As things revved up in Dublin, I decided to unwind with another retreat. Notably, I forgot how to spell the word ‘beginning’ after my first evening meditating – a subtle reminder to start again. On the second day, I met for a few minutes with a facilitator. I told her how I had exerted a lot of energy in my career, that I was probably too wilful and that I felt drained, unmotivated and dry. To my surprise, she said that wilfulness was totally understandable for a man of my age and that I was placing a lot of judgement on myself. I breathed a sigh of relief, thanked her for her comments and saw things from a different perspective.
According to the HeartMath Institute, our emotions give rise to different heart rhythm patterns. When we experience negative emotions such as anger, frustration and anxiety, our heart rhythm pattern becomes irregular and erratic, looking like an uneven, jagged wave. When we experience positive emotions such as appreciation, joy, care and love, our heart rhythm pattern becomes highly ordered, looking like a smooth, harmonious wave. The waves are formed from the variation in time between each heartbeat, known as heart rate variability (HRV).
I certainly experienced a sense of harmony with the facilitator. She also expressed a similar sense of exertion with her career and a lack of inspiration for a particular project. Significantly, I think we were able to tune into each other’s positive emotions and synchronise our smooth heart rhythms. We felt a closeness in sharing our human experiences. Since the retreat, I am reminded that one of the greatest gifts we can give this Christmas is to be warmhearted with each other – to realise that we all want to be happy and to send those positive vibrations right from our core.
The main image features the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Their friendship resulted in the wonderful publication entitled ‘The Book of Joy’.