Have you heard those stories about organ donors? A recipient suddenly falls in love with classical music, and later learns the owner of the heart was a classical musician; a fast-food junkie receives a heart from a vegetarian and suddenly meat makes her sick; or more dramatically, the story of a 10-year old who received the heart of a murdered 8-year-old. The murder was unsolved. Yet, the 10-year old began to have nightmares, and the details in her dreams convicted the killer with the time, weapon, place, and clothes he wore.
The stories are documented in Paul Pearsall’s, MD, book, The Heart’s Code, after he interviewed 150 organ transplant recipients and found that the cells of living tissues do remember. (February, the month of valentines, is American Heart Month, by the way.) Does the recipient know he’s getting far more than just a heart? That he will now have access to the pathways that make up another soul?
Memories are stored in our cells, not just our minds.
When a baby is created, the first sign of life is the beating heart. The heart comes first… not the brain.
Knowing this information makes me uneasy about checking that box on the driver’s license application for organ donation. I know this is the greatest gift I can give… but knowing that the organ comes with its own “private” personal history changes everything. It’s nut just a pump; it’s a heart full of memories, pains, joys… that will live on despite my physical presence here or not. I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around the whole concept just yet…
This month, I’m starting a radically new yoga routine — Kundalini Yoga. On a physical level, I’ve never worked harder, sweating and panting through the end. On a heart level, I notice that it is pulling deeply embedded memories out of hibernation. Stories flash before me like a mini-movie-dream.
Between each yoga, (asana), pose, you are invited to rest. At first, I was irritated, as my goal for doing this DVD was to keep my heart rate elevated throughout the entire routine. I have since learned that the rests do not de-escalate my heart rate that much, really. The rest is necessary — without these little pauses the memories the poses invoke would pile up and crash at the end of the hour. The rest is not for my heart rate… it’s for my heart.
Have you noticed how dramatically different the mind and heart approach a problem? Just when you think you have it all figured out logically, you somehow feel uneasy. Slowly, and I am learning that it’s always, the logic of the heart begins to make itself known. The logic is suddenly so clear you cannot make another choice — and that knot in your gut seems to vanish. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To believe your own thoughts, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men–that is genius.”
Those little pauses are so important. Although the mind speaks loud and clear, the heart never shouts. It always whispers. Without the pauses, we can’t hear what the heart is saying.