The Social Heart: Energy Fields and Consciousness

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Nov 16, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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1

The
Social
Heart:
Energy Fields and
Consciousness


Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.

Raymond Trevor Bradley, Ph.D.

Dana Tomasino
, B.A.



In physics, it is generally accepted that “distant” subatomic particles act with
instantaneous “knowledge” of each other’s state
because the order of the whole (the
cosmos) is nonlocalized and enfolded into all parts.
More recently,
it
ha
s
become evident
that
the
whole of biological life is, in some
fundamental
sense, present in all
organisms
and that it is this “knowledge” of the w
hole that accounts for their behavior and
evolution.
There
is
even
compelling evidence that
the
individual members
of social
systems

have
enfolded in

the
ir
brain
s

implicit
“knowledge”
of
how
the social group
is
organized
as a whole.

Such
“knowledge”
or aw
areness
of
w
holistic

order

of
the
global organization of
systems and
the
ir

relations to
their context

is the broader meaning of consciousness we
use
here
.
To have

consciousness
of a whole involves connection to

the medium

the field
of energy

into which inf
ormation
about the whole is recorded.

This requires
an
energetic

form

of information
,

in which
patterns
of organization are enfolded into the waves of
energy of system activity distributed throughout the system’s field.
In science
,
a
field
is a
force or
a
medium for interaction, not directly measurable,
the effects of
which
are
distributed to all parts and loca
tions throughout a given space.

The organization and
p
rocessing of information in these

energy
field
s

can best be understood in terms of
holographic
principles.
i

There is substantial evidence that information is embedded in and communicated
via the endogenous electromagnetic fields generated by the body’s physiological systems.
For this discussion we will focus primarily on the electromagnetic field ge
nerated by the
heart and
on

the

field of bioemotional energy aroused by the action of social systems.




i

Holographic organization is based on a field concept of order, in which information about the organization
of an
object as a whole is encoded as an interference pattern in energy waveforms distributed throughout
the field. This makes it possible to retrieve information about the object as a whole from any locatio
n
within the field
.


2


H
EART
F
IELDS

Heart Field Interactions Within the Body

Until recently it was thought that
conscious awareness

originated in the brain

alone
. It is now und
erstood
that
consciousness

both sensory and cognitive

actually
emerges from

the brain and body acting in concert.
A growing body of
evidence suggests
that of the bodily organs, the heart
appears to
play a
particularly

significant
role
.

Far more than a simp
le pump
,

as was once believed, the heart is now recognized
by scientists as a highly complex system with its own functional “brain.” Research in the
new discipline of neurocardiology shows that the heart is a

sensory organ
and
a
sophisticated
information
e
ncoding and processing center
. The heart’s intrinsic nervous
system (or “heart brain”)

enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions
independent of

the cerebral cortex.
Moreover
,

numerous experiments have demonstrated
that
the signals the he
art continuously sends the brain
influence
the function of
higher
brain centers involved in perception
, cognition,

and emotional
processing
.


In addition to the extensive neural communication network linking the heart with
the brain and body
, the heart al
so communicates information to the brain and throughout
the body via electromagnetic field interactions.
The heart generates by far the most
powerful and most extensive
rhythmic
electromagnetic field produced by the body.
Compared to the electromagnetic fi
eld produced by the brain, t
he electrical
component
of
the heart’s
field

is about 60 times greater in amplitude

and

permeates every cell in the

body.
The magnetic component is
approximately 5000 times stronger than the
brain’s
magnetic field

and
can be det
ected several feet away from the body with sensitive
magnetometers
.

The heart generates a continuous series of electromagnetic pulses in which the
time interval between each beat varies in a dynamic and complex manner.
The heart’s
ever
-
present

rhythmic fie
ld has a powerful influence on
processes

throughout the body.
We have
demonstrated, for example,

that brain rhythms naturally synchronize to the
heart’s rhythmic activity, and also that during sustained feelings of love or appreciation,
the rhythms of
dive
rse physiological oscillatory systems entrain to the heart’s rhythm.


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We have also shown in laboratory experiments that changes in the cardiac field can affect
the growth rate of cells in culture
.
ii

We propose

that the heart’s field acts as a
carrier wave fo
r information that
provides a
global synchronizing signal for the entire body.
Specifically, w
e postulate
that
as
pulsing waves of energy
radiate out from the heart, they interact with organs and other
structures
,

encoding their features
and dynamic activi
ty

as i
nter
ference patterns of energy
wave
forms that are di
stributed throughout the body.
In this way
,

the encoded information
acts to
in
-
form

(literally
,

give shape to
)

the activity of all bodily functions, thereby
operating as a
global organizing
mechani
sm to coordinate and synchronize processes in
the body as a whole.

Extensive r
esearch at the Institute of HeartMath
shows

that information pertaining
to a person’s emotional state is also communicated throughout the body via the heart’s
electromagnetic fi
eld.
The
rhythmic beating patterns of the heart
change significantly as
we experience different emotions. Negative emotions, such
as
anger or frustration, are
associated with a
n erratic,

disordered
,
incoherent

pattern in the heart’s rhythms. In
contrast, p
ositive emotions
,

such as
love or
appreciation
,

are associated with a smooth,
ordered,

coherent

pattern in the heart’s rhythmic activity. In turn, the
se changes in the
heart’s beating patterns create corresponding changes in the struc
ture of the
electromag
netic field ra
diated by the heart, measurable

by
spectral analysis techniques
.

More specifically, w
e have

demons
trated that sustained positive emotions appear
to give rise to a distinct mode of
functioning, which we
call

psychophysiological
coherence
.
Dur
ing this mode, heart rhythms exhibit a sine wave
-
like pattern and the
heart’s electromagnetic field becomes correspondingly more organized.
At the
physiological level, this mode
is characterized by increased efficiency and harmony in
the activity and inter
actions of the body’s systems, encompassing phenomena such as

entrainment, synchronization
, and resonance
.
iii

Psychologically, this mode is linked with



ii

In
o
ne par
ticularly intriguing ex
periment,
healthy human fibroblasts
(skin cells)
and human fibrosarcoma
cells (tumor cells from the same lineage) were both exposed to the same coherent
heart

signal. We found
that the growth of the healthy cells was facilitated while
the growth of the tum
or cells was inhibited.


iii

Correlates of physiological coherence include: increased synchronization between the two branches of
the autonomic nervous system, a shift in autonomic balance toward increased parasympat
hetic activity,
increased heart−
brain sync
hronization, increased vascular resonance, and entrainment between diverse
physiological oscillatory systems.


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a notable reduction in internal mental dialogue, reduced perceptions of stress, increased
emotional balanc
e, and enhanced mental clarity,
intuitive discernment
, and cognitive
performance.
In sum,
our research suggests that
psychophysiological coherence is
important in enhancing consciousness

both for the body’s sensory awareness of the
information required to
execute and coordinate physiological function, and also to
optimize emotional stability, mental function
,

and
intentional action
.

Furthermore
, as we
see next, there is also experimental evidence
that psychophysiological coherence may
increase our awareness

of and
sensitivity to others around us.

It is because of the
significance of these findings for
the improvement of
health and
socio
emotional well
-
being and
the development of consciousness that the Institute of HeartMath has
created

practical technologies

and tools
that all people can use to
increase
psychophysiological
coherence.


Heart Field Interactions Between
Individuals

Most people think of
social
communication solely in terms of overt signals
expressed through
language,

voice qualities, gestures
,

f
acial
expressions
,
and body
movements. However,
there is now
evidence that a subtle yet influential electromagnetic
or “energetic” communication system operates just below our conscious awareness.
Energetic interactions likely

contri
bute

to the “magnetic”
attractions or repulsions that
occur between individuals
,

and
also affect

social
exchanges

and relationships.

Moreover,
it
appears that the heart’s field play
s

an important role in communicating physiological
,
psychological, and social

information
between
individuals.

Research

show
s

that w
hen people interact, important aspects of their physiology
can become linked and entrained.
S
tudies
of married couples and of clinician

patient
exchanges

have
documented heart activity
synchronization between individuals
during
empathetic
interactions
.

Experiments

conducted
at the Institute of HeartMath
have

found remarkable

evidence

that the heart’s electromagnetic field c
an

transmit
information

between people
.
We have been able to measure an exchange of heart energy betw
een individuals up to

5
feet apart. This research shows

that when people touch or are in proximity, one person’s
heartbeat signal is
directly
registered in the other person’s brain waves
, a
nd elsewh
ere on

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the other person’s body.

Additionally,
we have
evi
dence that when

two
people a
re at a
conversational distance
,
one person’s brain waves can
actually
synchronize to the other
person’s heart.
Furthermore, w
hen an individual is generating a coherent heart rhythm,
synchronization between that person’s brain w
aves and another person’s heartbeat is
more likely to occur.
T
hese findings have intriguing implications, suggesting that
individuals in a p
sychophysiologically

coherent state become more
aware of

the
information encoded in the heart fields of those around

them.



The results of these experiments have led us to
infer

that the nervous system acts
as an antenna, which is tuned to and responds to the
electro
magnetic

fields produced by
the hearts of other individuals.
We
believe this capacity for
energetic info
rmation
exchange to be an innate ability that heightens awareness and mediates important aspects
of true empathy and sensitivity to others.
Furthermore
, we have observed that this
energetic communication ability can be
intentionally
enhanced,
producing

a m
uch deeper
level of nonverbal communication, understanding, and connection between people. We
believe
that this type of energetic communication between individuals
also
play
s

a role in
therapeutic interactions between clinicians and patients
and, when acti
vated,
promote
s

the
healing process.

Finally,
there is
intriguing
evidence
that
heart field interactions
can also occur
between
people

and animals. In a study of a dog and his owner, we observed that
when
the owner
consciously felt

love for his pet
,

there

was

a
synchronous shift to increased
coherence in the heart rhythms
of

both

of them.


In short, energetic communication via the heart field facilitates development of an
expanded consciousness in relation to our social world.


The Heart’s

Field

and Intu
it
ion

To this point we have reviewed
research
findings
s
howing that
the
heart’s
electromagnetic field
plays a direct role in
psychophysiological

communication
within
and
between individuals. But there
are

also
new
data

suggesting

that the heart
’s field is
di
rectly involved in intuitive perception, through its coupling to
an energetic information
field
outside the

bound
s

of
space

and time
.
Using a rigorous experimental design,
we
found compelling evidence
that both the heart and brain receive and respond to

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in
formation about a future event

before the event actually happens
. Even more surprising

was our finding that the
heart
appears to
receive
this “
intuitive


information
before

the
brain. This suggests that the
heart
’s field

is
linked

to a more
subtle
energeti
c field
that
contains
information

on objects and events remote in space or ahead in time.

C
alled by
Karl
Pribram and others the

spectral domain,


this is a fundamental
order of potential
energy that enfolds space and time
,

and is thought to be the basis
for our consciousness of
“the whole.”


S
OCIAL
F
IELDS

Moving from the individual heart field to the level
of social collectives (bounded
soc
ial systems)
,

a similar process operates

to generate a consciousness of the social
whole. The great French sociologis
t Emile Durkheim called this the collective
consciousness and saw it as the “consciousness of the consciousnesses
.”


In the same way that the heart generates energy in the body, the social collective
is the activator and regulator of the energy in so
cial s
ystems. Studies of mother

infant
interaction, adult relationships, and social collectives have documented how information
about the organization of the social whole is generated and transmitted to members of the
collective via a field of positive emotional

energy constituted from bonds of attachment
or love.


Mother

Infant Interaction

A body of
groundbreakin
g work

shows how the field of socio
emotional
interaction between a mother and her infant is essential to brain development, the
emergence of consciousn
ess, and the formation of a healthy self
-
concept. These
interactions are organized along two relational dimensions

stimulation of the baby’s
emotions and regulation of the aroused emotional energy

and together form a
socioemotional field through which enor
mous quantities of psychobiological and
psychosocial information are exchanged. Coherent organization of the relations that
constitute this field is critical; this occurs when interactions are charged, primarily, with
positive emotions (love, joy, happines
s, excitement, appreciation, etc.), and are patterned
as highly synchronized, reciprocal exchanges between the pair. Th
ese patterns of mother


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infant interaction mediated by the socioemotional field are imprinted in the child’s brain
and thus encode the neu
rological templates that influence psychosocial function
throughout life.



Communication in Adults

At the adult level there is evidence, from research on the social organization of
speech, of an affectively
-
based

energetic
field through which
nonverbal co
mmunication
operates
subconsciously
to inform the

organization of oral

interactions. For instance,
a
study of interviews between a talk show host and his guests found evidence of an
inaudible

low
-
frequency
nonverbal signal in the energy spectra of vocal co
mmunication.
This energetic signal appears to affect the collective organization of social interaction by
encoding and transmitting
subconscious
information about the relative social status of the
individuals involved.


Organization
and Function
of Socia
l Groups

In a longitudinal study of social groups,
one of us (RTB)
documents how a
group’s collective consciousness is mediated by a field of socioaffective energy that
interconnects all group members.
iv

This research

shows that the coupling of a network of

relations charged with positive emotions (love, excitement, and optimism), to a hierarchy
of relations of social control (power) creates a field of socioaffective energy into which
information about the organization of the group as a whole is enfolded. Th
e information
in this field appears to be
transmitted throughout the group
t
o
all members
.

Coherent
organization of the relations of positive emotions and the relations of control, and their
interrelation, ensures an optimal flow of information and thus th
e emergence of
consciousness of the group’s collective order. In turn, the degree to which the collective
consciousness is a coherent order is directly related to the group’s future viability

and



iv

In addition to encoding and transmitting verbal signals as acoustical waves of energy, the
socioaffective
field also encodes and conveys nonverb
al signals such as

eye
contact, body posture, bodily movements
(
including gestures and physical contact
)
,

and

the use of
symbolic objects and artifacts
in energy waves of
radiant light, and biochemical inform
ation on bodily function (heart activity,
body t
emperature, etc.)

in
energy waves transmitting

physicochemical interactions.
Thus
,

the
socio
affective field provides the
physical

medium by which members perceive
and relate to
each other
.



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ability to manifest effective action
.
Remarkably, once the s
ocioaffective field is
established, even when most members leave the group and are replaced by new members,
the groups’ social structure is perpetuated. The only way to explain such perpetuation of
the group’s collective consciousness is if the “template”
for the group’s order is recorded
in a
n

actual

field

of socioemotional energy
that operates according to
the information
processing principles of quantum
holograp
hy
.
v


S
YNTHESIS AND
I
MPLICATIONS

From an energetics perspective, the heart field and social fi
eld share certain
commonalities in organization. Each is a field of energy in which the waveforms of
energy encode the features of objects and events, as interference patterns, as energy
moves throughout

the system. This creates a non
local order of energet
ic information in
which each location in the field contains an enfolded image of the organization of the
whole system at that moment. Because information about the order of whole

awareness
or consciousness of the whole

is distributed throughout the field a
nd therefore in
-
forms
the operation of the system, the processing of information in the field
is best understood
in terms of

holographic principles.

Another commonality is the role of positive emotion
s
,

such as
love and
appreciation
,

in generating coheren
ce
both in

the heart field and
in social fields
. When the
movement of energy is
intentionally regulated to form

a coherent
,

harmonious order,
information

integrity and flow
are

optimized. This, in turn, produces stable, effective
system function, which enh
ances health, psychosocial well
-
being, and
intentional action

in the individual or social group.

Heart

coherence and social coherence can also act to mutually reinforce each
other. As individuals within a group increase psychophysiological coherence,
psyc
hosocial attunement is increased, thereby increasing the coherence of social
relations.
Conversely
, the creation of a coherent social field by a group can facilitate the
generation and maintenance of psychophysiological coherence in its individual members.




v

The term “quantum,”

as used in quantum holography, does
not

mea
n that this kind of energetic
information processing is understood in terms of the principles of quantum physics. Rather, quantum
holography is a special
,

nondeterministic form of holographic organization based on a discrete unit of
energetic information called a
logon

or a “
quantum


of information.


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T
hrough
this
two
-
way
process, access is amplified to information enfolded in the implicit
order of the energy fields in which everything is embedded. By reducing the “noise” from
normal cognitive and socioemotional processing, such field coherence creates

a purer
channel for receiving energetic information
.

An expanded, deepened awareness and
consciousness results: of the body’s internal physiological, emotional, and me
ntal
processes, and also of the
deeper,
latent

orders enfolded into
the
energy fields

th
at
surround us
. This is the basis of self
-
awareness, social sensitivity, creativity, intuition,
spiritual insight, and understanding of ourselves and all that we are connected to
. It is
through the intentional generation of
coherence in both
heart

and soci
al fields

that a
critical shift

to the next level of planetary consciousness can occur

one that brings us
into harmony with the movement of the whole.




For more information on the Institute of HeartMath’s research and publications, please
visit
www.heart
math.org
.


Address for correspondence:
Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., HeartMath Research Center,
Institute of HeartMath, Boulder Creek, California, USA. Phone: (831) 338
-
8500, Fax:
(831) 338
-
1182, Email: info@heartmath.org.



F
URTHER
R
EADING


Raymond Trevor Bradle
y, “Love, P
ower
, Brain, Mind, and Agency.” In: David Loye,
ed.,
The Great Adventure: Toward a Fully Human Theory of Evolution

(Albany: State
University of New York Press, 2004), pp. 99

150.


Raymond Trevor Bradley and Karl H. Pribram, “Communication and St
ability in S
o
cial
C
ollectives
.”
Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems
,

Vol.
21
, No. 1, pp. 29

80
(
1998
).



10

Doc Childre and Howard

Martin
,
The HeartMath Solution
.
(
Sa
n Francisco:
HarperSanFrancisco, 1999).


Rollin McCraty,
The energetic heart:
Bioelectr
omagnetic interactions within and
between people
.
(
Boulder Creek
, California
: HeartMath Research Center, Institute of
HeartMath, Publication No. 02
-
035
, 2002)
.


Rollin McCraty and Doc Childre
,

The appreciative heart: The psychophysiology of
positive emotio
ns and optimal functioning
. (
Boulder Creek, California: HeartMath
Research Center, Institute of HeartMath, Publication No. 02
-
026
, 2002).