As science and spirituality continue to discover more about how our souls function, a recent theory that’s evolved is the concept of the heartmind.
According to the Heart Math Institute the heartmind is that place within us where the intellectual part of our being (the mind) connects and integrates with the spiritual part of our being (the heartspace). Together the heart and mind provide us with wholeness, and connect us with our souls.
The heart has intuitive power. It acquires wisdom and understanding through deep listening, the type that occurs in prayer, meditation, and contemplation. When we become quiet, we can access the heartspace, and gain guidance from the Creator.
Some faith traditions teach that the heart is the location of our soul. It’s the umbilical cord that connects us with God.
The heart listens. It’s comfortable with mystery. It holds the questions so we can live into the answers. Our heart leads us, and eventually our feet catch up.
The mind is our onboard computer. It receives facts and information, and then stores them in our brain like a filing cabinet. The mind distinguishes among its stored data so we can form logical conclusions.
The mind excludes and eliminates. It establishes preferences and goals. It typically sees things as black and white.
Unfortunately, our Western culture teaches that the mind is our chief operating system. “I think; therefore, I am,” we’ve mistakenly learned. So, we rely upon half of our human potential—the mind—to the heart’s exclusion.
Over the last few decades, however, our culture is realizing the importance of the heartmind connection. It’s as if the mind is saying to the heart, “Hey, I could use some help here.” And the heart responds, “I thought you’d never ask.”
For example, if a friendship becomes one-sided—where one friend fails to communicate or make time to hang out with the other, we might be tempted to rely solely upon our minds to figure out what’s going on.
“Maybe they’re just busy. Maybe they don’t like me.” Our brain flipflops back and forth trying to find a logical explanation for the cold shoulder we’re getting.
If we use only our emotions to gain perspective on the situation, we might feel rejected and get trapped by anger. Or we might judge the other friend as selfish or lazy. Uncaring.
If, however, we integrate the mind and the heart by spending time connecting the two through contemplation or meditation, the heartmind provides us with the deeper wisdom we need to understand the situation and grow.
“It’s time to walk away,” our heartmind might discern after numerous attempts to salvage the friendship. “Relationships are two-way streets. Savor and experience the wisdom of letting go through holy detachment. It leads to inner peace.”
Or, the heartmind might inform us, “Your friend has been hurt by others and is afraid. It takes time to trust again. Show compassion as best as you can. Let the relationship unfold.”
When my wife tries to connect with me on a deeper level, she’ll often ask, “How’s your heart?” If I’m stuck in my mind—or unwilling at that moment to go deeper—I’ll respond, “Good.”
“That doesn’t tell me much. Where’s your heart?”
“It’s under my chest,” I joke as I stop and place my hand on my heart.
When I pause for a moment and connect with my heartmind, eventually my heart opens. As it does, my mind sinks into my heartspace, and I respond, “I’m anxious. I’m concerned about that big project. But my heart tells me if I just get into the office and get it done, it’ll turn out well. It usually does. I do the work and leave the results to God.”
The next time you’re trying to work through a problem or situation, practice the heart-mind pause. Stop for a moment. Let your mind connect with your heartspace by placing your hand on your heart. Feel your heart beat, its warmth. Listen for wisdom’s guidance as you ask yourself, “How’s my heart?”
—brian j plachta
Can you forgive yourself for being perfectly human?