Meandering through my morning ritual of coffee, flatulence, and email, I happened upon an interesting ideal. The heart is actually the principal appendage by which we direct our lives. I found this in a spiritual newsletter I receive from a Franciscan priest of some note. Fr. Rohr wrote that he once encountered a surgeon that informed him of the following:
“There are 30,000 neurons surrounding the heart, and the electrical field of the head brain is only one tenth the size of the heart’s electric field. This makes the heart area the biggest “oscillator” and the biggest oscillator in any system always excites and determines the energy of all the other oscillations in the body.”
I have just finished a unit on the central nervous system in class and wondered about this claim. I did the proper research and found myself lost in the worlds of Wiki Answers, and academia. Ask.com failed me terribly. None of the locations visited could offer any comprehensible evidence as to the veracity of the above-mentioned statement. I am but a part time scientist and not truly cultivated of all within the environs of the discipline. I know that much of science seems to be diametrically opposed to the more commonplace answers to questions of a spiritual nature. I know that most spirituality revels in the very art of sublime uncertainty, and the negation of scientific principles.
I speak of the heart quite often when I write. I am Irish and, as such, find myself driven by my emotions. This should come as no revelation to those who follow this blog on a regular basis. I thought about the statement and chose to believe it rather than giving credence to the conflicting reports of the easily confused and perpetually confounded members of the scientific community who have been studying the mind/body conundrum for decades. I like the idea of letting my heart drive my behavior.
I also like that the smile of a small child makes my heart warm. I like that I have found myself, at the tender age of fifty-seven, once more in love. (No, I will not tell anyone who it is until I tell her) I like that my heart has changed my taste in films and that same discernment has softened from gangster movies to chick flicks. I like that my heart still likes the idea that Sylvester Stallone can make a #1 hit movie. (Hurray for the old guys) I like that I can read and glean wisdom from a simple message given by a simple priest.
I like that it is my heart that hurts for my students who have graduated and are currently residing in the Mid-East and carrying firearms in order to receive remuneration for their services. I like that my heart is what makes me enraged at the evil and cruelty in the world. I like that it is my heart that makes me rejoice in the diversity of a world where it is acceptable to be alive regardless of age, race, creed, religion, or sexual identity. Well, the jury is still out on the sexual identity, but hope springs eternal…
I hear many times in my personal life that the longest journey one must take is the eighteen inches from the head to the heart. A standard axiom in twelve step programs, this tells me that I am in conflict unless I take action. The idea of neurons around the heart and the strength those oscillators exert on my being takes that conflict and makes it a moot point.
I have had a brawl going on in my head over the state of affairs in the world as it relates to the Moslem community. Someone wants to place a Mosque near the site of the 911 tragedy. Many of my friends are livid over this. These are people who I hold dear and love, and they are total incensed with the idea and have actually turned to suggesting violence be done to proponents of the project. American friends who proudly support the country and do not realize that the very country that we love guarantees that there can be a Mosque anywhere in the country. Adversely, what kind of simpleton would want to put themselves at risk by even thinking and giving voice to this kind of desire?
Why is it so hard to act reasonably? Why do we have to hate each other? Why can’t we take the energy that it takes the heart to fire thousands of neurons every minute in order to pump blood and apply it to a reasonable application of intelligent thought. It makes little sense to me that loving and caring people in my life wish to do harm to 1/3 of the population of the world.
Of course, there is plenty of motivation given the propensity of Islamic countries have where it comes to human rights. There are beautiful parts of the Islamic religion and we never here of them. What we hear is how religious police beat women for showing their ankles. We hear about honor killings and Jihad, and everything ugly, but none of the beauty.
Why? The heart and the brain are connected. Why the only thing the brain can think, are things that must the break the heart?
The religion that gave me comfort growing up has a long history of genocide, torture, and horrific immorality. Why do we not teach that to children in school the same way we tell them about Islamic atrocities?
Why can there not be equity between the heart and the brain? Answer that, and I can stop the journey and start the healing that my heart and mind desperately need. The same healing everyone else in the world seems to need…also desperately. Peace.