The Width and Depth of the Heart
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.––Matthew 5:8
No discussion of the body, mind, and spirit is complete without discussing the heart. The word heart is used more than fifteen hundred times in the scriptures. From the many diverse uses of the word, it is evident the heart is more than a mere physical organ. According to my scriptural research, the heart has the following functions (and more):
- The heart can have thoughts, intentions, wisdom, and understanding (see Proverbs 2:2; 23:15; Mosiah 5).
- The heart is a center for transformation and healing (see Alma 5:7, 14).
- The heart is also a center of communication and a dwelling place of the Spirit (see Doctrine and Covenants 8:2).
- The heart can feel (see 2 Nephi 9:52; Doctrine and Covenants 98:1; 100:12; 110:6; 128:22).
- The heart can be written on (see Mosiah 5:12).
- The heart can be open or closed, hard or soft (see 1 Nephi 15:3; Mosiah 2:9; Alma 24:8).
- It is evident from the repetitive admonition to “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart” (Deuteronomy 6:5) that the heart is vast and that it may be partitioned off by some (see Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27; and many others).
- God has told us to purify our hearts that we may stand in His presence and be like Him (Matthew 5:8; Doctrine and Covenants 88:74).
To purify our hearts, we need to give our hearts to God, and in order to do so, we need spiritual technology. For example, fasting and prayer (regularly) are the spiritual technology identified in the following scripture:
Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God. (Helaman 3:35)
When Christ came and fulfilled the law of Moses, blood sacrifice was no longer necessary; in its place, He required a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit: “And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 9:20).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says, “Think of the heart as the figurative center of our faith, the poetic location of our loyalties and our values.” As you come to understand yogic anatomy and the chakras, you will know these words are not merely poetic. The heart is the literal center of the seven cerebrospinal chakras, the place where the lower triangle (earth bound chakras) and the upper triangle (spiritual/heavenly centered chakras) meet and overlap. The heart is the center for transformation and communication between the physical and etheric bodies.
The heart may also be the center of the mind. In the prior age, the mind and the brain were thought to be one and the same, however, the mind is non-physical. Scientists and mind-body experts now realize that the mind does not exist in the brain but throughout the whole body and even outside of the body. The nucleus of the mind may reside in the heart, a truth I believe is supported by the scriptures.
During the Piscean age the brain was considered king. Its latitude was higher than that of the heart and was therefore considered higher in hierarchy and importance. However, in the 1970s, scientists discovered that the heart has an intricate nervous system of its own. This discovery gave birth to a new branch of science called neurocardiology. It turns out that the body has two brains, with the brain in the head obeying the brain in the heart.
Compared to the electromagnetic field produced by the brain, the electrical component of the heart’s field is about 60 times greater in amplitude, and permeates every cell in the body. The magnetic component is approximately 5,000 times stronger than the brain’s magnetic field and can be detected several feet away from the body with sensitive magnetometers.
The heart––or as the yogis call it, the Heart Center––is in fact the essence of You. In your mother’s womb, your heart formed first, before the brain and before any other organ. The heart has its own intelligence. It can think and feel and remember.
The scriptures (and the yogic prophecies too) say that in the last days, “all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people” (Luke 21:26; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:91). We are living in these times.
When God asks us to purify our hearts, He is asking us to purify our minds and bodies. The many clichés that exist about the heart can teach us something of its nature. For example, if we are to “get to the heart of the matter” and make a mighty change, we need to look to the heart and use a technology that purifies the mind, body, and spirit.
O all ye that are pure in heart, . . . receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.—Jacob 3:2.
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” Ensign, November 2009, http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/safety-for-the-soul.
 “Heart-Brain Interactions,” Institute of HeartMath, accessed March 24, 2014, http://www.heartmath.org/free-services/articles-of-the-heart/heart-brain-interactions.html.
 Rollin McCraty, Raymond Trevor Bradley, and Dana Tomasino, “The Resonant Heart,” Frontiers of Consciousness, February 2005, 15–19.