I begin today not with jumping in and talking about the heart, or the journey, describing it, explaining the hows or the whats. No. Rather, I begin with a comparison, and a request that you drop all comparisons as we prepare for the Journey of the Heart.
There is an idea that is becoming much more mainstream: mindfulness. A life-coach used the word with me a few weeks ago; a colleague used the word in a meeting. Mind-full-ness.
What do I know of mindfulness?
- I know it is an Eastern concept making its way into Western thought.
- I know that it has something to do with bringing awareness, consciousness, or presence to an activity.
- I know that when people talk about it, they are using it in a way that means, “I want my activity to be more informed, more enlightened; I want to be able to make better choices from a place of peace and stillness.”
But then, it occurred to me, that there are probably centuries of practice and understanding in Eastern cultures that fill in, broaden, deepen, this concept that “we” (Westerners) simply do not have access to—yet.
What is the culture and practice of Westerners that informs the meaning of mindfulness?
- We are taught to mind our parents.
- We are taught to mind our manners.
- We are taught to mind our own business.
Minding in the west means to pay attention, act appropriately, and not to get involved in others’ affairs. These are our cultural de-faults. For Westerners, learning mindfulness in the way it is understood (naturally) in an Eastern culture means forgetting these preconceived cultural notions, and developing a new understanding through study and meditation. I suspect the Eastern practice of mindfulness goes far beyond the mind.
I would venture to guess that Eastern mindfulness has more to do with the heart than with the mind; wisdom and compassion, the two wings on the bird of love, grow in the heart.
But, oh, Westerners! We do love our minds, don’t we. I do, anyway. But that is why I have decided to become mind-less and heart-full. The very nature of thinking maintains separation, maintains categories, hierarchies; the heart unifies.
The heart unifies the mind.
Becoming heart-full though, means that I must drop all expectations, preconceptions, and expectations about what I think heart fullness is. I must learn, and allow my heart to teach me. I must be as a blank slate, open to the drawings, the colors, the music of the heart.
A Journey of the Heart begins on March 16th. For the next week, I would ask that you begin to think about what you think you know about the heart. Write those thoughts down, then mentally tell yourself: this is what I think, but I do not know. I am willing to erase my own ideas about the heart, and open to my heart’s wisdom. I invite my heart to teach me itself.
A Journey of the Heart begins March 16. See the homepage for more information susanwithpearls.com.