Small Intestine: The Heart’s First Bodyguard
Our small intestine is about 32 feet long. Its inner lining looks like velvet due to millions of villi—finger-like projections approximately one millimeter long that are resplendent with veins, arteries, lymphatic vessels and meridians. Our small intestine effectively digests 95% of all the food we eat and life we take in.
Besides food, our small intestine also digests our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, values, principles, beliefs, all our relationships, our politics and our world view, sending all that is nutritive to our heart.
Our small intestine keeps our heart healthy by bringing everything that is wholesome and nutritive to the heart, while letting everything non-nutritive pass on by. “Pass on by” is the operative concept.
In the ancient texts, this quality of sorting is described as “separating the pure from the impure.” Its job on the higher levels of our consciousness is to separate out limiting depreciative thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, principles and values, allowing all that is non-nourishing to pass on by while sending our heart all that is nourishing.
In health, our small intestine does not resist evil or fight against all that is wrong in the world, which dissipates our life force. Its job is to allow all the negativity to pass on by, while taking in the goodness that is always occurring all around us. In this way, our small intestine also acts as ambassador to our heart.
Letting things that we might consider evil or bad to “pass on by” is infinitely more powerful than resisting or fighting against them in any way. What we resist persists. Fighting evil actually gives it more power. The good one individual does while focusing on their heart’s desires is more healing to the world than the efforts of hundreds of people protesting the world’s problems. The world needs our contributions now more than ever.
All the Moments When We Are Not Awake
When we allow our unruly brain to focus on all the problems outside ourselves, that takes our heart off-line. Days, months and even years can slip by while we are so distracted by all the problems of the world that our heart cannot provide the unconditional love our friends, family, plans and dreams require.
Because most people yet slumber, their brain in charge of their consciousness, there is a lot of darkness in the world. I observe that patients with digestive issues are obsessed with problems. A mother may be obsessing about her family’s troubles so intensely that every part of her own health suffers. A father may be focusing all his attention on struggles at work, politics or things going wrong in his body. In every case, digestion is impaired and every cell worse off.
When we observe our world with a more wide-angle lens, we observe that we have never had so much personal freedom as we have right now. When our small intestine focuses our attention onto all the love and goodness occurring around us, we become aware that we really don’t need to focus our precious attention on all those problems.
Keeping our Small Intestine Happy
We keep our small intestine healthy by focusing our precious attention on all the good things that are happening. In ill health, we can’t remember the good things that happened in the last few days but we remember all the slights that have happened to us for years. Which camp are you in?
When we come across conflicts and differences that we need to resolve, our small intestine is the part of our consciousness where we develop our natural sense of justice. This is where we build the foundation of our most precious moral codes.
Protect your heart from dwelling on foolish things
On the best day of your life, half the things that happened were non-nutritive, but you didn’t notice because you were having a wonderful day. On the worst day of your life half the things happening were supportive and wonderful, but you probably didn’t notice because you were “having a bad day.” When we honestly reflect upon this, it actually comes down to perspective.
Our small intestine’s job is to focus on everything in our life that is nutritional, good, kind and wholesome. Most of our focus needs to be on our own plans, dreams and what we love. With this practice, our heart becomes the benevolent wise Ruler who rules over a happy, thriving kingdom. And every year it just gets better.