HeartMath was founded by Doc Childre in 1991 to help individuals, organizations and the global community incorporate the heart’s intelligence into their day-to-day experience of life. They do this by connecting heart and science in ways that empower people to greatly reduce stress, build resilience, and unlock their natural intuitive guidance for making better choices. Their goal is to share the HeartMath story in ways that inspire others to create a more heart-connected world with us.
Since HeartMath’s inception they have been developing and delivering research-based, practical, and reliable tools and technologies that enable people to align and connect their heart, mind and emotions to produce transformative outcomes—with more flow and less stress. All of their products and services are designed to empower people to improve their experience of life and bring their best selves to their personal, social, and professional lives.
We recently spoke with the Executive Vice President Howard Martin to learn more about the impact of the heart.
Interview with Howard Martin
Soul Love: What can we, as individuals, learn from all the research that you have been performing through the Institute of Heartmath?
Howard Martin: The body we have at HeartMath is very big now, but the essence of what the research shows is that we have this magnificent intelligence that can and does lift us beyond our problems, it always has, especially in the midst of chaos in the changing times we’re in right now. It’s an intelligence that we talk about for thousands of years but for some reason it was sort of placed in the compounds of philosophy and spirituality. And what I am talking about is the Heart.
The research we’ve done at the essence shows that the heart, even at the physiological level, is a lot more than we ever thought – It’s not just a blood pump, it’s an information processing centre in our bodies.
The way the heart and the brain function on an physiological level, provides us with a unique intelligence that gives us the greater ability to do things, like regulate our emotions and it opens us up for more intuition, which allows us to make discriminating choices certainly a lot better than just the back and forth of only logical, linear intelligence. And then it becomes a type of intelligence that we can learn to trust and that we need to learn to trust, because it’s part of the evolutionary imperative of these changing times.
HeartMath is a system and tools, techniques and technology, all underpinned with science that we disseminate all over the world to a variety of markets. But the heart is much bigger than that. We’ve just put together a system to help people understand it better themselves. The research is there for a good reason Dirk.
When we launched HeartMath, we had our experiences of the heart for a very long time, so we knew what we wanted to do and what we wanted to share with the world. But we recognized that if we put out a heart-based system with a mainstream societal impact, we had to do it differently. If we did it in the traditional way, it would end up where it always ended up – something kind and sweet but seen as impractical. We needed to build a bridge between what people feel inside themselves and what they’ve read through their personal and spiritual practices about the heart and day-to-day living. The bridge we chose to use was the bridge of science. Because empirical science has the power to believe. It also legitimizes things, because when something is empirical then people respect it more and believe it more.
Soul Love: I read on your website: “Learn to live from the heart and unlock your natural intuitive guidance by replacing the patterns and habits of who you are not”. How do we identify the habits and patterns we are not, versus who we truly are?
Howard: That’s a pretty interesting question. It comes down the way we feel inside ourselves and about ourselves. We show a lot of behaviours and that’s natural, we’re human beings, there’s going to be ups and downs but a lot of times we realize: “This is not where we want to be, this is not how we want to act, this is not how we want to react in this situation”. There’s an inner guidance system that seems to be calling itself up more now, saying: “This is not right, this is not my highest best, this is not the real me”. And it comes more as a feeling I think, inside ourselves, more than anything that you can sort of identify cognitively.
I recently started writing a chapter for a book that’s yet to be decided what it will be, and it’s called: “Am I really me?” It’s a chapter about how we develop these false assumptions about ourselves. So much of it is because of societal programming, so much of it is dictated by the generation that we’re born in. So we develop a lot of false assumptions about ourself that we then spend a lot of time protecting, because we are not vulnerable enough to see the new.
It’s natural, it’s normal, it’s part of natural human psychology and awareness, but there’s a place beyond all that that we do find when we make connection to the intelligence of the heart, that allows us to have the self-security, to be something different than what society may have dictated that it was supposed to be. It allows us to operate at the essential level of who we are. That part of us that operates beyond our mediocrity. It takes itself to a new place where we really manifest in the higher qualities we actually have inside.
We can see all around us that change is happening quickly – whether it’s environmental changes, the instability of our economic model, but also the pressure we feel as individuals by all the conflicting information we are exposed to.
Soul Love: One of the solutions that you mention is building resilience. What is that exactly and how can we develop that skill?
Howard: Resilience is really an energy that we develop inside ourselves, its an accumulation of energy actually – mentally, emotionally and physically. Resilience is talked about a lot and there are training programs about resilience now, especially in places like corporate America. In those particular training programs they deal with one important aspect of resilience, but to me that’s not the total picture in most cases. They often look at resilience as the ability to “bounce back” – something takes you out and you want to come back, so your resilience is the ability to come back.
The way we see it at HeartMath is that you can learn through conscious practice to accumulate more mental, emotional and physical energy, that you sort of store into an accumulator that functions as a buffer to the incoming stressors of life. In other words “there’s already gas in the tank”.
So as you learn to regulate your emotions, manage yourself more from the heart, express more the qualities of the heart in a casual way in daily living, appreciating things, putting out extra care, having some compassion in stead of judgement, those kinds of things, it will accumulate that energy. Now it’s harder for you to have to be taken into a position where you have to bounce back. You maintain a certain equilibrium that allows you to move through these changing times with more poise and with more grace.
At HeartMath, we do mainstream trainings in healthcare institutions, government agencies, the military and in corporations. Those trainings all focus on building resilience.
We also certify people, individuals, consultants, trainers etc. to be able to use this material in their own training programs. The flagship organizational training program that we have now is called ‘The Resilience Advantage’.
HeartMath Founder Doc Childre: “To have a meaningful and thriving existence in these changing times, it will become essential to learn to increase resilience. It’s not a nice to have, it’s essential.”
As I travel around the world, I see so many people who appear to have their heart shut off and they seem to be struggling, so much! You can see the tension in their face, you can see how reactive they are to small things and you can see that they’re really working hard to make it through life as supposed to making something great in life. I say that with compassion and not with judgement.
Resilience is just one aspect of that. But again, if you look at it through the lens of an energy that you can store and accumulate and then draw from, it becomes a little different concept than just the ability to bounce back from something.
Soul Love: What can people practically do to increase their personal coherence, resilience and to help create more global coherence?
Howard: There are tools and techniques that can greatly help with this, as long as you take it to the heart and really apply with consistency.
Compassion is an important element – compassion for ourselves. People have a tendency to be so self-judgmental and down on themselves. When you’re moving through this much change, this fast there are going to be times, for me, for most people, anybody, when we disappoint ourselves. We don’t feel we’re doing our best. We don’t feel we’re getting it or making progress.
Those emotions begin to take your vibratory rate down, they begin to flutter our consciousness with lots of self-doubt and that pulls us out of the momentum – the flow of consciousness so to speak. They way out of that is to say: “Look, it’s okay, I am doing the best that I can. Life is difficult now.” And have that compassion and understanding about yourself. It doesn’t have to be that spiritual all the time. When we focus more on compassion, like looking through the eyes of what another’s life may be like, before just judging them or writing them off as bad or wrong, you’ll start accumulating energy that builds resilience.
Another thing which is quite powerful, something we’ve all read about for a long time is appreciation and it’s sister gratitude – Showing true appreciation and gratitude for the things in our life. We all know this in principle, but when you make it into something that you consciously, really try to do, it takes on another level of effectiveness. You start now looking for things to appreciate in your life and you have to step back regularly.
Every situation that you run into carries elements that can be uncomfortable, but you can also learn to see into them and appreciate them. Appreciation is generally something we do when life goes our way. The power of appreciation is learning to appreciate when things don’t necessarily go our way.
Appreciation also is the antidote for adaptation. We tend to adapt to so many different things that we lose sight of what they really are. Appreciation allows us to see things with more buoyancy, with more fun, with more happiness, more joy, all these things that we want in our life. Appreciation to me is the doorway that we walk through to get to those other things.
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER