As a child I cared deeply about other people. When people were bullied, it hurt my heart. When insects were needlessly killed, I cried out in pain and anger. When there was unnecessary disharmony in the family or school, my heart asked, “Why is it like this?” I was always a very heart-centered person. I just assumed everyone was. It wasn’t until I realized through trauma with people who had little to no connection with their heart, that I was different in any way.
We see the words “heart-centered” thrown around a lot in spiritual communities, but what does it actually mean? Our culture is brain centered. En masse, we live from the point of awareness in our head with little connection to the heart. Heart-centered awareness seeks to place the heart at the center of human endeavors, instead of the head. Heart-centered includes the brain, but with the heart at the center. We value thinking and feeling both in a heart-centered way of being.
Let’s Get Down to Definitions
We define “heart” as the energetic center of the body, located around the body’s physical heart, which is the emotional or feeling center of our being. The heart is the great discerner and decider of everything in our life. The heart is meant to be the center around which all human existence orbits. We define “center” as the middle point or position around which everything rotates. The heart of the matter is always the center of any human system. (This is the opposite of being on the periphery.)
Now that we know what heart is, let’s define “heart-centered.” Heart-centered is a way of living, or doing anything, where you center your awareness in your heart and stay present with it. All actions arise from love, and relationship with all your relations, when you stay centered in your heart.
Committed to the Heart
When we commit to the heart, we commit to serving the best interest of everyone involved. Committing to the heart is not a path of selflessness or selfishness. It’s a path where we take care of ourselves and serve the good of all at the same time. If I am heart-centered and have an open heart, what’s in my best interests serves the interests of everyone else.
Energetically Centered in the Heart
Many of us are philosophically heart-centered. Most of us believe we want what is best for everyone. Being energetically heart-centered is a much deeper level of embodiment of this heart-centeredness than merely thinking about it. Being energetically heart-centered is a constantly moving state of connectedness. See the Heart-Centered Scale for guidelines on how to embody this more fully. At essence, heart-centeredness is a moment to moment connection with our feelings and senses. Instead of being centered in the mind, as our culture would have us, we are centered in our heart. In our heart, we can feel our whole body and we can feel others with empathy. When we are centered in our head, we are one step removed from others. When we center in our heart, we are connected.
Combining the Heart with ABA
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a science of human behavior. Predominantly, it’s a mental or thought generated science as most western sciences are in our culture. In a relatively simplistic summary, ABA is the study of human behavior in an applied setting. We model human behavior and learn how to shape behavior with changes in the environment and consequences that help us have more of the behavior we want. Bringing heart-centeredness into ABA is simply infusing the ABA with empathy and unconditional love. These terms do not seem scientific, but in the science of experience that Heart-Centered ABA is seeking to be, they are observable, measurable, and verifiable phenomena for anyone who is able to open their heart and perceive without filtering their perceptions through the mind. These words may not make sense. You’re going to have to experience them.
Have you ever walked into a family home after they experienced a tragedy and you didn’t know about it? In a situation like this you can just feel like something has happened. Even though you may not know what happened, there’s a palpable, observable, and measurable sensation around it. Just like the way cows, horses, and many other animals can anticipate earthquakes or storms before they happen. There are intuitive feelings at play. In order to really understand heart-centeredness you must be able to feel in your heart and come into direct contact with your experience. At first glance, this will seem like airy fairy pseudo-scientific claims. I assure you, if you are open to this experience anyone can verify it for themselves. These intuitive hunches and feelings are real.
The Power of Heart-Centered ABA
This is what makes Heart-Centered ABA so powerful. It’s a way to verify the truth through experientially knowing. Right now we live in a world where the truth is under attack. We must have an unassailable system to help sort through the complexities of our world. I believe Heart-Centered ABA will help our species navigate through these challenging times.
Bridging Worlds operates using Heart-Centered ABA and the Heart-Centered Operating System (HCOS), developed in partnership with Heart-Centered Revolutions (HCR), a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone.
For more information about HCOS, please read these HCR articles and find out how you can schedule an HCOS consultation and training for your business or organization on our website. Heart-Centered Revolutions has helped us grow and flourish and they can do the same for you.