How many times have you heard this? Seems like it’s the quick-way-out of any difficult decision that has to be made: “just follow your heart”.
I’m all for it! There’s nothing better than following your heart as a guidance to the most difficult moments in your life, to the paths you have to take, things to do etc… or is there? Actually, this post is just to clear up what this idea of “following your heart” means – for me, that is :) It’s important that we are clear on what these words mean, so we are all in the same ground of understanding when we speak.
First, consider this: we are – in general – extremely emotional beings. Varies from person to person, of course, but our emotional body (physic and psychically speaking) is very complex. Emotions: E-motions, energy in motion. An emotion is always a movement of a certain kind of energy around our physical body, which can have a psychic root, or not. On the physical arena of our being, this is supported by a complex system of nerves cells, nerve fibers, glands and their specific chemicals called hormones. The stimulation of such organs in our body triggers these so called “emotions”, which are felt in a multitude of ways and physical locations. That is why fear and anxiety is felt around the stomach area (kids don’t lie when they have to take tests ;)), hope and love in the chest area, etc etc..
The funny side of it, is that it always depends on the mind. No matter if there is some external event, sighting, physical stimulation, or if it is just an internal image, idea, desire – in both cases, the mind is responsible for processing that information and sending the relevant information to our nerve centers and glands. That means that the “filters”, or the pre-conceived ideas, the attraction or repulsion for something, that exists in your mind will always affect the emotional response you give. So, your “emotions” are always dependent on the state of your mind, and its attitude towards specific things.
So, getting back to the topic: following the heart or not following the heart, that is the question :)
The problem I see when people try to get in this “follow your heart mode” is that they try to stop listening to their logic/conscious mind, and see what’s beyond it. That’s all great, except for the fact that the first thing you’ll now pay attention to, is your emotional body. So, if a situation is provoking fear emotions in you, or giving emotional comfort or hope, then you’ll see that as the best response you can get – because it’s not your mind thinking about it, right? But like I said before, all those emotions you are now paying attention to, are just a mixture of all your desires, needs, fears, etc.. at a very basic/low/instinctive level. Between that and your rational mind, I say: follow your mind!
When I say “follow your heart” I mean something totally different. Of course, words can be deceiving, and there lies the danger of using this kind of affirmations :) Following your heart doesn’t mean following your emotions, doesn’t mean following that which apparently gives you an instant “good feeling” or gratification.
Following your heart means listening to something higher than your rational mind and your instinctive emotions. Means being in close connection with your true Self, a much higher layer of your mind, beyond the influence of our thinking and emotional aspects. Means listening to your intuition, knowing what is the best thing to do even if it doesn’t sound totally pleasant or rewarding. Many times, means leaving your comfort zone, means getting in touch with the harder aspects of your own life, fighting against your own weaknesses for the good of something higher. Means going to where your true “heart” wants you to go, towards its total self-development and growth, until the so-called self-realization.
In listening to your heart there is very little of ‘I’-ness and ego, in listening to your emotions there is a lot of it!
Know the difference :)
“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad” ~Rumi