I woke this morning thinking about the amount of heart disease that is suffered by people in the current Western world. According to Healthline (2018) heart disease is responsible for most deaths worldwide for both men and women of all races. As of 2018, 30.3 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with heart disease and every year 647,000 Americans die from heart disease, making it the cause of 1 out of every 4 deaths. [1] These statistics put Coronavirus deaths into perspective given that most experts believe that lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce heart disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart, including blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects), among others.

The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with the term “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease. [2]

Apart from the obvious physical conditions of heart disease, in my dream I was also shown the strong link between physical heart disease and emotional pain. Recently I watched a live video of the Dalai Lama speaking with health experts from around the globe concerning compassion in medical practice. [3] Two things that struck me from what His Holiness said, was the importance of the demeanor of health care workers when treating patients that assists with their healing. The Dalai Lama also pointed out that according to Buddhist teachings the mind and body are intricately linked and therefore you cannot treat the physical body without treating the mind.

Dis-ease is holistic, it is not isolated only in the physical body, but is the sum total of all parts, the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical. The Dalia Lama spoke about the importance of scientific research and that scientists and doctors need to investigate for themselves these links so that they can bring correct treatments and knowledge into their work.

One such organisation that has completed incredible research on Heart Disease is the HeartMath* Institute (HMI). [4] According to the HMI they have been developing reliable, scientifically validated tools since 1991 to help people reduce and avoid stress, while experiencing increased peace, satisfaction and enjoyment. Research at the HMI shows that, adding heart to our daily activities and connections produces measurable benefits to our own and others’ well-being.

We are at the dawn of recognizing Love as the new transformational intelligence.

HeartMath* Institute

Back to my dream – emotional pain that has not been dealt with but instead blocked or self medicated through defense mechanisms such as addictions to food (particularly sugar), cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, spending and/or unhealthy relationships – can all have an impact on the physical heart.

Rumi says “the cure for pain is in the pain”. You have to feel it to clear it!

Psychologists suggest that we are driven by two connected motivations: to feel pleasure and avoid pain. Most of us devote more energy to the latter than the former. Instead of being proactive and making choices for our happiness, we react to things that happen in our lives and fight or flee to minimize our pain.

According to Jennifer Sterling, in order to release the emotions and create a more peaceful state of being, it is important to create an ’emotional tool-kit’ to help regulate the nervous system and soothe the discomfort. This involves non-judgement, permission, release, forgiveness and time. [5]

It is possible to connect your head with your heart but it takes self responsibility and being an observer of your own life. As one of my wise astrology teachers once said to me, “Michele, you always have to keep one toe out of the bath water”. The upside of this is that negative feelings are only negative if they’re excessive and enduring. We won’t hurt ourselves by letting ourselves feel what we need to feel – actually it is essential for our heath health – but we do need to take responsibility for our joy, which means doing more of the things we love, step by small step, one day at a time.

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/statistics#Who-is-at-risk?

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118

[3] https://www.dalailama.com/videos/compassion-in-medical-practice

[4] https://www.heartmath.org/

[5] https://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-release-the-painful-memories- emotions-stored-in-your-body/