What Is Emotional Health?

by Mark Ivar Myhre on September 20, 2011

To understand emotional health, let’s first look at the constituent parts that make it up.

Emotional health diagram
It starts with ‘Source Energy’.  What is that, exactly?  Well, maybe after I die I’ll come back and tell you!  In the meantime… I guess we’ll have to leave it a little nebulous.  I certainly don’t know.  Anyway…

From the source energy comes a flow. I call it the flow of raw material, or the flow of life energy, or the flow of emotion.  Labels don’t really do it justice, obviously.  I see it as sort of like a lava flow.  It’s the raw material out of which we manifest our reality.  All potentials exist inside this flow.  We have the raw materials to make anything we want.  In theory.

But before the flow makes it into us, it’s modulated and down-stepped and reduced.  First, by our unconscious mind.  Then, by our subconscious mind.  Then, by our own conscious filters and all the other parts of us that have their hands in the cookie jar.  Such as, our ego, our inner child, and many others.

What’s left of the flow then enters our heart. And by the way, that big-bosomed bald headed woman with toothpick arms and legs you see in the diagram… that’s actually my attempt to show the relative value of the human heart.  Not the physical organ that pumps blood throughout the body, but the true heart – the esoteric heart.

The heart that science is not yet advanced enough to see.  Only poets and dreamers and visionaries can detect this heart. Or people in love.  Or, sadly, people in emotional pain.  They know this truer heart all too well.  But not in the way they’d like to.

Something mysterious happens in this heart.  Something I’m afraid the mind will never fully understand.

The flow of source energy enters our heart.  And somehow, some way, through some unknown mechanism, the heart takes this flow of energy and precipitates it into the reality we call our world.  Our heart takes the energy and projects it onto some sort of movie screen that we call ‘reality’.  Which in fact is nothing more than a very sophisticated illusion.

In the diagram, I show a small square little world.  Because that’s what it is.  With sharp edges and angles and well-defined boundaries.  And rules.  Lots and lots of rules.  It’s the smallest, most insignificant part of the process of life.  Yet somehow, in some strange curious perversion, it has been elevated to the most important part.

Emotional health refers to the degree to which the flow of source energy enters the heart unimpeded.

That’s what emotional health is.  How much of the flow do I allow to enter my heart?  The more raw material that I allow in, the greater my emotional health.

In one sense, good emotional health is so simple and so easy.  Because all you have to do is to let the flow of emotion enter your heart.  But on the other hand, it’s so hard and so difficult.

We come into this life in a much purer state than how we end up.  Not perfect.  We still have plenty of filters from day one.  Filters we come in with.  Filters from the unconscious mind.  Filters we bring in with us for our own reasons…  unknown to our conscious minds.

Then, from day one, we start forming subconscious filters.  At first, we only take in filters from our mother, or the mothering figure in our life.  Then, after we break from mother, we start taking in filters from our environment.  Later, once the conscious mind has developed, we take in filters from our father, or fathering figure.

By the time we reach the age of ten, the filters are set.  We ‘know’ how much we deserve.  We ‘know’ how much we’re worth.  We ‘know’ if we’re good enough or not.  And on and on it goes.  Filters on top of filters on top of filters.  Some contradict others.  It becomes like a mish mash of spaghetti that surrounds us.

These filters determine our degree of emotional health.

See, it’s not really our heart that determines our emotional health.  As far as I’ve been able to determine, the heart always does its job.  When we say we have a ‘broken heart’ or when we believe we need to ‘heal our heart’ – what we really mean is that we need to remove the filters that impede the flow of emotion into our heart.

Remember, emotional health refers to the degree to which you have removed whatever stands between you and your emotions. And emotional healing refers to the process of removing the filters.  Like removing the plaque on the arterial walls of your bloodstream.  The more you scrub out the filters that impede your emotional flow, the greater your state of emotional health.

Emotional health is not an endpoint.  There is no final destination.  Emotional health is the constant and never-ending process of improving your relationship with your emotions.

But when we’ve been taught and conditioned almost from day one, to control and manipulate and repress and depress and devalue our feelings… well, that’s not going to enhance the relationship much, is it?  A healthy relationship never develops when one party attempts to manipulate and control the other party.  Nor does it develop when one party devalues the other party.

A healthy relationship develops out of love and respect. When I love and respect my emotions – all of them – then I am on the right track.  When I don’t love and respect my emotions then I am not on the right track.  And I am moving away from good emotional health.

When you love and respect your emotions, you expose your filters.  An example of a filter would be, love means you’ll get hurt. Another example would be, you made me angry.  One more example would be, I need to not be afraid.  And of course, there’s a million other filters.

Basically, a filter in this regard is any concept that limits your feelings.  A filter consists of the coagulation of the flow itself.  Just like a blood clot consists of the blood itself.

As you work on removing those filters to the flow (obviously a huge topic in itself!), a wonderful thing happens.  You start to expose more and more of your true heart.

What is this true heart, exactly?

Your true heart is a part of your consciousness. It’s more conscious than you are, actually. Or rather, it’s more conscious than the part of your consciousness that you’re aware of.

My heart is more conscious than everything I know about my consciousness.  My world, and everything I know about it; my self, and everything I know about it; pale in comparison to the consciousness of my heart.

My heart knows more than me.

Plus, this true heart is the seat of my consciousness.  That’s why it’s called the heart! Because it’s the center, or the seat, of who I am as a consciousness.

After working with removing the filters that impede the flow of emotion, the next step of the process of good emotional health involves reestablishing a relationship with my true heart.

Your heart knows more than you.  Your heart knows what’s best for you.  It knows what will help you.  It knows what will hurt you.  It knows what will cause you pain, and what will bring in joy.  Your heart knows all the answers.  Or enough of them, anyway.

Oh, but wait.  I shut down my heart when I was little.  I had to.  The world was too hard on me.  And I’ve been drifting ever since, without my rudder.  I’ve been drifting without the benefit of my internal guidance system.  No wonder I’m in pain, and my life sucks.  Now I’m starting to see.

I shut down the very part of me I needed the most, to make it through this life.

Boy, that explains a lot.  But it’s never too late to change!  I can start right now.  I can start by getting a sense of my heart.  I can see it as an object.  Or, if it’s not too threatening to me, I can sense it as a living, breathing, part of me.  The better part of me.  The truer, more-pure part.  The unconditionally-loving part of me.  The wiser part of me.

What would that be like?  What would it look like?  Can I even imagine?  Do I dare to imagine?

And what will this part of my consciousness think about me, after all these years of me shutting it out?  What would it say to me?  What would it want to say?  What is it already saying to me? Do I dare to listen to it?

Cause I can tell you, it’s going to get intense.  No two ways about it.  See, your heart may seem simple.  Maybe it seems like some sort of amorphous blog of energy.  But I can assure you, it’s way more complex than the human body.  It’s unfathomably complex.  And there’s a lot going on in your heart.

But if you will garner the courage to work with it, the rewards are also beyond comprehension.  At the very least, you will enjoy good emotional health.  And a greater aliveness than just about anybody else on this planet.  And a greater understanding of yourself and of how life itself works.

What would it be like to talk to your heart, the way you talk to your best friend?  Can you see how that might improve your emotional health?

You can bet that your heart is eager to be heard by you.


alex gill September 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Truly..”the heart has its reasons that Reason knows nothing of” Pascal.

Mark Ivar Myhre September 26, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I like that.

raed September 26, 2011 at 5:07 pm

My heart! I don’t know what to say, I feel like I want to surrender

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