It should not surprise us, living as we do in this world of duality, to learn that in between every thought in our mind there is a “gap” of non-thought, and it has been demonstrated that mental activity is also affected by the gap in between out heartbeats. Recently I have been writing about the connection of Human Consciousness (entangled with the brain during our incarnation) and the Heart (as the gateway of the Vital Life Force). The importance of knowing about these gaps is that we may find the ‘pulse’ of our corresponding energy centres within them, as they occur in the functioning of both head and heart.
The human body depends on electromagnetic radiation waves from the Sun for its very existence and wellbeing, and while I have been in the process of researching the various frequencies that we are attuned to, I have come to realize that it is also subject to pulsating rhythms of flow and ebb.
The whole human entity – the physical body and its fields – is a vibratory complex of matter and energy, receiving pulsing acoustical vibrations, or sound waves, as well as light and heat from the Sun and cosmic rays. Although the electrical patterns of our brains cover a broad range of frequencies, they all work together in expressing the various aspects of what we know as Human Consciousness. As for the Vital Life Force, it is channelled through the pulsing heart.
While our heartbeat escapes our notice most of the time, it turns out that it does affect our powers of attention. This is according to a new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS), who report that several heartbeat-related effects influence our conscious perception.
Last year, some of the members of this team explored how fluctuations in heart activity govern our ability to consciously perceive an external stimulus. In an experiment, thirty-seven volunteers received mild electrical stimuli, delivered via electrode devices worn on their fingers.
It was found that volunteers were less likely to detect subtle electrical pulses during one phase of the heartbeat cycle, called systole. During systole, the heart muscle contracts, pumping blood into arteries. After this happens, diastole occurs; the heart relaxes after contracting, and its chambers fills up with blood once more.
What this showed from a scientific point of view was that humans exhibit less somatosensory perception (the sensation of things throughout the body) during systole than during diastole. In other words, we perceive things less at the moment that the heart clenches and pumps blood through the body and then, during the interval when the heart relaxes before the next heartbeat, we register sensations more clearly. Let’s call that the gap.
While we are awake there are many small and unnoticeable discontinuities of our awareness during so-called visual saccades (quick movements of eyes between phases of fixation in the same direction) when our conscious responsiveness is turned off.
When examining the relationship between heart and head, my real aim is looking at the deeper connection between the cardiac energetic field and the higher mind. Scientists have not satisfactorily explained the phenomenon of the Vital Life Force, and Consciousness has been equally evasive, earning it the tag The Hard Problem.
In other studies carried out by researchers who’ve tried to establish a link between the physical brain and consciousness, they invariably find the stumbling block to be in identifying where the outer objective consciousness ends and the subconscious begins. When I first set about investigating what I refer to as ‘the division of Self,’ I had thought it would involve tearing down the barrier between those two levels, so that conscious mind and subconscious become one.
Many others on similar quests have considered that a state of enlightenment or ‘cosmic consciousness’ might be attained by transcending the boundary of those two altogether, but it seems that this necessitates the annihilation of the “I Am,” whose very autonomy depends on the initial division. Not to mention that most of us would find the contents of our subconscious to be darkly disturbing – it could drive us mad if we opened the floodgate suddenly.
So, instead of delving into our subconscious mind, the pursuit of cosmic consciousness might be better served by looking into the gaps between thoughts – and heartbeats.
The concept of the gap has long been observed by the Japanese who, when referring to traditional arts and culture, use the word Ma (間), which can be roughly translated as gap, space or interval. Ma has sometimes been described as “an emptiness full of possibilities” or “the silence between the notes which make the music.” I like the second description because it alludes to the alternating occurrence of events and intervals.
The late Sogyal Rinpoche (author of the highly acclaimed The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying), said, “When one past thought has ceased and a future thought has not yet risen, in that gap, in between, isn’t there a consciousness of the present moment; fresh, virgin, unaltered by even a hair’s breadth of a concept, a luminous, naked awareness? Well, that is what Enlightened Awareness is!”
Our heart normally cycles at around 60 beats per minute, although it can reach double that rate when we are excited (which is why disco music in the 1970s often hit 120 beats per minute). However, when you slow your heartbeat down by controlled breathing, or when you are listening to a certain kind of music, or are praying, the cycles of your body and of your fields change accordingly. And what you discern physically can be altered by changing the oscillation or vibratory rate of the energy fields of the body or brain.
How might we become more aware during the continuity gaps in our thoughts and heartbeats and take some advantages from them? Following is just one suggestion.
Meditation on the Gaps in Our Mind and Heart
Find a comfortable position where you can sit undisturbed for around twenty minutes. A nice comfortable chair or cushions will work, or you can lean against the wall, or sit cross-legged on the floor.
Feel a line of energy that lifts you up as if you’re being raised by the crown of the head.
Feel your whole spine lengthen, and feel the alertness that comes with it.
Poised and alert, you are wide awake for this meditation, as you release the concerns of the day so that you can be completely present, here and now.
Inhale and exhale through the nose, making the breath deeper and fuller until you begin to feel its stillness fill you up. Concentrate your awareness in the very centre of your head.
Now, begin to notice your breath and its connection to your personal self.
Refining your awareness, follow the breath like a wise guide to that infinite place in the gap.
After inhalation, pause, and you may feel the space.
Let that gap between the breaths be a quiet point where you let go of thought.
It’s as if time stops at those places in between.
This is where your Human Earth-Spirit dwells in the gap of Consciousness.
Continue this for a few minutes, breathing in and out according to your natural timing.
Now, keeping the same rhythm, bring your awareness down to your heart.
After each inhalation, hold the breath for at least six pulses of the heart.
During the long gap between breaths, experience the shorter gaps between each heartbeat.
In the utter stillness of the gap you may hear a symphony of silence in the heart and mind.
After a few breaths, feel a point of light right in the centre of your heart.
This point of light expands to fill the heart, like a little sun, a tiny star point within you.
Pausing again after another inhalation, open to that light, bring your Human Consciousness into it, become the same as it, recognizing that it is your true Self.
You are this light. This light is you. You and the light are the same.
Feel that light expand within you now, as your heart opens, like the first light of dawn.
Light is shining in every direction now, from within and without.
Lines of energy are radiating in all directions from you.
You are a star yourself. This is your Soul-Star, your very Life Force.
You feel you could sit in those points in the gaps between – infinitely, if you wanted.
The reality of your Self is in the gaps. All outside is illusion.
As you slowly transition now out of this meditation, become aware of your body and your breath again. Opening your eyes slowly, feel yourself present.
Know that you can return to this space at any time with conscious breath.
[End of meditation]
If we continue to regularly refocus our attention like this, a new pattern will be established. And as we continue our practice, we’re bound to notice the gap. It’s unavoidable. It’s a natural progression on our path to reconnect the Life and Light of our true Self.
The frequency and duration of those spaces determine your ability to enjoy life, to feel an inner connectedness with other human beings as well as nature. It also determines the degree to which you are free of the brain-ego of the lower self.
Eckhart Tolle wrote, in his book A New Earth, “When you become conscious of these brief spaces as they happen naturally, they will lengthen, and as they do, you will experience with increasing frequency the joy of perceiving with little or no interference of thinking. The world around you then feels fresh, new, and alive. The more you perceive life through a mental screen of abstraction and conceptualization, the more lifeless and flat the world around you becomes.”