I gave a new boost to my meditation practice with HeartMath. Sue Chesire (Global Leaders Academy) invited me to co-facilitate a CEO circle in London. I am presenting the U-process, Gavin brings us up to speed with HeartMath and Sue shares her insights around voice dialogue.
I was nervous about the HeartMath thing. I’ve had severe heart problems starting 14 years ago and these continued until 2010. After playing sports my heartbeat went up to 220 and stayed there for several minutes. That’s not healthy. Can be lethal. I have had surgery but that helped only for a year and then I should have had an ICD (sort of pacemaker) but I refused. So I needed to take Beta Blockers and next to that I started my meditation practice. It’s a long story but in the end I cured myself through meditation and don’t need to take medicines anymore. But with this history, diving into my heartbeat consciously, is something else.
HeartMath measures your Heart Rate Variability (HRV) with a sensor on your earlobe. You put the wire at the other side of the sensor into your iPhone or computer and off you go. You get bio-feedback of your HRV in a graph. When it’s going up you start to get into coherence and when it goes down you get out of it. Pretty clear I’d say.
From the HeartMath website:
‘Did you know that your heartbeat actually changes with every heartbeat? Heart Rate Variability is the measurement of these beat-to-beat changes. The amount of variability is an important indicator of psychological resilience or vitality and of mental and emotional flexibility – our capacity to adapt effectively to stress and challenges. […] HRV also reflects the interactions between your heart, brain, and nervous system.’
I started practicing and was happy that I could get the graph into green (=coherent). But I was astonished that as soon as my mind wandered off, the graph was going down. When I invited positive thoughts and regulated my breathing it went up again. It’s strange to notice that while sitting silently, you can influence with thinking of your beautiful daughter water skiing, a graph in your iPhone. I’m pretty hooked by now and am deepening my meditation practice: full concentration on breathing and positive thoughts is needed to avoid becoming red. But as soon as you get nervous to get red, you become red. Of course.
In the morning I am pretty coherent as you can see from the blue line in the picture above. But in the evening and after running there is little coherence to be found. So that’s my next challenge: how to stay coherent during the day?
Every weekend our CEO circle shares their progress with each other. It’s very stimulating to see the progress of your meditation practice and to have scientific evidence that you’re doing the right thing for yourself. For us competitive (pre-dominantly) males it’s stimulating to book measurable results. Let’s assume that the deeper wisdom behind the practice will be beneficial anyway. For me it has already proven its value: I can sail and play sports again and next to that I have the illusion to be a nicer person than I used to be.