How often do we muse about how wonderful life would be if there were no confusion and doubt! And all the while, we know the solution to the problem, because whenever we are inspired from within, it cannot be contested, only heeded, for that is the heart's language. It is magical, a veil lifts, a vision is adjusted, and hope breathes fresh life, conveying an assurance of what is possible.
Such inspired moments always carry a great promise: if we act upon the inspiration it will be transformational. It can only do us good, for that is the heart's promise. You and I have felt it all our lives.
We can wait for that inner inspiration to come or we can actively cultivate it. The choice is ours. Choosing to actively cultivate the inner inspiration of the heart is heartfulness.
Let's say I want to make a meaningful decision at work or in my family. If I impose that decision on others it will be like a child who is forced to eat rather than cajoled with affection, a teenager forcibly disciplined by a parent, or a caring boss trying to convey something. We resist external suggestions, however logical they may be, and we end up with enforced discipline, rules and policies, which have not arisen naturally. As a result, the child refuses, the teenager rebels, and the boss gives up wanting to help. Making and abiding by decisions becomes a matter of following rules rather than allowing the heart's intrinsic goodness to inspire and lead. The possibility of living in a society where the innate precept is "just do the right thing," is perhaps a far off thing, or is it? Are we responsible for keeping that golden era at bay?
There are many issues at play. The most powerful arise when we ignore the intrinsic goodness and the intrinsic peace that exist in all of us. These are our core inner qualities, so one does not have to think to be good or at peace. They simply happen, because that is our underlying nature. Yet we frequently go against our underlying nature.
How do we compromise our intrinsic goodness?
Knowingly or unknowingly, we tend to color every living moment, as our awareness scans the world, by judging, with constant chatter inside our minds: "I like this," "I do not like this." Slowly, the eventual game of our lives is played out in response to the conscious and subconscious inventory of likes and dislikes we build within ourselves.
This fickle inventory of likes and dislikes plays, pauses, stops, rewinds, fast forwards and slows, and not always in that order! The result is that we often stand perplexed at the crossroads of likes and dislikes, this or that, instead of heeding the heart. How many times have we asked: "Is this good for me or not?" or "Should I do this or not?"
How does the heart speak?
There is an even more mundane construct: "Is this decision from my mind or my heart?"
When we analyze how we make decisions, we witness the interplay of the heart and mind. We observe that the heart protests loudly when we choose something not so good for us, whereas when we make the right decision the same heart remains silent and at peace. That's how the heart speaks; there are no loud signals when we do the right thing.
Why is this so? To do the right thing requires little effort from within. For example, to convey my name and position in life correctly to someone I meet demands no effort or serious thought, but if I boast of what I am not the heart quibbles! It becomes heavier, doesn't it? That's how the heart speaks.
To breathe, hear and see normally is natural. My heart does not congratulate me for that. It is precisely when something is wrong that a feeling, spreading out from my core, signals that it is time to visit my physician. That's how the heart speaks.
In reassuring silence and in timely vigilance the heart speaks. When we heed the heart, there are only confident decisions instead of disabling doubt and confusion.
Easing the burden: the play of heart and mind.
Habitually we are caught between the play of mind and heart: mindfulness versus heartfulness! We create this polarity within. Is it possible to reconcile?
When the heart is right, there will always be an unquestioning agreement between the mind and the heart. In fact, a perfect synchronicity exists between them and they function as one. Integrating these two principal players in our life eases our burden of existence. By ignoring either one, we cannot move ahead purposefully in life.
How to integrate the heart and mind?
Still the mind in meditation and you will witness the heart's signals and its inspired thoughts. For 20 to 30 minutes every day, capture inspired moments of heartfulness.
It is in the stillness of the mind that we perceive the heart with clarity. By constantly observing the inner weather, we steer through life wisely, steadfastly, sans regrets.
Effective meditation must lead the meditator to the heights of the infinite sky of superconsciousness and facilitate the plunge into the deepest ocean of subconsciousness, and emerge the wiser. This way our consciousness evolves.
To lead a life simply going through the motions, reacting to whatever life brings, is one thing. An altogether different experience is to lead it with responsive heartfulness - with the heart's most loving and magisterial guidance. Whatever activity you are engaged in, take a detour by the heart. After all, who can resist the heart's signals!