In our course on Symbolism of the Human Body, we find an entire section dedicated to the organ of life and heat: the heart. Let’s see what the Chinese have to tell us about this wonderful organ, source of happiness.
What’s in a Heart?
The heart evokes notions of Life, Love, and Spirit. It is a hollow muscle divided into two halves:
- The right side receives blood from the general circulatory system and sends it to the lungs, which get rid of the CO2 and saturate the blood with oxygen.
- The left side receives oxygenated blood and pumps it into the general circulatory system through the aorta. This side carries life to the organs.Note that the heart is the only self-governing organ and functions without any order from the brain. It has its own automatic control and integrated electrical circuit. Cardiac electrical activity begins in the embryonic heart from the third week of life, even before brain cells have started differentiating.
Symbolically, blood is life; therefore, the heart is what drives life. The heart is linked to love, unity and the sacred.
In TCM, the Heart is the “Emperor,” or the Son of Heaven. As an archetype, it is the link between Heaven and our bodies. It restores the archetype of Heaven to our human nature.
The heart shelters the Xing (our own nature) and “governs the blood,” which acts as a true identification card.
The blood is the “House of Shen,” or the Spirit, the Divine, and the primordial vibration, which “reflects on our hearts” to become our Shen.
The heart controls the blood vessels. In the Chinese tradition, the Heart, or the Emperor, is also the “sun of the empire.” Thus, the heart is a source of life, warmth and light.
Its Different Aspects
In TCM, there is a difference between the Heart Centre and the Heart Organ. As the sovereign fire, master and creator of everything, the Heart Centre restores unity to the invisible. The Heart as Light, Emperor, and Centre are the parts of the divine that animate all beings. Our little Shen is a reflection of our bigger Shen. In Judeo-Christian culture, this Heart Centre is also called the Father, G-d, and the Source of Life. In Eastern traditions, it is called the Clear Light or Primordial Vibration.
The Heart Organ is the ambassador through which the Heart governs and executes orders. The strength of TCM, in contrast with Western medicine, is its understanding that the heart not only is a precious organ for life but also anchors our humanity within a part of the Sacred.
- The right heart is our shadow and the side that receives blood saturated with carbon dioxide.
- The left heart is our light and the side that delivers oxygen to the tissues.
A Love Energy
Love energy, which we find in Judeo-Christian and Eastern civilizations, is found in the heart. It is this energy that keeps humans upright. Only love can conquer fear, and only unconditional love, not the mind, can make fear subside. Recall that fear is rooted in the kidneys and that the kidneys and the heart interact in the medicine wheel that represents the Law of the Five Elements in TCM.
It is this parcel of divine energy that inhabits Humans, whose true role is to unite Heaven and Earth. Divine love descends into matter, making humans the bridge between Heaven and Earth.
The future of humanity is therefore not through the brain, but through the centre represented by the heart. “Reason stops breathlessly, where faith begins. Reason can never reach faith. Reason cannot reach Heaven because it is of this world,” says Gitta Mallasz. A Chinese proverb expressed the same idea a few millennia earlier: “Reason might travel further than the heart, but never gets as far.”
Note also that among the feelings “associated” with the heart are of course joy, love, and smiling. Have you ever noticed that a smile has no opposite? Tears are the opposite of laughter, but smiling has no opposite. It could be that smiling is one of the great privileges of being human.
In addition to joy, the heart is connected to singing. Singing opens the heart, which allows us to transcend, or at least bear, our pain. This was the idea behind the birth of “negro spirituals.” Through vibrations of the voice, singing helps us reach frequency levels that lift the soul. The vibrations of singing bring us to a higher level in our energy fields.
Pathologies Linked to the Heart
As far as pathology is concerned, arrhythmias can be likened to a dislocation or disturbance between the primordial impulse and a person’s life. When this happens, there is a “breakdown” in the receiving of Shen energy.
Angina pectoris is a disease of the coronary arteries. It arises when we take a situation too much “to heart.” In general, it develops when kidney energy is unbalanced, maybe due to possessive feelings for a territory, an undertaking or an ideal that we want to defend at all cost. This leads to an imbalance of energy in the kidneys that blocks a coronary artery. The result is a heart attack that arises after a period of struggle for a territory (family, political or other).
Cardiac disease is connected to our difficulty in dealing with emotions and is connected to our will (kidneys), which tends to control our lives. We no longer allow the momentum of life to circulate and try to manage things on our own. The impulse of Life that animates the Being no longer circulates freely, is no longer heard, and is suffocated by our will and our emotions. Patients that recover from a major heart condition never live the same way after. They gain a new perspective on life!
Humanity must find the balance between Heaven and Earth.
The pericardium is the sac that surrounds and protects the heart like a very thin and fluid shield. Pericarditis, which is the acute inflammation of this shield, expresses a fear that the heart will be affected, as though the person thinks, “I must harden this membrane so that nothing can affect me.” Complications involving the pericardium also arise with kidney disorders. But it is precisely this fear that the heart will be affected that can kill us. When a “virus” affects the pericardium, we must always consider the context of the viral “encounter.”
Touch is also connected to the energy of the heart. The palm of the hand receives information that seems to go directly to our right brain to give non-intellectualized, although precise, information. Touch is a tool of knowledge, which we covered in the study of the hand. The right touches from a person that is centered on Shen energy (in TCM) or on unconditional Love (in the Judeo-Christian approach) can be very therapeutic.
As a bonus for the month of August, mention the word “HEART” to our admissions team and you will receive free registration fee for this course Symbolism of the Human Body Only for new students, not for already registered ones, sorry!
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