Sunday, December 25, 2011
What the heart knows
If I keep a green bough in my heart, then the singing bird will come. --Chinese proverb
Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.-- Saint Benedict
We think of the brain as the seat of intelligence. When my Tibetan friends talk about the mind though, they don't point to their heads, they gesture to their hearts.
The heart seems to be a big part of my end of year contemplations.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in our culture. A person who has a heart attack may be brought back to earthly life with the help of a fibrillator, which no matter what else you can say about it, is not a subtle instrument. Our attitudes about the heart are not subtle either. We often consign the heart to sentimental purposes, ignoring its profound energetic qualities.
Isn't it possible that the prevalence of heart disease has something to do with the way that we dismiss the real power of the heart as a source of inner knowing and guidance, relying instead upon the cognitive inventions of the brain?
I love this Carlos Casteneda quote. "All paths lead nowhere, so it is important to choose a path that has heart."
Thinking about a path with heart naturally brings me to the Hopi prophecies. I first heard about them over 30 years ago and have reflected upon them ever since. According to the Hopis, humans undergo a continual struggle between their left and right sides-- the left being wise but clumsy, and the right being clever and powerful but unwise, forgetful of our original purpose.
The Hopis say that the three worlds before this present world were destroyed because humans chose the clever inventions of the intellect, the right hand way, over the clumsy wise innocence of the left hand way with heart. Now we're doing it all over again in the fourth world-- which is of course a big subject, and one that is on most of our minds--and our hearts.
So I do think about heart disease, in ways that are both collective and personal. My father died of a heart attack and my mother died of congestive heart failure. Theoretically that makes me prone to heart disease. Whether I physically die of what is called heart disease is much less important to me than cultivating the deeper health of my heart.
I practice to become truly good-hearted. I want to free my heart of the real heart diseases --malice, anger, and hatred.
These long winter evenings, I light candles and set my heart at ease. I set my heart at ease. Like this.
"I looked inward and the beauty of my own emptiness filled me until dawn." --Rumi
Did you know that the heart is the largest electromagnetic generator in the body? The electromagnetic field of the heart is 5,000 times stronger than the electromagnetic field of the brain. The heart is the real seat of consciousness.
I mentioned in a recent post that I was reading The Heart's Code by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D. There is some marvelous stuff in that book. I love the stories that the author presents about heart transplant patients. Thousands of people have heart transplants each year. It seems that many recipients have heart to heart experiences of the person who donated their new heart. The new heart may bring personality changes, new food preferences, different kinds of sense perceptions and memories that belong to the person who donated the heart. Researchers say that this is the rule rather than the exception. "I feel the other little boy inside me," one young heart recipient said. Fascinating.
Sending a warm greeting from my heart to your heart. May your heart be happy.