A Zen master once said that the mind argues with the heart. When this happens, ALWAYS listen to and follow your heart. Your mind will rationalize, reason, enumerate the pros and cons … but your heart knows.
Why is it so hard, then, to follow my heart? Actually, it is the easiest thing in the world, because the heart KNOWS and if I go the way of my rational, reasonable mind … I immediately sense that life has gone out of me and I am walking in some stale legalism that will get me NOWHERE.
This is deep … and it isn’t. It is actually so simple that it is often missed. My heart (and yours) is true and it is eternally connected to the Source. That is a fact. But it is the listening and the trusting I often miss. I prefer to reason, to look at the facts and to predict outcomes. And hey, that works for the everyday, run of the mill decisions I have to make … (what to buy at the grocery store, when to do the laundry, where to open my savings account, what days I choose to travel, etc.)
So, when do I actually need to listen to my heart? That is hard to explain. For me, I find my heart is most involved in those moments that I am relating to others, be it strangers or loved ones. Say … someone is seeking a listening ear and sympathy from me (my area of expertise actually) but I just don’t “feel” it. I may try to stir up some compassion in my heart and soothe away their fears … but if it is not truly from my heart … it is dead. I can listen quietly, nod with understanding … but I will not “fake” compassion, even though this is what the other seeks. This isn’t some kind of judgment on my part … I just won’t invent a response I do not have. Other times, someone may tell me a sad story about their life, something that they were very much responsible for, and my tears will well-up and compassion will pour forth (even though rationally I see they have been responsible for their own pain). But that isn’t important. The heart KNOWS what each person needs … I am just a bystander. I use to try to force my heart to be in line with my mind … I would judge the proper response. That is useless. I now just trust my heart. For there lives the Source and I don’t dare block the outpouring from the Source.
The most practical and helpful application for listening to your heart is when a major decision must be made. Should I tell that person what I really think? Should I act to protect myself this time or should I endure that person’s behavior? Should I write that letter? Should I go to that social event? Should I step in or step out of that situation? Many people will pray for guidance in such matters. I do too. But ultimately, when I have done weighing all the circumstances and prayed through my concerns … ultimately I will do as my heart desires. That is how it feels to follow the heart. I will go with what I, in my most deepest personal place of feeling and belonging, really want to do.
What liberty! What joy! What acceptance of myself I find when I can truly trust my most inner being with the important choices in my life. I can do that because I truly know that in my most inner being, God resides. He and I are one. His choices and my wishes are one. I love that! It is the peace that passes all understanding and I will act on it, every time. This is the secret to perfect peace and perfect obedience. Follow your heart.