Research from the Institute of HeartMath tells us that the electromagnetic field of the heart is 5,000 times greater than the electromagnetic field of the brain. While many people associate great intellectual intelligence with the brain, it is the heart intelligence that actually invites us into a more expanded field of awareness. If we go to the heart intelligence first instead of going straight to the intellect for answers and insights, we can often make quantum leaps in our understanding and awareness. Tapping into that heart intelligence is as simple as taking a breath. Here’s a simple exercise to find out how this works.

Begin by choosing an issue that is grabbing your attention these days. It might be personal, or it may be a family, organizational, or societal issue. It can be anything.

As you focus on that issue, imagine that you are breathing in through your head, your intellect. Let the breath activate your intellect. What does your intellect tell you about this issue? What insights or understanding do you have about this issue from your head? What do you notice as your relationship to the issue when you approach it through your intellect? Stay with this focus for a few moments to experience how it feels to focus on something only from your intellect and head. Notice also how deep or shallow your breath is when you breathe in through your intellect.

After a few moments, shift your breath to your heart center. Continue to focus on the same issue, but notice what is different when you breathe in through your heart—when your breath activates your heart energy. What insights, awareness, or understanding come to you when you breathe through your heart? Stay with this heart breath and your issue long enough to notice how it is different from breathing in through your intellect. Notice again the depth and quality of your breath when you breathe in through your heart.

Having gathered some information and awareness from your heart, let’s take one more step. Still focusing on your issue, imagine your heart energy expanding to encompass your head and even your whole body, so that all of you, including your intellect, is held in the embrace of your heart. What shifts in your awareness and understanding when heart embraces intellect and you have the gift of both? What new insights, understanding, and awareness are available to you now? Heart and intellect in partnership. How does the quality and depth of your breath shift?

Just for comparison, you might even experiment with another variation. Focus again on breathing in through your intellect, and then imagine intellect expanding to embrace heart. Most people find that when intellect leads the way, there can still be awareness and understanding, but that the greater perspective of the heart is not as strong. By breathing into your heart first and then stretching heart awareness to encompass intellect, you may get a more expanded perspective and understanding of the issue or situation. Don’t just take my word for it. Experiment for yourself and discover the power of the heart’s perspective and insight.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the complexity of today’s world. When we get overwhelmed, too often our first reaction is to give up or just walk away thinking there is nothing we can do.

Yet there is something that every single one of us can do. We can breathe through the heart. We can think with our hearts and begin to see another possibility. Of course, it takes discipline and focused intention to change our thinking and perceptual habits, but it really is pretty simple. All you have to do is remember and focus. The shift really is as simple as where you focus your breath. I won’t pretend that shifting to heart breath and heart thinking alone will create a world that works, but it is a great place to start.

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