In our society it’s common to revere the brain’s intelligence and see the emotions as loose cannons we need to control. This view has caused us to forget other forms of intelligence that can take us where the brain never will.

The brain is unparalleled in its ability to analyze and sort information, but it prefers to keep the status quo rather than take a chance on new information. The brain goes into panic mode when we bring up the subject of love because experiencing love requires the brain to surrender control. The brain hates vulnerability, but the courageous heart has an intelligence of its own that will take us where the brain fears to tread.

Neuroscientists have discovered the heart contains at least forty thousand neurons, which rivals subcortical centers in the brain. We’ve all been taught that the brain is the command center of the body, but scientists have recently discovered that the heart also sends signals to the brain. When the heart sends a message to the brain, it obeys. When the brain sends a message to the heart it weighs the brain’s message according to its own brand of logic and then chooses whether or not it will comply.

Doc Childre and Howard Martin of the Institute of HeartMath write, “The heart isn’t only open to new possibilities, it actively scans for them. The intelligence of the heart acts as an impetus for what some scientists call qualia—our experience of the feelings and qualities of love, compassion, nonjudgment, tolerance, patience and forgiveness.” However, the heart’s emotional intelligence has nothing to do with sloppy sentimentality.

Emotional intelligence is not about being emotional. Being emotional can best be understood as the polar opposite of extreme logic. When the brain is in charge, we’re logical, rational, analytical, and put our feelings aside. When we’re being emotional, energy rushes through the body even faster than we can think, and sets off a complex physical reaction. When the emotions are in charge, we’re erratic, irrational and perceive everything through our feelings.

Many who believe they’re following their heart have instead become slaves to the chemical cocktail the body prepares in response to emotion. Obviously, the extremes of logic and sentimentality both cause problems. We’ve all observed people who seemed to be stuck at either end of the pendulum or those who swing violently back and forth between the two. Most try to strike a balance between the brain and the emotions, but that’s like trying to keep oil and water mixed. Unfortunately the heart is silent unless we purposely listen to it, but the brain keeps up its incessant chatter whether we want to hear it or not.

The emotional intelligence available to us through the heart has nothing to do with being emotional. It’s about accessing an intelligence that goes beyond logic, one that’s connected to the Divine. Rumi explains, “There is a rope of light between your heart and [the Divine] that nothing can weaken or break, and it is always in His hands.” The brain will keep us rooted to the earth but the emotional intelligence we access through the heart is a gateway to transcendent love. This love isn’t an emotion or a commodity that we give or receive; it’s an all-encompassing state of being that connects us to God.

Spiritual masters have always taught that “God is love” and we are meant to experience that love in its fullness. The love they were speaking of has nothing to do with judgment or vengeance, but is offered without conditions or limitations. We can connect with divine love when we quiet the brain and begin to listen to what the heart has to say. No matter how much the brain protests, at our innermost core our greatest desire is to give and receive love. In its effort to protect itself, the brain has taught us that love hurts. Listen to the heart and discover that Divine love contains no pain and offers complete safety, joy and peace.

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Copyright © Lee and Steven Hager