When I was four, my biological father died from heart failure. He was forty-nine years old. I’m sixty eight and since the age of eleven, I’ve known I have Mitral Valve Prolapse* (a heart murmur), which, it is believed, puts me at risk for heart failure.
In many cases, Mitral Valve Prolapse triggers episodes of rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia, and, sometimes, atrial fibrillation (uncontrolled vibration of both upper chambers of the heart). The cause of atrial fibrillation is the uncontrolled electrical firing of nervous tissue meant to control and coordinate pumping activity in all four chambers of the heart. Bending forward, breathing deeply, burping or just wondering about the state of my heart can trigger an episode of rapid heartbeat and sometimes, atrial fibrillation. The most common triggers are high temperatures, deep breathing and exercise.
Sometimes I can stop an episode as soon as it starts by contracting my chest for a few seconds. It feels like I’m gently squeezing my heart between my diaphragm and upper chest wall. If chest compression doesn’t work, it goes into overdrive or fibrillation. When it does, I lie down and raise my legs immediately. At home, I rest my legs on a chair seat while lying on the floor. This is the quickest way to return my heart to normal function.
It gets a little sticky, however, when my heart acts up in public. We get uncomfortable when we see things out of the ordinary, and seeing me lying down on a path or busy sidewalk with my knees raised for no discernable reason, qualifies as “out of the ordinary”. The alternative for me is to continue walking, get dizzy and maybe pass out, which would make matters worse by far.
My Heart Speaks and I Listen
When we passed several people sleeping on the sidewalk at the entrance of an alley, I turned to my companion quizzically when I saw one man that seemed hauntingly familiar and out of place. Besides being well groomed, he wore silk pajamas and slept in an expensive sleeping bag. Turning my hands palm up and raising my shoulders, I silently asked my friend, what’s up with him?
As we moved away, my friend whispered in my ear, “don’t you know who he is?”
“No”, I said, other than the fact he looked like the actor, Armand Assante!
“It’s your heart in human form.”
Without understanding how or why, I knew my companion was right; this rugged, depressed looking man lying on the cold concrete in an expensive sleeping bag and wearing silk pajamas, symbolized the emotional and physical state of my heart, expressed in human terms. The setting, the look of abandonment and stress in his face, his outward appearance and behavior, all conveyed a message I was ready to see but not ready to understand.
Since this dream, I’ve wondered why my heart appeared as a depressed, anxious young man and why it seemed to prefer lying alone at the entrance of a cold, dark city alley when it had a warm, comfortable home to live in? Did I do something to make it feel that way? What was it trying to tell me?
Without realizing it, for years, I held the belief my heart was the weakest link in my body and that someday it would fail. I was quite comfortable with this idea as heart failure seems like a quick and civilized way to go. The only drawback though, was not know when my heart would strike its deadly blow. Would I be able to finish with my work here? Without realizing it, I had placed a great burden on my heart. In singling it out,I had made it a pariah, an outcast. Cast in the role of executioner, how would anyone feel?
Now that I understood how my heart feels about my thoughts, I feel moved to apologize. I had thoughtlessly taken advantage of the scientific belief in heredity and that, barring an accident, I would die as my father had, by heart failure. In a state of divine empathy, I spoke the following words to my heart – I free you from the responsibility of being my body’s executioner. I will accept death in whatever way it chooses to visit me.
Despite the evidence that stood before me from my years of exploring the nature of consciousness, I never thought about how my body, or its parts, would react to the way I thought and felt about them. What I saw was a reasonable and quick way to die without prolonged illness or external violence to my body. If my beliefs about my heart had such a profound effect on my heart that it would appear to me in a dream and “act” out its reaction to my thoughts, I must ask, how do my beliefs about other people and things affect them. How do your thoughts about you affect you and how do your thoughts about others affect them? Are we too often the victims of our own beliefs? How many of us suffer from diseases of body and mind because of negative messages we send ourselves and receive others? Is there a lesson for us to learn here?
After years of marriage and experimentation with telepathy, I’ve seen how my thoughts, feelings and actions affect my wife and our relationship. If I look for fault in her or compare her to other people, even if it’s just in my own mind, I feel bad and she becomes depressed, as if she “knows” what I’m thinking. When I became aware of the effect of telepathy in our relationship, I immediately determined not to make judgments or comparisons of her or others again. As a result, I appreciate myself and others more. To know how spiritually interconnected we are brings us all closer together.
Can we heal illnesses of mind, body and relationship by knowing how unseen messages flow between us, and affect all things, including our relationships? Can we benefit from opening ourselves up to the idea that the body and soul can “speak”, and that they yearn to have relationships with us (the outer ego self) that go beyond the usual?
I believe so, but what’s important to you is what you think.
* The mitral valve is located between the upper, left chamber of the heart or atrium and the lower, left ventricle. Newly oxygenated blood returning from the lungs enters the left atrium, which pushes it through the mitral valve into the left ventricle, the most powerful chamber of the heart. Once in the left ventricle, the mitral valve closes to prevent backflow into the atrium when the left ventricle contracts to force blood through the aortic valve and out into the arterial system for distribution to the body. When the mitral valve fails to close completely, a condition known as Mitral Valve Prolapse, it allows blood to seep back into the left atrium when the left ventricle contracts. When this happens, there’s a loss of efficiency and the heart must work harder.
(When blood returns from the body through the venous system, it enters the right atrium, which pumps it into the right ventricle. From here, it goes to the lungs for carbon dioxide removal and re-oxygenation. From the lungs, freshly oxygenated blood returns to the left atrium to begin the cycle over again.)
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having (creating) a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“How you define yourself and the world around you, forms your intent, which, in turn, forms your reality.” – Seth
In other words, we create our reality from what we believe about ourselves, and the world around us.
If we do not consciously choose our beliefs, we unconsciously absorb them from our surroundings.
If our beliefs, attitudes, values and expectations create our reality, can we afford not to question them?
The more we love, understand and appreciate ourselves, the better we treat ourselves, and the world.
Blessings of love and understanding be to us all!
The secrets of the universe lie hidden in the shadows of your experience. Look for them!