I have been learning to open my heart and let it guide me in life, which has lead me to a lot of really wonderful things but I realized the other day that I was still discounting my mind. I saw how I was relying heavily on just my heart for guidance and had placed a lot of resentment, anger and fear on using my mind. I know that I do use my mind in everything I do but I have been consciously taking it out of the equation for quite a while now which is not a balanced approach to life and has led me to some painful places.
When I first went to the Ashram I did a course that included a workshop called “Life Seals” which I have spoken of before as it is one of my favorite practices. The first time I did a Life Seal, I drew an image to represent my mind which looked like this:
At this point in time I had just had a nervous breakdown, left my fiance, had no where to live, was suffering from Severe Depression, Fibromylagia with severe physical pain, Bi-polar II disorder, anorexia, suicidal ideations and more. I was a mess and this image reflected clearly to me that I was very, very afraid of my mind. I chose to stay at the Ashram and after 6 months of spiritual practices my unconscious representation of my mind looked like this:
What a difference! I haven’t done one since but have over 3 1/2 years of intense spiritual practice behind me now and am curious to see what I find when I do it again.
The point of this recent exploration of my mind comes from a comment I received from a man whom I respect very much, Peter Haslund. He said: ” Well said. And I think you are 100% half right! Listening to your heart will allow compassion to be applied to whatever you do, and listening to your head will allow you to take sensible risks and choose between “this path” or another. Both are needed in this human experience. Stay well!”
This was in response to a comment I made about letting my heart guide me in life and how it was all I needed. It was his comment that helped me see how much I was discounting my mind as a useful and necessary tool. When I live soley from my heart I leave myself wide open for pain, hurt and a false sense of what Love really is. It also led me to a place where I was very vulnerable and then became a victim when I was not met with the same heart centered actions from others. This lead me to a an extreme place of anger, distrust and hatred especially towards men but mostly towards myself.
I was not considering what my mind knew was the right thing to do because my hearts instinct is to give love always to everyone. When I chose to give love to someone I also need to use my rational mind to navigate through the rough waters that it guides me to. Love does not mean I open myself wide to everyone and allow things to hurt me, in the name of love. I can use my mind to create healthy boundaries for myself and to know when I need to be cautious with my heart. There needs to be a balance and that, I am learning, is more loving and kind to everyone in the end. The way I was going about loving people before was in someways more conditional and self serving, although unintentional.
So as much as I want to be an open hearted person all the time, there is a time for my mind to step up and step in. I also need to practice being an open minded being in balance with my open heart. I need to make sure that I am being treated in a respectful and healthy way for me and that I am treating the other person with the same respect by not forcing my “love” onto them. This means that for me “Love In Action” can look like taking a step back in a relationship to decide wether or not it is right for me. Then if needed, taking steps to end the relationship if it is not able to become something that is healthy. As painful as that is for me, it is because I have not practiced being open and loving, accepting and non-judgmental AND standing up for myself and demanding respect in this way before, especially not in relationship with men (friends, family, etc).
It hurts my heart to feel so much openness and then have to be very real with myself and admit that I deserve more. It is my job to use my mind along with my heart, my intuition, my gut instinct to really listen and take time to feel out the situation before I open my heart fully to someone. I am Worthy of Love and I get to decide what that love looks and feels like for me. It is me that chose all of these relationships in my life wether with friends, family or lovers that ultimately led to hurt and it is me that can make better choices now that I am aware of the need for a balanced mind-heart relationship within myself.
Love has many faces and many avenues of getting where it is needed and how it is needed but what is doesn’t have is a dead end. Love to me is all that we are and in every action if we are willing to look very closely there is an element of love or need for love in all that we do as humans. My journey is about finding out how to heal those areas within myself and being an example of what can come from taking these often very painful steps towards living from our true nature which is Love.