August 22, 2011 at 11:48 am #37707
note: this is a very insightful essay on the science and energetics of the heart function. The Taoist view would be that the yin-yang pulsation of the body’s chi itself creates the energy for the blood and heart to pump together, and that qigong supplements or at high levels of inner alchemy, replaces the heart’s effort with “whole-body-chi-pulsation”. But the science mentioned below on the heart as hydraulic ram is fascinating.
The 4th chakraThe Heart is NOT a Pump!
By Jim Earles on January 31, 2010
Hello again, and welcome to the 4th installment of my e-reminders about Kundalini Yoga class! On Monday, we will delve into the heart-centered realm of the 4th chakra.
And what is the 4th chakra all about, you may ask? Based upon the subject line of this message, one might assume that it has something to do with paradoxes, since everyone knows that the heart pumps the blood all around your body right? Well, if youre willing to read on, Ill show you how questioning this fundamental assumption leads perfectly into an illustration of the energetics of the 4th chakra.
Has anyone out there ever heard of Rudolf Steiner? His name isnt exactly a household word, but he was a brilliant Austrian gentleman who lived from 1861 to 1925. He was an excellent example of a polymath, which is a fancy word for someone who has expertise on a wide variety of topics. Among his many considerable talents, he was known as a philosopher, an architect, an agricultural innovator, a social commentator, an artist and a mystic. He was the Father of Anthroposophy (a spiritual movement), anthroposophical medicine (a system of medicine which operated from the principles of Anthroposophy), biodynamic agriculture (an agricultural system which is even better than modern day organic growing, in my opinion!), the Waldorf method of education, and a form of expressive art / movement therapy called Eurythmy. Quite a busy guy, he was!
Steiner was a contentious character even during his own lifetime. He claimed to have learned many secrets about Christianity through direct, inner revelations during meditative states. Perhaps his wildest contention about Christianity was that there had actually been two, entirely distinct children named Jesusone descended from King Solomon and the other from the lineage of the prophet Nathanand that they had mystically merged in some way to form Jesus the Christ. He also had much to say about the chakras, most interesting of which (at least to me) was his assertion that chakras are not entirely fixed in their functions, but continue to evolve and change along with human beings.
Another of Steiners radical and contentious assertions was that the heart is not a pump. While this statement is certainly contrary to what modern medical science believes and what we were all taught in school, it is tempting to simply reply with a so what? Actually, however, Steiners assertion has huge ramifications. If youll follow along through a bit of technical stuff, I will attempt to show you why that is.
It was as far back as 1628 when Dr. William Harvey, the father of modern cardiology, discovered that the heart pumps the blood all around the body. This has been accepted as fact pretty much ever since, although even today the best medical minds in the world are at a loss to explain how it is that the heart can generate enough pressure to pump the blood through the miles and miles and miles of blood vessels which run through the human body. (For those of you who just cant get enough facts and figures, there are about 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels in your body! In terms of surface area, the blood vessels could cover more than 3 football fields.)
Without going into tedious detail, let me simply ask you to accept it on faith that modern, high-precision measurements of how the blood flows in the body do not at all square with what the science of hydraulics says should happen with a pump and a closed circuit of fluids. (If you want more detail, let me clue you in that I got this amazing info out of a book called, The Fourfold Path to Healing, by Dr. Thomas S. Cowan, M.D.) Evaluating all of the available observations about how the blood moves in the body shows that, rather than a pump, the heart acts like another tool known to engineersa hydraulic ram.
A hydraulic ram is a device which uses the opening and closing of gates on a strategically placed holding tank so as to use the kinetic energy of a moving liquid to create something like a pumping effect. (Im very sorry that this is starting to sound like a science class stay with me here!) Operating like a hydraulic ram would allow the heart to utilize the effects of gravity to move blood around below itself, while capitalizing on enough excess energy to pump the blood up to the head area all with vastly less stress than would be created if it were truly a pump. An ingenious design, to be sure!
So if this is indeed the case, one question remainswhere does the motion of the blood come from in the first place, if not from the heart? The answer, which once again can be supported from a hydraulics perspective, is from the capillaries. In case youve forgotten your high school biology, the capillaries are the tiniest of all the blood vessels but they are also the places where all of the crucial work of the blood is done.
When blood that is rich with oxygen and nutrients reaches any place in the body that needs that nourishment, it leaves an artery and goes into a tiny, tiny little blood vessel called a capillary. It is here that the nutrients actually go from the blood into the cell, and also where the cell puts carbon dioxide and other by-products of metabolism back into the blood to return to the veins for disposal. This transaction creates a small amount of fluid pressure. Amazingly, this most basic and humble level of operationone cell interacting with a tiny amount of bloodis where the movement of the blood is truly originated not from the beating of one mighty heart, but from the collective pressure generated by trillions of body cells interacting!
If modern cardiology were to accept this conclusion, it would totally redefine the causes and treatment protocols of scores of heart-related conditions but that isnt my point in making you read through all of this. One other amazing function of the heart must be considered for me to make my point.
The heart does not supply the power of the moving blood; it is the other way around. Untold trillions of body cells collectively move the blood through the heart, but what the heart does do is LISTEN to the messages that the blood brings. The heart is sensitive to what the cells have put into the blood, and it functions to help regulate the bodys hormones by responding to what it hears from the blood moving through it. Rudolf Steiner, as well as countless other mystics and yogis, have also stated that the heart listens to our experiences and emotions. This is the power of the 4th chakra, located at the physical heart all of our trillions of small interactions throughout our lives, coming together as a divine expression of connectedness to all of creation.
I hope you will join us on Monday as we explore this further.
Jim EarlesSeptember 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm #37708
“oh we are so fat, it’s like there’s no point!”
“oh we are so addicted, how can we go on without the release of death!”
“oh we are so dumb and dull it’s like we shouldn’t even exist to begin with!”
yes it’s a real ocean.
“I don’t see why they would even want to continue to exist in these forms? Why don’t they just self terminate?”
Mike the Grok-ster
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