Your heart’s desire—what could it be? So many people, including many of my clients, are searching to know what it is would satisfy them, to give their lives focus and direction.
“To find in ourselves what makes life worth living is risky business,” writes Marsha Sinetar in Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics, “for it means that once we know it, we must seek it. It also means that without it life will be valueless.”
Every day I help people work through problems of dependency and addiction. Did you know that problems with compulsive eating, substance abuse, destructive addictive relationships, and obsessive behavior are most often misguided attempts to satisfy the heart’s desire?
We are such amazing miracles of creation. Within each of us is a driving force that will not give up and go away. We can attempt to drown it out with loud raucous living, to anesthetize it with food, drink, or drugs, to avoid it through some zealotry or other, to ignore it by working obsessively, to be too overwhelmed drama and agony to notice it; but as soon as the unavoidable quiet moment happens, there it is, urging us on. Often, people misread this uncomfortable inner restlessness and call it “fear” or “loneliness,” but it is only the call of the heart. Until we acknowledge it, it will not allow us to be at peace. Believe it or not, our hearts are filled with purpose and meaning, and will constantly press us to discover our true desire and act upon it.
I find that many people are autophobic, which means they’re afraid of themselves. They are afraid of feeling emotion, afraid of being forced to be alone with themselves, afraid to find out what is actually inside them. It actually comes down to fearing the power within. We run very fast, in an attempt to escape who we are.
The philosopher Joseph Campbell wrote: “If the person insists on a certain program, and doesn’t listen to the demands of his own heart, he’s going to risk a schizophrenic crackup. Such a person has put himself off center. He has aligned himself with a program for life, and it’s not the one the body’s interested in at all. The world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are that they should be living for … My analysis of the human situation is that we would rather feel alive than be alive. Sometimes it kills you, to feel so alive out there on a battlefield somewhere, or in a corporate environment where it’s quite clear that you’re heading for a heart attack, and you don’t change your course because you are living in that stream of energy and aliveness. You wind up bargaining your life away for it.”
Reading through the wisdom of the ages, I have come across this advice time and time again. The greatest minds in the history of humankind insist that the costs of denying your heart’s desire are far greater than anything that could happen by following it. When my clients overcome their reluctance to know who they are, they release an inner power that transforms their lives. I have seen the beauty of these changes over and over again.
If you want to find your heart’s desire, here is Dr. Campbell’s advice about how to begin:
“This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first, you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen… Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it. Get a phonograph and put on the music that you really love, even if it’s corny music that nobody else respects. Or get the book you like to read. In your sacred place you get the “thou” feeling of life … for the whole world. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result … that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
I invite you to get acquainted with your heart’s desire, so you can follow your bliss. Join me in a resolution to surrender, to slow down and find out what is inside, straining to get out, longing to make contact with you. Make a “sacred space” for yourself, and spend a little time in it, at first reading or listening to music, and little by little listening to your heart. Perhaps it will change your life, as it has for so many others.