Heart-centered consciousness offers a different way of approaching life. Heart-centered consciousness gives us new access to feeling and thinking. What does this mean and how do we apply it? For myself, even as sensitive and feeling oriented as I was, this turned out to be quite a challenge! The issue was my high IQ mind—it could get in the way even more than it could find the way to solve many problems and challenges I faced—in work, at home, in nature, or in relationships.
The heart can experience and know energy in ways the mind can never encapsulate. The mind is threatened by the intensity of direct, intense feeling—it is as if it considers feeling somehow destructive and to be avoided when possible. I sense there is a grand mystery to the mind about what being “heart-centered” really is. That which the mind cannot readily compute is often dismissed as irrelevant or something to avoid at all costs. My own truth is that the mind simply cannot experience it, only interpret and process it.
The Limitations of Mind in Experience
I discovered my prior beliefs and conclusions about the world, my well-honed thinking habits, were actually reducing and editing my experience before I even fully receive it. My mind was quick to judge and conclude what was going on out of habit. I was always first in my mind, and being in my heart was not my center of gravity when facing problems and challenges. But I found I could only fully experience and feel when I suspended my internal analytical mind long enough to receive all the incoming signals. So I started concertedly worked on stopping my mind’s dominant position in my awareness, suspending the thinking and internal dialog for long enough to fully take in what I was sensing and feeling.
The mind is a wonderful instrument, but it can get in the way. Out of mental habits, we often try to manage and control our experience of feeling. But unless we can suspend our language thinking habits just enough, we tend to rob ourselves of the richness of direct experience. I underwent a journey of finding different ways to temporarily stop the insistence and persistence of interpreting so I could simply receive the raw experience.
Meditation, exercise, music, dancing, drawing, imaginative sensory reverie, sustained absorption of the physical senses, even repeating mantras all helped. The goal was to be able to sustain a state of heightened awake experience for over 60 seconds without entertaining a single internal verbal thought. It was much harder than I first imagined.
The Undiscovered Country
But eventually, that training led to something absolutely remarkable—I could now feel and sense in ways I could never before do or sustain. I could experience more deeply, more continuously, and invest my conscious awareness into the objects of my experiences—almost fusing with them as if they were indistinguishable from myself. And then afterward allowing the mind to get in a word edgewise felt less and less urgent or insistent. It became a choice, not a compulsion. I began to identify my sense of self as not inside my mind, but in my capacity for feeling, specifically feeling a sense of acceptance and oneness with what I was experiencing.
Direct experience of feelings was and can still be challenging to sustain and not mentally react. Feelings can be intense and difficult to manage. The mind has developed management strategies to avoid and tamp down the direct intensity or direct experience of emotion.
Feeling emotions of anger could lead to managing it with blame. Rage converted to guilt. Pain packaged as a mood of suffering. Loss or sorrow converted into thinking I had impossible problems. Fear avoided by indulging in mental anxiety. Terror controlled and diminished as panic. Dread was sublimated into worry. The feeling of aversion was packaged into doubt. Feeling emptiness gets mentally converted to the conclusion of being alone, which in turn invited a sense of loneliness. Feelings of despair or anguish can be mentally managed as a sense of desperation or recognized as crises.
For each and every feeling the mind had a strategy for interpretation, diminishment and control.
How the Mind Controls and Deals with Feeling and Emotion
I realized we all use mental management strategies for managing and controlling feeling. Feeling is scary to the mind. The mind inserts itself to manage and suppress feeling, to avoid really feeling energy, to avoid feeling out of control. These mental moods create a comfortable separation and distance for my mind from the intensity or validity of the feelings. And they become habitual. They become normalized.
My mind used these attitudes as ways to guard against the depth and intensity of experience that was afoot. I started experiencing mental moods that too quickly worked to label and interpret feeling and emotion. I began to see these mental moods were comparatively synthetic emotions that distanced from the experience of the real authentic feelings and emotion. Feeling itself, to the mind, was considered out of control, unnecessary, irrational, even foolish and distracting.
Since it seems the mind cannot deal with feeling directly, the mind has found creative ways to deal with feeling, to diminish it, turning it into something more mentally manageable—a kind of divide and conquer strategy. It is a way to stuff one’s emotions and feelings, a way to avoid them. The mind merely rain checks too much feeling, and with irritation resumes control.
I truly sense now that mental habit patterns for managing feelings reveal one thing—that the mind is out of its depth. The mind will often conclude that suppressing, dismissing, ignoring, or even denying the validity of feeling is the only sensible approach to dealing with unruly feelings and emotions. Begone you pesky, disorderly, irrational, unfathomable and all-consuming feelings, begone! Get out of my way!
A Balanced Partnership of Thinking and Feeling
One practical insight here is that the mind fails to be able to work well with the unknown and off the map phenomena. The mind is more a map maker, and less of an open-hearted adventurer. If we can move our sense of self to be centered in our heart, we see problems in a whole new way. Living in the question requires humility, and a willingness to suspend judgment.
Many problems cannot be solved from within the scope of mental capacity alone, or from the level in which they are defined. We need to experience the field of the problem in a new way, more directly, without filters, and without premature mental overlays. A mind that avoids direct experience is like a computer that only takes in very limited data—and it can conclude a great many problems are simply impossible to solve.
Our capacity for direct experience exists beyond the mind—and our way to access that field is through the heart. Our modern world’s over-emphasis of the mind has resulted in growing blindness—we are increasingly blind to realities that exist. Personal, social, political, economic, and environmental imbalances and breakdowns are the eventual consequence of living systems that are incapable of feeling, empathy, and connectedness.
The capacity for feeling and empathy gives us access to a tremendous range of engaged knowing that reveals factors in difficult problems that the mind tends to take shortcuts on. When the mind partners with the full sensory range of a full and free empathic heart, our ability to predict, preempt, or resolve challenges becomes more likely, recover vitality and health, and miraculously balance and heal.
Natural Wisdom Can Be Spontaneous
Being centered in our hearts as our starting point for all we experience, we end up knowing much more that is really there to know, to its essence, and our wondrous ability to solve problems then responds to a deeper, non-verbal comprehension that penetrates to the essence of what is not working.
Our capacity to directly feel connection goes beyond language and the five common senses, and allows us to sense consequences far sooner than the mind. The heart can sense what no linear computation system or mental model can ever logically derive. The heart can receive meaningful connecting signals from a distant horizon line.
All we need to do is stop placing the mind’s eye on the top of the pyramid of life. It can stay there if it wants though. Simply place one’s sense of self as being the all-sensing heart at the center. The mind can be more authentically informed by the heart and respond more ably to solve problems we face.
The heart provides what the mind can only barely imagine – to naturally and spontaneously experience energies that guide and inform our ethical grounding, intuitive conscientiousness, and personal responsibility. With the unconditional empathic ability of our heart, we can truly feel, accept, and unify with all we experience. We can discover that learning to love, to feel, and feeling enough to love unconditionally, becomes the royal road to problem solving.
Heart-Centered Revolutions was created to lead humanity into an age of empathy and unconditional love. You’re invited to participate in the revolution through joining our mailing list for the newsletter and enrolling in events or courses.
The best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart with empathy and truly coming from unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. For more on how to bring heart-centered principles into your everyday life, we have a collection of books to help guide you. You can also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles by reading the articles on our blog. We offer business consulting and personal and parenting coaching, as well as workshops and courses.
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