I recently came across this experiment conducted by the good folks at Heartmath Institute. I mentioned their work in Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate.

Heartmath studies the effects of heart-centered psychophysiological coherence. When the energy of the heart is made more coherent by feelings of compassion and unconditional love, a measurable change can be observed. The heart rate variability (HRV) becomes smooth and regular. An electrocardiogram (ECG) shows that a normal heart rate accelerates and decelerates almost with each beat, further exacerbated by anxiousness or excitement. The HRV of a coherent heart field looks like a lazy sine wave, by contrast. Those familiar with my writing already know that coherence is at the core of my practice and teaching.

Remarkable changes occur when your heart becomes more coherent. To quote their website:

“Personal coherence, also known as psychophysiological coherence, refers to the synchronization of our physical, mental and emotional systems. It can be measured by our heart-rhythm patterns: The more balanced and smooth they are, the more in sync, or coherent, we are. Stress levels recede, energy levels increase and our brain and what HeartMath calls the “heart brain” are working together. It is a state of optimal clarity, perception and performance.”

One of their earlier experiments showed how a highly coherent heart field (as measured by ECG) could remotely entrain the ECG of another person, even if in another room with no contact between them. This was something I had intuited for some time, but they figured out a way to scientifically measure it. In this 2003 paper, Modulation of DNA Conformation by Heart-focused Intention, they take it much further. In this one, they do a double-blind study using intention and coherence to wind and unwind strands of DNA! The paper is actually quite readable, and it will give you a sense of the precautions taken to preserve the authenticity of the results. I won’t repeat all that here. Instead, I’ll give a brief summary.

It was a brainstorm conceived by cell biologist Glen Rein, Ph.D to test our ability to remotely affect biological systems. They used human placental DNA from the Sigma Chemical Corporation, suspended in de-ionized water and sealed into identical test tubes. There were ten participants experienced in Heartmath’s techniques and an untrained control group recruited from the surrounding community. The study compared the effects of three different approaches:

  1. Heart- based coherence plus the intention to either wind or unwind the DNA.
  2. Heart-based coherence with no intention.
  3. Just intention

The control group were asked to “generate feeling of love and appreciation” and to hold an intention to wind or unwind the DNA.

Only the coherent group using intention were able to create a significant effect. They were able to create a 10-25% modulation. One particularly experienced participant was able to direct his intention to unwind two of three strands and leave one untouched!

So, what is our takeaway from this? I can’t help but translate it into the research I have been doing on meeting. This is a term I use to describe what happens when you engage someone or something with your whole being. The person or thing is regarded as a partner, not just as an object. It is also not enough to simply be in a personal state of “mindfulness” or “witnessing.” One must be willing to encounter and resonate with another. When you do, cool stuff happens.

Until recently, DNA was etched in stone. We were supposedly controlled by our genetic makeup. The Human Genome Project was designed to map our genes and give us the blueprint to genetically engineer our way to health and happiness. Something happened on the way to Brave New World. Epigenetics. Cell biologist Bruce Lipton discusses in this video how cloned stem cell grow into different types of tissue (muscle, bone, nerve) depending on the environment they are in. Consciousness changes environment significantly.

This has huge implications for any of us with DNA. Shifting our internal “environment” can have major effects on health and longevity.

But it’s not enough to just “think happy thoughts.” You have to meet your life coherently with an open heart and three eyes open wide.