Head or heart – is that all there is?


  • ‘To become mindful is to see the world afresh without being lost in our reactions and judgments, and in seeing it afresh with a clarity, we begin to be able to respond to the world rather than react to it’

    Jack Kornfield

I have an instinctive resistance to the cries to ‘Follow your heart!’ or ‘Don’t over-think!’ that seem ubiquitous nowadays in social media. In principle it’s a nice idea, which is supposed to make us feel good about ourselves and empower us. I struggle with this notion, though: What does it actually mean, to follow your heart, or alternatively your head? Moreover, why do we need to even choose between ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’?


Doesn’t this notion of either/or create an unnecessary burden, another layer of anxiety that can keep us in permanent doubt about what we ought to be following? Doesn’t this supposed divide even paralyse us more often than not, rather than allow us to make decisions whilst feeling expansion and freedom? Is it what ultimately satisfies us in life, following our hearts? Or is there something more?


This is not a simple topic, and I find it fascinating. In an attempt to make sense of it, here is what I know: I know that my body holds the answers to most questions, beneath my heart and my mind, beneath the confusion and the tension. The answers come from a dimension of openness, beyond words and emotions, a dimension that we can all access when we need to make small decisions and when we want to take leaps towards our bigger purpose in life.


My basic principle for just about everything is: if there is doubt or dissatisfaction lingering in the air, then there is something more to discover, a layer beneath that we are not accessing just yet…. And it is most probably the best idea to stop, probe deeper, until there is no more doubt or dissatisfaction. It is a very practical stance. Clarity does not have to be unachievable. It does not require hours of introspection or wavering or discussion. Certainty can come in an instant. It is a deep ‘knowing’, and it cannot be easily translated into words.


When we hit an impasse, when we are struggling with a dilemma and we are not getting anywhere, when we feel there is something more that we cannot grasp…. then it might be time to take a step back from ourselves and be gently guided, towards our ‘essence’: Beneath the layers of thoughts, beneath the layers of feelings, emotions and fears, beneath what we believe, is our ultimate reason for everything, ‘what it’s all about’. This is the door to the place beyond doubt, the place where something more solid than our heads and our hearts, just ‘knows’. This is our essence. Our essence is energy and when energy unfolds within and around us, we know with absolute clarity what needs to be done or who we need to be, at that very moment.


The key is to stop everything and take distance from the confusion, from trying to listen to what your mind and your heart are trying to tell you, from making any effort.


Conscious living is about learning a simpler, more meaningful way of relating to ourselves, whereby we listen to our core. This is the place of resolution. Yes, it is profound. And yet it is within reach for all of us.

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