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If we are to make a positive difference in solving the world's problems, we need to look not only to science and the wisdom of great leaders throughout the ages, but also within ourselves, to the wisdom of our own hearts.

As the Chinese sage Confucius explained: "To put the world in right order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right."

Yes, it all begins deep within each of us, in our own hearts. The word "heart" is consistently used in the scriptures of all religions, for its wisdom is great. Not only does the concept of heart play a central role in our world's great spiritual traditions, philosophies, and poetry, but our hearts also are physiologically in the center of our bodies. The beat of the heart is synonymous with life itself and heart "dis-ease" is our nation's number one killer.

Modern science provides powerful evidence of the heart's importance: With its own complex network of neurons and neurotransmitters, the human heart has its own ability to learn, remember, sense, and feel. Far more than we normally realize, the heart and brain work in tandem, each communicating with and influencing the other.

From a mechanical viewpoint alone, the human heart is a miracle. In addition to being a world-class pump, the heart is the body's central electrical power station, generating an electromagnetic field that is more powerful than that of any other organ and that can be measured several feet away from the body. In fact, if you are within a few feet of another person, the electromagnetic signals generated from his or her heart may actually influence your brain rhythms.

Evidence of the heart's memory is significant: While it only happens in a very small percentage of cases and the effect is not long-lasting, sometimes a person who receives a heart transplant will experience, for example, dietary preferences, emotions, and thoughts of the donor. Such examples seem to support what scientists have discovered-that in its own way the human heart indeed has at least a rudimentary capacity to think and feel.

Author and psychoneuroimmunologist Paul Pearsall tells a striking story that lends credence to the heart's ability to remember and communicate: After an eight-year-old girl received the heart of a murdered ten-year-old girl, she started having nightmares about the man who had murdered her donor-the weapon, place, time, the clothes he wore, etc. Using the information provided by the little girl, the police were able to apprehend and easily convict the murderer.

While the intelligence of the physical heart is truly amazing, still more wondrous is the closely associated intuitive or spiritual heart. Certainly, the brain is responsible for what we normally think of as intelligence, but the intuitive heart-working in tandem with the brain-can take a wide range of information from a variety of sources and instantly synthesize this complex data into a simple and reliable form of inner guidance that is specifically tailored to your moment-to-moment needs.

This marvelous ability is what we call intuition-the all-important sense of inner knowing that, when we are receptive, will help to inform and guide us in all areas of life. A keen intuitive sense is at the very heart of creativity, inner strength, spiritual attunement, and both personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Used intelligently, the heart's intuitive wisdom can open the doors to promising possibilities, can transform lives, and can help us, as Confucius would say, to put our world in right order.


Prepared by Sam Quick, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Relations Specialist, and Alex Lesueur, Jr., M.S.L.S, Staff Support Associate.