The Sensitivities of the Heart
Do you consider yourself a highly sensitive person, or empath, who is easily reactive to the noise and stimuli of the world around you? Do you sometimes wish you could wear a lead-lined space suit to protect your sympathetic nervous system and that tender, vulnerable heart?
As a sensitive person, common emotional responses are anxiety (upward and outward movement of qi energy) and depression (inward and downward movement of qi). Anxiety can be a hyper arousal or flooding of emotions when faced with a conflict, perceived threat or the world in turmoil. Depression can be a shutting down and turning inward, which may be the soul’s way of tuning out the noise.
Anxiety and fear can simply be fight-or-flight energy that arises from within our primal brains, having been programmed eons ago for our survival and safety. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the heart is considered the “sovereign ruler” that houses the mind and spirit and is also the reservoir for all our emotions. The emotions are essentially infused into the blood as the blood moves through the heart; as a result, our emotions, like our blood, can be said to nourish every cell of our body. Therefore, the quality of our thoughts and emotions can have a powerful effect upon the vital qi circulating within the body.
Think of how and where the emotions of joy, sorrow, fear or anxiety affect you in your body. Do you feel them more in your chest, gut or head? Pathology or disease can arise when there is a persistent disturbance or disharmony of qi. The common treatment in TCM is to “calm the spirit” through herbs, acupuncture and awareness—trusting what the body needs—and taking time out to nourish the spirit.
Imagine our “heartmind” as having a very sensitive vibratory field that contracts or expands when exposed to dissonant or resonant frequencies. Everything and everyone has an energetic field. Our goal is to be able to discern negative and positive messages in order to maintain balance and coherence of the heartmind. Sometimes we just need to walk away from a dissonant situation or person.
What if our sensitivity to the environment is actually a gift to be used as a barometer? This would confirm the Asian premise that we and everything in the universe are intricately connected and we are merely feeling our cosmic connections. As our planet and the cosmos continue their evolutionary process of expansion and contraction, birth and death, so do we experience these cyclical changes—often intuitively. As multidimensional beings, we are essentially connected to each other through the heart and resonate most deeply with other sensitive souls, including our animal friends.
Rather than become overly protective or defensive about your vulnerabilities, consider strengthening your intuitive impulses by consciously cultivating your heart qi. Seek coherence through spirited activities and laughter, through breathwork, dreamwork and solitude, through movement and dance, through creative writing, music and art, and being in harmony with nature. Consider spiritual activism or metaphysical studies to put your empathic tendencies to work.
Heart consciousness wants to expand when in harmonious environments, to burst forth with unconditional love within a sharing, supportive community. Empathy is emotional intelligence channeled through the heart from the unity or Akashic Field of consciousness. So, trust in your bodily messages, in the cycles of change and in the cosmic influences. Most importantly, trust in that tender, sensitive, empathic heart. The heart knows.
Linda Joy Stone, OMD, L.Ac. will be moving May 1 to Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico, with her husband and their three cats. She can be reached at LindaJoyStone.com and will be available for Chinese Medical consultations and Akashic Readings via Skype. She is so grateful for her 19 years of practice in Tucson and for her association with Natural Awakenings Magazine.