This interview was conducted on January 26, 2012, and transcribed as follows:
“Hello, I’m Mindie Kniss with RestartYourHeart.com. Welcome to the “Heart to Heart” series. As many of you know, I have been working on a dissertation on heart consciousness so I have spent a lot to time recently with the research work of my guest here today.
I am thrilled to introduce you to Rollin McCraty. Dr. McCraty has been with the Institute of HeartMath since its inception in 1991. He worked with founder, Doc Childre, to formulate the organization’s research goals and create its scientific advisory board. McCraty is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress, holds memberships with the International Neurocardiology Network, American Autonomics Society, Pavlovian Society and Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. He is also an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University.
He and his research team regularly participate in collaborative studies with other U.S. and international scientific, medical and educational institutions. McCraty is an internationally recognized authority on heart rate variability, heart rhythm coherence and the effects of positive and negative emotions on human psychophysiology. He is widely published in those and other research areas.
Rollin, thank you so much for being here today.”
Rollin: My pleasure, Mindie.
Mindie: So to start it out, give us the greater big picture if you will, just so if some people are saying, what the heck is this heart coherence and variability, what is it that we are even talking about. How would you describe the heart’s intelligence?
Rollin: That was a lot of questions in one sentence.
Mindie: I figured part of them would answer the ultimate question which is what is this stuff that we are talking about?
Rollin: So what really we are focused on in today’s world with HeartMath is really developing tools and techniques that come out of the research, that really allow people to get a lot of benefits relatively quickly. Of course, it takes some practice, as with anything. To access more of what we call the heart’s intelligence.
So really it is the ability using these tools and techniques, to bring the mind and emotions into a more self-directed control but from a more intelligent inner reference place. So that we are not trying to do it out of a place of duty or because somebody said we should and that kind of thing.
It is more intelligence about how our emotions are what really run the show and bringing those in a more heart-directed alignment, so that we are not getting frustrated and angry and things like that. That’s quite a bit over simply said, but does that kind of help put it in perspective?
Mindie: Yes, absolutely. So basically it sounds like this can benefit everybody?
Rollin: Oh absolutely. When a lot of people talk about stress, “you stressed me out,” for a lot of people it’s time pressure. The definition of time pressure, by the way, the scientific definition is ‘the feeling that we never have enough time’ or ‘the feeling that everything is taking too long’. Now emphasize the words feeling there, the definition.
When we say, I am stressed out, what we are really saying, it is a kind of safe word for saying, I am feeling something inside; I am feeling frustrated; I am feeling irritated; impatient; out of control; gridlocked mentally, whatever that is.
Stress is a catch-all word. The point here is that the external things that trigger that response or cause that internal feeling, is not something we can really control. The people we have to deal with in our relationships at work, at home and so on and some of those triggers are not going to go away. Traffic jams are not going to go away, but our internal response to them can become quite different.
It is really the emotions that, and this is getting into my field of research, it is the emotions that we need to run the show. They are what primarily drive the processes that go on in our body, the activity in our nervous system and the types of hormones that get released and so on. So as we become more intelligent about the emotions we choose, then we really do have more power to choose that, than most people understand or have been taught how to do. It can have a huge impact on our resilience, our vitality, life experience, how happy we are… these kinds of things.
Just a simple example, for a lot of people traffic, the traffic jams. The traffic is not going to move until it moves, right? Most people tend to get impatient and irritated in those moments. What is very clear and this is not putting a value judgment on emotions, but research is very clear that when we are feeling impatient and frustrated and so on, that’s creating hormonal patterns in our body that basically drain our energy, increase the aging process.
Whereas our own common sense tells us that the traffic is not going to move until it moves. Choose to do something different here. Turn on the radio. Use a HeartMath technique. Appreciate how beautiful the day is or whatever might be in your life that creates a very different set of hormonal patterns and a very different set of activity going down our nervous system, that’s telling all the glands and organs what to do.
It brings us into a much more harmonious and efficient internal process, which is what we mean by the word coherent, that got thrown into that first question as well.
Mindie: I laid a lot in there. Can you tell me though or speak to the idea that some people listening to this might say, well that’s great. I can work on focusing my emotions or choosing different emotions, more positive, less stressful emotions, but isn’t that in my mind. What does this have to do with the heart?
Rollin: Well yes, it is in your mind. I have to talk a little bit about how the heart and brain communicate.
Mindie: Sure, that would be great.
Rollin: So a lot of the stress perceptions we are having are certainly more from the mind-brain system, while we are perceiving the world and these kinds of things. However, a lot of that is based on our histories in basically automatic or mechanical reaction patterns that we have that are built up through our histories, of what we were taught, how we are used to responding, these kinds of things.
Now the heart and brain are wired together through the nervous system. They act with the hormonal system as well. They communicate through four different main pathways, but if we are talking about the nervous system, the heart and the brain are more interconnected than any other two systems in our body.
What a lot of people don’t realize, even though what I am about to say is been known since the late 1800s, it’s mostly been forgotten and underappreciated and that is that the heart actually sends more neural systems to the brain than the brain sends down to the heart. So if we are getting frustrated in traffic, that’s our perception that the brain level does indeed send signals down the nervous system that affects the way the heart beats and hormones and all those types of things.
It is a two-way dialogue. So the signal that the heart is sending up to the brain, also profoundly affect brain functions and our perceptions, our emotional experience. So you almost can’t look at it like heart or brain, it’s really the integrated system as a whole. How they are communicating with each other and how they are affecting each other.
So a lot of our emotional experience, a lot of this can be background, almost not necessary that we are conscious or thinking about it. When we are really feeling good, for example, that is really reflecting body states that are harmonious and everything is working well together harmoniously. When we are not feeling so good that’s usually reflecting stuff going on in our body that is out of sync, out of sorts, kind of out of an inner flow if you will.
So is this helping to kind of answer your question?
Mindie: Absolutely. So you are talking about this link between the heart and the brain, that they connected and that, ultimately we can’t look at just one or just the other, but it’s both. It is that connection point and that communication between the two. Now, what is coherence and what does that have to do with that connection?
Rollin: Okay, good question. Well, when most people hear the word coherence, it has sort of an intuitive kind of understanding built into it, but not for everybody. So, if you look up the word coherence in the dictionary, the first definition in most dictionaries is it’s used in the context of somebody’s speech. In other words, is it a coherent sentence? Does it make sense? Do all the words connect and tell a bigger story than the individual words. That is really kind of the definition.
So if one of our friends is drunk or something, what do we use to say, oh man that is incoherent. That is kind of a common language. In other words, what you are saying doesn’t make sense. The words aren’t logically connected or the thoughts or the concepts.
Now the word coherence is also used in science to mean something very similar and things that are interconnected, all the parts are working together in harmony to create something bigger than the individual parts. So we use the term global coherence for that.
When we look at our body, there are all the different cells, glands and organs and our thoughts and emotions, all these different things that have to work coherently together for us to be healthy or even conscious, awake beings. It is amazing all the different systems that have to work together in harmony for good health, for vitality or just to even be basically alive at a very fundamental level.
It’s that interconnection between all the systems. They can either be working together in harmony, in coherence or in incoherence. That usually plays out in some type of health issue, lowered energy or fatigue when things aren’t working together in harmony or they are not coherent. Now if it turns out, just to give a little bit of background here about one of our research focuses over the last twenty-some years has been the physiology of optimal performance or optimal function.
In other words, what has to go on in our brain, in our nervous system, in our hormonal system, all these different internal systems, for us to really be in an optimum state, to think more clearly, have faster reaction times for example. Lowered blood pressure, a lot of health benefits as well.
It’s that research where this idea of what we call physiological, or heart coherence is a more common term, now comes from. As it turns out, when we look at the physiology of optimal function, the heart is absolutely critical in this process and the way the heart and the brain are communicating. With the heart, you can think of it as kind of a conductor. It really sets the rhythm for all the other body processes. It is the largest source of rhythmic energy in the body that keeps things in sync, kind of keep this simple.
Another thing about the heart we have to bring into this conversation is the relatively new understanding that within the human heart itself is a very complex, what’s called intrinsic cardiac nervous system. It is a technical term but basically it is the heart brain. That’s what it is now called. That comes out of the work of the field called neurocardiology. I can’t take credit for that. There is a whole group of scientists around the world that do study the nervous system of the brain within the heart and all the impact it has on our physiology.
To make a long story short, in a healthy person, our heart rate is always varying, the time between each and every heartbeat. That is called heart rate variability. There is a reason for this story. Most people know about heart rate, which is simply how many times did the heart beat in a minute. In reality, the heart is varying with every single beat. The time between the heartbeats, that’s what’s called heart rate variability.
The heart is literally beating out messages that are being sent to the brain and the body. You can think of it kind of like Morse code, where you’ve got these different time intervals. Those time intervals are patterns that get reflected in the message the heart is beating out very much reflects our emotions, what we are feeling and this is going on whether we are conscious of it or aware of it or not. A lot of times people might be feeling low grade anxiety, for example. Or in patients who are frustrated or something and not even necessarily be consciously aware of it.
Yet your body knows that and that is the signal that is going to be sent up to the brain. They affect a lot of the brain centers that are involved in things like decision making; our ability to discriminate; appropriate behavior; responses; our ability to be creative, to think outside of the box; to be able to communicate clearly. All these factors are influenced by what the heart is doing.
I forgot where I was going with this, what your original question was.
Mindie: Coherence and the effects of coherence on the body. No worries.
Rollin: So the heart is as it turns out is one of the best measures of what the heart is doing, of the whole body’s level of coherence. In other words, how harmonious are all the internal systems working together. When they are working together more harmoniously that affects the way the brain operates, our ability to think clearly.
For example, not that you have ever had this experience, Mindie, but you might know people that have it, they are in conversation with somebody, it might be their spouse or close friend or whatever and they say or do something that gets us a little bit angry.
Mindie: (laughs) No, I have never had that experience.
Rollin: I didn’t think so. In that moment following that, we say or do something that about 30 seconds later we go, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I just said that? Where was my brain?” Well, it was literally inhibited. You were in an incoherent state. What that means is that signals in the nervous system are literally out of sync with each other. The impact that has on the brain is that it causes the center of the brain that causes all the neurons to be able to be in sync or synchronized for the efficient flow of information processing, to be inhibited. So we really do the dumb thing. Say the thing that we regret later, which almost always ends up costing you more energy waste, more time we now have to deal with the situation we just created.
Rollin: Does that make sense?
Mindie: Yes, unfortunately. I think everybody is all too well aware of that type of situation and so I know that myself and the listeners might be saying, “How can we avoid that? Is there a way to avoid that incoherence, so that I don’t end up looking like an idiot?”
Rollin: Indeed, and that’s really what the HeartMath techniques that have come out of this research are all about. Now we know the underlying physiology of what causes this to not be in an optimal state. I am not just talking about mental and emotional responses like we just did but things like our blood pressure, our reaction time. That’s why this stuff is used in so many athletic contexts.
Mindie: Right, the physical response.
Rollin: When we are in that coherent state, which is reflected in the message the heart is beating out again. So when we are in an incoherent state, which is associated again with anxiety, anger, frustration and impatience, a big one that almost goes under the radar. It seems legal to be impatient, right?
Rollin: The impact it has on our health and our vitality is the same. It depletes us, no matter what. So that is reflected in what’s called an incoherent heart rhythm. You can actually see it very clearly on these little inexpensive devices that are available now that you can monitor your own heart rhythms and detect how coherent you are or incoherent.
Incoherent is a very chaotic looking heart rhythm pattern. Whereas in the coherent, it is more like a series of smooth rolling hills, kind of a sine wave pattern. People know what that is. That reflects the body is in a coherent aligned state. So when we are in a smart coherent state, the physiology all lines up, is much more efficient and our blood pressure is reduced. It facilitates the new system hormonal system comes into increased balance in terms of the hormones that are being produced and so on.
It also helps align our mental and emotional capacities. That is also a big source of hidden stress. For a lot of us, we might be thinking one thing but feeling something else completely different. A lack of alignment there and that actually does create a lot of what you call inner stress, inner drama for people. In terms of the popular language, my heart was saying one thing, my brain another. That is what I am talking about there.
So when we are in this coherent state, it helps get better alignment there and more intelligence on how we choose to interact with people in our relationships. The choices we make, how we are able to discriminate things. A big part of that, which I bet you are going to ask me anyway, is if there is just more access to more of our intuitive capacities. That is another type of intelligence that we all have access to, we just need how to learn how to access more of it.
Mindie: This is so fascinating especially for people that are interested in personal growth or self-development because I think that happens a lot where they are saying, Geez, I am learning this one type of behavior or attitude that I could have and yet I am reacting differently, more along the normal patterns of my life. How do I merge those two? If my heart saying one thing and my brain saying something else, where do I go? What do I do?
So I love that you and your colleagues are looking at this from a scientific perspective and saying how do you do that. How can we increase that intelligence? How can we increase that communication and thereby the coherence? Which is wonderful!
Rollin: The way you do it is you just practice these intentionally simple techniques to increase our coherence and accessing our intuitive capacity. That means you got to do some work here and practice because we are having to overcome the inertia of a lot of old patterns that are almost, not almost, they are unconscious. They are just the way our brain is and the habits and the way we react, like in the traffic jams or in meetings when that certain person says that thing that they always say. It just gets under our skin and there we go, we are triggered.
We can interrupt between that event and the external role, that stress as it’s called, and how we respond to it. That’s what the techniques are really all about is using right in those moments. The HeartMath techniques are something that you use in the moment but again that takes practice to build that capacity, and then using the EM wave devices I mentioned earlier that makes your heart rhythm tells us how coherent we are, are useful here because it gives objective feedback, so you know now I am in a coherent state.
So we start learning what that feels like and by practicing that, in the quieter moments when we are by our self or with friends. You can make the light turn green reflects coherence. So you start developing the familiarity with that, the level of our body and nervous system and so you build that muscle. It’s like with any new skill, it takes practice and then that becomes the new familiar. So that when we are in the traffic jams of life, so to speak, or the challenges that come up in our day-to-day, we are able to access that state and bring in that intelligence in that moment. So we make better choices, better discriminations. So we are able to interrupt that old mechanical reaction pattern.
Mindie: That’s great, that’s super helpful. Can you tell me, what’s at stake here? I am thinking about the effects of stress on the heart. I think people are mostly familiar with the idea that stress can cause headaches and frustrations and more on the emotional level, but also on the physical or physiological level, what are the effects of stress on the heart? I want to know what’s at stake. What’s the risk here of not living in coherence or at least attempting to?
Rollin: Well, the research is very clear. Sure, there’s lots of researches on the level of the heart. The people, who tend to be more frustrated easily and angry and so on, have much higher risk of heart attacks. The research is very clear there. It is much more than just the heart. It is how to do with longevity, for example.
Basically, if we have the personality type where we are easy to get frustrated, irritated and it used to be called Type A personality. That’s been more refined now, but let’s put it this way… If we process a lot of negative emotions, anxiety, frustration, irritation and so on, it basically creates hormonal patterns that rapidly increase the aging process.
It basically drains our vitality, our resilience and you can think of resilience in this context, as the amount of energy we have, an inner battery. We all wake up with a certain amount in the morning, if we’ve got a good night’s sleep, which is when the body is recharging, the cells are rebuilding and repairing themselves.
How we choose to spend that energy, is really what we are talking about. So it is becoming more intelligent about our energy expenditures and coherence is a way of renewing our energy. It’s like charging the inner battery. If our resilience or our battery charge gets low, and we don’t have the same amount of internal resources to be in charge of ourselves, to see things that go on in the world for the way they are.
For example, there might be somebody in your environment or your life, that’s one of those kind of people that are always doing the same things, maybe joking with you in a way that is off-color sometimes and if our battery level’s up or no battery or resilience, you see it for the way it is. No big deal, water off a duck’s back. That’s the way ‘Joe Bob’ is.
If our inner battery is low and that capacity to be in charge of our self is lowered, then they might do that same thing and we react to it. We trigger on it. We over personalize it. There we go. Now we are even draining our batteries farther. So that can create a downward spiral.
Mindie: Sure, sure and the way I would talk about that is vibration level and that’s maybe more of the metaphysical aspect of it, is where is your vibration? As you were saying, if it is high then that stuff does not affect you. It doesn’t even get under your skin. If it is low, the world might be coming to an end over the same issue that didn’t bother you before.
Rollin: Since you said that we can take that little bit out of the metaphysical, that’s another kind of aspect of some of the research we’ve been doing over the past few years. We really do radiate magnetic fields and I am not talking about an aura here. I am not saying they are not real.
The heart is the largest source of electromagnetic energy generated in the human body. It is measured every day in a doctor’s office. It is called the electrocardiogram. To measure our brain waves, it is called the electroencephalogram. This is very common to measure this.
If you go to the doctor and most people have had an EKG or electrocardiogram done, you put electrodes on your chest. What is being measured there is the electrical current that has been generated by the heart, but whenever we have a flow of current like that, a magnetic field is also generated. That is why it is called electromagnetism. The electric field and the magnetic field are two entirely different things. It takes different instruments to measure those.
So the magnetic field is measured with a device called the magnetometer and with today’s equipment, you can measure the magnetic field generated by the heart about three feet away from a person. So this is very real, very measurable. What we can do now, well we’ve done this, it’s called spectroanalysis of these magnetic fields and you find that what we are feeling, our emotions are encoded in those fields, just like the way a radio or TV transmitter works.
You create an electromagnetic wave and then you impart information that’s carried by that, which is the voice, the picture, whatever the receivers, the radio receiver or TV receives. We are operating the same way. We are radiating these very real fields, very measurable and our nervous systems are very tuned in our people’s fields. So we can now measure an energetic information transfer going on between people.
We are communicating on an unseen level all the time whether we are aware of it or not and so how we are feeling really can affect other people around us.
Mindie: So I have seen images of the torus-shaped electromagnetic field and I may actually post that with this interview, just so people can get a visual of what we are talking about. Is that transference of communication when those fields are linked as if you are standing next to somebody and that field is intersecting with their field or is there more to it than that? Is it actually transferrable across distance?
Rollin: Well both, both are true actually. Two different mechanisms to play there. If we keep it in the simple domain, it’s pretty easy for most people to get their head around anyway. When we are in the local environment, we are just sensitive to each other’s magnetic fields. We can measure them. We watch them interact. We literally have done experiments here in our lab, where we see that one person brain waves are synchronizing at a physiological level now here to the other person’s heartbeat. So not only is this information being transferred but there are physiological consequences and realities that go on here. So that is what I mean by we affect people around us.
Now most people have already had the personal experience of that. We can go into a workplace, a friend’s home, whatever the environment might be. I bet, Mindie, you’ve had the experience yourself where sometimes you might just get a sense that ‘wow, something is off. Something doesn’t feel right, it feels out of sorts here.’ And then, sure enough, you find that your friend or whatever or something happened in that work environment. Maybe they got a phone call or some upsetting news or something like that.
Rollin: On the other hand, it feels really good when you walk into some environments and other groups of people.
Rollin: So it is really simple. It is a more coherent field environment. This is going on all the time. Usually people just aren’t aware of it, not tuned into it. A nice independent experiment that was done based on some of our research last year, what this researcher did is he took a bunch of groups of four. There were ten different groups about forty people involved. At four at a time he set them around a table and he was monitoring all their physiology, their heart rhythms and different types of things, and three of the people at random times were told to shift into a coherent state. It was a very complex protocol, to be coherent, not coherent, be coherent doing this and so on. Those details were not important for this.
The fourth person who was also being monitored had no clue what was going on. They were just told it is an experiment we were doing, I can’t remember what it was now and it doesn’t really matter. What they found was when the other people were in a coherent state, it had a positive impact on the fourth person. In other words, their physiology changed, they became more coherent.
Mindie: I believe it. I bet a lot of people have seen that even without the experiment.
Rollin: This kind of work is really neat from my perspective, because it is confirming why a lot of us are already kind of intuitively knew and it’s our experience in life, but it is really nice when research starts to explain the mechanisms and really show why. Not only that it is real, that this really does go on. It helps to sort out the mechanism of what is really going on.
Mindie: Absolutely, and that is why I find this work so fascinating that you’re doing because it is answering those questions. It is defining the specs and showing how it works when before it might just have been an idea or somebody’s guess or feeling when they couldn’t really describe what was happening.
So what I want to get into, you mentioned it earlier, and I have been dying to ask you about this, intuition. What does the heart have to do with intuition?
Rollin: Okay. Well, we have done a number of rigorous lab-type experiments on what I call the electrophysiology of intuition and we are not the only ones that have been doing this. There are quite a few different research groups that have been looking in this kind of space.
We added a lot of complexity to one of the studies, where we were looking at brain waves, the heart, body responses and those kinds of things for a fairly large group of people in two different conditions. Once, when they were in their normal state, when they just came into the lab and we hooked them up and did the experiments, and the other when they were in a coherent state before they went through this experimental protocol.
The first set of experiments used a series of pictures. So you’re studying the computer screen, you push a button and then we are measuring your physiological responses and then so many seconds later an image would come on, that’s randomly selected by the computer after you have already collected all of the physiological data. So nobody could possibly know what this picture was going to be. The computer didn’t even know until the data had already been collected.
The images were from what is called an International Affective Picture Set, but that basically just means images that had been well researched to know what kind of emotional response they create. So we had images from the two extreme ends. One was very stress producing pictures, like a snake striking or an auto accident, bloody people and things like that, stress-producing images. The other set of pictures were flowerpots and nature scenes and things like that.
So, what the previous research had found, let me back up a little bit, was that the body will tend to give a signal, a particular type of body response that is predicted in a way of what type of picture is going to show up in the future. That is pretty wild right there, but it has been confirmed in a lot of different studies, this is real.
What we added were all these other measures to see if we could find or trace the flow of this intuitive information. Where does it go from this part of the brain to that part of the brain or the body or so on. What we found even surprised us. I couldn’t have designed the… (chuckles) it was impossible to know what the outcomes were going to be, but it was better than I would have designed.
What the data clearly showed was that the heart is the first system to get that information. The heart literally sends a different neural signal to the brain, informing the brain and then you have the body response. So we tend to say, ‘oh, I felt it in my gut,’ or the hair stood up on the back of my neck, that kind of thing. That’s what the body response is but the actual flow is heart – brain – body and if we are aware of it, then the conscious perception of that feeling.
So basically when I got this published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and all that, was to talk about it like the heart and brain, only later, have access to a field of information not bound by time and space. That is the scientific way of saying it, but what we really mean by that, what is encoded in that, is what a field of information we call the Spiritual Heart. A lot of people would call it that. That is a common theme of all the major world religions. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism all talk about the heart being the primary connection to a source of wisdom and intuition.
Mindie: Sure. The seat of the soul.
Mindie: Yes that is exactly what I wanted to get into too because when I had initially contacted you, I said ‘Where is part three of that research?’ The first part was called The Surprising Role of the Heart and for the listeners online, this is all available. You can get it at the HeartMath. I will put posts and links to all of this information, so they can find out more if they are interested.
Part two was A System-Wide Process, and then part three was developing this theory that explains how the body receives and processes that information. So this is what we are talking about, that field of information or field of energy that is connecting all of this.
Rollin: I don’t want to oversimplify it here, but a good way to think of it is, is what intuition is is that flow of wisdom and information from our higher capacities down into the human mind-brain system. So that’s when I said earlier, the very first thing I said, it’s about looking at how the brain, mind, and emotions into alignment from a more intelligent inner reference point.
That’s really what we are talking about and as we practice these coherence building techniques that increases the amount of time or the ratios of time that we are connected with that, those higher capacities. So we are able to make better choices. It might be knowing what to say in an awkward social situation or what to eat. This is going on all the time, but we can increase our capacity to be aligned with that heart intelligence, as we call it.
Mindie: As you said, it is really quite simple. It’s having an awareness of that, paying attention, noticing what is going on, and then implementing the very simple techniques that HeartMath has put out to increase that intelligence, which is quite easy.
Rollin: Right. It is not just about our personal choices and things which is a huge part of this that really can be transformative for a lot of people and it also has very practical business applications. In fact, after we published those studies, one of the folks that contacted me was a professor who is the head of a graduate school in entrepreneurship, that teaches you how to be entrepreneurs and the qualities of it.
They have done a lot of research in this area and he called me up and said we have been studying groups of entrepreneurs for many years now and defining and understanding what are the common characteristics of these repeat, as they call them, repeat entrepreneurs. People who really had this capacity to do it more than once, always had this uncanny sense for knowing a good business opportunity.
He said the most common factor amongst these groups and they studied a group at Oxford and one here in the U.S., is intuition. That 80% of them rely on integrating their intuitive senses, of course they have their cognitive approaches as well, but they really value and rely on those intuitive capacities as part of their decisions. That was the number one factor of all these repeat entrepreneurs they studied.
Mindie: [Laughing] Nice, well no wonder I like this stuff so much! It is all making sense now. It is fascinating how many different aspects in life it impacts.
Rollin: Right. You can take it one step further because as we talked about the living room example of when we are more coherent, it creates this beneficial feel environment that can help other people find their balance and their composure. By the way, when we are more coherent, we are more composed. That’s a way of thinking about. We are able to deal with whatever the challenges that come up in our day to day life, we are able to flow through them in a greater sense of ease and flow. That’s really what we are talking about.
That is also affecting the greater global field environment, which is the latest area of research that we have delved into here in the past few years. We were putting sensor sites around the planet. We’ve got one in Saudi Arabia now. One in England, one here in the U.S. and we’ve got one going in the very near future in New Zealand. One in Canada and then South Africa will probably be the next one. This is to monitor the earth’s field environment.
There is actually a lot of research showing how we are affected, in a kind of a mass human consciousness level. We are affected by fluctuations in the Earth’s fields and I am talking about the geomagnetic fields and fields in the ionosphere. I won’t go into describing all those right now. There is an overwhelming body of evidence of that, once you look into it, but we are also suggesting that it works the same way from the living room to the global level. We are all interconnected through the planetary global fields.
That explains a lot of the different experiments that have been done of how a mother can know that, for example, her son or daughter got hurt in a skiing accident on the other side of the planet. It’s that instant sense that something happened. You may not know what, but it’s that, ‘Oh my God, something is wrong.’ That intuitive kind of sense is part of this as well.
So as we individually become more coherent, of course, there are a lot of personal benefits that we have just touched on in terms of our own health and happiness, but we are now creating a more coherent field environment that is beneficial for our friends and family and so on. We create more coherent larger field environments like our workplaces, our communities, schools and so on that amplifies this coherent field environment. It creates a more stable and coherent larger field and then that makes it easier for other people to find their composure, their balance. Increase their consciousness, if you access that heart’s intelligence we are talking about. So if enough communities and groups do this around the globe that starts connecting all those fields to create a coherent planetary field environment.
Mindie: That is very, very good.
Rollin: That’s very good, yes.
Mindie: Do you think that people are talking about this more? I know that there are so many movies coming out. You actually recently appeared in the movie I Am and we talked a lot about this kind of thing. There is another movie out right now called Thrive, which is available online and talks a lot about the torus shape and the electromagnetic field and that kind of thing.
Do you find from your perspective that this has always been the case and people were always talking about it, but maybe it just wasn’t as public, or that it’s being talked about more now? What is your feeling on that?
Rollin: It’s clearly being talked about more now and we are starting to see the word heart and the idea of an intelligent heart coming up in all kinds of places it never showed up before, certainly with increasing frequency and awareness. Even TV ads are talking about it. There is a huge movement in a way going on about the planetary shift. That is a word that is often used, the shift that is occurring, which is really talking about a shift in consciousness.
Through my eyes anyway what we are really talking about is a consciousness shift where we are becoming more aligned with that intuitive intelligence. The heart’s intuitive awareness and starting to integrate that more in with the 3D mind-brain kind of consciousness that has been the main consciousness level from the planetary wide. So as that shift is occurring and that field that I was just talking about becomes more stable, in higher amplitude, it’s creating a bigger signal, so that more and more people are starting to tune into it and start becoming more aware, starting to grow in their own awareness that there really is an energetic environment.
And that is communicating, then naturally, to be more self-responsible for what we are feeding in the field. If I review my day at the end of the day, what did I feed the field? How much of the day was I really being kind to my coworkers? Being compassionate, appreciating the beauty of the planet or whatever it is that was our day’s experience. Or how much of it was really tied up in my to-do list, feeling rushed, impatient and stressed, and so on. That is what we are all feeding the field. At this level, it all counts and it is the same for every individual. It has nothing to do with how much money we have, or our positions in life, we all feed the field equally.
Mindie: I love this stuff. It is so exciting and like you said, it adds to that personal responsibility of what is our part in this. It is not just blaming the government or blaming the environment or blaming our family or whatever, it’s how are we individually, uniquely contributing and supporting, or not, that field. So I think that is beautifully stated. Thank you for that.
Now, I want to go a little bit more personally with you, if I am able to. I wondered, how Rollin has your research in the laboratory impacted your personal life?
Rollin: Oh, in so many ways.
Mindie: Okay, good.
Rollin: Well, certainly I practice the tools and techniques and one of the techniques called Inner-Ease, I use a lot. It is one of my favorite tools these days. I use different ones at different times. So the Inner-Ease technique as it is called, which you can get for free on our website if you want to learn that technique and the steps of it. It’s had a tremendous difference in my ability to flow, like I said earlier, to flow through the challenges of my day-to-day.
We are in a beautiful area here in Northern California, in the Redwoods, but it is not a stress-free environment. We have a business to run, research to get done and all the challenges that come up. So the amount of energy I would expend on things that come up that aren’t the way I want them to be is much, much less now. I am much more able to stay in that more inner coherent state and flow through those types of things.
For example, I now start my day every morning prepping for the day, to get my systems aligned into a coherent state. So I am going into the day, at least from a more coherent, balanced, composed place. It doesn’t mean that when stuff comes up, I don’t have to draw on another tool, whether it is Freeze-Frame or these other techniques to sustain that.
None of us around here are perfect. We all certainly make serious attempts to practice what we preach, so to speak and use the techniques to maintain our own coherence throughout the day. Another technique called Freeze Frame, which really is about accessing the heart’s intuition in decision-making. I use that one quite a lot as well. So I am not nearly the Type A personality I used to be.
Mindie: Is that true, you used to be that?
Rollin: Oh yes, and then some.
Mindie: Wow, so that is a great example of what the power of possibility in using these techniques and learning about these, you can actually change because some people say, well that’s just how I am. They give up responsibility for changing that, or taking any steps in a more positive direction. So, I honor you for saying that I used to be this and now I am not.
Rollin: Well, not as much anyway.
Mindie: Not as much. Okay, fair enough. Now Rollin, when we talk about the heart, most of the time in day-to-day life, people think of love. People think of romance and that type of thing, but what does love have to do with this? What does it have to do with the heart’s intelligence and your research? I know that is a big question.
Rollin: Well, it is. Love can be talked about in so many ways and different perspectives on what love is from universal intelligence down to human emotion and romantic love and these kinds of things.
Mindie: So what do you think?
Rollin: To me, love is a core heart frequency, to use that word that embraces a lot of other core heart feelings and bands of intelligence. Like appreciation, compassion and kindness, they are all within the bigger love field, for example. It is also to address, what you said about the Valentine’s Day association with the heart, that it’s this mushy, kind of emotional thing. And that is a kind of popularized thing to sell Valentine’s Day cards and stuff, but that is not at all what we are talking about here. We are talking about the heart, the energetic heart as that, if you will, primary conduit to our higher capacities or intuition.
A lot of that is about business. It is about the power to bring the mind and emotions into alignment and into management. From that perspective, that is all about love, compassion and kindness and what is good for the wholeness. Not just ourselves, but not at the expense of the self. Intelligence to know how to bring our systems into that kind of alignment. So love is very much part of that, as is appreciation, compassion, kindness, all of these kind of attributes that are really required to have the shift that we’re talking about, the shift in consciousness. It is not just the greedy self-perspective, but an awareness of the wholeness.
Mindie: Yes, and I like what is going said about it’s business. It’s essentially our personal power or the source of our personal power. I often describe love as not that Hollywood romance stuff, but a force.
Mindie: Intelligence, exactly! And so the implications of that then, increasing that in all of our lives are huge, not only for ourselves but like we have been talking about for the whole, for that whole field. It is just incredible and mind-boggling and beautiful all at the same time.
Rollin: Another way to say it is we’re able to bring more love into our day-to-day lives and to our energetic systems. Love, appreciation, compassion, kindness, all these core heart frequencies, it is increasing the alignment we have to our higher capacities.
Mindie: Absolutely and that is my work, to help people do that. That is the perfect way to describe it. I love that.
Rollin: When we are radiating those, that is what we are feeding the field. So that all helps shift the global field environment.
Mindie: Right, and even as you described earlier with some of those experiments, the global environment, which yes, and I think that is sometimes too big for people to consider, but also in the room with that person, in the room with your spouse or your daughter or your colleague, and you can change that which is absolutely fascinating.
Now what does Western medicine have to learn from this type of research, from your work and your colleagues’ work? I feel that there is such a divide between what Western medicine, or allopathic medicine, says and what you may be saying. What can they learn from your work?
Rollin: Well, there are really two ways I can answer that. If we just kind of keep it in the more traditional Western model without going to global fields and things like that. There are simple tools and techniques that can be taught to people and patients to help them self regulate, just a deal with the emotional stresses. One thing I can positively say about Western medicine is that they are starting to come out of denial, in terms of how emotional stress and these stresses impact our health.
Mindie: That was going to be my next question, if they are becoming more open to that.
Rollin: They are, and they are being forced into it. In European scientific literature, this is common knowledge, about legislation taking for many, many years now about the impact of workplace stress and stress on health. So there have been studies there for much longer than what is still going on here in the U.S. That is changing because they are being forced into it.
The second way I would answer that question is that, we’re not there yet in the Western model, but it is starting to creep in and expand awareness. There is the understanding that we really do have an energetic system. That means, not just the physical thoughts, emotions, our energetic system for example. Things we cannot put under a microscope, but they are real and they drive the biological processes.
So much of what drives our health and vitality is the energetic level and that is really a lot of what we are talking about today is learning how to become more self-responsible for our energetic systems, thoughts and emotions, these kinds of things. It is what is really our energetic systems and how the energetic and the physical interact not only within our own systems, energetic or physical, but between people and families and communities and workplaces, and so on.
Mindie: Do you just love going to work every day because you get to look at all of this great information and find out these amazing things?
Rollin: I enjoy my job.
Mindie: I can tell. That’s awesome. Now one of the last questions. What do you foresee science uncovering in the future of heart intelligence? What do you see coming up? And I won’t hold you to this…
Rollin: I am not into making predictions, but I do think that what’s really the next step, what’s really needed for a major shift in what we were just talking about, the paradigm of new instrumentation that can measure the energetic systems that we are seeing. Once that becomes available, it will be much easier to see and understand how the energetic heart is the primary player, regulator of the energetic systems. That would be a major breakthrough when that becomes available.
There is some equipment out there that’s starting to edge into that but it is not a home run yet either. Most of this energetic stuff that we are talking about is just far too fast and too subtle for our current equipment. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, we just don’t have the abilities to measure it yet and that actually has been the key to so many of the scientific discoveries in the past is when instrumentation was available. That’s when a lot of breakthroughs happened. That’s one answer.
Mindie: Love it. I can’t wait. I am looking forward to all of that, and then personally, what is next for you?
Rollin: Well, I don’t know. We tend to follow the data. We are spending a lot of our research energy and time right now just on the global coherence initiative, that side of things. It took us a couple of years to develop and design these earth level centers that I was talking about and have them installed. That takes a lot of time and analyzing that data to really pull out the effect of human consciousness and emotionality, how it interacts with the global field is not a trivial thing to do.
Mindie: I can’t imagine that would be.
Rollin: If we are successful, I’m quite sure we will have to invent some new techniques and things for the way signals are processed and data analysis to be able to show that. Hopefully, that’s what is next for us is some success in that side of our work.
Mindie: Beautiful, that is fascinating. Now, where can people continue to learn people about this stuff? I know there is obviously The HeartMath Solution that came out in 1999, the book, and then there is lots of research online. What’s the latest or where would people go to find the newest or most recent research?
Rollin: The best way to stay in touch with the latest in what’s going on and the ongoing stuff is our website HeartMath.org. Once you are on the website, if you really want to keep up with the stuff that’s currently coming out is to join IHM and become a member. We always communicate new stuff and new articles about things that are going on to our membership to the newsletters first. Lots of new articles there never show up on the website as well. So that is really one of the best ways.
Also, for those of your listeners who would want to participate in more of the energetic level things, that is a different website. That is The Global Coherence Initiative. That is separate. You have to sign up for both if you are interested in both to become a member. So that would be my recommendation.
Mindie: Okay, that’s great and again I will put links to all of that with this interview, so people can have easy access to that. I would just second what you said about becoming a member of HeartMath because I am and I would recommend everyone else to do that. It is great.
So Rollin, I just want to thank you so much for being here with me today. I so appreciate your work and also your commitment to living and embodying what you are finding. You are using the research in our own life and I appreciate that and honor that. So just thank you so much for your time today.
Rollin: Well thank you Mindie, it has been a pleasure. I have really enjoyed our conversation.
Mindie: Great, you are welcome.
This has been Heart to Heart with Dr. McCraty. I’m Mindie Kniss. Check out restartyourheart.com for details on our upcoming programs.
Restart your heart because love is worth the risk.