Help Make the Laughing Heart Guide More Intelligent, Interactive and Personalized

Imagine if you could have your own personal intelligent guide dedicated to helping you, your friends, organization, or community cultivate and apply Laughing Heart whenever it can be most beneficial in the world:

  • A resource to develop steadiness and balance in hard times.
  • A trusted friend to guide you toward wise decisions.
  • A platform to connect you with interesting new friends and colleagues who share your passions.
  • A new way of learning and discovering surprising connections among seemingly unrelated domains of knowledge.
  • An immediate means to cascade acts of kindness and generosity in the world.
  • As many other ways as you can imagine and innovate to bring Laughing Heart into the world.

For Benefactors and Sponsors of the Laughing Heart App Initiative

Initial Donation Goal For This Project is $50,000. Use of Funds: To Build, Test, and Promote the Laughing Heart Intelligent Guide App in 2017. Donations of any amount you can afford are gratefully welcome. Please make your contribution directly to "Alliances for Discovery" via check or Paypal below, or if you prefer, to the The Santa Barbara Foundation earmarked for the Laughing Heart Initiative. All Santa Barbara residents have a lifetime free membership.


Charter Sponsor Packages

Springs of Amethysts - $100

  • Public Recognition as a Laughing Heart Charter Sponsor


Rivulets of Moonstones - $500

  • Amethysts awards plus:
  • Signed copy of Julian Gresser Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorers Mind(2013)
  • 5 free copies of the Intelligent Guide with one year memberships


Sparkles of Opal - $1K

  • All of Amethyst and Moonstone awards plus
  • 10 free copies of the Intelligent Guide with one year memberships
  • Public lecture, webinar, or other program in your honor
  • 3 signed copies of Julian Gresser Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorers Mind(2013)


Fountains of Pearls - $5K

  • All of Amethyst, Moonstone, and Opal awards plus:
  • Designation of favorite cause for Paying Forward in Laughing Heart Launch Celebration
  • Three (3)public lectures on Laughing Heart with attribution to benefactor
  • 5 signed copies of Julian Gresser Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorers Mind(2013)


Jade Eddies of Laughing Hearts - $10K

  • Amethysts, Moonstone, Opal, and Pearl awards, plus:
  • Specially published “smart” book celebrating charter sponsors and their contributions, updated quarterly.
  • Prominent visibility as a Charter Jade Sponsor on the Vital Santa Barbara web site and within the Laughing Heart Network
  • Bi-annual ½ day Laughing Heart Discovery Seminarsat office or transferable as a gift to favorite causes.


Sapphire Brooks of Laughing Hearts - $25K

  • All of Amethyst, Moonstone, Opal, Pearl, and Jade awards plus:
  • Two (2) Bi-annual ½ day Laughing Heart Discovery Seminarsat office or transferable as a gift to your favorite cause.
  • Free advertising as sponsor for Laughing Heart TV SBseries and public acknowledgement at Laughing Heart Community Workshop hosted by the Santa Barbara Center on Lifelong Learning.
  • Promotion and paying forward empowerment for three (3) causes of importance to Charter Sponsor.

Contact Us


Ruby Streams of Laughing Hearts - $35K

  • All of the Amethyst, Moonstone, Opal, Pearl, Jade, and Sapphire awards plus:
  • 10 hours of dedicated free consulting time to community causes of highest priority to sponsor
  • One full day (1) training program with materials for organization of choice to Charter Sponsor.
  • Special prize award to designated cause of choice

Contact Us


Diamond Rivers of Laughing Hearts - $50K

  • All of Amethyst, Moonstone, Opal, Sapphire, Ruby awards plus:
  • Two full day (1) training programs with materials for organizations of choice to Charter Sponsor.
  • Matching grants to designated organizations of choice any time within three years after release of Version 1.0 of the Intelligent, Interactive, Personalized Guide.

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The Laughing Heart Fund

The Laughing Heart Initiative is establishing a special Fund in collaboration with visionary philanthropists, corporations, and foundations to direct new sources of funding and other forms of support to causes and organizations that are applying Laughing Heart principles to relieve human suffering in all its manifestations. The goal of the Fund is to create compounding beneficial leverage by encouraging effective collaborative among receipts to maximize Laughing Heart Advantage for the largest number of beneficiaries. Financial and other support will be available through:

  • Special prizes
  • Direct Grants
  • Joint financing
  • Mobilizing volunteers and paying forward initiatives to designated beneficiaries
  • Celebrations
  • Client Co-branding
  • Other contributions in kind
  • Support for local communities

 

Introduction

 


I am writing this Guide for every person who believes that life can be an open and expanding path, rather than a narrow and declining one. I have discovered that one of the keys to a life of quality and depth is exuberant vitality, because vitality enables us to say ‘yes’ to life, irrespective of circumstances or the flow of time and entropy. But this requires a bit of a shift in how we perceive the world.

As many of the travails of aging are associated with the brain, naturally many western scientists and the public media have focused on the brain, which has given birth to the new and exciting field of neuroscience. There is an underlying logic: the problem of aging is in the brain; therefore our brains will find a solution. It is a medical conclusion based on an epistemological metaphor fundamental to western science: we solve problems with the head.

Yet neuroscience, notwithstanding its marvelous discoveries, tells only part of the story. It fails to account for the whole picture. There is another neglected actor at least as important. It is the Heart.


Honoring the Physical Heart

Most people, including many physicians, view the heart primarily as a tradesman—a mechanical pump. It is an outdated metaphor with historical roots in the steam engine. But what an engine! Are you aware that:

  • “The heart beats one hundred thousand times a day, 40 million times per year, and some 3 billion times in the seventy to eighty years of a human life.”? (Source and quotes from Stephen Harrod Buhner, The Secret Teachings of Plants )

There is much more:

  • “The electromagnetic field produced by the heart is some five thousand times more powerful than that created by the brain.”
  • “Between 15%-25% of the cells in the heart are neural cells.”..“The heart possesses its own nervous system, and in essence is a specialized brain that processes special types of information. … not only are these cells involved in the physical functioning of the heart, they also direct connections to a number of areas of the brain, and produce an unmediated exchange of information with the brain. (Unmediated means there are no interrupts in the circuit from the heart to the brain.)”
  • “The heart has its own memory. People who receive transplanted hearts often take on behaviors common to the person to whom the heart originally belonged.”
  • “Hormones produced by the heart have broad physiological impacts, affecting the heart, brain, and the body.” At least one such hormone —an atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP)–provides powerful protection against pancreatic cancer.
  • The vagus nerve, a bridge between brain and heart, may hold a clue to the physical experience of happiness.(1)
  • “The heart is not only concerned with the interior world, its electromagnetic fields allow it to touch the dynamic, electromagnetic fields produced by other living organisms and to exchange energy.”

In short, the physical heart, including its electromagnetic fields, hormones, and associated blood supplies, is a living, integrative, cognitive, perceptive, and communicating intelligence.

These and other wonders of heart/brain interaction are currently being explored in the new and exciting scientific frontier of neurocardiology. (2)

The potentialities of the “heart” run far deeper than are currently being probed by western science. In fact, the heart is also a primary systems integrator.



The Heart as a Primary Systems Integrator

The heart’s unique capabilities have been recognized since ancient times in diverse cultures. It is entertaining to note that Egyptian embalmers preserved the heart but tossed the brain, which they assumed to be useless in the journey to the next world.(3)

The centrality of heart is well recognized in Asian cultures and the traditions of most indigenous peoples. In China,for example, the word xin (often translated as “heart”) is viewed as the “the root of physical and mental life, the seat of all emotions, embodying the inherent goodness of human nature and wisdom.”(4)

How to depict the integrating potentiality of heart? Diagram # 1 depicts the six dimensions of Big Heart. But what is Big Heart integrating? Here we must step outside western science into the world of “subtle” energy or in Chinese language and culture, qi (“ki”in Japanese).



Laughing Heart, Subtle Energies, and Love

Basics

What is qi? Qi is written in Chinese as 氣 which combines the image of air or rising steam with that for rice, 米. Hence, qi suggests cooking and nourishment from rice, the staple of life in Asian societies.

Qi and love, especially unconditional love, are closely tied. In Chinese cosmology love is the primordial energy source which gives birth to qi. In Laughing Heart practice both qi and love are viewed as special forms of subtle energy.

Qigong is a disciplined energy practice that cultivates the power of qi for healing, vitality, and martial arts, among other practical applications. Laughing Heart borrows heart-centered qigong practices and applies them in a new way.

Elaborations

In this Guide heart is understood as the “governor” of the mind and qi. When our heart is quiet, relaxed, and peaceful, the mind is stable and balanced. Our heart opens naturally and we receive external qi, which blends with our body’s internal qi. The qi in turn influences the flow of blood. When the qi is clean and pure and blood flow is unimpeded, the qi’s vitalizing properties are optimized.

All living creatures possess physical and energy bodies.(5) The energy body is not fantastical. We can experience it directly as light, kinesthetically, or in other forms. The energy body can be cultivated and refined by practice. It is continuously transforming. It can be extended by intention; it contracts in times of stress. It is highly sensitive and particularly susceptible to imagery and sound.

The heart is both a transmitter and receiver of qi and love. Drawing a parallel with electronics, it can function both as a “step down” and “step up” transformer. Qigong masters maintain the Universe contains an infinite reservoir of qi, which moves freely through obstacles and barriers. When we enter a quiet and open Laughing Heart state, it is easy to send out and receive qi and love.

Imagination exerts a powerful influence over the heart, the flow of qi and love, and the energy body. Many qigong masters describe their forms in evocative images of nature—“return to spring”, “showers of apricot blossoms”, “love descends on me”, “dragon flying over the mountains.” The forms invoke the essential qualities of animals—monkey, bear, deer, snake, and tiger. Each of these animals is also associated with a special sound that connects qi energy to the main internal organs of the body.

There is a direct relationship between the cultivation of qi and the creative process. When the qi is unimpeded, it helps the heart and mind transcend conventional silos of thought and experience, and guides the explorer to the “intertidal zones”—the intersections of established domains of knowledge where we can discover wellsprings of creativity, invention, and innovation.

The cultivation of heart immediately enhances personal freedom. Many of our worries and travails have a strong cognitive component. The shackles we wear are largely in our heads; our prison walls are mainly our own creation. By learning to open the heart, the shackles fall away and the walls disappear, like stories written in water.



Measuring Qi

There is no established standard technology or methodology today to measure qi accurately. There is a considerable body of research on the subject but it is inconclusive from the perspective of western science. There are some interesting parallels between the measurement of “entanglement” in quantum physics, the design of quantum computers, and the integrative power of heart and qi. Someday we may have extremely sensitive “super quantum” devices to measure subtle magnetic fields. The commercial availability of these and other instruments is probably a decade away.(6)



Organization of the Guide–Practical Applications

In the meantime, we can play. The Intelligent Guide is designed to enable you to experience, explore, and apply Laughing Heart, anywhere anytime. To enhance your enjoyment we have designed the Guide to be intelligent, interactive, and adaptive. It learns beside you, continuously supporting your interests and preferences. Each of the 10 Moves is a channel for breaking good news, connecting your discoveries to the larger currents of the world.

Our journey toward enhanced vitality begins with perception. 21st century humans have come to rely so much on sight we take its dominance as a given. But several centuries ago people sensed the world very differently (7). What if we can experience life in a new way through all our senses, individually or simultaneously, without filters or biases? One of the keys is Quieting the Heart.

 

  1. Hi Julian,
    I would suggest that the heart is a “neglected actor” that is FAR MORE important than the brain. The Egyptians would agree. (See 3rd paragraph of your Introduction:
    “There is another neglected actor at least as important. It is the Heart.)

  2. (from Julian) A very interesting 2006 piece is Stephan Harrod Buhner’s “The Heart as an Organ of Perception.” http://www.wakeupanddream.me/2006/12/heart-as-organ-of-perception-tied-to.html

    He might have ended his essay with a question mark as this is a frontier for exploration. There appears a critical bias (See Thinking Fast and Slow by Nobel Laureate, Daniel Kahneman) in the dominant scientific paradigm that relies heavily on empirical observation through the five senses. Yet, the realms of poetry, art, music, and many other domains of human experience, celebrated by artists in all these fields, often express deeper perceptions by another faculty, the Heart. They do so in the prevalence in English (and most other languages) by explicit reference to the “Heart.” And they do this indirectly by invoking the power of Heart in the artist, the subject, and the observer. Laughing Heart or Big Heart Intelligence as described in this work is from this perspective a cri de coeur for the world to pay greater tribute to the contribution of Heart in every field of human engagement.

  3. Some Reflections on Autogenics and Laughing Heart
    A very elementary way to begin to understand the energetic connection between the body, mind, and heart is to see if you can elevate the temperature in your fingers and hands. I use these four simple autogenic questions. You simply instruct your body:
    • “My body is relaxed.”
    • “My arms are heavy.”
    • “The flow is easy.”
    • “My hands are warm.”
    The term “Autogenics” was first published in 1932 by the German physician Johannes Schultz to describe his original discovery.
    http://www.guidetopsychology.com/autogen.htm

    It is easy to verify and measure hand warming with a simple thermistor taped to a single finger.
    https://www.cliving.org/stressthermometer.htm?gclid=CjwKEAjwvr3KBRD_i_Lz6cihrDASJADUkGCaLwmDZuwo8Ip4ACRsXqt4WhhE5W2y2oxlYWmjPcVcIRoCD3vw_wcB

    There are some interesting parallels between the Laughing Heart state and autogenic training, which emphasizes deep relaxation, well-being, and flow. Autogenic questions take only a few minutes and provide an enjoyable way to “tune up” Laughing Heart. Conversely, we hypothesize that the state of deep relaxation (looseness), “no mind,” and flow associated with Laughing Heart can produce similar psycho-physiological benefits associated with autogenic training.

  4. Excerpt from Margaret A. Salinger’s “My Life with J.D. Salinger” (2000) (p. 121) tenderly recounts her special relationship as a child of four with Judge Learned Hand, a man who embodied well the harmony of heart and mind.

    “Judge Hand often took long walks with me. He’d ask me what I’d been thinking about lately and tell me what was on his mind. He listened with care and understanding, person to person, from the heart and from the mind. I didn’t have all the words for it at the time, but he gave me the feeling that I was a unique self who had a mind and feelings worth paying attention to, and worth the hard work of growing and thinking for myself, rather than becoming someone else’s dream. I was not surprised, years later, to come across a famous quotation of Judge Hand: “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.”
    ………………………………………………………………..
    See also, “Big Heart Intelligence in Continuing Legal Education”
    http://alliancesfordiscovery.net/bhi/bhi-in-legal-education/

  5. Advancing the Next Frontier: “Heart Versus Mind—What Makes Us Human” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bH8gQezrws)
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    This marvelous 2012 BBC video, produced and directed by David Briggs and presented by David Malone, eloquently and powerfully makes the central point of this book: that the Heart is vastly more than a mechanical pump, an insight recognized by most indigenous peoples, and virtually all the world’s wisdom traditions. The film takes us on a fascinating journey from ancient Egypt through Aristotle and Galen to Leonardo da Vinci, whose late drawings depict the spiraling beauty of the circulation of blood around the art, which offered in its time a unique (and fleeting) synthesis of art, science, and technology. It was not to be. Important new mechanical inventions reinforced a half century later in the philosophy of Rene Descartes and the scientific discoveries by the English physician William Harvey set the course of the mechanical view of the heart which also elevated the brain at its apex. The concept of human beings as intelligent machines was born, a dominant paradigm whose influence continues today. Fortunately, this core premise is now being challenged by the work of the medical scientists introduced in the film and other explorers at this new frontier. Their work strongly suggests that the Heart is a conscious faculty with a complex neurological basis all its own, working autochthonously and in close constant communication (and partnership) with the Brain.

    This book builds on these and other findings from contemporary western science, combining them with insights drawn particularly from Eastern practice, and inviting a dialogue between these deep traditions. There are five premises that should be amenable to scientific proof, independent replication, validation, and refinement.

    First, is the Heart only a co-equal “general” partner as the researchers in the film suggest, or could it conceivably be the “senior” partner, as qigong grandmaster Li Junfeng as well as deep thinkers in the western canon suggest? Here are few brief quotes that urge the latter conclusion.

    “A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.”
    Thomas Carlyle
    …………………………………………………………………………
    “If I create from the heart everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”
    Marc Chagall
    …………………………………………………………………………..
    “One learns about people through the heart, not the eyes or the intellect.”
    Mark Twain
    …………………………………………………………………………..
    “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.”
    Blaise Pascal
    …………………………………………………………………………..
    “Father Time is not always a hard parent and though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigor. With such people the gray head is but the impression of the old fellow’s hand in giving his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well spent life.
    Charles Dickens
    …………………………………………………………………………….
    Second, can the faculties and power of the Heart be cultivated and fine-tuned by disciplined practice, taking advantage of creative energy sources of qi and love? (See, for example, Moves # 1-5). And further is this practice immune-enhancing (Move # 7)?

    Third, are these faculties of Heart further enhanced by connecting them to the concerns of others by selfless acts of volunteering and “paying forward.” (Move # 8)

    Fourth, when such acts are sustained in teams, groups, and organizations of all kinds is there a community-wide multiplier effect?– where the “universe” itself enters the “game” and itself becomes a “player”? (Moves 9-10)

    Fifth, might enhanced vitality of both heart, brain, and mind hold clues for the treatment of mental and neurodegenerative diseases, especially in their early stages? If shocks and other negative influences can interrupt heart function, including its communications with brain centers (especially the amygdala) as reported in the BBC video, what of the reverse? For example, if loss of vitality lies at the core of complex phenomena such as burnout, a $ 300 billion unsolved global problem, might a program of re-vitalization such as proposed in this book, codified in an app, offer an antidote? Might such a program even be neuro-enhancing and neuro-restorative, along with other protocols of functional and integrative medicine in treating early dementia, Alzheimer’s, and perhaps other neurodegenerative diseases? *

    Finally, what new insights might be garnered by using the Explorers Wheel? (Move # 6) The proposed scientific journey is an ideal application of this tool.) And is an ability to recognize an increasingly wide and fertile ambit of connections and patterns itself neuro-enhancing for both Heart, Brain, and Mind? Can this capability be extended even in advanced old age?
    ……………………………………………………………………………..
    *Notes: See Dale E. Bredesen, MD The End of Alzheimer’s 2017, the clinical findings of Professor Robert J. Hedaya/https://wholepsychiatry.com/about/dr-robert-j-hedaya/, and the research of Professor Stephen G. Post/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_G._Posthttp://www.stonybrook.edu/bioethics/post.shtml; also, recent findings on the restorative power of music in dementia patients, see: Comment Move # 5.
    ……………………………………………………………………………

  6. Heart Koans of Compassion and Renewal

    Yunmen Wenyan ( 雲門文偃 ) (862 or 864] – 949 CE), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yunmen_Wenyan) the founder of one the five major branches of Zen was asked by a student:

    “When the tree withers and the leaves fall, what is happening?”
    Yumen replied, “Body exposed in the Golden Wind.”
    ………………………………………………………………………………
    What is “exposed?” and what is the “Golden Wind”?
    Exposed is when we grow old and die, or when we are devastated and lose everything, for example in the recent Thomas fire in California; or when a child, a parent, or our friend dies. Suffering of any kind has a way of cutting to the bone, exposing something in ourselves that is raw and core.

    The Golden Wind for me is the Golden Wind of Compassion. We are all involved in the great pageant we call our life, not only we humans, but also the animals, the plants, even the cold earth and the stones. The Golden Wind touches all of us, every-one.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………
    A Chinese proverb
    “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”

    Cultivating the green tree in our heart is the Laughing Heart practice. And like the earth’s magnetic pole it will attract singing birds of many species, taking many forms, who will alight for a while and then fly on.

    Returning to our “salad days” as Shakespeare called them can be deeply nourishing. The first Psalm 1:3 in the Kings James Bible expresses the transformation beautifully:

    “For he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, which brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    https://www.google.com/search?q=%E2%80%9CKeep+a+green+tree+in+your+heart+and+perhaps+a+singing+bird+will+come.%E2%80%9D&rlz=1C1CHZL_enUS745US745&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=yAr8k3HeF1lTHM%253A%252C1f0NN0tiP9WtfM%252C_&usg=__ARCfvYiTUt_YeOoPYgAf0Z1h-j4%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiH9avxu8bYAhVH64MKHTfwBqoQ9QEIMzAB#imgdii=2E8VxpjDQ18XFM:&imgrc=yAr8k3HeF1lTHM:

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