilling prophecy and reflects the attitude of a heavy heart.
What is the difference between a heavy heart and a happy one? Typically, in less than one minute in front of the television, we enter an altered state of consciousness (brain-wave activity) that's thought of as a state of hyper-suggestibility?1 This is exactly what most would define as the state of hypnosis. While we're watching television, what kind of hypnotic suggestions are entering our minds and in what way will they be triggered later? Have you ever visited the supermarket and impulsively picked up some product that you've never purchased before? Why? Could you be responding to a sort of posthypnotic suggestion (command) that has lain dormant until the trigger, an image or symbol, goes off when you spy the product in the store (even peripherally)?
Heart coherence can be seen in wave patterns that are smooth and even. What you witness in watching an EKG chart or other visual method of displaying heart activity are recursive sine waves—even, smooth, sine waves. When there's a lack of coherence, the heart is struggling (not operating optimally), and for many people this becomes the normal pace of life.
Irregular and Incoherent Heart Patterns
Your heart's coherence tells the tale of a happy or a heavy heart. Games involving shoot-'em-up, bang-bang themes prevent heart coherence, as does anger, excessive anxiety, and stress. In watching movies, we have vicarious experiences in violence and other sordid matters that are incompatible with the happy heart (heart coherence). Comedies and uplifting television viewing are much more healthful.
But it goes further than just our entertainment. Thoughts are related to heart coherence, and just holding the memory of something sad, evil, mean, or violent—just thinking of someone we still hold anger toward—will generate irregular and incoherent heart patterns. Thoughts translate to feelings!
Neutralize Negative Emotions
How long do thoughts last? A lot longer than most would think. As such, it's easy to see why it's so important to protect against errant and undesired thoughts entering our minds and so important to neutralize all negative emotions. My advice, paraphrased from my book Choices and Illusions, is to put a smile on your face (smiling fools the brain into increasing the body's natural opiate distribution) and fake it until you make it!
Be your best and thanks for the read,
- Nelson, J. 1987. The Perfect Machine: TV in the Nuclear Age. Ontario, Canada: Dec Book Distribution.
Self-regulation of our emotional states is critical to promoting health, longevity, and happiness. Physiological coherence is often measured by the heart’s rhythm. It is associated with emotional intelligence or EQ and reflects an orderly and harmonious synchronization among various systems in the body such as the heart, respiratory system and blood-pressure rhythms.
When your emotions are balanced, thinking is clearer, health is optimized, happiness is increased, and creativity is enhanced!
There is much a buzz today about the positive influence of coherent body states. Clinics are teaching coherent heart and brain wave states through sophisticated bio-feedback means. Software is being written for home use and neuro-feedback devices are beginning to feature the advantages of brain/body coherence. Many optimal states are reported as accompanying this coherent heart/brain state called simply emotional coherence. These programs are designed to assist you in experiencing this state for yourself: