The Heart Mind Connection in Meditation will Lead to a New Inner Liberation
The prominence of the mind and the importance given to it from the time we are born leaves most of us in an unbalanced state. While we acknowledge that a sharp, active mind is important in order to remain organized, productive and on top of one’s affairs, the lack of connection to one’s heart may be the root of much of our mental, emotional and spiritual woes.
In this lesson, we will be focusing on the benefits of working on the heart mind connection, in essence bringing your feeling function and thinking function into harmony. Then we will learn how to patiently develop this connection through meditation.
We as humans are born with both thinking and feeling functions. These functions are vastly different in how they receive and process the information that reaches us each day. The mind tends toward ‘solution mode’. In a healthy individual, it assesses the various situations and decides a reasonable course of action. We say ‘reasonable’ because all decisions involve some risk. We are choosing what we think is our best course of action given the information available.
Decision Making Causes Anxiety
It is a common condition that decision making creates anxiety in people. Perhaps it is the very realization that decisions are at best, exercises in probability and that a bad decision can be troublesome. We have limited information and our decision will affect our future. Poor information or a lack of information increases the probability of a poor decision. Good, abundant information tends to increase the probability of a good decision, but only to a point. Too much information can also lead to decision paralysis. So what is the perfect amount of information?
This is where our hearts come into the picture. Our hearts physically are one of our most vital organs responsible for keeping the flow of blood through our bodies. Spiritually, our hearts are the center for our feeling function. Our hearts are where we feel the effects of our lives.
When we love someone, our hearts warm up and feel good. When we are rejected by a loved one, our hearts feel pained or broken. If someone dies, we feel sadness and heaviness in our hearts. When we are hopeful, our hearts feel light and excited.
Unfortunately, many people can hardly feel these things at all. This is because years or decades ago, our minds decided that feelings were problematic. The abundance of painful feelings led to difficult states of being such that we were willing to disconnect from all feelings, good and bad just so we didn’t have to deal with the negative or painful states. The heart mind connection was severed as a defense against pain.
Life Will Be Hard At Times
Life involves both joyful, pleasant emotional states as well as sad, angry, painful states. If you have relationships with people, it’s inevitable that you will get hurt. You could say we just haven’t evolved as a race to be consistently kind, considerate and more loving.
The object in life is not to insulate yourself against pain. The price for such an action is also to shut down the good feelings. The object as far as one’s heart is concerned is to have a process to move through painful feelings promptly to avoid getting anxious, worried, angry or sad, blue and depressed.
When your heart and mind communicate, you have the missing piece of information that will fuel good decisions. This is important because much of one’s quality of life depends on the many decisions we all must make daily. If we make decisions simply using our minds, we don’t incorporate what matters to our hearts. Consider these as decisions with incomplete information.
Your whole being will begin to relax when you learn to value your feelings, examine them while in meditation and incorporate what is important to you before making decisions.
An Example of Using Heart and Mind Together
Feelings, meaning what truly matters to us should be considered as messages from our soul. There is true wisdom in our feelings and thus wise decisions come from including the messages our feelings send us. Let’s walk through an example.
Imagine you are faced with a decision of whether or not to leave one job when a position from another company is being offered. Your current position is as a Director, earning $70K annually based in the city you live, with a 50 minute commute requiring about 4 weeks of travel a year.
You have significant responsibility to make meaningful decisions that affect the company. You really like your boss but have one troublesome subordinate who you don’t get along with. On a scale of 1 to 10, you put your job satisfaction at 7.5. Let’s assume this assessment is purely mental as in, you haven’t meditated to know your true feelings about your current job.
The new position would be as Vice President, paying $90K per year but requiring you to work in another city each Monday through Thursday, returning home late Thursday and working from home on Fridays. You will need to travel on average 2 weeks every quarter.
This position could lead to promotion within 3 years according to senior management’s vision. You have had only a 1 hour interview with your prospective boss and aren’t sure of that connection.
This is a difficult decision as many aspects of your work and social life will be affected. Here meditation will help tremendously. In meditation, concentrate as well as you can on your feelings (not your emotions) about this opportunity. It may require that you dissect each of the elements one by one to get a read on your feelings. In other words, you might be incredibly excited about the promotion in title and increased income but very worried about the change in lifestyle.
You might have feelings about leaving your boss whom you love working for while also feeling uncertain about the future of your current employer. Likely there are lots of strong as well as subtle feelings about deciding to stay or deciding to take the offer.
If you just review things in thought, even make a pros and cons list for each but neglect the feeling work, you are at risk of betraying your truth. If for example, you are someone who really values working for someone you respect and care about, then those feelings associated with your boss are very important. You might decide then to bring the offer up to your boss and ask about a raise or reveal your concerns about the company’s future.
If you realize through examining your feelings in meditation that corporate advancement is a much higher priority from a feeling perspective, then likely taking the job would be a better decision. There is no standard answer. The answer is in what feels true, right and appealing to you.
Once that information is known as in you have dropped out of the mind and into the heart and felt it, now the mind can begin to develop a reasonable plan of action. The heart mind connection is valued when you consider your feelings and then form a plan of action based on knowing what’s important to you.
Accessing the Reasoning Mind
When we talk about a reasonable plan, it is very helpful to realize that you can’t act on every feeling no matter how deep it is. We have both thinking and feeling functions so let’s use both to their maximum benefit. Allow the mind that is clear and focused to formulate a plan of action that honors the feelings.
In the case of our example, let’s say you decide to accept the job. You love your boss so your mind presents the idea of sharing the news in a well timed, considerate way. You would think through how to say it and what you are willing to do as far as an exit plan. Your mind might tell you to have that conversation before calling your new employer to accept the offer. In fact, many nuances will need to be considered but the basis for the decision to stay or move on is heavily weighted towards how you feel.
The easiest way to do this is to give your mind a voice and do the same for your heart. The voice of the mind is generally your normal thinking voice. The voice of your heart may require some time to find and hear. This is because we don’t associate our feelings in this way. You need to find a way to feel what you feel and listen to what your heart wants and doesn’t want. While in meditation, focus your attention on your heart and listen to what it says.