When I teach emotional intelligence or EQ, I empower people to communicate in ways that bring out the best in those who frustrate them the most. But studies show that emotional intelligence goes much deeper than what we say or don’t say. It’s more fundamental than how we hold our bodies or what we telegraph with our faces. It turns out that EQ is coded into our cells and hardwired into our bodies. Our hearts are at the center of this.
This is good news for churches. It gives us yet one more way to help people connect the life of faith with faith in life. And to expand the loving, peaceable Kingdom of God!
Scripture tells us that we are wonderfully and fearfully made. A sense of wonder and awe is woven into our very beings. Science is now revealing that the heart is at the center of this wonder and awe.
HeartMath Institute has been studying the heart and its rhythms for decades. It turns out that the rhythm the heart beats is directly correlated to positive or negative feelings. Negative feelings like frustration, anxiety, irritation and anger are correlated with ragged or jagged rhythms. They lead to illness, emotional upset and other unsettled ways of being. Positive feelings like peace, contentment, compassion and joy are correlated with smooth, ordered, coherent rhythms. The more coherent the heart rhythms, the more coherent the messages that are sent to the brain, the nervous systems and every other cell in the body. Coherent heart rhythms lead to clear thinking, unexpected problem solving and improved health.
A heart full of love and compassion, joy and peace has measurable impacts beyond that. Our hearts have a large electromagnetic field around them. We can radiate distinct energies to the people, and pets, around us. They pick up on these vibrations, which in turn, affects their heart’s coherence.
There is even evidence that our own individual coherence can impact the electromagnetic fields of the earth. That our love can encircle the globe and create a peace that others can tap into. The bottom line is this: It all starts within our own hearts. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said the Kingdom of God is within.
Loving God, neighbor and especially our own selves makes a difference. And it’s never been more important. This love impacts our spiritual well-being, our physical health, our key relationships. It also impacts our neighborhoods, our societies, and the creation itself. It contributes to a positive resiliency in the collective consciousness of the world. It creates coherence in times of chaos.
This is affirmation for people of faith. Here’s what it means: The prayers we pray, the love we radiate, and the intentions we form have a real and lasting impact. The actions we take that are grounded in love and compassion multiply. The kindness we show to one another creates a measurable good. Let us not grow weary in well-doing, church. Let us craft bold visions of compassion and care that make manifest the love in our hearts. The Kingdom is near indeed.